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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3151
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I need to ask a question about the consequences of not being

Customer Question

I need to ask a question about the consequences of not being truthful as far as an SSI case goes. My wife is disabled and has been on SSI for about 12 years I think. During that time we were married I think it was liek the second year or so. But my wife continued to claim as single. As her payee I am the one who fills out the reports every six months. In the begining my wife told me to keep checking off as single because she was afraid of losing her benefits or having them cut down considerably and we were on a very tight budget barely making it. After that it became a matter of fear on my part and I guess she though it wouldn't be a big deal and was only temporary. I was afraid to tell the truth in fear of going to prison for fraud. I have been told by relatives and friends that this would not be the case and instead her benefits would be cut down each month to repay the adjusted amount. Im still terrified of legal punishment for something I never agreed to us doing in the first place. I wish I had fought her harder on it becasue I felt bad about doing it and not comfortable with it. But after some time it became a matter of being afraid to tell the truth not knowing what would happen. Honestly if we lost her SSI we would be homeless. One fact is that I have not worked much over these years. I suffer from social anxiety and have been unemployed for most of that time so I didn't make much money anyways which may factor in as far as what consequences may be. I actually have needed to apply myslef and have not been able to because of this so I want to clear this up and come clean but was hoping I could at least get an idea of what to expect. I dont want her to lose her benefits or medical coverage or she would not be able to get by. We are on housing assistance and food stamps. I cant work at least not at this time and am in counseling. I am 50 and she is 44 and my health is failing. What should I do to fix this. SHould I just call them and tell them straight out or should I get a lawyer to help me? We are not dishonest or bad people. What started out as a temporary thing ended up going on for years and being a source of severe stress for us both not knowing how to fix it and being afraid of punishment. So we kept on hiding our marriage. Help me please and tell me what to do first.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  emc011075 replied 1 year ago.

Hi. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to help you.

Your friends are right, you will not go to jail but you will eventually have to come clean. The longer you wait the worse it gets. First you need to make an appointment at your local social security office with a case worker, explain the situation and face the damages. Than you can decide what you can or need to do. If you experience financial hardship it may not be as bad as you think, and you even may qualify for higher benefits.