How Identity Theft Could Affect Your Social Security Disability Benefits

It all started in 2014 when a woman with disabilities received a notice from the IRS requesting her tax returns from 2011-2013. This wouldn’t be a problem for most people, but this woman hadn’t worked for four years, and so she had not filed tax returns for any of those years. It appeared that her identity had been stolen, but she never imagined that being the victim of this crime would affect her Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

How Identity Theft Could Affect Your Social Security Disability BenefitsPhoto of claim document

It took over two years for this woman to gain SSDI benefits after a complicated bowel and colon surgery left her unable to work. Before the surgery, she had been a Spanish interpreter, but afterward she was only able to leave the house using great care. The identity thief that stole her Social Security number managed to ruin those years of effort in only a few months.

Did She Lose Her Social Security Benefits?

The Social Security Administration held hearings last year to address this woman’s case, and it used the fraudulent tax returns as proof that she had substantial gainful income. The judge ruled unfavorably despite testimony that the victim had been confined to her home for four years. Twelve days before the judge ruled, the IRS investigation proved that this woman was the victim of identity theft, but apparently word did not arrive at the judge’s desk before the ruling.

Are There Any Options Left For Her?

This woman has one more chance to prove her case at a hearing on January 26th, but she is worried that getting her benefits back could involve restarting the entire disabilities application process.

Unfortunately, complex situations like this happen to Americans with disabilities every day, and new laws are making SSDI applications even more difficult. That’s why it’s important to contact an experienced disability attorney at the beginning of the application process—so you don’t get railroaded by complications.

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