The purpose of the Social Security disability program is to help provide financial security for people who must stop working due to a physical or mental condition. People in this position might be unable to pay for basic necessities once they lose their income.
The benefits are only supposed to last as long as the recipient cannot work. This could be for the rest of his or her life, or for a few years. If the disabled person later recovers and gets a job, he or she is supposed to report that to the Social Security Administration. Failure to do so could lead to serious criminal charges in federal court.
For example, a Missouri man recently pleaded guilty to receiving more than $109,000 in SSD benefits to which he was not entitled. He was approved for benefits in 2002 for back problems. But according to the plea agreement, in the summer of 2004 he took a full-time job at a horse stable. He claimed to SSA that his back continued to prevent him from earning an income, and fraudulently collected a total of $109,142 in SSD payments.
Eventually, investigators discovered the scheme, and the man was charged in federal court. Penalties associated with the statutes under which he was charged include up to 10 years in prison without the possibility of parole, a fine of up to $250,000 and an order to repay the money.
The vast majority of people who are approved for SSD benefits are honest, and genuinely need and deserve the payments. It is unfortunate that some people seek to defraud such an important federal program.
Source: Kansas City InfoZine, “Missouri Man Pleads Guilty to Social Security Fraud,” March 13, 2014