The first thing that disability lawyers in Greensboro NC tell their clients is to be careful not to commit fraud whenapplying for disability benefits. If the Social Security Administration (SSA) believes that you have willingly deceived them about your application, they may decide to press criminal fraud charges against you. You will also most likely be banned from ever applying for benefits in the future.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MATERIAL FACTS
When reviewing your case, the Social Security Administration will use material facts to determine your eligibility. Providing false or misleading facts, omitting facts, or causing someone else to misrepresent, omit, or provide false facts is fraud. This applies to any Social Security benefits program. Some examples of how fraud could be committed include;
- A person makes a claim for disability based on depression and anxiety disorders. However, the person was only diagnosed with these disorders because they provided different therapists with false statements about their health and how the depression and anxiety impacts their life. This causes the medical providers to issue an inaccurate statement about their medical condition.
- A claimant states that they did not attend high school because they know that this will make it more difficult for them to be considered employable in other areas of work. The truth is, however, that the applicant has earned a GED.
- Intentional misrepresentation of work experience, training, or qualifications that you may have acquired during your career so that you are more likely to be classified as unable to work is fraud.
WAGE AND INCOME INFORMATION
Your disability lawyers in Greensboro NC will explain that the SSA will evaluate your income and assets to determine if you qualify for SSI (Supplemental Security Income program) as well as for disability reasons. If you fail to report any assets or income, or cause anyone to provide false data about your assets or income, you have committed fraud. Some examples of how fraud may occur include:
- A person who is self-employed injures themselves and applies for disability benefits. Because they have not paid their Social Security taxes on their self-employment income, they do not qualify for the program. So they try to apply for Supplemental Security Income by not claiming any of the money that they earned in their business.
- A claimant tells the SSA that they have not been able to actively work because of their disability for five years in an effort to receive a larger back-pay settlement. However, the last time the claimant actually worked was two years ago, right before applying for benefits. As your disability lawyers in Greensboro NC will explain, this is the most common type of fraud committed.
- Transferring money or assets to another person right before you apply for benefits is considered intent to commit fraud. If these transfers were genuine, such as trying to liquidate assets to cover living or medical expenses, the applicant is not committing fraud. However, applicants may be asked to prove the intentions of the asset transfers.
RIGHT TO BENEFIT PAYMENTS
Fraud occurs when you do not report any changes in your life that could impact your ability to receive benefits for yourself or on behalf of another person. In most cases, life changes must be reported to the SSA within 30 days. Some ways fraud could occur include:
- Disability lawyers in Greensboro NC report that the most common type of fraud in this category is failing to report a marriage, death, or separation. These major status changes can impact your income levels and you may no longer qualify for benefits.
- Separations also include when a minor child that is disabled moves out of the home. When this occurs, the parents cannot still collect benefits on their behalf.
- Having significant increases in income can also change your ability to receive certain types of benefits. Any changes in income levels must be reported to the SSA.
FRAUDULENT SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS
To qualify for any type of Social Security benefit, you must have a valid Social Security number and have contributed to the program. As your disability lawyers in Greensboro NC will explain, any attempt to collect benefits from the SSA using a fake number is committing fraud. A few examples of how this type of fraud may occur:
- A person who is currently in the United States but does not have documentation obtains a false birth certificate so that they can acquire a Social Security number and make a claim for benefits. This includes all types of benefits issued by the SSA, not just disability benefits.
- A person who has an outstanding felony warrant has now become disabled. This person knows that their outstanding felony warrant disqualifies them from receiving any benefits. Because of this, they obtain fake credentials so that they can make a claim for benefits.
PENALTIES FOR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFIT FRAUD
Being convicted of fraud against the Social Security Administration carries vary steep penalties. If convicted, a person could face up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. It is very important to understand that the SSA did not have to make a single benefit payment to you for you to be accused of and/or convicted of Social Security fraud. If the SSA believes that you were committing fraud to obtain benefits, they will prosecute just as much as if you commit fraud while receiving benefits.
Speak to Disability Lawyers in Greensboro NC About Your Disability Case Today
Filing for Social Security benefits can be a difficult process. In fact, by the agency’s own admission, over 70 percent of all applications are initially declined. Additionally, the SSA can be overly cautious that people care trying to commit fraud. The Bridgman Law Offices understands the frustration that everyone feels when facing a battle with the Social Security Administration. They have dedicated attorneys that will help you through the process, even if you have already been declined, and help you prevent mistakes that may look like you are committing fraud. Do not face this battle alone, call 888.632.9912 and speak with disability lawyers in Greensboro NC about your case today.