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Social Security Disability Benefits Fraud

Social Security Disability is a great benefit to those who truly need assistance due to a severe medical condition that prevents them from working for at least a year. However, sometimes people violate the law and fabricate a medical condition. Detecting a fraud in the Social Security system is a challenging process, but it is one that is necessary in order to maintain the integrity of the program. Determining whether someone is trying to take advantage of the system can be a difficult task, so before reporting an alleged fraud, consider the long journey ahead and all that goes into pinpointing fraudulent activity.

If you suspect someone is violating the law and is, in fact, fraudulently collecting disability benefits:

  • You need to know the reason why the person has been approved for benefits. If you are unable to determine this, research will need to be conducted to determine the truth before accusations are made.
  • You need to be aware that even though you see this person, you may not fully understand how the person’s impairment causes difficulties in daily living.
  • Some people receiving Social Security Disability suffer from mental or psychological disorders; these are not often easy to pinpoint as an outsider, and it may be difficult to judge how these conditions could interrupt the daily activities.

Typically you would have to know someone quite well in order to determine whether or not he or she is taking advantage of the system. Making strong accusations about someone receiving disability benefits is touchy ground, and something that you would not want to do lightly. When in doubt, do not be afraid to ask questions and look into the actions of the person. This can greatly help you determine where the truth lies. If you do still truly suspect someone of committing a fraudulent act, you should consider reporting that individual.

  • You should begin by contacting the toll-free Social Security Administration Fraud Hotline at (800) 269-0271.
  • Remember to provide as much information as you can. This includes the name, address, birth date, phone numbers, and Social Security number (if you know it) of the person suspected of committing fraud. The more information you provide, the sooner the investigation can begin. You should explain in detail to the SSA exactly in what type of fraudulent activity that you suspect this person to be involved.
  • Do not report anything that you do not know for sure. There are penalties for reporting false information, so stick with the facts.
  • Be certain that you understand the situation surrounding the person’s disability. Work may complicate the person’s condition more than you know. Some people are unable to work because they have to be medicated frequently throughout the day. There are also many individuals on disability who have to make trips to the hospital on a weekly or even daily basis. Other individuals may suffer from a psychological or mental condition that makes them appear quite normal, but they may, in reality, be struggling deeply on the inside. You must be fully aware of their circumstances to be able to judge if they are fraudulently collecting benefits.
  • If you feel uncomfortable telephoning regarding your concerns, you can complete an online fraud reporting form, or mail in your findings to the Fraud Hotline at:

Social Security Fraud Hotline
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, Maryland 21235

When working properly, the Social Security Disability program is a wonderful asset. To those individuals suffering and unable to work, or even waiting out the last stage of their lives, it is often a much-needed benefit. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of a good thing and use it improperly, as is the case with fraudulent behavior. While reporting this kind of activity is important, it is also a serious leap to take. Before you report your suspicions, you should realize that the most important thing is to know all the facts, and to move forward only if you are certain you have a definite case of fraudulent conduct.

Comments

What if I know someone who is working a full time job just started and is also on disability but gets paid under the table but how do I keep my report anonymous

Hi Leann,
You cannot keep your report anonymous. You need to give your own SS # to report someone for disability fraud.

thats why no one will report some one that is working under the table for we dont want that person to know for i know some one that is doing just that i want to report her but dont want her to know who reported her i dont mine yal knowing but dont want her to know

Hi Betty,
The person will NOT be notified of who reported them, but if the SSA investigates the fraud and sees that it's a false accusation, they need to know who filed the bogus claim.

I agree with above. There's so much fraud out there and never investigated. Married people living together but one uses a post office box, works under table uses his sons ss#. While his wife collects and uses house address. Pretty sad no one checks all this out. Neither one of them have ever worked a day but can collect SSI taxes us workers pay and will never collect because they give it to everyone who can't read, depression, rotator cuff surgery. I have all the above and work daily and in nursing school. Wake up government. Do investigations.

absolutely correct. Good people that need it cant get it, yet other lie cheat, steal, are getting it and never put a dime in.

I just turned someone in who was getting ssi and was married no children they never worked in their life .collected it for 9 years when their spouse made over 3,000 a month by their self .now the DA is getting involved .I did it anonymous but it did ask for my email , I really don't want this person finding out I did it .but if they do it is what it is .I'm tired of people getting what me and lots of other people work for our whole lives .and when I needed it I was turned down and told I could do a sit down job .guess what so can this person and if you mentally disabled (bipolar) not anything major .and your meds work .so can you. I see physically disabled and mentally disabled people working everyday .not popping pill and laying in bed as this person does 90 hydrocodone gone in a week and their spouse doesn't report it to their doctor , also this person is getting food stamps by lying .they been turned in but I guess food stamps don't care about fraud , and this person uses a ambulance as a taxi service when they own two cars ,their excuse is I don't want to sit in the er waiting room ..

