A man sits in a car, taking a picture with a long lens. Social Security can conduct surveillance on you to decide whether to continue your disability benefits. A man sits in a car, taking a picture with a long lens. Social Security can conduct surveillance on you to decide whether to continue your disability benefits.

Disability Reviews Surveillance

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    Can Social Security Spy on Me to See If I’m Still Ailing?

    When you’re depending on Social Security Disability benefits to keep food on the table, the idea of getting your benefits cut off is scary.

    Every several years, Social Security reviews your case to check that your health impairments still leave you unable to work. It’s called a continuing disability review (CDR).

    They might send people to conduct surveillance on you and try to catch you behaving like you’re healthy enough to return to work.

    But don’t let this scare you too much.

    Usually nobody follows you or watches you. And usually the review process is easier to pass than your initial application for benefits.

    At Mathis & Mathis Disability Advocates, we care about our clients even after their case is done—including helping in a continuing disability review.

    If you live in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Alexandria and Northern Virginia, or anywhere in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware or Pennsylvania—or any state—come to us with your questions.

    Social Security Disability Is All We Do.

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    What Happens in a Social Security Continuing Disability Review (CDR)

    Depending on the severity of your medical condition and how long it’s expected to take for you to recover, CDRs can happen every three years, seven years or over longer periods.

    The process can include:

    • Filling out a form
    • Submitting updated medical information
    • Undergoing fresh medical tests
    • Getting an exam from a doctor chosen by Social Security

    And sometimes Social Security might also decide to conduct surveillance on you.

    Claims reviewers are looking to see if you still meet the basic qualifications for Social Security Disability benefits.

    They evaluate whether your health has improved since they previously approved your benefits, if you still cannot work at all, and that the reason you can’t work is severe health problems.

    Disability benefits are not guaranteed all the way to retirement age. You must continue to have a legal disability to keep receiving benefits.

    Reach out to Mathis & Mathis, and we can provide a FREE consultation on your situation.

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    What Happens when Social Security Does Disability Surveillance?

    While the Social Security Administration (SSA) is secretive about exactly how they conduct surveillance on disability recipients like you, a few types of surveillance are possible:

    Direct Observation: The SSA could have someone follow you, trying to catch you doing something that proves your medical condition has improved and you could now work, like lifting heavy groceries into a trunk.

    Video Surveillance: The SSA could try to catch you on video doing something that shows you no longer have an impairment. Video evidence can create an inaccurate impression of your true overall functioning and can be very damaging in a CDR.

    Social Media Monitoring: The SSA can take advantage of your social media accounts to see if you’re posting messages, photos or videos that suggest you’re doing activities that shouldn’t be possible with your disability.

    Social media posts often only include the most positive moments and may create an inaccurate impression of your life.

    How can you avoid trouble with your disability benefits?

    • Don’t do anything that pushes the limits of your medical conditions.
    • Closely follow every detail of your doctor’s directions.
    • Keep social media accounts set to private.
    • Be careful what you post on social media.

    If you get a notice from Social Security that they are conducting a continuing disability review on you—and you worry, “Can the SSA spy on me?”—you don’t have to deal with this alone.

    Some disability firms might tell you just to call Social Security and work it out. Not us. You can get an experienced disability advocate to make sure your benefits—and your financial security—are well protected.

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    Applying or Appealing, We Can Help

    Whether you’re in the initial stages of applying, appealing a denial of benefits, or wondering if you qualify, Mathis & Mathis can help.
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    Social Security Disability FAQs

    Because applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be complicated, you likely have many questions about the process. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

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    Disability FAQs »

    Visual Guide: What To Do When Your Disability Benefits Are Up for Review

    For a breakdown of the most important parts of a Social Security continuing disability review, see this easy-to-scan chart from Mathis & Mathis Disability Advocates:

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    CDRs Visual Guide »

    Hear from a Mathis & Mathis Client

    “I could not recommend Mathis & Mathis highly enough. They were kind, patient and thorough. No question was too small. They were timely in responding to me. While the process of applying for and obtaining disability is a long, tough road, Mr. Mathis made everything so much better. If you are thinking about applying, please do and know you will be taken very good care of . . . just like family.”

    —  Tracey Jones, Google Reviews