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Disability Lawyers in Ohio Discuss How to Avoid Fraud When Applying for Social Security Benefits

Posted on August 31, 2015

Gavel Disability Lawyers in Ohio

If you are considering filing for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA), it is recommended that you first schedule a consultation with your disability lawyers in Ohio to discuss your case. Your disability lawyers in Ohio will be able to help you determine if your condition will qualify to receive disability benefits. As your disability lawyers in Ohio will inform you, it is very important that you avoid making any fraudulent statements when you apply for your Social Security disability benefits. The following information from your experienced disability lawyers in Ohio will go over what sort of personal information the SSA will need from you and what constitutes as fraud with these items. If you have any further questions, be sure to schedule an appointment with your disability lawyers in Ohio to further assist you.

Material Facts Required

You may be wondering what a material fact is and why the SSA needs them from you for your disability case. A material fact is anything that can help the SSA to determine if you will receive disability benefits or not. If you intentionally lie or exaggerate the facts, or ask anyone else to do the same for you, then you have committed an act of fraud. The following are examples of fraudulent behavior:

  • If you, the claimant (applicant), has filed for disability based on a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety. In order to strengthen you case you exaggerated your symptoms or made false statements to your medical professional about how those symptoms are impacting your daily life. Your medical professionals provides reports to the SSA that reflect what you have stated to them during your visits.
  • If the claimant has filed for the low income and low assets based benefits (SSI). However the claimant had assets that would render them not eligible to receive SSI benefits and knowingly did not inform the SSA of those assets in order to qualify for SSI.
  • If the claimant lies about being less educated than they really are in order to better their odds of being approved for disability benefits.

Earnings

One of the ways that the SSA will determine your eligibility for both SSDI and SSI disability benefits is by how much money you make from working. Lying about how much money you actually make, or asking others to lie for you, is fraudulent behavior. The following are examples of fraud when it comes to your wages:

  • When the claimant filed for disability, they said that they stopped working much earlier than they actually did. This will be seen as a deliberate lie in order to receive more back pay from the SSA once the benefits are approved.
  • If the claimant was self-employed and filed due to an injury that they got while working. Since being self-employed, the claimant did not pay tax to the SSA for their earnings, and was not eligible to receive SSDI. The net earnings made did not qualify the claimant for SSI either, however the claimant did not report how much they actually earned in order to qualify.

Social Security Number

If you have used false information in order to obtain a Social Security number to establish a record, then you have committed fraud. You have also committed fraud if you knowingly used a Social Security number that did not belong to you in order to qualify for benefits, or to receive a higher amount of benefits. The following are examples of fraudulent behavior:

  • The claimant willingly used a false Social Security number because they were ineligible to apply for benefits because of an outstanding felony warrant against them.
  • The claimant willingly used a false Social Security number to apply for benefits because they did not have one of their own due to being an illegal citizen in the United States.

Representative Payee

A representative payee is a person that has been designated by the SSA to receive the disability benefit payments that belong to the claimant. The representative payee can also spend the benefits for the claimant. It is possible for the representative payee to be guilty of committing fraud in their position. If the representative payee uses the funds for anything other than what the claimant has requested, then that will be considered to be fraudulent behavior. The following are examples of fraudulent behavior from the representative payee:

  • If an adult family member was chosen as the representative payee but do not spend the money on necessary items for the claimant. The representative payee instead uses the disability benefits to pay their personal bills or make other purchases that do not benefit the claimant.

Right to a Payment

It is fraud if you fail to report anything to the SSA that could impact your eligibility to receive benefits. Those fraudulent acts can include:

  • The claimant not reporting a recent marriage to the SSA.
  • The claimant not reporting pension payments from the death of a spouse.
  • The claimant not reporting a change in the household, such as minor children who were receiving benefits moving out.

What Happens If You Are Found Committing Fraud

If you have been found guilty of committing fraud when applying for Social Security disability benefits, then you can face a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000 or both. It is not necessary for the SSA to have made any payments to you for it to be considered fraud.

Schedule an Appointment with Skilled Disability Lawyers in Ohio

For an experienced disability attorney, contact your disability lawyers in Ohio today from the John Paul Oreh Law Office at (216) 896-0935. The John Paul Oreh Law Office has the disability lawyers in Ohio who will help you fight for your rights and get the best possible outcome in your disability case.

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