Sometimes, Social Security fraud isn’t found out about until years after the fact, and thousands of dollars have been paid out already. The Social Security Administration estimated that during the 2019 fiscal year, the government sent out about $7.9 billion in improper payments. If you assume that’s an average for every year, then the cost of Social Security fraud is monumental.
What is Social Security fraud?
Social Security fraud is defined as any scam or manipulation of the payments that the Social Security Administration makes. This includes payments to retirees well as the payments made to Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income recipients.
Fraud comes in many forms. It can be as simple as a person making false statements on their benefits claim or concealing facts or events that would make them ineligible. Cases of fraud might get more complicated if benefits have been mishandled by a representative payee, such as if someone in charge of a disabled or incapacitated person misuses the funds. In other cases, people steal Social Security numbers or create fake Social Security numbers to collect on benefits they’re not entitled to.
Many forms of Social Security fraud involve phone calls or emails asking for Social Security numbers. Generally, it’s safest to never give out a Social Security number to strangers on the internet or over the phone.
Social Security fraud can also include a person using their knowledge of Social Security benefits to aid in a crime. SSA workers can participate in fraud.
Defending against charges of Social Security fraud
The cost of Social Security fraud to U.S. citizens is immense, so there are strict penalties for people accused of committing fraud. If you have been accused of fraud, it’s important to reach out to a defense lawyer to learn about your rights in fighting the charges.