Maryland Woman Indicted For Social Security Fraud Charges
Social Security disability benefits are one of the most important ways individuals with disabling medical conditions can support themselves financially, but the process is prone to abuse. A Maryland woman will find out just how serious disability fraud charges can be, after being indicted by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on March 3, 2022. Authorities allege that the defendant obtained two Social Security numbers over the last few decades and failed to report that she was receiving disability benefits as the surviving spouse of her deceased husband, who died in 2012. The woman faces 5 to 10 years in federal prison if convicted of Social Security fraud, along with thousands of dollars in fines.
When dealing with the Social Security Administration (SSA), you are expected to be truthful in the statements you make on application forms, online communications, and in-person interviews. Even a fib or minor distortion of the truth could lead to an indictment. By working with a Maryland Social Security disability lawyer in interactions with SSA, you will stay on track. To better understand the misconduct that could lead to trouble, an overview is helpful.
Misstatements in the Application Process Can Lead to Fraud Charges
Making false statements in connection with the two federal disability programs – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – is illegal. However, you might not appreciate the different ways a fib or seemingly minor misrepresentation could lead to charges. Some examples are useful:
- When applying for SSDI and SSI, you will need to prove that you suffer from a disabling medical condition that prevents you from working and is expected to last more than 12 months. Falsifying medical records to meet the strict rules established by SSA is fraudulent.
- For SSDI, you also need to show that you accumulated a certain number of work credits and contributed through mandatory deductions from your wages. Generating bogus payroll records is another form of fraud.
- SSI is a needs-based disability program, so the focus is on your income and assets when applying for benefits. Concealment of your net worth could lead to charges.
Forms of Fraud After Being Approved for SSDI/SSI
SSA conducts Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) to periodically evaluate your medical condition and determine whether there has been improvement. Misrepresentations through interviews or supplying medical records could also lead to Social Security disability fraud.
For both SSDI and SSI, you could get into trouble through false statements in connection with the financial component. For instance:
- If you are working while receiving SSDI benefits, it is unlawful to fail to report or under report your income to SSA.
- Those receiving SSI benefits must notify SSA if they receive assets, income, or other funds – such as winning the lottery or receiving an inheritance.
Consult with a Maryland SSDI/SSI Attorney to Avoid Missteps
For more information about the harsh implications of Social Security disability fraud, please contact the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC. We can schedule a free consultation to advise you on how sticking to the truth is the best strategy for dealing with SSA.