Among the benefits of hiring a qualified Social Security disability attorney to help you with your disability case is the advice he or she can give you about how to steer clear of an accusation of fraud after your claim for disability benefits is approved. Unfortunately fraud cases are not uncommon and they cost the taxpayer a substantial amount of money. Therefore, the Social Security Administration is charged by the federal government with regularly reviewing each recipient’s status on a regular basis. In an effort to ensure timely review of each recipient’s status and to pay for investigation into cases of suspected fraud, Congress has increased funds for those purposes this year.
It pays to understand what sorts of situations are considered fraud by the Social Security Administration. Here are a few situations you must be sure to avoid.
Work Status. If you work while receiving disability benefits, you must report your hours and your income to the Social Security Administration. You must never attempt to conceal the fact that you work or falsify the numbers of hours you work.
Income Limits. If you are receiving disability benefits, you must report your earnings to the Social Security Administration. The agency allows you to work while receiving disability benefits, but there are limits to the income you can make and still receive benefits. In 2024, the monthly limit for a disabled person who is not blind is $1,550 per month. For a blind person, the limit is $2,590 per month. You must never conceal the fact that you make over the minimum income limit.
Residence. If you are receiving SSI benefits and you move overseas, you cannot continue to receive these benefits. If you move abroad and are receiving SSI benefits, you must notify the agency and stop receiving your SSI benefits.
Receiving Other Disability Benefits. If you are eligible for worker’s compensation or for other private, state, or federal disability benefits, your payments from SSI or SSDI may be reduced. You must tell the Social Security Administration if you apply for another type of disability benefits, if you receive a lump sum settlement due to your disabling condition, or if your previously reported benefits change or stop. Never conceal the receipt of other disability benefits, regardless of the source of those benefits.
Change of Status. If anything changes in your personal, work, or living situation, you must notify the Social Security Administration. Examples include: moving, changing your marital status, losing custody of a child for whom you have been receiving benefits, the death of a spouse or child for whom benefits are being received, being convicted of a crime, changing your name, etc. Basically, if anything changes after you are approved for disability benefits, let the agency know, as this could affect your fully insured status.
Social Security disability benefits are provided as a safety net for people who have nowhere else to turn. When their situations improve, some disability recipients are tempted to keep their monthly SSI or SSDI checks to improve a minimal standard of living. It’s understandable, but it’s a mistake that can cost them dearly.