The Social Security Administration has issued a ruling about determining fraud and similar fault in evaluations initial applications for disability benefits.
Social Security must disregard evidence if there a reason to believe fraud or similar fault was involved in providing that evidence. This can include disregarding evidence provided by someone who has not committed fraud or similar fault, but whose evidence relies on other evidence involving fraud or similar fault. Fraud is defined as “when a person, with the intent to defraud, either makes or causes to be made, a false statement or misrepresentation of a material fact for use in determining rights under the Act; or conceals or fails to disclose a material fact for use in determining rights under the Act.” Similar fault is defined as “an incorrect or incomplete statement that is material to the determination is knowingly made or information that is material to the determination is knowingly concealed.”
If evidence is disregarded, Social Security evaluates the remaining evidence in the record to determine eligibility.
At a hearing, the administrative law judge considers objections to disregarding the evidence and then decides whether there is reason to believe that fraud or similar fault was involved in providing the evidence.
The Notice of Determination or Order must identify documents being disregarded and discuss the evidence that supports a finding to disregard the evidence, and then provide a determination or decision based on the remaining evidence in the record. (SSR 22-2p, May 17, 2022.)