If more people became proactive in reporting disability fraud, it would be a huge step toward rectifying a nationwide problem that costs taxpayers millions of dollars and puts a strain on Social Security and the health insurance companies. Reporting disability fraud may seem as easy as picking up the phone or clicking on a hyperlink, but the process can become complicated depending on the circumstances. The decision to report disability fraud can hurt innocent people if made too hastily.
- Become informed. Knowing what constitutes disability fraud makes it more easily detected. Disability fraud is not always committed by the person claiming to be disabled. A guardian or caretaker who receives disability payments on behalf of a disabled person commits fraud when the funds are used for their own personal use. If same guardian fails to notify Social Security of the disabled person’s death and continues receiving disability payments, that constitutes disability fraud. The Social Security Administration (SSA) identifies situations that are considered fraud on their website.
- Get your facts straight. Before you blow the whistle on someone you suspect of committing disability fraud, assess your knowledge of their situation. How well do you know them and what do you know of their medical condition? Suspicions of disability fraud tend to focus on physical disability, but mental or emotional problems can render a person unable to work as well. A person who suffers from extreme bipolar disorder could be considered disabled. Without knowing a person’s medical history, you risk turning in someone who may be doing nothing wrong.
- Gather information Social Security will need. You will need to provide the name, address and phone number of the person who committed the fraud. If possible, be prepared to also provide their date of birth and social security number. You will be required to provide specifics such as the date the fraud occurred, the nature of the fraud, whom else was involved, as well as any information on the fraud victim.
- Don’t be Afraid to Report Fraud. You can request complete anonymity when you file a fraud report with Social Security. You can complete a fraud report form online at the website, or you can file a report by fax or by calling or mailing the Fraud Hotline at the phone number and mailing address listed on the SSA’s website. Requesting complete anonymity, however, may make it difficult for the SSA to conduct a full investigation of the fraud.