Monday, May 16, 2022

Does Social Security Disability Hire Private Investigators

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Times Are Changing: Beware Of What You Share On Social Media

Will Social Security Send a Private Investigator to Challenge your Disability Claim?

Historically, the SSA and its local partnerssuch as the Arkansas Disability Determination For Social Security Administrationhave stuck largely to the actual claim file. They review the applicants medical record, vocational records, and other relevant information. That being said, there have been some important changes in recent years.

As reported by CBS News, the SSA is slowly increasing its use of Facebook, Instagram, and other social media reviews. If you are filing a claim for SSDI or SSI benefits, be careful about what you post on social media. Make sure you have the proper privacy settings in place.

Can You Appeal The Outcome Of Your Disability Review

Yes. You may appeal a decision to stop your benefits, and it is in your best interests if youmove fast. Being aware of all thesteps you need to take will work in your favor and increase the chances of your benefits being restored.

Most importantly, have your medical documents or any other supporting evidence at hand.

The Reality Of Insurance Fraud

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimates that fraud steals $80 billion a year across all lines of insurance. Insurance companies have a financial responsibility to their stockholders to pay only legitimate claims, which is why many use surveillance to identify and deny fraudulent claims.

Insurance fraud can also hurt other policyholders. According to the FBI, insurance fraud can cost the average American family between $400 and $700 each year in the form of increased premiums.

Surveillance can help you when your insurer is proactive about denying illegitimate claimsit keeps your premiums lower.

To shore up their profits, however, insurance companies often use the pretense of fraud to delay, undervalue, and .

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Interviewing Your Neighbors And Family Members

If there are people who may know anything about your injury and health condition, its your neighbors and family members. So theyre usually a workers comp investigators primary source of information.

So if youre curious whether a workers comp investigator is after you, ask your family and neighbors if someones been asking about you recently.

Why Would The Ssa Conduct Surveillance

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If the Social Security Administration or SSA feels or receives reports that you are either not disabled or no longer fit the legal definition of disability, the SSA may legally engage in social security conduct surveillance upon you through SSDI surveillance and SSDI investigations. Moreover, that surveillance may be used as evidence to stop you from receiving disability benefits. Below are two real-life examples of this happening.

In John E. McCauley vs. First Unum Life Insurance Company , although the case did not involve social security disability benefits, it did involve disability benefits that were denied by a private insurance company. In that case, the Petitioner, John McCauley had been diagnosed with colon cancer in 1991 and unable to perform his job duties, McCauley had applied for disability or long term disability. However, the insurance company, First Unum Life Insurance, denied his disability claim. After a series of appeals, the case was filed in court, in which the Court held that Unum had a history of denials using fraudulent surveillance. Specifically, the Court held:

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How To Know If You Are Being Followed By A Workers Comp Investigator

When you file a workers comp claim, its but natural for the insurance company to want to know if youre telling the truth. If your case is airtight and they have no reason to question your claim, then the insurance company will have no choice but to pay your benefits.

But sometimes, the insurance company sees something that makes them doubt your claim. Or they just want to avoid paying you so theyll make sure that your claim is denied. In either case, they will most likely hire a workers comp investigator to follow you.

Workers comp investigators are, in essence, insurance investigators. Its just that they specialize in workers comp claims. They are hired by the insurance company to check if the claimant is really injured. But since they are employed by these companies, most of the time, their primary aim is to gather evidence to disprove your claim.

But not all workers comp claims require the services of a workers comp investigator. Hiring them can be costly for the insurance company. So theyre usually just deployed if

  • the claim involves a large sum
  • the employee has filed workers comp claims before
  • the employees injury claim is doubtful
  • the claim is taken to court

How Long Will A Cdr Take

It depends. If you receive a shortDisability Update Report and respond that your condition has not changed since the last review, the SSA will typically respond within one to three months, stating that you will not require a CDR.

However, if you receive the longer version of the report or are flagged for a full review, it means that you will undergo a CDR. The questions are a bit more detailed, and the full review starts once you send in your responses. The whole process takes about five to six months.

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Schedule A Free Consultation With A Social Security Disability Lawyer In Arkansas

At , our Arkansas Social Security disability attorneys are focused on helping people secure the financial benefits that they rightfully deserve under federal law. Give us a call now or connect with us through our website to arrange a free review of your case. With a primary office in Rogers, we serve communities throughout the wider region.

Learn How To Identify Common Forms Of Surveillance

Does the Social Security Administration investigate fraud claims involving its disability programs?

