This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article may contain excessive or inappropriate references to self-published sources. Please help improve it by removing references to unreliable sources where they are used inappropriately. (February 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article, discuss the issue on the talk page, or create a new article, as appropriate. (December 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article may contain citations that do not verify the text. Please check for citation inaccuracies. (March 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Disability fraud is the receipt of payment(s) intended for disabled people from a government agency or private insurance company by one who should not be receiving them, or the receipt of a higher amount than one is entitled to. There are various acts that may constitute disability fraud. These include feigning a medical problem in order to be declared disabled, exaggeration of an existing medical problem that potentially can but in reality does not render the person disabled, continuing to receive payments after having recovered from a medical problem, or continuing to receive payments while working (usually unreported) above the allowable level for those receiving the payments.[1][better source needed]

Disability fraud can be harder to detect than other forms of fraud, as the majority of people receiving disability payments (at least 90%) do not use a wheelchair or walker, or uses a wheelchair but is able to walk limited distances sometimes, while at the same time, many people who need wheelchairs would not qualify for disability payments.[2] Since most disabilities are "silent" (meaning that they cannot be seen by others), it is not easy to visually determine if a person receiving disability is not disabled. Such people are often able to perform physical activities, but have some other underlying cause of their disability. It is therefore common for people to believe they must report a neighbor whom they see, for example, climbing on the roof while collecting disability payments, but this is not always the case.

Meanwhile, true disability fraud cases exist, for which it is hard to determine the cause as being fraudulent. Often, the perpetrator claims to have a medical condition to be declared disabled. Some medical conditions are truly debilitating and make it impossible or difficult to work if one has them, but are hard to prove against one's own word that one does not have them. Even if one with one of them is viewed engaging in some other "work-like" activity not for pay, they may have difficulty holding a job.

It is possible that the illegal recipient of the disability payments is not truly disabled, and may have a case of work aversion, which in many countries is not alone considered a valid reason for being declared disabled, or the person may otherwise lack a work ethic. Others who are receiving payments are actually working, but are not reporting their employment and collecting their income in a manner that cannot easily be detected.

Disability fraud can result in denial of future benefits as well as criminal prosecution.[3]

Types of fraud

The United States Social Security Administration accepts reports from the public for the following types of fraud:[4]

Notable cases

See also


  1. ^ "Disability Fraud - Disability Scam". How To Report Fraud at 3 April 2008.
  2. ^ Urban Sotensek (13 November 2010). "Identifying Disability Fraud". Disabled World. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009.[dead link]
  3. ^ "Disability Benefit Fraud - Disabiilty Benefits". Archived from the original on 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
  4. ^ "Fraud Topic Fact Sheet". Archived from the original on 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  5. ^ Ballou, Brian R. (2006-10-13). "Ex-officer convicted in disability fraud case". The Boston Globe.
  6. ^ "Stables hand to pay £11,000 in disability fraud". The Guardian. London. 2007-02-23. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
  7. ^ "Idaho man pleads guilty in major VA fraud case". The Seattle Times. 2009-04-07. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04.
  8. ^ "Unfit For Work". National Public Radio. 2013.
  9. ^ "Trends With Benefits". This American Life. 2013-03-22.
  10. ^ Rashbaum, William K.; Mckinley, James C. Jr. (2014). "Charges for 106 in Huge Fraud over Disability". The New York Times.