Many members of the media choose to sensationalize occurrences of benefits-related fraud. In truth, benefits-related fraud rates are exceedingly low. As a result, it is truly shocking when a story of actual fraud against the Social Security Administration (SSA) or other government benefits agencies hits the wires.
Part of the reason why Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits fraud cases are so rare is that the SSA tends to be very thorough in its review of applicants. The SSD benefits application tends to be frustratingly long and detailed. Oftentimes, fraudsters need to be especially cunning in their deceptions simply because the SSD benefits application process is not an easy one to navigate successfully if one’s claims are not legitimate.
Arguably the most significant SSD fraud case to be unveiled in recent years is the pending case against hundreds of individuals in New York and New Jersey. Many former NYPD and FDNY professionals have been charged with elaborate SSD fraud. The key word in this sentence is “elaborate.” These professionals were coached by physicians and attorneys who are also alleged to be involved in the fraudulent scheme. In order to defraud the system even temporarily, these individuals essentially had to defraud the process at every step.
The truth of the matter is that SSD fraud is extremely rare. The vast majority of SSD beneficiaries have legitimate claims and deserve their compensation. However, because media and SSA scrutiny of any alleged fraud is so common, it is important for all beneficiaries who suspect that they may be accused of fraud to speak with an attorney in order to ensure that their legitimate claims remain protected and intact.
Source: ABC News, “Catching Social Security Disability Fraudsters in the Act,” Neal Karlinsky, Ely Brown and Lauren Effron, May 9, 2014