Insurance company surveillance tactics are increasingly sophisticated. Investigators can monitor you in real life and search your electronic footprint. Be on the lookout for:

  • Digital surveillance: investigators can learn a lot about you from your social media accounts and electronic presence. They will monitor your posts and comments, looking for evidence that youre functioning at a higher level than you claim.
  • Stakeouts or fixed surveillance: an investigator monitors you for an extended period. Often this is for two to four days. Typically, an investigator watches you from a distance, taking photos or videos of your activity.
  • Technical surveillance: an insurance company surveillance tactic where an investigator plants recording devices, such as cameras, near your home or other places you frequent. A human investigator does not sit and watch you.
  • Tracking: an investigator follows you and tracks where you go and what you do. Sometimes, GPS tracking units are used instead of a human investigator.
  • Drones: Privacy laws and privacy expectations vary by states regarding flying drones with cameras.

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Misuse Of Surveillance In Investigation Of Physicians Disability Claims

Whenever a disability insurance company receives a claim, it invariably hires a private investigator to conduct surveillance on the claimant. Ostensibly, the purpose is to expose fraudulent claims. With pressures to save money in todays economy, though, disability insurers are increasingly using investigations not to expose fraud, but to manufacture it. This practice can be especially profitable for the insurer when it comes to high-dollar claims filed by doctors or dentists.

In response to insurers high demand for surveillance evidence to use against claimants, a cottage industry of boutique disability investigative firms has sprung up nationwide. While in the past, an insurance company investigator might simply stop by your house and take a few photographs, todays investigators have become increasingly aggressive. Further, advances in technology have made it possible for even a local one-man operation to perform intensive, sophisticated surveillance operations without a claimant ever knowing.

These developments can be disconcerting, but understanding and anticipating surveillance tactics can help disabled doctors safeguard themselves from unfair treatment.

Hold On To Those Disability Papers

If your insurance company wrongfully denies your disability claim, fighting back is the only possibility you have for a fair and different outcome.

Keep copies of all correspondence between you and your insurerwhenever possible.

Find what you can, make note of the documents you remember submitting but cant locate, and save everything else moving forward.

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If Surveillance Has Led To The Termination Of Your Disability Insurance Benefits Fight Back

If your disability claim was wrongfully denied for surveillance or social media reasons, the ERISA attorneys at DarrasLaw may help if the insurance company:

  • Sent a private investigator who took the video that your insurer alleges invalidates your disability claims
  • Falsely asserts that your disabling condition was pre-existing and does not qualify for disability benefits under your policy
  • Failed to follow the terms of its own plan when deciding your eligibility for disability benefits, changing the interpretation of an own occupation policy to an any occupation policy, or using a vocational expert to say youre capable of working when you actually cannot
  • Makes endless requests for duplicative claim documentation, only to tell you that you supplied incomplete or unsatisfactory documentation, or that it never received it
  • Refuses to supplement Social Security Disability Insurance as required when the disability benefits promised by the policy exceed those received from SSDI
  • Has an improperly credentialed, the insurer-hired doctor reviewed your file and determined that you are not disabled, or talked to your treating doctor and determines that you are ready to return to work before that is actually possible

Undercover Surveillance And Social Security Disability

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While Social Security might not be as intense or proactive as private disability insurance providers regarding investigating claims through surveillance methods, undercover surveillance remains an option if Social Security suspicions as to the validity of your disability have been raised. For private insurers, a thorough background check is likely to be initiated through a third-party investigator. The investigator is tasked with gathering information that will be synthesized in a report detailing things such as where you live and who you live with along with details such as what properties are registered in your name, whether you have any active licenses or permits, and your criminal history.

Social Security is likely to already have these kinds of details in your file but may retain a private investigator nonetheless to further verify these details and more. You see, a private investigator working for Social Security may also be tasked with conducting both video and photographic surveillance. This is common practice when the government or private insurers are investigating potentially fraudulent claims.

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Why Do Insurers Use Surveillance Tactics

When an insurer suspects that claimants have exaggerated or enlarged their disability claims, insurers can lawfully surveil themin certain areas. These tactics are common in both individual and group long-term disability claims.

To prove that you are not as injured as you claim to be, insurance companies may follow you, take videos, pictures, and record a journal of various activities that you do daily. The goal? To catch you doing an activity that can disqualify you from receiving benefits according to the terms and conditions of the insurance company.

Can A Disability Insurance Company Conduct Video Surveillance Of A Claimant Whenever And Wherever They Want

Can these disability insurance companies do a video surveillance of a person when they feel like it or where they feel like it?

The answer is, they can do video surveillance, absolutely, they can do it as part of their investigation into your claim. Now, theres obviously certain places they cant do it. They just cant come into your home and do video surveillance there or come into your business and do video surveillance there without you knowing it and that would surely have some invasion of privacy rights there. But if you are out in the general public, they can definitely get you on camera.

And, I think usually they are obviously going to do it secretively?

And, was there anything illegal about what the surveillance person was doing?

There wasnt anything necessarily illegal, because she operates a business and anyone can walk in and out of the door. They did not stay there after they shocked my clients. I dont think there was anything illegal per say. I think it was definitely unusual because investigators are usually a little more discrete than that.

