What is Social Security Disability Fraud?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Dec 06, 2015 | 0 Comments

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If you lie or otherwise provide false information to the government in order to obtain Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits you're not entitled to, you are committing a federal crime and can be sent to prison.

Social Security Disability Fraud is Aggressively Prosecuted

The Social Security Administration administers both the Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs to provide benefits for individuals whose disabilities prevent them from working as well as for certain low-income Americans who need assistance making ends meet.

SSA and federal prosecutors are constantly seeking information and tips about people who may be trying to take advantage of the programs to fraudulently obtain benefits. As the U.S. Department of Justice has said: “the prosecution of Social Security fraud remains one of the most important priorities of the United States Attorneys' Offices.” 

Examples of Social Security Disability Fraud

Section 208 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 408), lists a number of specific acts which constitute Social Security Disability fraud and sets forth penalties for Social Security Number (SSN) misuse and fraudulent acts committed with the intent to receive unauthorized payments.

Specifically, the following acts can constitute Social Security Disability Fraud under Section 208:

  • misrepresentations as to earnings and wages
  • false statements or misrepresentations as to material facts in applications for benefits;
  • false statements or misrepresentations of material facts used to determine rights to payment;
  • concealment or failure to disclose events affecting initial or continuing rights to payment;
  • converting the benefits of one on whose behalf an individual is receiving benefits;
  • furnishing false information with the intent to deceive as to one's true identity;
  • using an SSN obtained through false information to wrongfully obtain benefits;
  • falsely representing an SSN as belonging to a person to whom it does not belong to obtain benefits wrongfully;
  • altering or counterfeiting a Social Security card, or buying or selling a card so altered or counterfeited, or possessing a Social Security card or counterfeit card with intent to sell or alter it; and
  • disclosing, using, or compelling the disclosure of the SSN of any person in violation of
  • federal law.

Penalties for Social Security Disability Fraud

If found guilty of committing any of these fraudulent acts, you could be sentenced to up to five years in federal prison and be subject to up to $250,000 in fines. A conviction for a subsequent act of SSD fraud could result in an even lengthier prison sentence.

If you have been accused of Social Security Disability fraud and are facing federal criminal charges, you need to retain an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Defending against such charges can be extremely complicated and the consequences of a conviction could include years behind bars.  Call us today to discuss your case.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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