As Social Security seems to be facing continuing serious financial crisis, there is just no room to be paying out on fraudulent Social Security Disability claims. Unfortunately, fraudulent claims do not seem to be disappearing anytime soon. In fact, a new case was recently reported in which an Ogallala, Nebraska man was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for lying to the Social Security Administration. Exactly what did this man lie about and what harm has he done?
According to the SSA, Hap Staman, a 57-year-old man from Ogallala, did not provide information to the Social Security Administration that would have disqualified the continuation of his monthly Social Security Disability payments. Instead, the man lied on a Social Security form so that he could continue to receive payments fraudulently from 2007 through 2010.
How did this happen? When an individual is receiving Social Security Disability benefits, that individual must report any changes in his or her condition to the Social Security Administration so the SSA can make the proper adjustments to the recipient's benefits. Hap Staman did not do this in 2007 when his condition improved. Then, when he underwent a continuing eligibility review, he lied on his review forms. This allowed him to receive SSDI benefits from 2007 through 2010, even though he was no longer eligible to receive these benefits.
Stamen is facing two charges, including that of fraud and making false statements to a U.S. agency. If convicted, Staman will be facing up to five years in prison for each charge. When reporters tried to reach Staman for comment, it seemed that he was unavailable or unwilling to talk. It would appear that though this individual had no problem robbing taxpayers of the money that they paid into the Social Security system, he really had no interest in explaining his actions to the public.
In this case, as is in nearly all cases of Social Security Disability fraud, crime does not pay. The Social Security Administration is always on the lookout for those who are receiving benefits fraudulently and when cases of Social Security Disability fraud do occur, the Administration pursues those cases to the fullest extent of the law, oftentimes making the criminals pay back the money that they fraudulently received.
While many of us who are in need of disability benefits or already receive disability benefits do not appreciate the lengthy application processing times or the inconvenience of undergoing the continuing eligibility reviews, Hap Staman is a perfect example of why the SSA must keep such strict policies in place in order to protect the interests of the public and of the Social Security system as a whole.