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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 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 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.

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 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.

If you know a parent is not reporting their income and living situation accurately in their own effort to continue SSI benefits for a child with a mental disability, is this something that should be reported?

Hi Amanda,
If the parent was definitely not reporting income, then yes it would be. But keep in mind that SSI was designed to keep poor families poor, and there are VERY strict resource limits for families with disabled children. It may be a terrible thing to report if the parent is just trying to put food on the table. However, you can report it here: http://oig.ssa.gov/report

What if my spouse collected disability for years (while we were still married) but he was able to work and I have photos of him working? Am I going to get punished?

Hi Susan,
That is unlikely, but you actually can still work while on disability benefits. All that would matter was how much income he was earning while working.

Hi,
How long after reporting does it take for soical security to investigate? How much effort does SS realy put into the investigations? A person recieving SSDI working wIth her spouse at thier business might not be that easy to collaorate. They might say she was passing through, she felt better and helped for a few days, etc.

Hi Jonathan,
In the case you're describing, the person working with their spouse while receiving SSDI may have been found to not be in violation of the SSA's regulations, as it is possible to work in a limited capacity while receiving either SSDI or SSI.

Are people collecting SSI allowed to get funds from other sources such as charitable contributions from family and most importantly "Go Fund Me" generated funds?
Does this jeopardize the SSI benefits?

Hi Herb,
Yes, that would affect SSI benefits. Something like a GoFundMe wouldn't have any effect on someone receiving SSDI benefits though.

Hi, I suspect some one of fraud. I know they are making a claim, but at the same time performing activities such as white water rafting. We have pictures. However after reading this I am nervous to report. We are not on friendly terms with this person to ask about their claim. Do you have any suggestions, for research what we can do to protect ourselves.

Hi Carrie,
Do you know why this person is applying? If he or she is applying for a mental illness, something like white water rafting could be acceptable.
There is unfortunately no way to anonymously report disability fraud. You will actually need to give your own Social Security number to report the fraud. Keep in mind that the person will NOT know who reported them, so you do not need to worry about them finding out.

I have the exact same case as the first person. There is someone who I am working with collecting disability for a bad back. He is working over 30 hours a week and lifts 80+ pounds. Getting paid under the table, while I am getting taxes taken out of my check. I am very upset about it. Collecting free money from the government and still making 300$ a week. How can I be certain this won't fall back on me? I don't want to lose my job, and I can't have anyone finding out that it was me who reported him. HELP.

Hi Peter,
So long as he is actually committing fraud, you do not need to worry. He'll never find out who reported him, he'll simply be investigated by the SSA.

I know a man who has 8+ stints in his heart, needs to tale loratab but sells them amd then takes full on handyman/construction work

Hi James,
If that person is on disability, you may want to report him for defrauding the SSA. I'm not sure what loratab is, but if it's a controlled substance, that person may be committing another crime as well.

Hi my neighbor out on disability for a broken foot and had surgery and is off and on at work because his foot injury and now has put a new injury claim to his work about his back so now he's out for both reasons isn't he not suppose to be doing yard work or cleaning up leaves and driving his own vehicle washing his cars if he out for those type of injuries

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