The Social Security Administration Is Cracking Down On Disability Applicants
Consult A Southern California SSDI Lawyer To Guide You Through The Strict Application Process
An American man known by the nickname, “The Player,” was recently indicted by a federal grand jury in San Diego. He has been charged with 10 counts of defrauding the Social Security Administration (SSA) and collecting nearly $100,000 in Social Security disability benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are intended to provide income for our nation’s disabled, elderly, or blind who have little income or resources. Sadly, in fraud cases, such as “The Player,” individuals abuse the system by faking medical conditions in order to receive monthly benefits.
To better identify fraud attempts, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has been forced to crack down on every applicant by making the already difficult application process more strict.
Unfortunately, this makes obtaining benefits harder for disabled individuals who actually need financial assistance. If you have become disabled and are no longer capable of working, you need an experienced Southern California SSDI lawyer to guide you through the complex application process.
“The Player” Faked His Eligibility For SSI Benefits For Years
Andre, “The Player,” Jackson lives in Germany and traveled abroad extensively, however, he falsely claimed to live in San Diego. By concealing his residency, he was able to continue cashing out SSI payments he initially began receiving in 1986.
Jackson’s nickname “The Player” couldn’t be more fitting, as he successfully played the SSA for years by fraudulently convincing the program of his eligibility for benefits. “Jackson is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars intended to help our country’s most vulnerable,” said Adam Braverman, US Attorney for the Southern District of California, in a statement reported by the San Diego Union Tribune.
Qualifications For Disability Benefits
Every individual seeking to obtain disability benefits must prove that they meet the government’s strict criteria. You are considered disabled and possibly entitled to benefits if:
- You can no longer perform the work you were doing before because of your condition.
- The SSA determines that you are not able to adjust to other types of work due to the nature of your condition.
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.
SSDI vs. SSI Benefits
Many people do not understand the difference between SSI and SSDI. While your medical eligibility for either program is established through the same criteria, they are two separate programs with distinct differences.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
SSDI benefits are designed for individuals who have worked and paid into the Social Security system. If you have become mentally or physically ill or suffered a debilitating injury that prevents you from working, you could be entitled to receive SSDI benefits. You must meet the SSA’s qualifications listed above in order to be considered “disabled.”
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The criteria used to determine if you are disabled and entitled to SSDI benefits applies equally to SSI benefits. The difference in this program is that it is available to disabled, low-income individuals who have limited work history and do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. In order to receive SSI disability benefits, your income cannot exceed a set amount.
For more information on SSDI and SSI, visit the Social Security Administration’s website. It offers an overview of the two government programs, their differences, and the benefits offered by each.
Harsher Penalties For Committing Disability Fraud
SSDI and SSI are vital programs that provide a financial lifeline for disabled individuals living within the United States. When individuals fake conditions or commit residency fraud, as Mr. Jackson did, they are stealing financial resources from elderly or disabled Americans who actually need help.
For this reason, lawmakers have enforced harsher criminal penalties for individuals who commit Social Security fraud. This can include longer prison sentences or increased fines. Mr. Jackson, for example, faces nine counts of wire fraud and one count of theft of public property. Respectively, these crimes carry maximum sentences of 20 years and 10 years in a federal prison.
“Individuals who abuse the trust and generosity of federal programs will be brought to account,” Mr. Braverman continued.
Understand Disability Benefits With Dr. Bill LaTour’s Help
Mr. Jackson and others who threaten the integrity of government programs deserve to be brought to justice. Their illegal actions are the reason the process for obtaining disability benefits must be kept stringent and highly selective.
If you’re disabled and struggling to understand your legal options, please contact the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour today. Dr. LaTour is an experienced and knowledgeable Southern California SSDI lawyer. While every case is different, Dr. LaTour has helped countless individuals navigate the application or appeals process to obtain benefits.
Don’t be intimidated by the long and confusing applications for SSDI or SSI. Call our law firm today at (800) 803-5090 or fill out our inquiry contact form to schedule a free consultation and get the help you need.