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.