social security

Social Security numbers accidentally published in California

by lmallernee | December 12th, 2012

The State of California mistakenly published thousands of Social Security numbers on the internet last week, reports WDAM.

Nearly 14,000 Social Security numbers belonging to Medi-Cal providers working for In-Home Supportive Services were inadvertently posted on the internet, an official from the Department of Health Care Services admitted.

For a period of nine days, the confidential information was available on the state’s Medi-Cal website for anyone to see, before the mistake was discovered and the numbers were removed.

“It’s really going to hurt a lot of people, and the bad guys are going to be out there in seventh heaven,” said an In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) worker, who works 50 hours a week as an in-home care provider.

Making $10 an hour, she is taking care of her son, who is legally blind and takes eight separate medications to combat his seizures.

As anyone knows, Social Security numbers are a key ingredient for identity theft.

“If we do get bad reports or money against our accounts, they should be liable,” the IHSS worker said about the Department of Health Care Services.

The deputy director for public affairs for the Department of Health Care Services said, “This was inadvertent, and we sincerely regret this has happened.”

If you or someone you know needs help with a disability benefits claim, contact a Social Security Disability attorney at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Employee and employer plead guilty to Social Security Disability fraud

by lmallernee | November 21st, 2012

This week a 61-year-old Philipsburg, Montana, man has pleaded guilty to Social Security Disability fraud, reports The Republic.

Not only has the Philipsburg man pleaded guilty, but also his former Hamilton, Montana, employer has acknowledged helping him defraud the Social Security Administration (SSA) disability program.

Monday in federal court in Missoula, Montana, the man pleaded guilty to the charge of Social Security Disability fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He defrauded the Social Security Disability program by being paid mostly in cash by a Hamilton, Montana, butcher shop where he worked.

While receiving cash, the man reported only a fraction of his earnings to the government in order to keep his Social Security disability benefit payments. According to court records, he received Social Security disability benefits from 1995 until 2009 for a degenerative disc disease that he had said prevented him from working full time.

The Social Security Administration found out that the man was working far more than the two hours a day that he had reported.

On Tuesday of this week, the man’s Hamilton, Montana, employer pleaded guilty to “aiding and abetting the theft of Social Security disability benefits” by initially lying to the investigators about the man’s work hours.

Both men will be sentenced on March 8, 2013.

If you or someone you know needs help with disability benefits, contact a Social Security lawyer at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

5 questions that may decide if you are disabled

by lmallernee | November 2nd, 2012

The Social Security Administration uses a step-by-step process involving five questions to decide if you are disabled, according to their official website. You must first meet the conditions of one step before you can move on to the next step.

1. Are you working?
If you are working and your earnings average more than $1,010 a month, you generally cannot be considered disabled.

2. Is your condition “severe”?
Your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities for your disability claim to be considered.

3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?
The SSA maintains a list of medical conditions that are so severe that they automatically qualify you as disabled. If your condition is not on the list, then the SSA has to decide if your condition is of equal severity to the ones on the list.

4. Can you do the work that you did previously?
The SSA must decide if your condition interferes with your ability to do the work that you did previously.

5. Can you do any other type of work?
The SSA decides if you are able to adjust to other work. The agency considers your medical condition and your age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills that you may possess.

If you or someone you know needs help with a disability claim, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

New Jersey man indicted for selling fake Social Security cards

by Staff | October 28th, 2012

Apparently for some people in search of a legal U.S. identity, all that is needed is a birth date, name of their choosing, a photo, and cash. On charges that he allegedly made and sold fake Social Security and U.S. permanent resident cards from his home, an Ocean Township, New Jersey, man was indicted on April 2, according to NJ.com.

After an investigation by the Monmounty County Prosecutor’s Office, township police, and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, authorities raided an Aldrin Road residence and seized laminates, computers, and other materials on February 2, said county Prosecutor Peter Warshaw in a statement.

On Monday, April 2, a Monmouth County Grand Jury in Freehold, New Jersey, handed up an indictment.

Charged with 16 counts of manufacturing and selling fake government documents, the 36-year-old man faces up to 10 years in prison for each count, said Warshaw.

To get their documents, customers who came to his home were required to supply a name and birth date of their choice and a passport-sized photograph, Warshaw said.

Prices were based on the types of documents that were being created.

Currently being held at the Monmouth County jail, the accused man is presently out of business. His bail is $250,000.

How many places that produce fake Social Security cards exist in our country today?

Read more.

If you or someone you know needs help with Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Brain tumor patient denied SSD

by lmallernee | October 26th, 2012

After her son died of a brain tumor at age 23, a woman received the following letter from the Social Security Administration addressed to him: “We’re writing to let you know that we have made a disability hearing decision on your case. Our decision: We find that your condition has improved and you are capable of working,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Her son was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor when he was 18. This brain tumor tends to strike young people.

Having no insurance of his own, the young man fought to get Social Security Disability and Medicaid health care.

Through his three year illness, getting and keeping benefits was an all-consuming battle. He was awarded benefits; they were taken away. He got them back; then Social Security claims he was overpaid.

Disability Determination Section is not notified when someone dies, so officials had “no way of knowing” before they sent this latest notice taking away his benefits again.

It’s difficult to imagine that any person three years into a battle with a glioblastoma brain tumor is capable of working. People with such a devastating diagnosis are often battling for their lives, not worrying about whether they can get a job.

