According to a recent news article from ABC, a woman’s disability benefits have been terminated after she was a victim of identity theft. The victim has said it took her years of fighting with the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) to get her award of benefits in the first place.
She is a mother of three children who are now in their teens and was working as Spanish language interpreter at the time of her onset of disability. She developed a serious medical condition that required extensive surgery on her colon and bowel and experienced several complications involving the procedure.
As a result of her current condition, it is very difficult for her to leave her home for any significant amount of time. As part of the procedure, she had to have surgical mesh implanted, and this mesh, while it may have saved her live, has caused her organs to contract into a ball, and she says this makes it “feel like she is being ripped apart” if she stands for any considerable amount of time or tries to lift even light objects. She says it is an everyday struggle to care for children.
With the assistance of an attorney, she was eventually able to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in the full amount of $1080 per month. She was also likely eligible for retroactive benefits dating back to the onset of disability as in common in these types of cases. Things were going much better after receiving the benefits until SSA terminated them last month.
She said she first became aware of the problem when SSA requested her tax returns from the past three years. She told them she hasn’t been working and didn’t earn any benefits, but she said that did not change their request. SSA said tax returns using her Social Security number had been filed during those years, but she said if so, she did not file them. At this point, she went to the police, who informed her she was an identify theft victim.
She was required to attend various hearings before an SSA administrative law judge (ALJ), and she testified it was difficult to even leave home let alone work. She explained that she was victim of identity theft, and this had been confirmed by local police. Unfortunately, SSA decided to terminate her benefits anyway, and now she has no way to pay her rent or buy food for her family.
While the SSA does not believe her claim that she is a victim of identity theft, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), just issued its finding that she is a victim and did not work during this period of time. She has another hearing with SSA to determine if it will consider IRS findings.
While it seems unfathomable that SSA would not reinstate her benefits, the actions by SSA do not always make sense and seem to have very little regard to the merits of a case on many occasions. For this reason, the best thing you can do is speak with an experienced Boston disability lawyer to learn more about your right a full and appropriate benefits award.
If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
Knoxville woman’s disability check taken away following identity theft, January 13, 2016, ABC 6, By Don Dare
More Blog Entries:
Social Security Disability Claims Process, Jan. 23, 2015, Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer Blog