Social Security Disability Fraud- Possibilities & Prevention

Social Security in the US is a social insurance scheme funded through payroll taxes. It is used to imply social benefits for disability, retirement, survivorship and death. A worker while he/she is working makes dedicated contributions towards the social security insurance program by way of minimal payroll deductions.

Once a worker ceases to work, he/she becomes entitled to receive retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Some times, a worker may be unable to continue working due to a disability or may die as a result of an incurred disability.

In both these cases, there may be certain dependent family members in the worker’s immediate family who have no individual source of income and cessation of the bread earner’s income means cessation of the family income.

To cater to such cases, disability benefits and survivor benefits applicable to dependent parents, children or spouse get paid out of the worker’s payroll contributions to take care of the disabled worker, his/her family and their immediate requirements.

Social Security is a universal phenomenon in the US and taking into consideration, the immense size of the plan and the number of its members, it is natural that the system becomes susceptible to fraud attempts. Certain cases have come to light when the SSA officials have failed to exercise due caution while processing and evaluating claims, leading to social security disability fraud cases in doling out disability benefits.

There have also been cases where disability insurance benefits have got paid to persons who are not disabled and thus not eligible to receive these benefits. Often persons with slight disabilities and those who can easily resume normal work duties are paid out several hundreds of dollars to conveniently remain at home.

Some times a person’s unique Social Security Number is illegally used to initiate a social security disability fraud. In such instances, fraudsters acquire Social Security Numbers and other identity information to secure benefits from the SSA.

Social security disability fraud cases are making indelible dents in the SSDI program.  People must be vigilant and not disclose information relating to their social security numbers to any one. They must also do a thorough check to ensure that the pay-in history matches the details of the benefits accrued.

Officials within SSA responsible for claim processing must be coached on the need to exercise due caution and be stringent enough before paying any benefits. The Office of the Inspector General, SSA is responsible to control fraud and waste of the disability benefits. He/She conducts independent assessments, inspections and audits to ensure that the social security benefits are paid only where they genuinely fall due and not meted out to fraudsters.