Being investigated for Social Security disability fraud is more common than you might think.
People on disability with mental illnesses or other “invisible” conditions like fibromyalgia may be investigated as well as those with more visible conditions.
Unfortunately, malingering is common enough to make Social Security investigators suspicious of people who really need disability.
It isn’t easy these days to escape scrutiny – partially because disability fraud is often a hot political topic and partially because actual fraud can and does happen. Even people who don’t deserve it can find themselves under the microscope, so it’s best to walk the line and avoid it altogether.
The agency has created more Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) units, which are designed to find and prosecute healthy people who are collecting disability benefits. Unfortunately, it takes very little to start an investigation. You can be the victim of a neighbor with a grudge, a hostile ex or a jealous relative who thinks you somehow have it easy.
All it takes is a anonymous report to start an investigation against you.
How, then, can you avoid being accused of fraud when your disability isn’t the kind that shows up on an MRI or some other physical test? We know a few approaches that can help you with your Social Security fraud investigation if it ever comes to that.
How To Avoid A Disability Fraud Investigation
1. See Your Physician Regularly
Make regular follow-up appointments with your treating physician and always discuss your mental or physical symptoms so that they are documented.
2. Follow Your Treatment Protocol
Take your psychiatric medication or follow your physical treatment plan as prescribed. If it doesn’t work, let your doctor know that it isn’t working and be willing to try new medications.
3. Don’t Downplay Your Symptoms
Don’t minimize your symptoms. Make sure that your treatment providers know that you are experiencing problems and need medical help.
4. Keep Your Finances Private
Don’t tell your neighbors the source of your income and don’t discuss it on social media. You will avoid suspicion altogether if no one knows you’re on disability.
5. Know That You’re Entitled To It
Don’t feel that you have to justify your disability benefits to anyone. This system was put in place to help people like you.
6. Keep An Eye Out For Fraud Investigators
Recognize that you could be under surveillance at any time, so be conscious of any stranger who asks unusual or probing questions.
7. Seek Additional Treatment If Needed
Seek ongoing mental or physical health therapy or join a support group to show that your condition still bothers you.
8. Use Your Attorney
As always, if you find out that you are the subject of a disability fraud investigation, promptly find an attorney and go over the next steps with him or her. Your attorney can potentially help get to the bottom of the investigation and mitigate the harm it may cause to your benefits or well-being.