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A change in disability status may have consequences

If you submit an application to the Social Security Administration for benefits, you may later be held accountable for the representations you made on it. In the case of Social Security disability benefits, your application may be the equivalent of agreeing to notify the SSA if you have any improvement in your medical condition or if you regain the ability to work.

That's where one New Jersey man went wrong. The man was recently sentenced to 6 months in prison and 6 months of home confinement, and also ordered to pay $101,753 in restitution to the Social Security Administration, for two counts of Social Security disability fraud.

In 1999, the man filed an application for disability insurance benefits with the SSA, claiming that he had become disabled and unable to work due to a back injury. When the man returned to work in 2005, however, he failed to report that status to the SSA. In fact, the man concealed his employment by having his paychecks issued to him in the names of other individuals.

Social Security disability benefits typically continue as long as an individual's medical condition has not improved and he or she remains unable to work. Such a case is usually reviewed at regular intervals to confirm a person's continued disability status. When a person receiving disability benefits reaches full retirement age, those benefits often convert to retirement benefits.

One thing is certain: the process for securing SSDI benefits can be extenuated. If you need to apply for benefits, don't delay in contacting an attorney. An attorney can make sure that all forms are completed correctly and that your doctors provide sufficient information to help you receive benefits and a favorable outcome. An attorney will also be your best advocate throughout all potential stages of the Social Security disability claims process, from the initial application, reconsideration appeal, hearing appeal with administrative hearing, Appeals Council appeal and any federal court appeal.

Source: NJ.com, "Hackettstown construction superintendent sentenced to prison for Social Security disability scam," Warren Reporter, June 6, 2012

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