The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a valuable monetary benefit for those who can no longer work at their jobs because of a medical condition. If you apply, you must qualify by showing that you have a covered medical condition and that you have not been able to work at your job because of that condition. The rules and regulations for getting benefits can be extremely confusing, so care must be taken when filing out your application in addition to your reporting practices once you are approved. To help prevent you from accidentally submitting fraudulent information to the SSA, read on to learn about some common misdeeds that will get you in trouble with the SSA and could cause you to lose your benefits.
1. You will need to provide medical records to prove your claims of your medical condition, but be sure not to exaggerate your symptoms to gain access to benefits. Most medical conditions can be proven (or disproved) with tests. Additionally, the SSA may approve people for benefits for several mental conditions, such as depression, PTSD and more. You should know that most mental health experts are skilled in identifying people who are suffering from these mental disorders, and just as skilled in identifying fakers.
2. The SSA uses not only your medical condition to determine your ability to get benefits, but your education level. For example, a highly educated person is more likely to be able to work at other jobs if they are afflicted by a certain condition than those who have few skills and less education. Don't be tempted to falsify your education level to gain benefits, the SSA will do a thorough investigation.
3. You can only earn a certain amount of money and still get benefits, and that income must be verified monthly. Using "under the table" pay for work or self-employment are two commonly used tactics to attempt to gain income that doesn't get reported to the IRS. Be aware that you must report all income, regardless of the source.
4. You are eligible to receive back pay that goes back to the time that you first become unable to work because of your condition. Be aware that your former employer will need to verify that date and that the SSA works closely with the IRS to track employment and income, so be sure to give an accurate date.
5. People who have not worked enough, who have a felony warrant, and who have previously been convicted of SSA fraud or other government assistance fraud are not eligible for Social Security benefits. Don't use another person's Social Security number to apply under a false name in order to gain benefits.
Any one of these mistakes could put your ability to get benefits at risk. To learn more, contact a Social Security attorney right away.