SSA Disability Fraud- Is it my duty to report it?Every few days on our disability forum we get questions from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants wondering why their neighbor, friend, family member or ex-coworker receives disability benefits and their friends are seemingly healthy but they have been denied multiple times for disability benefits.
This is a tough question. We have to be careful judging othersconditions and playing doctor, determining without any medical training that someone we know should be able to work a full-time job. Although many disability recipients may not appear sick or mental disabled, they may be.
For instance, I have a neighbor who I see regularly out watering her lawn and occasionally pulling weeds from her flower bed. She receives a monthly SSDI check. If I didnt know more about her severe, debilitating back condition I might assume she is committing SSDI disability fraud. What others dont know is that she has had four major back surgeries, takes daily narcotics just to get out of bed and can walk and stand for 30 minutes at a time. Does she have good days? Sure she does, but I know that she couldnt sit at a job forty-hours per week.
What is Social Security Disability Fraud?
Unfortunately, however, all SSDI or SSI recipients are not like my friend. So lets discuss what the SSA considers fraud:
- Making false statements on claims- this could include providing any information on a disability application which is not true to the best of the knowledge of the SSI or SSDI applicant.
- Concealing facts or events which affect eligibility for Social Security disability benefits- this includes making any type of false statement on the application or concealing information that could affect the disability determination process.
- Misuse of benefits by a Representative Payee- If you are managing funds for another disability recipient and you use the funds for unlawful expenses this is illegal.
- Bribery of an SSA employee- Attempting to get favorable treatment or providing incentive (money, gifts or any other object of possession) for an employee to make a favorable disability decision.
- Not notifying the SSA if you are receiving workers compensation funds.
Reporting disability fraud
All incidents of fraud should be reported to the Office of Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. Reporting is easy, safe, and secure. You can reach the OIG by internet, phone, mail, or facsimile.
You can submit a fraud report online by visiting the Office of the OIG.
Or by U.S. Mail
Social Security Fraud Hotline
P.O. Box 17785
Baltimore, Maryland 21235
1-800-269-0271 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
What information do I provide to the OIG
- Telephone numbers
- Dates of birth
- Social Security numbers
The OIG will also need to know the following:
- Description of the fraud
- Location where the fraud took place
- When the fraud took place
- How the fraud was committed
- Why the person committed the fraud (if known)
- Who else has knowledge of the potential violation