Disability fraud should I report my friend to the SSA?Recently on our legal forum a user asked, I have a friend who started receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits two years ago for a back injury. Since then she has started an internet company which (according to her) is doing very well. I have also seen do yard work for days on end. Whats worse is she brags about how she is gaming the system and getting away with it. I know there are thousands of SSDI applicants who get denied each year. I am wondering if I should report her?
Disability fraud and SSDI benefits
Its strange how individuals who would never consider walking out of a store with stolen jewelry think nothing of conning the Social Security Administration and the American people every month. Maybe its the notion that they are not hurting anyone or they will never get caught? Regardless, theft in any form hurts everyone. Specifically, money taken from the Social Security Administration for individuals who should be working costs you and I money.
So what is disability fraud? Disability fraud can include a variety of different fraudulent behaviors such as making false statements to obtain benefits, concealing facts which would change your eligibility for benefits, taking another claimants funds, bribing an SSA employee to get disability benefits, or impersonating an SSA employee.
While your neighbor may have been severely injured and honestly received disability benefits without making false statements on her application or to the SSA, it is possible that she is now engaging in what could be considered fraudulent activity.
Unfortunately, unlike other types of stealing which can be easier to spot and prosecute, stealing money from the SSA is not so easy to identify. In fact, it is possible for your neighbor to work periodically or part-time and earn so little money that her work is not considered substantial gainful activity (SGA).
It is also possible for someone to feel good enough to work in the yard for a few hours every few days but lack the stamina and ability to perform a full-time job every day for 40 hours per week.
Should I report my neighbor for disability fraud?
Now, whether you should report your neighbors potentially fraudulent actions depends on several factors. First, you need to understand that detecting fraud can be difficult. In fact, you should not do anything until you verify certain facts about their disability case.
- Do you understand their medical condition and why they were approved?
- Do you have a full understanding of their limitations to perform their normal daily activities?
- Do they have a mental condition which may limit their ability to work but cannot readily be identified?
- Have you verified whether the amount of money they are making is above the income limits for SSDI?
If you reviewed the above and still believe they are committing disability fraud you have the right to call the SSA Fraud hotline at (800) 269-0271. You will need to know their name, address, birth date, phone number, and SSA number (if available). Be sure to only report the facts. Do not make unsubstantiated claims.
With that said, we all have a civic responsibility to hold others accountable and report criminal activity.