If you or someone you know needs help with a disability application, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Connecticut man confesses to using fraudulent Social Security number

by lmallernee | October 5th, 2012

A Social Security number is required to get a job and collect Social Security benefits. To apply for a number and card, you must complete an application and show documents proving your U.S. citizenship, age, and identity.

A Waterbury, Connecticut, man was sentenced to 14 months in prison after he admitted to having two Social Security cards and numbers. He used these to steal nearly $200,000 in Social Security benefits, reports the  Republican American.

The man was originally issued a Social Security card and number in 1958. Then in 1967, the man’s brother applied for a Social Security card using his brother’s name.

The Waterbury man then proceeded to collect Social Security disability and Social Security retirement checks using both Social Security numbers.

From 1996 to 2008, the man received $111,067 in Social Security disability payments although he continued to work, using the false Social Security number.

Using both numbers starting in 2008, the man received a total of $33,692 in Social Security retirement benefits.

Also the man illegally received about $53,000 in Social Security payments for his wife and four children, federal authorities claim.

The man has paid back more than $33,000 to the government; and as part of an agreement with federal authorities, he will also pay back the remainder of the stolen money.

If you or someone you know needs help with a Social Security Disability claim, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

82-year-old woman sentenced for Social Security fraud

by lmallernee | September 14th, 2012

September 14, 2012

In Montco, Pennsylvania, an 82-year-old Montgomery County resident was sentenced yesterday to six months home confinement and five-years of probation for illegally collecting $186,000 in Social Security disability benefits, reports the Philly News.

According to the Justice Department’s recent data, of the 170,000 defendants sentenced nationwide for federal crimes in a two-year span, only a few dozen were over age 80, and only three were female octogenarians.

Departing from federal guidelines that recommend first-time offenders serve at least one year in prison, the judge agreed with the prosecutor that the woman’s age and declining health made her an unlikely candidate for jail time.

Officials discovered that two Social Security checks were being sent to her house in Royersford. One was the traditional Social Security payout that she began collecting when she retired in 1992.

The other was a check that she had been receiving under another name since 1978–when, because of her failing eyesight, she sought Supplemental Security Income. It amounted to a few hundreds of dollars a month, but over the decades came to more than $186,000.

She pleaded guilty to one count of fraud. As her son and daughter sat behind her in court, she told the judge she was “very sorry” for the crime and the embarrassment for her family.

If you or someone you know needs help with Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Minnesota man found guilty of Social Security fraud

by lmallernee | August 24th, 2012

August 24, 2012

In Hermantown, a suburb of Duluth, Minnesota, a 51-year-old man was charged with one count of theft of government funds. He was also charged with three counts of making false statements in determining his eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), reports the Duluth News Tribune.

As a result of a joint investigation by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Hermantown Police Department, this SSDI fraud case was solved.

The man admitted that he applied for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits on March 16, 2006, at which time he claimed that he suffered from a memory loss which made him unable to work.

He also confessed that he falsely reported his medical condition by altering his speech, writing, and appearance. He admitted to all of this falsity in his plea agreement.

Because of his falsifying evidence during his evaluation, the man received a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease, and he began collecting Social Security Disability Insurance payments from the Social Security Administration.

Since 2006, he has collected $144,000 in Social Security Disability Insurance. After pleading guilty in Saint Louis County court to stealing this money, he now faces up to 10 years in federal prison and repayment of the $144,000.

If you or someone you know needs help with Social Security Disability claims, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Continuous disability reviews required by Social Security Administration

by lmallernee | August 22nd, 2012

August 22, 2012

Dr. Marnin E. Fischbach’s commentary in “Fix the Disability System: Patients Are Gaming It — at High Cost to Themselves and Society” stereotypes people who seek disability as fraudulent and self-interested. An attorney who specializes in Social Security disability cases disagrees with him, according to the Post Gazette.

Fischbach states that the Social Security Administration (SSA) makes no effort to check to see if the individual remains disabled. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) attorney contends that this is not true. Social Security requires continuing disability reviews, and administrative law judges instruct Social Security to review individuals because of the expectations of their improvement.

The SSA will then gather current records from treating doctors to determine if the beneficiaries of SSDI continue to experience significant functional impairment.

Fischbach further states that SSDI beneficiaries have a vested financial and psychological interest in not getting better, but it can take more than a year for some to qualify for Social Security disability. And when these individuals are not working, they are under a great deal of financial stress. Without work, these individual remain at home feeling isolated and unproductive.

SSDI beneficiaries have genuine and serious issues. Their goal is to obtain benefits so that they can recover and become productive members of society again.

If you or someone you know needs help with a benefit claim, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Protecting your Social Security number

by lmallernee | August 20th, 2012

August 20, 2012

Your Social Security number (SSN) is tied to your identity and should be kept private, but it’s becoming more and more frequent to include it on forms and applications. But giving it out can sometimes be your choice, according to WGAL news.

Although there is a push to get this changed, Medicare cards have Social Security numbers on them, and you have to provide that number when applying for your Medicare benefits.

You also have to show your Social Security number when you file a tax return, apply for Social Security benefits, or register at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

When it comes to private businesses, any business dealing with finances, including credit cards, loans, mortgages, and insurance, is going to require your SSN so that it can run a credit check on you.

SSNs are frequently requested in the medical field. If a patient has two different health policies, the SSN would be needed to figure out what part of the claim may be paid by which policy. But if you only have one health policy, then giving out you SSN to medical professionals may be unnecessary.

Outside of these instances, you may want to ask someone who asks for your SSN why they want it and if they really need it.

If you or someone you know needs help with SSD claims, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.