Some people want to play fast and loose with the rules of Social Security Disability.
But a recent case of fraud that saw the defendant slapped with prison time and a six-figure fine should have abusers of the system thinking twice.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that Lenzburg, Illinois resident John Laird, 55, was sentenced to three years behind bars and to repay roughly $143,000 in benefits collected since 1991.
Investigators say Mr. Laird applied for and received Social Security Disability benefits in 1989 after his inability to raise his arms and mobility issues left him unable to work. But Mr. Laird had presumably recovered by 1991 when he went to work as an auto mechanic.
For years, he failed to tell the SSA that he was once again fit to earn a living. Then in 2001, Mr. Laird was convicted of a drug-related charge.
In August of 2008, he pleaded guilty to concealing information from the SSA in an East St. Louis Court. His sentence was handed down in March 2009.
With Mr. Laird's conviction and penalty, the SSA has demonstrated that it will not stand by as people take advantage of the system. Those who choose to defauded the agency risk lengthy jail time and potentially substantial repayments.
Disabled individuals who believe their benefits were unjustly cut off have the option to appeal the ruling. Working with a qualified Indiana disability attorney can help them make a convincing case.
Withholding information -- which is no different than fraud when it comes to Social Security Disabilty -- is never the way to go. Those tempted by the prospect of free money need only look to Mr. Laird, who will not only lose the income he wrongly accepted, but will lose three years of his life to a correctional facility.
Those who are unsure of how to proceed with a disability appeal or first-time claim should put their trust in a lawyer with experience in disability cases. In order to protect your interests and those of your family, only an attorney can fully explain the options before you.
If you have been denied your benefits, and you need help with filing or reconsideration, contact our social security disability attorneys today for a free evaluation of your possible claim.