Disability fraud is a major problem world wide. There are millions of people receiving disability assistance from social security, insurance companies, and other institutions all around the world. When the allure of easy money comes around, criminals are never too far behind. Disability fraud can be extremely difficult to detect. Just because someone is able to walk around, drive a car, and perform other daily tasks doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t disabled and legally entitled to disability benefits. One of the main reasons that disability can be so hard to detect is because of the wide variety of legitimate medical conditions that aren’t immediately recognizable to other people who aren’t aware of the specific medical condition that the disability beneficiary may have. These types of disabilities are known as “invisible disabilities”.
Some common forms of invisible disabilities are:
- Chronic Fatigue: This type of disability refers to an individual who constantly feels tired. This can be extremely debilitating and affect every aspect of a persons every day life.
- Chronic Dizziness: Often associated with problems of the inner ear, chronic dizziness can lead to impairment when walking, driving, working, sleeping, and other common tasks.
- Chronic Pain: A variety of conditions may cause chronic pain. A few of those reasons may be back problems, bone disease, physical injuries, and any number of other reasons. Chronic pain may not be noticeable to people who do not understand the victims specific medical condition.
- Mental Illness: There are many mental illnesses that do qualify for disability benefits. Some examples are depression, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, agoraphobia, and many others. These diseases can also be completely debilitating to the victim, and can make performing everyday tasks extremely difficult, if not impossible.
Many people believe that the term “disability” only applies to people who use a walker or a wheelchair. As I mentioned above, this is simply not the case. In fact, in a 1994-1995 survey, it was found that while roughly 26 million Americans qualified for severe disabilities, however only 1.8 million Americans needed to use a wheelchair or a walker. This means that the vast majority of disability cases are invisible disabilities. This is what makes tracking down and defending against fraud so difficult. Let’s take a look at some of the more common types of disability fraud:
- Faking An Injury Or An Illness: The most common type of disability fraud, but it’s extremely difficult to detect. Phantom pains and other disabilities can easily be faked, and there isn’t much a doctor can do to prove that the condition doesn’t actually exist.
- Working While On Disability: While many people who suffer from disabilities do hold legitimate jobs, there are many people who collect disability benefits, and still perform the exact same job that they’re receiving benefits for supposedly not being able to do.
- Continuing To Collect Disability Payments After The Condition Is Remedied: Another extremely common form of disability fraud, The patient heals, but continues to collect benefits illegally.
For the reasons stated above, disability fraud can be an extremely difficult crime to combat against. Advances in medical and computer technologies have made combating fraud more effective, but it’s still a very difficult form of fraud to enforce against. Disability fraud is damaging to taxpayers, people with legitimate disabilities, as well as the world economy.
One of the best weapons that Governments have in combating disability fraud are average citizens who file a report when they believe that fraud is occurring. This still isn’t a great system though, since most people aren’t going to know exactly what disability the accused offender has or how it affects them. In order to be vigilant, if you think someone who is receiving disability benefits may be collecting those benefits fraudulently, then you should carefully consider what condition they may be receiving benefits for before filing a report.