Have you ever wondered if the Social Security Administration (SSA) investigates a disability claim? The simple answer is: “Yes.” Hiding information from the SSA (and your disability attorney!) can have a negative effect on your disability claim status. When you consider the scope of Social Security disability claims, you’ll understand why Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDIs) are necessary.
Disability Claims, by the Numbers
- As of December 2018, over 9 million people received some form of Social Security disability benefit.
- The SSA paid out approximately $144 billion in SSDI benefits in 2018.
- Disability benefits range from $800 and $1,800 per month.
- Unless carefully monitored, there is much room for fraud when paying out this much money.
The Cooperative Disability Investigation
In a nutshell, a CDI is a means for Social Security to get a more thorough look at a disability applicant. How does a CDI start?
The Office of the Inspector General might receive a hotline complaint or a fraud referral from the SSA or another government agency. In addition, private citizens, anonymous sources, and law enforcement agencies may notify the SSA of potential fraud. Disability fraud can involve malingering, filing multiple applications, concealing work or other activities, and exaggerating or lying about disabilities.
The CDI Unit of SSA generally conducts the investigation with the cooperation of local SSA staff, local law enforcement, and other resources. They might interview the applicant personally, speak to neighbors or friends, or observe the claimant out in public, etc. The goal is not for the CDI Unit to follow a claimant around and invade his or her personal space, but to see how the claimant handles him or herself in routine everyday activities. Once the investigation is complete, the report is forwarded to the local SSA office for further processing, and the report is typically added to the claimant’s case file.
It’s important as a claimant that you are always forthcoming about your daily activities and limitations. These investigations more often than not don’t happen. Because they can, we want to make sure you understand how it all works and what it means if it does come up as you navigate the already confusing disability process.
Sometimes a CDI uncovers nothing. However, when the CDI reports negative information about a claimant, a disability lawyer can contest the report.
What Does This Have to Do with Your Disability Claim
CDI investigations occur in an extremely small percentage of claims. Still, your disability claim status could be in jeopardy if one is conducted.
The SSA considers may factors when processing a disability claim. As your claim works its way through the system, you’ll complete paper, answer questions, and provide updates. Social Security asks about your work history, your medical history, unemployment benefits, workers compensation, and so on. When there are questions or concerns, the CDI might come into play.
Contact Us About Your Disability Claim
If you have any questions about a Social Security claim, contact a disability attorney at any of our offices across Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois. Call (618) 266-4038 or submit the Contact Form on our website for a free consultation.