If you have applied for Social Security Disability or are already receiving disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can stop your monthly benefits if they believe that you do not qualify or no longer fit the criteria for disability. The SSA can make this determination in several different ways, one of which may include conducting surveillance on disability claimants.
In most cases, the SSA will likely not hire a private investigator or monitor your social media accounts unless any red flags have been raised about the validity of your disability claim. For instance, perhaps someone filed a complaint or a treating doctor has raised suspicions about your disability.
Our attorneys further discuss why the SSA may conduct surveillance, commonly used disability surveillance tactics, and what you can do to protect your claim and your right to disability benefits. Learn how we may be able to help you by scheduling a risk-free, zero-obligation consultation.
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Continuing Disability Reviews for Claimants
The SSA generally does not conduct surveillance on disability claimants, but it does not mean that they will not or will never in certain circumstances. In fact, surveillance is entirely legal.
Once you apply for Social Security Disability, the SSA will start reviewing your claim to decide whether or not you are disabled and eligible for benefits.
If the SSA thinks that you are exaggerating or faking your symptoms, your claim will likely be under investigation. If you are already receiving disability benefits but the SSA believes that you are no longer disabled, instead of surveillance, you may be asked to undergo a Continuing Disability Review (CDR).
The SSA is required to periodically review the case of every recipient receiving disability benefits. A CDR is used to identify anyone whose medical condition has improved after they have filed a disability claim. If fraud or criminal activity is uncovered in a CDR, the Department of Justice will investigate the case.
Disability Surveillance Tactics the SSA May Use
If the SSA has any reason to question your eligibility for disability, some surveillance tactics that may be used under rare cases include:
Directly Observing You
The SSA may have an investigator follow you around in public to see if you do anything that may show your condition has improved and that you are no longer disabled. The investigator may watch to see if you can drive a car, or if you need assistance or an assistive device to go to doctor’s appointments. The investigator may report to the SSA on your ability to walk or how long you can sit or stand.
Conducting Video Surveillance
The SSA may conduct video surveillance to try and capture you performing activities that you previously stated that you cannot do because of your disability. If you are on video lifting heavy objects, walking long distances or doing any strenuous physical activity, this could be used against you.
Monitoring Your Social Media
The SSA may monitor your social media accounts to rule out disability fraud. This may include looking at your feed for any comments, photos or video that may show or suggest that you are no longer disabled.
Whether you are waiting for a decision on your disability claim or have been approved for benefits, it is important to be careful about what you post online. Talking about going shopping, traveling or going to social events can be viewed as having an active lifestyle that does not seem restricted by your disability.
How You Can Maintain Your Disability Status
To help maintain your disability status, you need strong medical evidence of your diagnosis. This could include evidence of how your condition has impacted your ability to work or perform normal day-to-day activities.
The better your treating doctor can attest to your medical condition and limitations, the greater chance you may have to show the SSA that you meet the criteria for disability. This will require you to be open and honest with your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing and how they affect you.
Additionally, consulting with an experienced attorney is important. He or she can help gather the necessary medical evidence to support your disability claim or dispute any surveillance being used against you. An attorney can analyze the facts and provide the best possible options available to you.
Call Our Firm for Help Filing a Disability Claim
There is no risk in reaching out to our firm for help. Most disability claims are initially denied. Disability claimants who hire legal representation often increase their ability to be approved for disability benefits than those who do not.
The initial consultation is free of charge. We also do not charge any upfront fees. We only get paid for our services if we successfully resolve your claim.
Learn More by Calling 1-800-503-2000.