Does social security disability spy on you? This simple guide explores social security disability surveillance and ways to avoid disability fraud.
Are you worried Social Security might be investigating you? It’s understandable to feel a little anxious.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) often investigates to ensure individuals are not receiving benefits to which they are not entitled.
Fortunately, certain signs can help determine if the SSA is investigating you. Knowing the signs can put your mind at ease and help you take the necessary steps to protect your rights.
Read on to learn how to determine if the SSA is investigating you, why, and how you can prepare.
Does Social Security Disability Do Surveillance?
Yes, the Social Security Administration conducts surveillance to investigate potential fraud or to decide if a person is still disabled under their definition of disability.
SSA surveillance activities include:
- Monitoring the activities of disability recipients.
- Investigating suspicious activity.
- Conducting interviews with disability recipients and their family members.
- Reviews of medical records, financial records, and other documents.
- Obtaining surveillance videos.
The goal of SSA surveillance is to ensure disability recipients comply with program rules and are not receiving benefits they are not entitled. If a disability recipient violates the rules, their disability benefits may be suspended or terminated.
Reasons Why Social Security Would Review Your Case
Here are the top reasons the SSA may investigate or review your disability case.
Continuing Disability Review (CDR)
The Continuing Disability Review (CDR) is a process the SSA uses to determine if a recipient of Social Security disability benefits continues to have a disabling condition.
The SSA conducts a CDR at least once every 3-7 years, depending on the severity of the disability and other factors.
The CDR assesses your medical condition, medical records, ability to work, living arrangements, income, and other resources. If the SSA determines you are no longer disabled or blind, your benefits will stop.
Social Security Disability Fraud
The SSA will review or investigate your disability case if they suspect potential fraud or abuse of the system.
For example, Social Security fraud includes:
- Lying about your disability.
- Exaggerating your symptoms.
- Concealing facts or events that affect your eligibility for benefits.
- Misusing disability benefits.
- Performing substantial gainful activity (SGA).
- Filing claims under another person’s Social Security number (SSN).
- Failing to notify the SSA of a death and continuing to collect the deceased person’s benefits.
3 Types of Surveillance the SSA May Use
The SSA generally uses surveillance as a last resort to investigate potential fraud. They typically have reasonable suspicion the claimant is not being truthful about their disability.
SSA surveillance activities may include:
- Direct Observation
- Photo or Video Surveillance
- Monitoring Social Media
Let’s look at these surveillance tactics closer.
1. Directly Observing You
The SSA could have an investigator follow you in public places. They look to see if you’re doing anything that may show your condition has improved or are no longer disabled.
For example, the investigator may watch to see if you can:
- Drive a car
- Lift heavy objects
- Walk long distances
- Stand for long periods
- Function without assistance or assistive devices
The investigator will then report to the SSA on their findings.
2. Photo or Video Surveillance
The SSA may also use photo or video surveillance to prove you’re no longer disabled if they suspect fraud.
Like direct observation, video surveillance can catch you performing strenuous activities you stated you couldn’t do because of your disability.
The SSA can use photo or video surveillance against you when determining your eligibility for disability benefits.
3. Monitoring Your Social Media
Social media is another method the SSA uses for surveying Social Security Disability claimants.
You could put your disability benefits at risk by posting photos or videos that may show you’re no longer disabled. Also, be cautious of your comments and “tagged” posts by your friends.
Social media is easily accessible, and the SSA’s fraud investigators are adept at using it. Whether waiting for a decision on your disability claim or already receiving benefits, be careful about what you post online.
How Do You Know If Social Security Is Investigating You?
If the SSA decides to investigate you, investigators may follow you to your Continuing Disability Review or Consultative Examination.
Other reasons to believe the SSA is investigating you include:
- Lying about your disability
- Committing Social Security fraud
Note: The SSA will not notify you if you’re under investigation. Therefore, it’s always best to be truthful about your disability claim, follow the SSA’s rules, and not commit fraud.
Does Social Security Monitor Your Bank Account?
The SSA can check your bank account if you receive benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
The SSA can check your bank account to verify you still meet the program requirements. To qualify for SSI, you must have limited income. If your income exceeds the program’s limits, you no longer qualify.
On the other hand, if you receive disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, the SSA cannot check your bank account. Individuals qualify for SSDI based on their work history, not income.
Precautions You Should Take to Avoid an SSA Investigation
If you’re concerned with Social Security investigations, there are precautions you can take.
Here are ways you can avoid an SSA investigation:
Follow Your Medical Treatment Regimens
Always follow the medical treatment regimens recommended by your medical team and doctors. Ignoring treatment and other recommendations will likely result in a disability denial.
Be Truthful About Your Medical Condition
Being truthful about your disability and symptoms is the best way to avoid a Social Security investigation.
It’s also essential to inform your doctor and medical team of any changes to your condition.
Be Careful About What You Share on Social Media
The SSA can easily monitor your social media accounts. They will review your comments, photos, videos, and tagged posts. For these reasons, you must be careful about what you post online.
Need Help with Your Disability Benefits? Call Us!
The attorneys at Evans Disability specialize in disability claims, and we will champion your disability case.
Call us today for a free consultation at (855) 503-0101.
Social Security Disability Surveillance FAQ
Answers to common questions about Social Security Disability surveillance.
What Is a Continuing Disability Review?
The Continuing Disability Review (CDR) is a periodic review conducted by the Social Security Administration to ensure individuals receiving disability benefits continue to meet the criteria for disability.
If the SSA determines you’re no longer disabled during the CDR, your benefits will stop.
Does Social Security Disability Spy on You?
The SSA typically does not spy on people. However, they can send representatives to your Continuing Disability Review or Consultative Examination.
In addition, the SSA may use surveillance if they suspect you’re lying about your disability or are committing Social Security fraud. However, the SSA uses surveillance as a last resort to investigate potential fraud claims.
Does Social Security Use Private Investigators?
The SSA typically does not hire private investigators. However, if they have reason you committed Social Security fraud or lied about your disability, they may use private investigator services.