According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), security fraud only makes up a small percentage of its overall payments. Despite this, fraud is still an incredibly far-reaching issue that is handled seriously. As such, the penalties for social security benefits fraud can range from a fine to criminal charges and jail time. Keep reading to learn more about the most common types of disability fraud and the penalties that come with them.
Types of Disability Fraud
There are a few different types of actions that can be considered disability fraud. It’s crucial to know what is deemed to be fraudulent. This way, you can recognize it and, if needed, correct your application to avoid providing fraudulent information. The types of fraud include:
- Misrepresenting a Medical Condition: Inaccurately representing the nature of your medical condition to the SSA is considered to be fraud. This includes changing medical records to make your health appear worse than it is and making up symptoms that don’t exist.
- Falsifying Material Facts: This is information about your income, assets, level of education, past employment, address, age, and other criteria that impact your disability benefits eligibility. Stating that you have lower income and fewer assets than you actually do in order to qualify for benefits is classified as fraud.
- Concealing Important Information: Leaving crucial information out of your application can also count as social security benefits fraud. Some people leave out vital info because it would prevent from receiving disability benefits. For example, if you return to work and don’t let the Social Security Administration know, you could have committed fraud. If your income and assets grow, you become incarcerated, your medical condition improves a lot, or you begin receiving a pension, you must inform the SSA. They will review your eligibility to receive benefits. Failing to notify them could be considered fraud.
- Misrepresenting Wages: One of the main factors that determine your eligibility for social security benefits is your income. If you submit false information about your income in order to receive disability benefits, you are committing fraud.
Penalties of Committing Disability Fraud
Social security benefits fraud is considered a serious offense. If you submit false information in your report, you can be found liable for both criminal and felony penalties. You may also be made to pay back the fraudulent wages you received. Penalties can also include fines and jail time. In the majority of cases, felony penalties can reach a maximum of $250,000 and up to five years of jail time.
Scammers can also be convicted of civil penalties. These are punishments that come if you caused damage to another person because of your fraudulent disability application. You may be sued in a civil court and be fined even more. Every time you falsely attest that your information is true when it is not, you could end up paying up to $5,000 for each false claim. The penalties speak for themselves; Social Security fraud never pays off.
Contact us at DisABLEd Workers to learn more about the Social Security Ticket to Work program and how we can help you to take full advantage of your Social Security disability benefits.