Making a Mistake is not Fraud
During the initial application stage, you will be required to complete several work and disability history-related forms among other forms detailing what jobs you have had for the last 15 years and what medical treatment you have received for your various ailments.
Given the wide-ranging nature of this paperwork, it is easy to forget to list a short-term job or a one-off hospital visit.
This is not fraud.
Examples of Disability Claim Application Fraud
Fraud is intentionally withholding pertinent or providing misleading information to the SSA. The SSA lists examples of such as “concealing work or other activities, exaggerating or lying about disabilities, or filing multiple applications.”
If you do so, you may be prosecuted or possibly lose some or all of your benefits. The SSA’s website gives a good accounting of its investigation process.
Generally speaking, overpayments are not considered fraud as they are usually generated by some kind of fluctuation in household income or a clerical error, and the SSA will simply seek to be reimbursed – often over time—for them.
Filing False Tax Returns
One example of fraud not directly connected with the SSA disability application process is filing false tax returns. If you claim to have been disabled for the last decade but have filed false tax returns suggesting the opposite in order to receive money back (e.g. the Earned Income Credit), the SSA will be quick to spot it. This comes to light particularly during the hearing portion of an initial denial appeal and Administrative Law Judges do not look favorably upon it.
Despite the dire nature of all of the above, there are some maneuvers an attorney can undertake to hopefully still preserve and prosecute your claim. The key is to be upfront with your attorney so that they know what lies down the road which will then allow for your attorney to prepare for it adequately.
If you or your child have been denied disability benefits or suffer from a severe impairment that is expected to last more than twelve months and that prevents you from doing any of your past or other work or is causing developmental delay, please contact our office nearest to you to set up a free consultation appointment to discuss your situation.