Supplementing Fraud

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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are intended to help eligible disadvantaged people who have little or no income meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. An article published by The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier details how an Iowa woman lied about her living arrangements in order to collect more than $68,000 in SSI benefits.

Living arrangements are an important component of figuring out how much SSI an eligible person can receive. (For instance, you would receive less SSI benefits if you lived in someone else’s home and did not pay your fair share of expenses.) The story states that the woman in this case declared she and her husband were separated and she did not live with him. (This entitled her to receive more SSI benefits than she should have. In reality, she lived with her husband for more than 11 years while collecting $68,471 in SSI benefits she did not deserve.)

The woman actually hid the fact that she was living with her husband on three occasions to administration officials. As a result, her husband’s income was not figured into the calculation for her Social Security eligibility. The fraudster’s scheme was revealed when a tip regarding her living arrangements was made to the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.

The 49-year-old Iowan pleaded guilty to one count of Social Security Fraud. She is facing up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

We don’t know what the final sentence will be, but it looks like the fraudster may actually end up being separated from her husband in the end. (However, the legitimate separation won’t earn her any additional income if she is behind bars.) It is definitely not the government’s mission to provide supplemental income to those who do not deserve or qualify for it.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled ”Aplington Woman Pleads to Social Security Fraud” published by The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier on July 6, 2015.

APLINGTON | An Aplington woman has admitted she mislead officials in order to receive additional Social Security benefits.

Angela Carmichael, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of Social Security fraud Thursday on U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.