SSA Disability and FraudOccasionally on our disability forum we get reports from people who are concerned that their friends, relatives or neighbors are receiving SSI or SSDI benefits but they do not appear to be disabled. Although there are many conditions that cannot be readily viewed and the claimant may not appear disabled, there are cases where individuals have fraudulently obtained benefits.
If you know someone who is getting SSI or SSDI who is not disabled and who is able to work, they are committing disability fraud and this is a criminal offense. Penalties for disability fraud can include jail, high fines and penalties.
Who investigates fraud within the Social Security Administration?
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is comprised of five offices: Immediate Office of Inspector General, Office of Audit, Office of Investigations, Office of External Relations, Office and Technology and Resource Management, and Office of the Counsel to the Inspector General. Each of these offices has unique roles and responsibilities.
SSDI and SSI fraud is investigated by the Office of Investigations which investigates, activity related to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in Social Security Administration programs and operations. If the Office of Investigations finds fraudulent activities they coordinate with the Department of Justice, state, federal and local law enforcement to arrest and prosecute the offenders.
The Office of Investigations is located in Baltimore, Maryland, and has Field Divisions in 60 cities across the United States.
What Activities does the Office of Investigations Perform?
According to the SSA the Office of Investigations has six primary functions:
- Identifying claimants who are receiving SSDI or SSI benefits while concealing work activities.
- Identifying claimants who are receiving SSI disability benefits for a child who is not in their care.
- Identifying claimants who are receiving benefits after the SSDI or SSI beneficiary has died.
- Identifying claimants who have gotten married but who continue to receive SSI payments even though their income and resource level is above the allowable limit.
- Identifying claimants who live overseas but continue to receive their Supplemental Security Income payments.
- Identifying individuals who are the representative payee for a claimant but who misuse the SSDI or SSI disability funds.
What does the Office of Investigations NOT investigate?
- The Office of Investigations does not help with all fraudulent activities or disability questions. For instance, they do not answer questions about disability benefits. Those questions should be directed to the SSA general help line at 1-800-772-1213.
- They do not investigate Medicare or Medicaid fraud. Those investigations are completed by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General at 1-800-447-8477.
- They do not investigate the misuse of a Social Security Number or the loss or theft of your Social Security card. According to the SSA if someone uses your Social Security number to obtain credit, loans, telephone accounts, or other goods and services, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC collects complaints about identity theft from those whose identities have been stolen.
Reporting Fraudulent Disability Activities to the SSA
If you suspect someone is committing disability fraud you can report the abuse by submitting a report via phone 1-800-269-0271 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, online by visiting https://www.socialsecurity.gov/fraudreport/oig/public_fraud_reporting/form.htm or by mail.
- When will I get my disability benefits? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)