Earlier this week, more than 100 retired #NYC #employees were #arrested and #charged with #Social Security fraud. Former #police officers, #firefighters, and #jail guards are accused of falsifying claims to receive #federal #disability #benefits. Many were #coached by other retired employees on how to feign #depression and other mental health conditions, some claiming conditions that resulted from the #9/11 #terrorist #attacks. #Prosecutors claim those charges fraudulently claimed #$22 million in #bogus benefits over 26 years and estimate that the fraud case involves hundred more #retired NYC employees and as much as $400 million in benefits.
While this case involves federal benefits eligibility, it offers sobering insight for #employers in the US. First, it’s important to remember that mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are protected conditions under the ADA if those conditions limit an applicant’s or employee’s ability to perform a major life activity. Employers should not assume accommodation requests for mental health limitations are fraudulent or falsified. However, if you feel like your employee is being dishonest, it is okay to request reasonable medical documentation to establish the need for accommodation and the severity of the functional limitation. Further, if you question the validity of the documentation presented, you can request further clarification from the provider or even request a second opinion from a provider of your choice. If you request a second opinion, the employer is responsible for the cost associated with that visit.
Documentation can be a tricky subject for employers in the disability management process. Springboard is available to assist with the development of policies related to documentation, training, and inquiries on our #ADA #Hotline. Contact us now with your questions!
This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for readers. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.