What does Able-bodied mean?
Able-bodied refers to individuals who are mentally and physically strong and healthy, not disabled, able to work, and able to complete other daily tasks without help from others. Common tasks which an able-bodied person is expected to complete include shopping, washing clothes, bathing without help, cooking their meals, going to the store, and maintaining employment.
Able-bodied and SSDI benefits
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are offered to workers who are no longer “able-bodied” and cannot maintain employment for 12 continuous months due to a severe mental or physical health condition. Claimants who become disabled and who have contributed to the SSA system and earned work credits may qualify for monthly SSDI benefits.
Recently efforts have increased to eliminate waste within the SSDI system, a system many believe is consistently being defrauded by claimants who are able-bodied but continue to collect SSDI benefits. In fact, the SSA reports that there could be thousands of SSDI recipients who are able-bodied and not disabled but who continue not to work and fraudulently receive SSDI benefits.
Defrauding SSDI and government waste
Unfortunately, giving SSDI benefits to claimants who are able-bodied runs counter to the American work ethic and is likely to eventually bankruptcy the SSDI system. In fact, experts suggest the program could be in serious financial trouble within a few short years. Real change is needed to reform entitlements, eliminate fraud, and ensure that the able-bodied do not collect benefits but instead return to work.
Reporting Fraud to the Social Security Administration (SSA)
Disability fraud can include any of the following:
- Hiding work activity while receive disability benefits
- Receiving SSI benefits for a child not under your care
- Receiving SSI or SSDI benefits for a deceased family member
- Concealing a change of status such as a marriage or assets accumulation from the SSA while receiving SSI benefits
- Living overseas and continuing to receive SSI benefits
- Using funds allocated to an SSDI recipient for your own purposes
If you suspect any type of fraud listed above it is your duty to report it to the Office of the Inspector General. Reports can be made anonymously, but the OIG will need to know the name, address, telephone number, and date of birth of the person committing the alleged fraud.
Information about the type of fraud, location of the fraud, how the fraud was committed, and why it was committed (if known) is also helpful. The SSA may also question you about who else knows about the violation.
According to the SSA fraud can be reported by submitting a report online, by phone, or by fax. Call the SSA fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or call the SSA toll free number 1-800-772-1213.