One of the more common ways in which people get into trouble while receiving disability benefits is when they start working without reporting this to the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). Most of them start off as legitimate beneficiaries – they suffered a severe injury, applied for benefits, and then started receiving them based on the taxes they had already been paying into the system. This is the way it is supposed to work, but the SSA regularly catches people who no longer need disability benefits even though they continue to illegally collect them. Here are a few of the more recent SSA investigations.
Connecticut Woman Uses Fake Name to Steal $90,000 in Benefits
The woman legitimately started receiving disability benefits back in 1993 after the SSA determined that she was disabled and unable to work at all. However, the next year 1994, she returned to work under a different last name. All the while, she collected disability benefits up until 2009, accumulating $93,359 in illegal benefits. She now faces three years in prison, full restitution and a fine of up to $250,000.
Virginia Truck Driver Fails to Tell SSA about His $1.4 Million
The Virginia man began receiving disability benefits in October of 1998 for a back disorder. Between 2002 and 2010, however, he drove a tractor-trailer, earning about $1.4 million in income. The SSA needs to know whenever you make more than $720 a month (and anything over $1,010 a month usually means you cannot receive disability benefits at the same time). The SSA found out about his income, and now he faces the same charges as the Connecticut woman.
The SSA has programs in place to help you return to work. In fact, during your trial work period, you can work and earn more than $720 for nine months while receiving your full benefits at the same time. Even after the trial work period, there are several years during which you can immediately start receiving disability benefits again if you find yourself unable to work. Work with the SSA when you are earning income, as the risks are not worth it. More details on returning back to work are available from a Tulsa SSI attorney.
Did you successfully transition off of disability benefits? What programs did the SSA have in place that helped you do so?
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security Disability attorneys