Recently, claimants at the hearing level have been questioned at length by Administrative Law Judges who find earnings in their record after the alleged onset date. While this is usually the case when earnings appear in the record, the situations have also occurred when there has been absolutely no work activity. Upon further examination, we learn that the claimant, while not having worked, has earning posted to his account which showed up in the Social Security earnings record.
The reason for this, especially in some of the larger cities, is that tax preparers are promising a refund if they can use the earned income tax credit, sometimes offering to split the refund with the claimant.
Once the claimant is in front of a judge, this looks like fraud, and to say the least, claimants have had some explaining to do. We’ve had to go so far as to have the claimant file an amended return, dismiss a case because there was no proof that the claimant had not worked, and overall delay receipt of benefits to which the claimant was entitled, because of this tax preparation situation.
Claimants are advised to avoid this situation, and if you haven’t worked, don’t take the earned income tax credit based on a joint filing when you have a working spouse. Be sure to let the tax preparer know that you have a disability case pending. Any time earnings show up after your alleged onset, this creates a significant problem both in the facts and in your credibility.
Should you have questions regarding this or any other disability situation, don’t hesitate to contact our office.