Domestic abuse occurs when one person in a relationship or marriage tries to control the other person. Domestic abuse that also includes physical violence is known as domestic violence. The Tampa Tribune reports that a 67-year-old woman, who was allegedly threatened by her husband for 50 years, lied to the government in order to collect additional government benefits, because she feared physical punishment from her husband.

According to the story, the mother of four and grandmother of 10 said she was directed by her husband to tell government officials that the couple did not live together in order to increase the amount of Social Security disability benefits and housing assistance she received. The article states that the couple lied for eight years, which amounted to $41,000 in additional benefits from the federal government.

Court records show that there was no documentation from hospital records or police reports to support the defendant’s claim of spousal abuse. Even after her husband’s death last year, the woman did not report her fraudulent acts to the government. Although her daughter wrote a letter supporting the woman’s allegations that her husband had physically abused her when she confronted him about the illegal scheme, the judge ordered her to serve six months in jail followed by one year of probation.

One thing that domestic abuse and fraud, waste and abuse of government funds have in common is toll-free hotlines to report offenses. Domestic violence victims do not have to feel isolated and alone. The National Domestic Violence Hotline encourages victims to call their toll-free number at 1.800.799.7233 (SAFE) for support. (If you or someone you know are at risk, please make the call.) Additionally, if you suspect someone of committing fraud, waste or abuse of government funds, the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General Fraud Hotline requests a call to 1.800.269.0271 to report the alleged offense.

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