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Does Social Security Disability Follow You

If red flags have been raised about your disability, Social Security may hire a private investigator to catch you performing activities you have previously stated you can not because of your disability.

If you have been truthful about your disability, you should have nothing to worry about even if a private investigator catches you on video surveillance.

Will The Social Security Administration Spy On Me

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Posted Oct 4, 2021 by Gallo Cazort & Co. Law Firm | Disability Law

Through a Social Security Disability Insurance claim, a disabled individual can apply for financial compensation to support themselves and their family. The Social Security Administration reviews claims very carefullyclosely checking to confirm that the applicant actually qualifies for SSDI or SSI benefits.

This raises an important question: Does the SSA conduct surveillance on people who file disability claims? The short answer is that the SSA typically does not spy on peoplebut they do have authority to review their actions as part of the continued review process. In this blog post, our Arkansas SSDI attorneys explain the key things to know about SSA surveillance in disability claims.

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Outsource All Of Your Errands

Services like TaskRabbit, Angies List, a simple Google search, or just a friendly neighbor can help cut your grass for you, shovel snow from your driveway, or even wash your car. If you live in a condo, much of the outdoor activities are under your HOA, so consider yourself lucky. Dont ever work on your roof or fix your picket fences. Get a contractor to do that. Use your grocery store online delivery service for your milk, pet food, detergent, etc. We get much of our incriminating video from our claimants shopping in the local stores.

Do Not Be Paranoidbut Be Aware Of Your Conduct

You do not need to be paranoid if you are filing for or receiving Social Security disability benefits. The SSA neither has the resources nor the desire to spy on you or conduct overly invasive surveillance. At the same time, the agency is highly concerned about Social Security disability fraud.

Going for a walk in the park while receiving Social Security disability benefits is not going to cause you problemsespecially if you are following your doctors orders. Though, participating in physically taxing activities that are far outside of what you claimed to be capable of doing in your Social Security disability application could cause problems.

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Are You Worried About Your Upcoming Continuing Disability Review

On Behalf of Smith, Dickey & Dempster P.A. | Dec 1, 2021 | Social Security Disability |

You may have heard about insurance companies hiring private investigators to conduct surveillance on individuals who claim that they are disabled. If the claimants are found not to be disabled, their claim may be denied by the insurer.

The Social Security Administration works similarly, but rather than assigning every beneficiary an investigator, they have periodic reviews known as Continuing Disability Reviews . A CDR is performed once every couple of years, depending on your condition. If you have been issued a CDR notice, below are some helpful tips.

Insurance Companies Look For Evidence Of Ltd Fraud

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There are people who fraudulently file for disability insurance benefits. Because of this, insurance companies study claims, looking for data that suggests the person is lying or trying to work the system. Where theres evidence of fraud, its understandable that the insurance company would hire a private investigator. Its important to stamp-out fraud. Honest claimants are hurt by the small number of people who file bogus claims.

However, some insurance adjusters assume that everyone is lying, regardless of the facts. They use surveillance to monitor and to harass honest people who file claims searching for anything that can give them an excuse to deny a claim or terminate a claim.

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Stay Inside Your House

Seems obvious, right? Well most certainly be able to videotape you if you come outside. Well follow you in a covert vehicle and videotape your activities. However, a private investigator cannot legally enter your property, nor can we videotape on your property without your consent. This means we cant go onto your front yard, we cant set up a covert surveillance camera on your lot, and were certainly not allowed to enter your house. Become a hermit!

Why Workers Comp Claims Are Investigated

Its no secret that workers compensation is often abused by people who want to take advantage of the system. This, in turn, takes away benefits from those who rightfully deserve it. So you cant blame the insurance company nor the state if they just cant take your word for it.

If the insurance company finds out that youre lying in your claim, you can be charged with workers comp fraud. The punishment for which differs from state to state. But in general, it includes jail time, penalties, and restitution to the employer or insurance company.

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Private Investigators Fraud And Surveillance

A private investigator will use surveillance to monitor an individual. The reason for this is because the insurance company will need proof that the individual is not injured and doesnt require disability benefits. Surveillance operations will help to gather that type of evidence.

Depending on the situation, the private investigator will set up surveillance in a couple of different ways. The most common include:

Surveillance from a Vehicle

A private investigator will use a vehicle to run surveillance on an individual. The private investigator will park the vehicle at a discreet distance and watch the individual when they are at home. If the individual leaves home, the private investigator will tail them until they reach their destination. In some cases, a private investigator will work with other private investigators to make sure they have eyes on the individual at all times.

Surveillance on Foot

If the individual goes anywhere on foot, a private investigator will follow. According to the article written by the Kingston WHIG Standard, private investigators have even pretended to join a gym to capture evidence against someone making a fraudulent benefit claim. A private investigator can still run surveillance on foot, they just need to be very careful not to let the suspect catch them in the act.

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