Disability, Frauds & Scams, Online Services

Disability Application Scammers

April 25, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 1 Minute

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

Graphic of a computer screen with ones and zeros on the screen and the word identity.The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is alerting people about the dangers of identity theft, specifically in instances where people have started an application for disability benefits. Scammers try to get personal information from applicants by pretending to help complete applications. For example, these scammers may ask you to give, or confirm, your Social Security number or bank account numbers.

Don’t become an identity theft or phishing victim. You can read the FTC’s advice on how to protect yourself while applying for benefits here.

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About the Author

Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications


  1. Claudette H.

    I never answer my phone, I let them leave a message regardless of who they are because of these scammers. If they did not leave a message then the call is not that important and you saved yourself from being scammed. The old people are being scammed ###$$$$ it’s called “pigeon drop” so just be carefull because they think we are vulnerable and believe what we hear, Do Not let the Scammers fool us.

  2. sheidu a.

    i need help interms of histogram build

  3. Robert L.

    Thanks for opening up the S/S with this site. Your agency doesn’t seem quite so closed. I’m sure some of the critical comments are valid, so this outlet gives us all a chance to feel not quite so helpless.

    • R.F.

      Our blog — Social Security Matters — gives readers information about a variety of topics, including our programs, online services, current events, and human-interest stories, usually in greater detail than typically shared on our other social media platforms. Our blog encourages discussion and offers important retirement and disability-related solutions. Please be aware that our official agency responses will always include the Social Security Administration (SSA) seal, and that we have an official social media team dedicated to posting messages and responses to customer inquiries or comments that specifically address SSA issues. While we welcome general participation from all of our followers, we ask all participants to please be considerate and polite to others when posting comments. Thank you for your support and for using our blog.

      • Be B.

        Mr. Fernandez;
        I just want to say that in my eyes I think your a very caring man to the people here. You answer their questions to the best of your ability. You give them all the information that you are allowed too, and point them in the right direction if you can’t answer a question. I sincerely believe you should not be verbally abused because of where you work. I appreciate and commend you for what you deal with on a day to day basis and would like to Thank you for your kindness, dedication and service.

        • R.F.

          Thank you so much for your kind words, we appreciate the positive feedback! We try hard to provide the best possible service to our customers and your satisfaction is our reward.

  4. sheidu a.

    i need help iterms of histogram build

  5. Jerry K.

    Is it true u only have one year from the time u begin taking benefits “to suspend” the payments?

    • R.F.

      Thank you for your question Jerry. Yes, if you started receiving Social Security benefits less than 12 months ago and you changed your mind about when they should start, you may be able to withdraw your Social Security claim and re-apply at a future date. To learn more, visit our “Retirement Planner: Suspending Benefit Payments”.

  6. Neena W.

    “Thank You” Sir, for the warning …
    Retired two years ago and I noticed already the slowing
    down of our brain … If not for the warning like these … We old people always be in trouble … We thought we are alert but there’s a time that our mind won’t function like it used to be … you do things your eyes are open but your brain doesn’t know what you are doing is right or wrong … sometimes we learned in a hard way … and because of warning like this we can avoid mistakes …

    • Anonymous

      We old People, what a Cop out!
      Therefore @ what Age are you Refering to? 60, 65, 70, 80 or 90?
      We all get older ever second we brieve! Prove you point to what age is old, like give the younger People a break by Not Discriminating!

      • Perriann

        I don’t think that is a cop out. This person does not need to prove their age. Executive function is known to decline with age and elder abuse is a growing problem in our society. Thankfully, this person recognizes their susceptibility and appreciates the alert on this type of fraud.

    • Elle

      Perhaps you should take or bridge.

    • R.F.

      Thanks for your comment! We’re pleased we can help. We will continue our efforts to meet your requirements and expectations in the years to come.

