Manhasset, NY asked in Social Security for New York

Q: I told SSA under oath on a recorded line that I was my daughter in order to get disability, to which she is entitled.

In order for my daughter to get disability (to which she is entitled), she had to have a phone interview with the SSA. Because of her disability, she was incapable of being subjected to an interview, so I made believe that I was she. As it turned out, I had to take an oath on a recorded line that my answers would be truthful, which I did. The interviewer made it clear that he didn’t believe that I was she and proceeded to ask me a battery of questions to prove my identity. I answered them correctly but he still didn’t believe me and arranged a second interview in a few weeks. What could happen and how should I handle this?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Elizabeth Fowler Lunn
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  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Raleigh, NC

A: You need to speak to a criminal attorney that handles federal fraud cases and find out if they can help you fix this. In addition you need to know that part of the interview process is to assess how your daughter functions. So hopefully you can get it straightened out so that the interviewer can interact with her and experience her difficulty in handling the interview.

Kenneth Prigmore agrees with this answer

Kenneth Prigmore
Kenneth Prigmore

A: It seems clear you recognize the gravity of pretending to be your daughter under oath. If your daughter had originally attempted the interviews with her disability, she would have been helping the SSA agent to identify how the disability prevents her from working. So if those interviews go poorly due to your daughter's disability, that can be a good thing.

What you did, even with good intentions, has the distinct possibility of being classified as a crime. The SSA agent might overlook the issue, or they may not. There are many people who intentionally defraud SSA, pretending to be someone else and then collecting and keeping their benefits. Those people, when discovered, are required to repay the money, pay fines and sometimes go to prison. You have explained how you intended to give your daughter the SSA funds when she won her claim, but the SSA may or may not believe you.

You definitely need to talk to a criminal attorney familiar with Federal Administrative criminal law. There may be some well versed in SSA fraud law, but they will be harder to find and you may have to handle things by phone if they are a few states away. This is one expense you do not want to skimp on. You want someone with plenty of experience in Federal Fraud to help you. Keep in mind that most attorneys will be willing to do a consultation with you and answer your questions up front at no cost. Pay attention to how they answer your questions. If they are guessing at outcomes, they likely don't have enough experience to know what to do.

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