What If I Am Accused of Disability Fraud?


Social Security disability fraud is an extremely serious matter. Not only can such fraudulent claims lead to jail time and large fines, but, morally, it takes money away from those who really can use the help. If you know you are guilty of such fraud, it is best to merely turn yourself in and pay the consequences. If you are innocent, or think you are, there are many important things to do when you are accused.


Respond quickly. If there has been a mistake, this should be pointed out as soon as possible. If the fraud accusation is based on a clerical error or some other minor misunderstanding, call the Social Security Administration at once.


Get your paperwork together. The most serious fraud claims are based on either a) providing false or misleading medical documentation, or b) claiming you are disabled while you are recovering from your disability. What you really want to do here is to make certain that your physical or mental condition is consistent with the government's rules and that your doctor(s) are in agreement with this. If both of these are in good order, you have nothing to worry about. You must, however, have all of this in writing. If you are unsure, contact your doctor after speaking with Social Security.


If your situation is a matter of not returning an overpayment, then simply write the government a check for the overpaid amount or the amount that you were paid that you were not due. These kinds of problems do not lead to jail time and can quickly be resolved. It is important that, in your response to the accusation, you do not sound rehearsed. Speak or write in your own “voice.” The Social Security Administration sends up red flags if your explanation sounds like it has been taken from a script.

Your Congressman

On occasion, it might be a good idea to contact your Congressman's district office — not the Washington D.C. office. District offices are dedicated to constituent claims, many of which revolve around settling problems with Social Security. Contacting your Congressional office might help you greatly, especially if you are confused or anxious about the nature of the accusation and what is necessary to fight it.


Hire a lawyer. This is a highly specialized area of law, and a good lawyer is essential. The Social Security Administration is connected with the Department of Justice in its investigations, and it cooperates with state governments in pursuing such fraud claims. The resources at their disposal are large, and they are experienced in processing such cases. Therefore, a lawyer is a necessity.


If you are guilty, most Social Security fraud claims are settled in civil courts. Jail time is not an option here. Only when the fraud is huge and involves many people and millions of dollars might the case go to criminal court, where jail time is an option. It might be possible to settle with Social Security out of court if you quickly confess your guilt and pay what you owe.

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