  7. tammy

    Social security has an extremely Liberal, politically correct agenda based definition of disability which DOESN’T include people who are physically disabled. For example, if a disabled woman marries an able bodied man (or another able bodied woman), they are miraculously cured of their physical disability and become in-eligible for any Social Security benefits. How’s that for equal and fair treatment? Ive had Cerebal Palsy since birth and now I am an adult (often called an adult- disabled child). The older I get, the worse my physical disability becomes. I applied for benefits under the “Adult disabled child” program and was turned down because “I got married”. Isn’t that amazing how getting married somehow cured my disability. Thanks for nothing, SS administration, you have been absolutely no help to me whatsoever.

    • John O.

      A Disabled Adult Child is dependent upon a parent for support, you are longer so dependent. Disability determinations are just a part of determining eligibility, there are also non medical fto be awarded payment. The SSA is merely following the laws passed by Congress.

      • Amy K.

        So she needs to re-apply as an adult with disabilities? I know it isn’t just because she’s married, as my father-in-law was married and on disability when he died.
        If that’s what the woman needs to do, tell her that rather than making her think she has no option but divorce.

        • Ruth m.

          You are right here ! SSA is not focused on solving problems just following the law

          • tammy

            I have applied so many times, even had attorneys represent me and they could not help. SS refuses to even speak with me when I call, they use the “Law” as blinders to my situation. So long as they are allowed to hide behind their “Laws” or rules, really disabled people like me will suffer. thanks Socialist Security, thanks for nothing.

    • Flyboi


    • R.F.

      Hi Tammy. Disability Benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. The definition of disability also applies to persons applying for children’s insurance benefits based on disability before the child turns age 22.
      We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI), and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
      SSI is a needs based disability program that pays benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. The SSDI program provides benefits to insured disabled or blind adults covered by workers’ contributions to the Social Security trust funds. Certain family members may also be eligible for benefits from the worker’s earnings record.
      In addition, we must also determine if the applicant meets the non-medical eligibility requirements, which may include age, employment, marital status, or Social Security coverage information. If the applicant meets these requirements, then we forward the application with any medical information provided by the applicant to the Disability Determination Services. See Disability Determination Process for more information.

      • Lillian

        I am 60 years old and have a husband who is fully employed. My health is going downhill. I have congestive heart failure, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and COPD. I also have 3 stints in my heart and have had 2 heart attacks, one at work. I still have a lot of chest pain. I have had 2 back surgeries in the past 20 years and have a lot of pain still. Can’t sit for long periods without getting up. I fell in November 2015 and broke my shoulder. They did surgery and put 2 plates and 10 screws in and repaired the rotator cuff. But I had chipped the ball and now it will not stay in the socket. I have to have another surgery and have an artificial shoulder put in. They are currently testing my heart before they schedule the shoulder surgery. I am still trying to work and it is becoming so hard to work due to all the pain I suffer from the authoritis all over my body and the problem with my breathing. I think I need to apply for disability as I have really struggling. Can you tell me how long it takes to get approved or denied? I have heard horror stories about how long it takes. I am federal employee also.

        • R.F.

          Thank you for your question Lillian. Typically, you can expect to hear a decision on your disability claim from three to five months after you submit your application, but it can vary depending on several factors, such as if we have all the information we need to process your application. Other factors include: the nature of your disability, how quickly we obtain medical evidence from your doctor or other medical sources, and if your claim is randomly selected for a quality assurance review of the decision. Remember that the Social Security Act sets out a strict definition for disability. We pay Disability Benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. However, if a person thinks that he or she meets our definition of disability, we encourage them to apply. You can apply online.
          A person may still be eligible for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program if they work. However, their earnings cannot exceed a certain amount. This is called the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit. In 2016, the SGA limit is $1,130 per month (or $1,820 for blind applicants). In addition to the amount of money you make, Social Security may also look at the number of hours you’re able to work. For more information visit our “Frequently Asked Questions” web page on disability. We hope this information helps.

        • Retired

          In two years you qualify for benefits.

      • J. M.

