The Social Security Disability Insurance (abbreviated as SSDI) is a social insurance program managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the United States. Under this program, the Federal government provides financial assistance to people who are unable to work owing to some disability.
Generally, this financial assistance is provided until the person's condition improves and he is back to work. The scheme also guarantees income for those who are suffering from prolonged disorders, wherein their condition is less likely to improve.
Being one of the largest social security programs in the world, the chances of lapses in the same cannot be ruled out. Over the last few years, several cases of frauds related to this program have been recorded.
In simple terms, a disability fraud is a type of fraud wherein the payment intended to provide social security benefits to an individual with disability is fraudulently received by people who are not entitled for it.
Even cases wherein a person receives more than the stipulated amount of money that he is entitled to, amount to frauds. People resort to various fraudulent means to receive money which is actually not entitled to them.
Some of the most common means include feigning disabilities, exaggerating the existing medical problem, claiming more amount than what he is actually entitled to, or receiving payment even after recovery.
Social Security Disability Fraud Penalties
The Social Security Disability Insurance doesn't just cover people who are physically handicapped, but also covers people who are suffering from various physical as well as psychological ailments, as a result of which they cannot indulge in physical work. That makes the concept very broad, as there are several conditions which cannot be determined visually.
Most of the people who indulge in these frauds resort to such ailments which are difficult to determine, thus making it difficult for the authorities to identify these frauds. Considering that a significant amount of the GDP goes into such schemes, it is important for the authorities to curb such practices.
Penalizing those who are convicted for such frauds, is just one of the various means used to curb these fraudulent practices.
The penalties for such fraud are determined by the Social Security Act of the U.S. Code. These penalties depend on the severity of the crime. At the most, a penalty may reach a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.
If you come across any such case wherein a person is earning wages through proper employment and simultaneously availing disability benefits, you can report to the SSA.
For reporting disability frauds, SSA has its own toll-free Social Security Administration Hotline - 1-800-269-0271 or 1-800-772-1213. If you are not keen on calling, you can also report the same by writing to SSA at P.O. Box 17768, Baltimore, MD 21235.
You need to be careful about reporting such frauds though, as many times the ailment owing to which a person is not able to work is psychological and thus, not visible.