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In trouble with social security

Discussion in 'Social Security, Disability & Health' started by Eviepuodiva0712, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. Eviepuodiva0712

    Eviepuodiva0712 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    So let me just in advance sorry for the long post and thank you to anyone who has advice.

    I have been receiving social security (ssi) since I was 18. I have never had a same sex relationship until I met another woman I liked in 2009 when I was 34. We were married in 2011. At the time gay marriage wasn’t legal in my home state, so we traveled to visit my family in another where it was legal. While we were there we decided to get married.

    after returning home we realized that our relationship was not as good as we thought. Probably because neither of us was gay prior to this. We had a lot of fighting and stuff. So in 2014 we broke up. We didn’t get divorced because we were told when we married that we would have to return to the state we were married in to get divorced and we didn’t have the money to travel there. Meanwhile, I am still receiving social security benefits.

    after breaking up we took care of our own but my friend was nice enough to let me stay living with her. She had a daughter and I had 2 daughters. We kept everything separate. I didn’t realize at any point that the federal side had recognized gay marriage so I didnt report the marriage. And we are still married to this day.

    now we are being investigated by the us attorney’s office. He got in touch with us today and started asking questions. He said they were going to peruse criminal charges.

    so here is what I am wondering. Should I contact social security to explain my confusion? Now that I know I did something wrong I feel bad and want to fix it.

    I am so scared. If I go to jail I lose my kids and if I permanently lose my benefits I will lose my kids because I can’t take care of them. Will they take away my benefits forever? What can I do to fix this?

    I have tried contacting lawyers that handle federal criminal defense. One charges $500/hour and wants a $5000 retainer and the other charges a flat rate of $100,000. I have been on social security all my adult life. I don’t have this kind of money. I just don’t see a way out except to lose my kids. Please help me.
  2. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Definitely do NOT contact SSA and try to explain things. Anything you say to SSA can be used against you later. What you say to the SSA rep may sound innocent to you, but you may unknowingly phrase things in a way that looks bad to the investigators or to a jury.

    QUOTE="Eviepuodiva0712, post: 307405, member: 129005"]Now that I know I did something wrong I feel bad and want to fix it.[/QUOTE]

    That's an issue to discuss at some point with a lawyer who handles SSA matters. Make sure you tell the lawyer that you are under investigation for fraud because of the marriage confusion.

    If you get charged with a crime out of this you'll be entitled to appointment of a federal public defender if you cannot afford to pay an attorney. You might want to try contacting a legal aid clinic near you before that to see if they can offer any help or advice. You need to know whether in fact you got benefits you should not have received and how much that comes to as that will make a significant difference here.

    While it might happen that you go to prison for awhile or lose custody of your kids, I would expect it more likely that you'd get either a short prison term or just probation and have to pay back the benefits you weren't entitled to receive if you are convicted. You likely wouldn't permanently lose custody of the kids though of course if you spend any time in prison they'd have to have someone else care for them while you are locked up. Of course, your future benefits will be terminated too if you no longer qualify for them.

    A lot depends on how strongly the prosecutor feels you were intentionally trying to get benefits you weren't entitled to get, if it goes to a trial, what the jury and judge think was going on.

    There are all kinds of different ways this might turn out. Don't assume that you'll have the worst outcome here.

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