After your Social Security disability claim has been denied, you may feel as if you are running out of options. Many injured workers are tempted to do anything—or say anything—in order to get their claims reconsidered. However, as a recent case involving city employees demonstrates, it is vital that you stick to the facts in your case to avoid disability fraud.

Earlier this year, over a hundred retired New York City police officers and firefighters committed disability fraud for payment of psychological injuries. The workers received coaching services from a former Nassau County prosecutor on how to fail a psychiatric exam in exchange for their first disability paycheck, court records say.

The fraud case involved multiple counts of abuse of the disability system, including:

  • Psychiatric fraud – The employees were encouraged to see a psychiatrist for at least one year in order to “build a false record of mental instability” to include on their benefits applications.
  • Scripts – The organizers of the scheme filled out multiple applications using the same phrases to indicate depression or PTSD symptoms, such as “I don’t have interest in anything.” The workers were also given key phrases to use when meeting with medical evaluators.
  • Coaching – Prosecutors have said that at least one retired police officer coached the applicants on how to appear and what to say during their Social Security examinations. Workers were encouraged to deliberately misspell words, fail to answer simple math problems, indicate that they have problems focusing and to say that they suffer from panic attacks.
  • Acting – Employees in the case were told to appear disheveled and disoriented and encouraged to fail memory tests at their hearings. In particular, workers who had attended the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were encouraged to say they had a fear of airplanes and skyscrapers and had difficulty leaving the house.

The organizers in this scheme, who received cash payments of over $28,000 from each applicant, are now facing charges for providing fraudulent disability consulting services. However, there are plenty of people willing to take advantage—and money—from desperate injured workers.

A New Jersey social security attorney can help you win your case and protect your benefits by keeping you within the limit of the law. Call Manfred F. Ricciardelli Jr. today at 877-360-0183 to find out how we can help, or click the link on this page to set up your FREE, one-on-one consultation.

Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer