A Grand Island woman was sentenced to five years probation with special conditions and an additional condition of home confinement for six months for Social Security fraud, false statement or representation.
Maria Isabel Lopez, 54, of Grand Island received the sentence on Thursday in Lincoln from Chief United States District Judge John M. Gerrard.
In addition to the sentence, United States Attorney Joe Kelly announced that Lopez will be required to pay $43,234 in restitution.
Parole is not offered within the federal system.
Lopez began receiving Social Security Disability (SSI) benefits in 2008.
The SSI is a resource-based program which provides monthly benefits to disabled individuals with limited income and resources.
In an investigation conducted by the Office of Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, it was shown, during a benefits redetermination interview, Lopez misrepresented her eligibility to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
On Sept. 10, 2018, Lopez reported to the SSA that she held $3,000 in her bank account.
At the time, Lopez had more than $16,000 in the account.
As a result of further examination, Lopez failed to report to the SSA that her account held funds in excess of the Social Security resource limit beginning approximately November of 2013.
Due to the excess, Lopez was ineligible for the $43,234 in SSI payments she received since November of 2013.
Social Security Disability benefit eligibility is determined by all available resources, assets, income, and living arrangements.
Beneficiaries and applicants are required to provide the SSA with information concerning the individuals assets, including money within the bank, any real property owned and additional vehicles the individual may own.
Conditions on SSI benefits necessitate the recipient must alert the SSA of any changes in an individuals resources which may affect the individual’s eligibility.
Limitations on SSI benefit eligibility indicates an individual cannot have resources in excess of $2,000.