Social Security Disability is Not a Government Handout Program

Submitted by Chris on

It is difficult for hard-working taxpayers to view news reports about the discovery of Social Security Disability fraud every day. It is important, however, not to let such frustrations lead to a slanted view of the Social Security Administration or the Social Security Disability program as a whole.

Hard-working taxpayers who follow the law and contribute their fair share toward their own potential use of Social Security Disability and retirement benefits often feel like they are being personally robbed when they hear stories, especially high-profile ones, about Social Security Disability fraud. It is hard not to be outraged when selfish individuals take advantage of programs designed to help our country’s neediest citizens in times of catastrophic disability, especially since funding for such programs represents long hours of personal labor set aside with the purpose of security for the unknown.

When it comes to instances of Social Security Disability fraud, however, there are several things that one should keep in mind before jumping to conclusions about the overarching legitimacy of the program:

  1. Just because Social Security Disability fraud happens does not mean it happens all the time, or that there are not sufficient measures in place to catch fraud. Fraud can be directly reported to the Inspector General’s Hotline, where it will be reviewed by the corresponding field office to determine what action is necessary. Due to privacy and laws, people who call in suspected fraud are not privy to information about what action is taken or how the situation is resolved. The SSA periodically performs reviews of cases, which often uncover fraud. If the SSA finds that a beneficiary is engaging in fraudulent activity, their benefits will of course be terminated and they may face fines or charges.
  2. It is a also important to keep in mind that what may appear to be fraud is not necessarily fraud. Many disabilities are not visible to the naked eye, such as would prevent a person from movement or other activities. To qualify for Social Security benefits, disabilities have to prevent a person from keeping a job, and may involve a variety of psychological factors as well as physical disabilities. If you suspect that someone is erroneously receiving benefits, therefore, be aware that there may be much you don’t know about the situation. Never personally confront someone, and wait until you have reasonable proof before reporting a case to the SSA as fraud.
  3. Finally, keep in mind that although there are some people who will find ways to cheat the system and receive unearned or undeserved benefits, there are a large number of people who are legitimately disabled, have contributed their fair share of wages into the system, and depend on the existence of Social Security Disability for day-to-day survival.

We all contribute our FICA taxes to Social Security so that disability benefits will be there if and when we need them. The Social Security Administration is not in the business of giving hand-outs, or playing parent to those who choose to remain children. Instead, it does its best to ensure that the system is used only for what it was designed, and that those who abuse it face the consequences of their actions.

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