Public-assistance claimants and earned income

I have a neighbor–I’ll call him Farrell–who told me yesterday a rather cynical appraisal of disabled persons and public-assistance agencies. He says that anytime such a person tries to earn any money, the agencies–who have, so he says, employees specializing in disqualifying claimants–gather information on them in order to declare them ineligible for benefits. He said, for example, that a local swap-meet organization has surveillance cameras that take down license numbers of trucks and trailers for the purpose of gathering information and eventually identifying a disabled vendor and denying him benefits.
I have gone to considerable trouble to qualify as a paralegal and a notary public. I am outraged at the notion that my efforts are in vain–he says that after age 35 one can just forget about any kind of career–since, by Farrell’s reasoning, a company might hire me, disqualifying me for benefits–and then laying me off.
The man, a neighbor of ours since 1987, is of my parents’ generation and has lost a leg, and had other health problems as well. I have rarely met anyone so cynical.
Is there the merest grain of truth to his assertions?

I doubt they have the time or staff to do that. That would take just too many resources. Besides, it’s not against the rules as far as I know, to sell your stuff to buy food to survive.

I have major doubts about that, although I can’t provide specific data that his statements are false.

My doubts are based on the number of people who do come up with negatives, especially for the purpose of showing you “you can’t do that”, and double that since he is partially disabled and may want a justification as to why he isn’t doing more.

This may not be consciously a lie on his part.

From the disability people, you can get the information as to what does or does not disqualify a person for benefits.

If there is a reason to suspect Disablity fraud, then the agency will investigate it. How strongly depends on how solid a lead they get, among other things.

But they simply do not have the resources to have an Ah-HA! staff solely for following recipents around to catch them and as hard as it is to get on disabilty in the first place since they’ve tightened up the requirements, it’s very difficult for someone that doesn’t deserve it to get on it in the first place.