        Thank you for explaining ,briefly, the two programs. It is easy to get these two programs confused. The NON-MEDICAL eligibility is what snags many SSI applicants up. No, Tammy’s disability will never “go away”. If she has been unable to work for her adult lifetime, she will not qualify for SSDI – the program for those who have had a strong work history and who have contributed to the SSDI program. She may have only been able to qualify for SSI which, as mentioned, is a financial needs based program for those who do not have a strong work history and are disabled. Now that she is married, her family income and assets may be great enough to disqualify her for SSI. The programs can be very confusing regarding process and programs. And even if it FEELS personal, it is not personal because, as stated, these are the laws approved by congress.

      • J. M.

        Thank you for sharing complete and informative details about SSI and SSDI. The following statement does nothing to help gain understanding: “A Disabled Adult Child is dependent upon a parent for support, you are longer so dependent. Disability determinations are just a part of determining eligibility, there are also non medical fto be awarded payment. The SSA is merely following the laws passed by Congress.”

      • tammy

        Mr. Fernandez, thank you for the reply. I have been dealing with the Social security system for well over 20 years. The “GAP” I fall into, is a set of “rules” which automatically disqualify anyone who is married, no matter how truly disabled they are. I am an “adult disabled child” I have cerebal palsy and have been declared totally and permanently disabled by several Medical Doctors (I have this in writing). Social Security finds me “Disabled” and since my disability started when I was born, they categorize me as an adult disabled child. I am 44 years old now, my parents are retired and drawing social security. The lady at the social security office asked my mother about me, when she went to apply.

        the issue is that once a disabled person gets married, they are no longer covered by Social Security at all. My question is how does being married somehow cure my disability? I am still not able to work, I still can not find gainful employment, I am still permanently disabled, so how does this “anti marrige rule” help me in any way? Fact is, social security has NEVER been there when I needed it and it never will be. I have lost all my faith in the social security system and I promise I will make it my lifes goal to tell everyone I possibly can (for the rest of my natural life and beyond), how the social security system does not care about people who are really disabled.

    • Michelle

      I have a neurological movement disorder called Cervical Dystonia and am now having to start over once again, having been denied at the federal hearing. Since it isn’t in the blue book yet, they deny most of us who have it repeatedly. I too am very frustrated with a broken system. I paid into that system for 25 years, and after 2 1/2 years of fighting for SSD, I’m still having to fight. If someone can’t hold their head up and constantly endures head and neck tremors, we shouldn’t have to go through this long of a battle to prove we can’t work. If I knew of a way to help fix the broken SSA, I would do it. I need to feel like something good will come out of this.

  8. Margaret M.

    I have filed a SSD claim on behalf of my client. It was denied, not because of medical, but b/c of a ‘criminal investigation’. the FO said I had to contact OIG. I called the # listed but was told this is only to REPORT, not to check on Identity Theft. My client said someone came to see him a few months ago & he thought they were from the police dept., told him his SSN had been stolen. He didn’t think much of it b/c he said he didn’t have anything – didn’t think of the consequences. We need to get to the bottom of this. I need to file his appeal for his SSD claim. thank you.

    • John O.

      Follow the appeals process for your client. That has nothing to do with ID theft.

      • J. M.

        John, your reply does not address the fact that the claimant was denied for reasons outside the normal process. This is not helpful.

    • R.F.

      Hi Margaret. Generally, identity theft issues are handled by the Federal Trade Commission. You or your client can find more information on their website: http://www.idtheft.gov or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). Considering the circumstances you’ve shared, you and your client need to work directly with the local office, and if necessary, ask to speak with the manager to see how we can help him or her resolve the situation. To learn more about the steps individuals can take to prevent or resolve issues of identity theft, read our publication: “Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number”. We hope this helps

  9. Linda F.

    About an hour ago I received such a scam phone call. Caller ID says it was from Grenada, Mississippi, phone number 520-4247. Beware…this is REAL.

  10. WILLIAM C.

    Please stop leading me from site to site, a la those infomercials that promise to reduce my belly fat in 1 week! If you have important information to pass along, just do it – don’t waste the space with advertisements for Mr Walker, or a hose of SSA “other” subjects. Thank you

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