Does Social Security Conduct Surveillance of Disability Applicants?

Parmele Law FirmSocial Security, Uncategorized

Private insurance companies hire people to follow disability claimants around to gas stations, amusement parks, the grocery store, and even into the doctor’s office to see if they can catch them on camera doing things they say they can’t do.

If you are applying for or receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”) you might wonder whether Social Security Administration (“SSA”) employs such “surveillance” tactics, too.

Continuing Disability Review.

While unlike private insurance companies the SSA does not generally conduct surveillance investigations, that doesn’t mean that they can’t or never will.

If the SSA believes there are grounds for a criminal investigation or if they believe that you are no longer disabled, spying on you cannot be completely ruled out.

Instead of surveillance, however, what the SSA does is to periodically conduct “Continuing Disability Reviews” (“CDR”) to determine if a claimant is still entitled to disability benefits.

CDRs are designed to identify disability recipients who show medical improvement and so are no longer entitled to receive disability benefits. But if a CDR uncovers fraud (for example, someone who is working under-the-table) or criminal activity, the case will be referred to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation and prosecution.

What Methods of Observing You Does the SSA Use?

If the SSA has reason to look into your eligibility for continuing to receive disability benefits for any reason, they will probably use one of the following methods for doing so:

  1. Direct Observation.

This is exactly what it sounds like. The SSA could have someone follow you (in public places) to try to catch you doing things (dancing, lifting heavy objects, walking long distances etc.) that proves your medical condition has improved and you are no longer disabled.

  1. Video Surveillance.

This is where the SSA would try to catch you on video doing something (e.g., working out at the gym) that shows you are no longer disabled.

  1. Social Media Monitoring.

Here’s where you get a chance to hang yourself by making remarks or posting pictures or videos of yourself (or being “tagged” in photos posted by your friends) that prove or imply that you are no longer disabled. Social media is popular with many people and the SSA’s fraud investigators are adept at using it. So think before you post.

Consult with Experienced Counsel.

If you are applying for benefits or have been denied benefits, we can help. Our practice is social security disability law and nothing else. We have offices throughout Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois. We also have offices in Oklahoma. We offer free consultations and we do not get paid unless you win your case. Contact us here or call 855-727-8625.