Disability insurance attorneys Dell & Schaefer warn disability insurance claimants that the recent disability insurance scam in New York will raise the level of claim scrutiny by disability insurance companies.
On Tuesday January 2014, over 100 former New York City fire fighters, cops, and other city workers were charged with providing false medical information in order to obtain Social Security Disability Benefits. According to a report from CBS News the fraud may total $400 million. According to the reports, the people accused of fraud were faking psychological problems for insurance benefits. It is good to see that the social security administration and the State of New York are taking appropriate actions to deal with people that are trying to take advantage of the social security disability insurance system.
Our law firm has and currently represents numerous disability claimants from New York that suffer from sever psychiatric problems as a result of the 911 attacks. The individuals that have been charged with fraud all appear to have lied to doctors about their symptoms in an effort to continue SSDI payments. The actions of these individuals are wrong and disgusting; however the social security administration should have been monitoring all of these claims and not just writing checks each month without requiring the claimant to prove disability. In the private disability insurance sector, disability claims are monitored on a monthly basis and claimants are constantly under video surveillance by disability carriers. For the people that are truly disabled, the actions of these unscrupulous individuals will now place legitimate claimants under even more scrutiny.
We always tell our clients to never exaggerate or overstate their symptoms. You do not need to be bedridden to collect disability insurance benefits. But, if you tell a doctor you never leave the house or never drive a car, then you should not be engaging in the activities you claim to never be performing. A picture of a psychiatric person doing an activity they enjoy or looking happy does not mean the person is not disabled. We regularly have clients that suffer with psychiatric problems that can engage in activities that they enjoy, but this does not mean that they can work 40 hours a week. For example, people with bi-polar disorder have highs and lows. During period of highs, a bi-polar person feels as if they could lead an army. Yet when this same person breaks down, they can barely get out of bed. So, would a picture of a person with bi-polar at dinner and smiling with friends mean that they should return to work? In most cases the answer would be no. But, if this person told their doctor that they never go out to dinner, then there is a high likelihood that the disability claim will be challenged.
Bottom line: Never lie or exaggerate your symptoms and functionality.