The Social Security Administration (SSA) is in a state of financial crisis. There is nothing new about that information. Anyone who is familiar with Social Security benefits knows that these benefits are at risk unless serious changes are made to the way the program is run. Needless to say, the fact that Social Security Disability fraud has been a problem in the past, and is still a problem today, only adds to the financial problems. Those who insist that there are people wrongfully receiving Social Security Disability payments have once again been proven right as a Lillington woman was just caught scamming the SSA to the tune of $149,000.
Sarita Davis Green was sentenced to three years of supervised release and two years in prison for stealing $149,321 from the SSA. In addition to this jail time and supervised release, Green must also pay back the $149,321 that she stole in restitution to the SSA.
What exactly did Green do to steal so much money from an already-struggling program? In 1974 Green was issued a valid Social Security card. However, in 1994 she fraudulently obtained a second Social Security number with falsified birth information.
Why did Green need two Social Security numbers? Well Green had been receiving Social Security Disability benefits since 1955. The benefits that Green was receiving would not be available to a person who was able to work. Apparently the benefits being provided to Green were not enough for her to live according to her standards. In 1994 she sought employment using the fraudulent Social Security number. She used this social security number for employment purposes from 1994 to 2009.
During the time Green was working she received $149,321 in disability benefits that she was not entitled to. She was able to continue to receive these benefits because she did not report her employment to the SSA and she lied when she was asked if she was working in February of 2009.
While many people are frustrated with the grueling appeal process and the process of continuing eligibility reviews, this is a perfect example of why such measures are needed. The SSA cannot afford to be paying benefits out to people who are not entitled to them. Green’s case is one that shows that these measures are indeed needed. The case is also an example of why the SSA should not cut back on funding of the integrity measures taken by the agency, as was proposed in a recent bill brought forth by republicans earlier this month.
Hopefully this case will serve as a lesson to both the government and the public. The government must have safety measures in place to prevent such crimes from occurring and those who would try to cheat the Social Security system should be aware that they will eventually be caught.