Social Security Violations
The Social Security Number (SSN) is the primary element of
identification in the various earnings and benefit payment records
the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is the record identifier used
ensure proper payment of benefits in both the Title II and Title XVI
The SSN plays a vital role in electronic enforcement programs and
record linkages, such as Project Match, which are designed to identify
of improper payments. Given this reliance on the SSN, social security
are susceptible to fraud when multiple numbers are employed by individuals
on securing duplicate payments or concealing income. Not only would the use
multiple SSN's facilitate initial deceptions but it would also inhibit
detection under the various electronic enforcement programs.
The impact of SSN misuse pervades nearly all facets of today's
automated record keeping society. The SSN is used as a personal identifier,
either in the application or record keeping processes, by most Federal and
agencies administering benefit programs, the United States Internal Revenue
Service, many state Departments of Motor Vehicles, credit corporations and
insurance companies. Accordingly, the SSN is the key to unlimited
for fraud and abuse. The SSA is strengthening its procedures dealing with
issuance of SSNs and has made a firm commitment to vigorously investigate
misuse. Although these cases may involve little or no overpayment, United
Attorneys (USAs) are encouraged to prosecute SSN violations whenever
Title XVI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 1381 et
seq.), Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") program, provides payments
benefits from general revenues to the needy, aged, blind and disabled.
of the Act (42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq.), provides benefits from
funds to retired and disabled individuals, their survivors and dependents.
$11.5 billion per month to almost 34 million beneficiaries is paid by SSA
these two programs alone.
Attempts to defraud occur in connection with applications (claims)
benefits and documents submitted in support thereof. Most violations under
XVI involve false statements about or concealment of an individual's
condition (42 U.S.C. § 138a(1)-(3)). Most violations under Title II
false statements about or concealment of work activity affecting initial or
continuing eligibility for disability benefits, changes in marital status,
misuse of benefits by representative payees (42 U.S.C. § 408). The
provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 408 punish the making of false statements to
benefits or obtain higher benefits, the conversion of another's benefits,
use of false SSNs to obtain benefits.There is also a statute that covers the
unauthorized charging of a fee for services in connection with a claim under
titles (42 U.S.C. § 1383(d)(3) for Title XVI and 42 U.S.C.
Title II). Felony statutes such as 18 U.S.C. §§ 287, 371, and
also applicable for both programs and have been used successfully.
[cited in USAM 9-42.001; USAM 9-42.510]