Hi Tony,
The SSA may not make your information publicly available, and the person may not have any way to find out that you had reported them. So, no need to fear making a report!

I so agree with you. I believe my ex is doing just that as I've got photos and info from others but he's bipolar and I'm fearful of what he would do to me. Yet it angers me he's able to lay low under the radar It's ridiculous.

Hi Deb,
You can send that information entirely anonymously, you can send that info as a letter to the SSA here:

Social Security Fraud Hotline
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, Maryland 21235

If you don't include a return address or any personal information in the letter, there would be no information that would say you submitted the letter.

Hi Robin,
You can report completely anonymously, all you need to do is mail a letter without a return address or personal information to the SSA here:
Social Security Fraud Hotline
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, Maryland 21235

Hi Greg,
It's understandable that seeing someone who is 'disabled' play golf may be upsetting, but it may be that the person who is receiving disability benefits is getting them for a problem that may not be physical in nature.

Hi Shannon,
It is possible to ride a motorcycle and still get disability, may disabilities are not apparent to the naked eye and as such it may be hard to tell if this person is committing fraud.

I know a guy who goes deep sea diving ,he claims to have PTSD, and other mental problems , if his meds work good enough for him to dive around sharks then they should work good enough for working .

Hi Mary,
Not every disability is the same, it's very possible that this person derives therapeutic value out out diving and it helps his PTSD and his other mental disorders. Additionally, it's very hard to tell if someone with any type of mental condition is able to work unless you are qualified to conduct psychological tests.

Okay. what does PTSD and deep sea diving have to do with each other? His PTSD might be military related, bombs going off in his head, people getting shot. heck I have PTSD from the 3 wars I was in and I am disabled but I still make 6 figures at work. Stop complaining about everyone elses issues.

I know someone who is applying for Disability and is working right now making 550.00 a day just got a check for 3970.00 the check went directly into his checking account.

Hi Jamie,
Working while applying for disability does not mean that the person is committing fraud.

If someone makes over $500 a day than apparently their "disability" doesn't affect their employment opportunities, and so they shouldn't be ripping off the taxpayers with such bogus SSI claims. I'm healthy, not disabled, and I'm making way below $500 a day. This is ridiculous.

However Bryan, if you are receiving SSDI you have maximums on what you can earn and of course if you are earning that money under the table you are also cheating on you income tax!! First of all generally speaking, you can't start doing "substantial gainful activity" (SGA) and continue to receive disability benefits. I am pretty sure you know this but in a nutshell, SGA means you are working and making more than $1,130 per month in 2016 (or $1,820 if you're blind). There are exceptions to this rule, however. For SSDI recipients, there is a trial work period during which you can make more than the SGA amount without losing your benefits. Therefore the $3,000++ check or Direct Deposit exceeds that person's allowable amount if they are not in their trial period. If your SSDI payments have stopped because your income is substantial, the SSA gives you five years during which your benefits can be reinstated if you stop work because of your disability. During the five-year period, the SSA will not require you to file a new disability application to get benefits. This is called expedited reinstatement.

You can begin to work and continue to receive SSI benefits as long as your wages and other resources do not exceed the SSA’s income limit for SSI; however, your monthly benefit amount will be reduced in proportion to your income. If your only income is from your job, the SSA does not include the first $85 you earn toward your countable income for your SSI benefit. After the $85 adjustment, the SSA will deduct 50 cents for every dollar you earn from your monthly benefits. Again, if your SSI payments stop because you earn too much money, but you are subsequently forced to quit work because of your disability, the SSA will reinstate your benefits without the need for a new application for a period of five years.

The difference between SSDI and SSI is that you have worked and paid into the SS for a minimum of 5 years, whereas SSI is straight up the Federal welfare program. Each state has the ability to augment this payment and you would have to check with the state to see what those benefits are.

There are people who have paid into the system but haven't worked within the last 5 years before filing for SSDI and therefore are not qualified, however they may qualify for SSI. I only state this because IF you THINK you have a qualifying even file ASAP because the clock starts ticking. I once had to deny a woman for this very reason :(

No matter which benefit you are receiving IF you have a month with earnings in excess of $3000 you will lose benefits for that month or you will be billed to pay benefits back so keep SSA apprised of your earnings while on any benefit program they oversee.

So, my ex is doing the same kind of thing where they have a landscaping business, as far as I know she does not do the physical work but sets up the appointment and handles the customer side of things. I even found a BBQ complaint with her address. My question is if they are using PayPal can SSI look into the BBB report and able to see pay PayPal transactions?

Hi There,
I'm not sure what permission Paypal would give the SSA to look into its records, but beyond that, it is not fraud to work while receiving SSDI or SSI, however you do have to report the income to the SSA. Your ex may be doing nothing wrong.

Will I be paid for reporting someone committing disability fraud? If not, then why? I know someone living in one state and receiving benefits in another state because that state pays more money. Isn't that considered fraud? Thanks

Hi Jake,

No, the SSA will not pay you for reporting fraud. This is because the SSA already receives too many false accusations. Incentivizing it would make even more people try to call in and report false accusations. You can always report someone for fraud! And the situation you just explained does sound like SSI fraud. Just don't expect to receive cash for it.

What I'd you know someone who is about to receive payment after filing in Texas they have worked on and off and under the table. They bounce around because they oww child support. But regardless they have been working in Texas which is where the applied but now have moved to Virginia.

My sister passed away in 2010 her boyfriend, and father of her daughter, has been receiving my nieces ssdi benefits since then. The problem comes when he dropped my niece off at my elderly parent's house two years ago because he was evicted. He takes my niece to school and brings her home, but other than that he doesn't see her except on her birthday or Christmas. He pays for nothing. My parents pay for her school, supplies, clothes, food...everything. What should we do because we do not want her used as a check! We love her and are afraid to lose her, but this situation seems completely unfair.

Hi Sam,
I am so sorry to hear that! You should schedule an appointment at your local SSA office to become her representative payee. If you just fill out the paperwork, you should be in charge of her benefits.

If someone is considered mentally disabled but does not take their medication and also make hospital visits just to have a record is that considered fraud? This individual also sells other prescribed medication for pain.

Hi there,
This is a really difficult case to say. Sometimes, people do not take medication because of their mental illness, and it creates a vicious cycle. Selling medication is definitely not an OK practice, but he or she may still qualify for disability benefits.

Hi my sister is doing the same thing she receives Social Security disability because she is classified as mental something butt my mom was in the hospital and she was dying and my sister was the caregiver my sister was driving my mother all over the place to and from doctors to the stores for years still collecting Social Security because she was disabled to go to work because she couldn't function all day long she goes to a psychiatrist and she lies to the psychiatrist all the time the dr. Thinks that she's nuts but how could a person that's nuts control on the state a bank account paying bills taking my mom to and from doctors all the time giving my mother her medication all the time and this is what the state gives her social security disability something's wrong with that

Hi Dee,
Just because your sister is able to care for your mother does not mean that she is able to work. Additionally, having a mental condition may not prevent someone from handling money. I wouldn't be able to say that she's lying to the SSA or committing fraud just based off this information.

I have a sister living off her sons disability check .my nephew does have a joint condition but in his 23 yrs of life had adapted fine .my sister went to court saying he can't work do to the fact he is unable to wipe his own ass.so this would be difficult to hold a job.yet he has been living alone for past 3 yrs with no help I really think he is capable of cleaning himself .they granted him 7 yrs of back disability which she took half of and travels all over to hawaii and other places collecting caregiver checks yet the son is no where near her,as for the boy he hang glides and four wheeling and parties hard on all kinds of drugs seems to me he can hold a job .I have not reported them do to fact I would only cause my mother pain over reporting but in my heart right is right

Hi there,
If you need to report this anonymously, you can do so by mailing a letter, with this information, but without a return address, here:
Social Security Fraud Hotline
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, Maryland 21235

Hi I just recently divorced and received an unbelievable ruling in favor of my ex-wife for alimony. The reason given was she presented she was deemed disabled from an old back injury and was receiving disability. This is the type back injury that can't be proven through medical exams. Her workman's compensation claim on this injury went to trial and the defense presented video evidence that she could in fact perform without problems all the limitations being claimed and the case was thrown out. She filed several times for disability and received benefits for the same thing that was deemed false in the workman's comp case. My question is can I submit this as fraud ? Can I submit video evidence ? How long would the investigation take as well as ruling ?

Hi Rod,
If you have video evidence showing that she does not have back pain and used it as an excuse to receive alimony, you should definitely do so. You can do so here: http://oig.ssa.gov/report
It is very unclear how long submitting a report will take! It could take months, however.

I know a person in Pa, That is on SSI and she is married. Her husband make good moneyand she works two jobs One is 40 hours a week the other is 35 under the table. Isn't that fraud.

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