Accusing a person of committing disability fraud can be more complicated than it might seem. First, you have to know exactly why a person has been approved to receive benefits before you can know for certain that he is indeed doing something he should not be. It is difficult to judge a person if you do not know what physical limitations his condition might impose on daily activities. Some people actually suffer from mental or psychological impairments that can restrict them from performing certain physical activities. But if the facts give you reason to suspect a true case of fraud, then you should file a report.
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Contact the Social Security Administration Fraud Hotline toll free at (800) 269-0271 to report that you have knowledge about a person hiding wages earned from employment while at the same time receiving disability benefits. Depending on the number of hours worked and gross wages earned from employment each month, this could affect the person's eligibility for benefits.
Provide as much information as possible when you make your report. Give the name and address of the person suspected of committing the fraud. If you know the person's social security number, birthdate and telephone number, supply this information. Keep in mind that making an allegation of this nature is serious business. In order to assist the Social Security Administration in fairly investigating the issue, explain what you think the person did, as well as the timeline for when the alleged fraud occurred. Offer information about anyone else who you know is aware of the violation.
Report the facts only as you know them. There are criminal and civil penalties for providing false information. However, if you know for certain that a person who is receiving disability benefits has returned to work, and has not reported that change to the Social Security Administration, that person may be guilty of concealing pertinent information.
Make certain that you understand the person's circumstances fully, as the specific situation differs from person to person. Unless you are aware of all the facts surrounding someone's claim of a disability that prevents employment, you could be reporting fraud where no intentional fraud exists. Government reports actually show that the rising costs of disability programs are not due to fraud, but rather to changes in public policy. While some people may appear to others capable of working, there are often numerous less obvious facts that the Social Security Administration has considered before making a final determination to approve benefits. For example, a person's medical records may show that both the psychological stress and physical demands of working makes a person's medical condition much worse. Regular employment often drains a person's physical resources to the degree that it makes other routine activities of daily living that much more difficult to accomplish. In addition, many people must be able to take medications consistently and without delay throughout the day in order to function, or make regular trips to a hospital for medical treatments. However, if you know of someone who has lied about his or her mental or physical health in order to get disability benefits rather than be employed, the reporting procedures are the same.
Complete the online Fraud Reporting Form to report your allegations. While it is not necessary for you to include your personal contact information on the form, the Social Security Administration will be unable to communicate with you should additional information be needed to conduct a more complete investigation.
Write the Social Security Fraud Hotline at P.O. Box 17768, Baltimore, Maryland 21235 to provide the details of your complaint if you do not wish to telephone the hotline directly or report the fraud online.
Keep in mind before making any allegations that not all disabilities are obvious. According to the Social Security Administration, a disability prevents a person from engaging in gainful activity such as employment for a year or more.
Tips and warnings
- Any statements made on an application for benefits that are not true may be construed as fraud.
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