Has Disability Benefits Fraud Become Too Easy?

Bolstering the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) abilities to investigate instances of fraud and other criminal conduct could go a long way towards improving the process for legitimate disability beneficiaries. The stories we typically hear in the news about benefits fraud involve huge sums of money that criminals took over a number of years. In many of these stories, the criminal schemes were not terribly complex, but without the resources and staff, the SSA is simply unable to eliminate fraud completely.

Two Denver area residents – a man and a woman – are now facing charges pertaining to the theft of Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits. The man reportedly received $26,000 in payments from 2006 to 2010 to which he was not entitled. The criminal charges allege that he falsely stated that he had not worked since 2004 and that he concealed from the SSA that he was working and earning money.

The woman reportedly stole $70,000 from the fall of 2008 to the fall of 2010. Her scheme was similar, according to the indictment. She allegedly applied for benefits despite not being disabled and hid the fact that she was earning wages from 2006 to 2010, which would have prevented her from receiving disability benefits.

As you can see in these two cases, the defendants did not engage in any particularly complicated plans to unlawfully obtain disability benefits. They simply lied on forms. If the SSA could improve its ability to catch fraudsters, that extra money could go a long way towards helping legitimately disabled American workers as well as the finances of the Social Security trust funds in general.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys

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