Disability fraud occurs when a person receives payments from the government or a private insurance agency even though, in reality, they do not qualify for such payments. This usually happens because the recipient has engaged in some sort of criminal fraud. For instance, the person may be faking an injury, or they may be claiming a condition that they do not actually have. Another common method is for a person to continue filing for disability even after they have been healed of their original condition.
Disability is associated with many benefits, such as paid time off from work, medical treatment, and receipt of medical equipment or prescription drugs. Thus, people may sometimes engage in fraud in order to reap benefits from these types of assistance. However, disability fraud is illegal and may result in serious legal penalties.
Are There Any Examples of Disability Fraud?
Some common ways people engage in disability fraud include:
- Lying about marital status: SSI benefits are often reduced if a person is married. By stating that they are single, a married person might receive more benefits.
- Lying about income: Some types of disability benefits are dependent on the person’s income. The person may purposely fail to report all of their income, and they may also falsify information about their spouse’s income.
- Blindness: One of the more common fraud claims is where a person claims to be blind. However, they may be caught, especially if they are seen driving or interacting with other people and objects in a manner that a blind person would not be able to do.
- Changes in employment: Benefits are often dependent on a person’s work status. Some fraud cases involve situations where the person has already returned to work, but has not declared this to the government or the insurance agency.
What Are the Punishments for Disability Fraud?
Disability fraud may be punishable by various penalties, including:
- Criminal charges such as misdemeanor or felony, depending on the seriousness of the offense
- Loss of eligibility for future disability assistance
- Problems or conflicts with an employer, including being fired
For repeat offenses, more serious fines and jail sentences may be involved. Also, for persons who are under a certain immigration or work visa status, they may lose their immigration rights and may face removal from the country.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Disability Fraud Case?
Disability fraud is a serious matter, and may involve strict legal penalties. This is especially true if the fraud involves the deception of a government agency or government official. You may wish to hire a criminal lawyer if you need help with a disability issue or if you have been accused of disability fraud. Your lawyer can provide you with advice and legal guidance for your situation. Fraud laws may vary in each state, but your attorney will be able to inform you of your rights and legal options.