Workers’ compensation or social security disability benefits can seem like a fact of life for New Yorkers who are rapidly reaching what would have been retirement age, and at one time, the chance to receive a gold watch for services rendered over the years.
But the prospect of fraud is large enough that in any group of five seniors, it’s likely that at least one has been the victim of fraud. While those posing as Medicare officials and representatives of investment schemes are some of the more common, there are also those who use websites or other means to steal your social security number.
One major problem is that where you receive social security disability payments as a former local or state work, or after being injured while a federal worker, there isn’t much oversight or background checking involved. It’s why we occasionally see stories about checks being mailed to those who have died or family members fraudulently accepting the checks.
Identity theft is a concern if you need to prove who you are to receive benefits, and it can also be used by shady contractors who have been found negligent in New York or are working in New York without immigration papers.
To protect yourself from identity theft fraud and reduce the risk of being audited by the Social Security Administration auditors:
1. Be sure to hold on to your personal information unless the service or product absolutely requires it.
2. If a visitor to your home asks for documentation, ask for a moment and call their office (use the yellow pages to get the number, not a card of theirs) to verify they are who they say they are.
These are just two tactics, but they could help you ensure that your benefits payments keep coming like clockwork. If you need help starting the daunting process (about two-thirds of applicants initially fail the SSD process), you can contact us for advice.