Q: Someone I know receives Social Security disability and is working part-time. How can this be looked at without me providing my name?
A: Social Security takes potential fraud very seriously. I will write about that in a moment but first will say a few words about this question of working and disability benefits.
It is a wrong, but popular, assumption that people receiving disability benefits cannot have a job.
In addition to non-medical requirements, Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability have a strict, work based, definition of disability and relatively few people found eligible eventually return to work at levels high enough to end benefits. Despite this, people receiving disability related benefits are encouraged by the Social Security Administration to return to work and many do on a limited basis. If you receive disability benefits and start to work, contact Social Security to report the work and learn the specific details you need to know.
Rules are different for Social Security and SSI disability but both programs have multiple work incentives to help people return to work. Beneficiaries are required to report work activity. Social Security disability reporting requirements are here; SSI requirements here.
Returning to the reporting fraud question, you are encouraged to do so through the Social Security Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The direct website of OIG is http://oig.ssa.gov/. The OIG site is easily reached through the “contact us” links on the Social Security homepage, www.socialsecurity.gov. From the “contact us” page, click on “Report Fraud, Waste or Abuse.”
The OIG website has lots of information including some situations, with examples, that may be considered as fraud, waste or abuse against the Social Security administration. Several of these are:
1. Making false statements on claims: When people apply for Social Security Benefits, they state that all information they provide on the forms are true and correct to the best of their knowledge. If a person reports something they know is not true, it may be a crime
2. Concealing facts or events which affect eligibility for benefits: It may be considered fraud if a person makes a false statement on an application or does not tell SSA of certain facts that may affect benefits.
3. Misuse of benefits by a representative payee: When a person receiving benefits cannot handle their own financial affairs, Social Security appoints a relative, friend, or another individual or organization to handle their Social Security matters. This person or organization is called a Representative Payee and it may be a crime if a payee misuses these benefits.
4. Buying or selling counterfeit or legitimate Social Security cards.
This is not a complete list.
To report a suspected fraud, follow the instructions here. You can do this online or in other ways. Note what information will be requested. You can remain anonymous, but that might limit an OIG investigation.