Does Social Security Conduct Surveillance for My Continuing Disability Review?
What To Know About Keeping Your Benefits
When you’re receiving Social Security disability benefits because health problems make it impossible for you to work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) could conduct surveillance on you to decide if you can keep receiving them.
They don’t usually do it, but they can.
It’s a scary thought. You rely on disability benefits to support yourself and your family. The last thing you need is anxiety about something threatening those benefits.
But you shouldn’t panic. You need to understand the review process the SSA uses when it’s time to check on your benefits. Surveillance can be part of it.
An experienced disability advocate from Mathis & Mathis can guide you through this process.
What You Need for a Continuing Disability Review
The official process you’re undergoing is called a Continuing Disability Review (CDR).
It involves filling out a form, submitting medical information and sometimes undergoing medical tests and evaluations by a doctor paid by Social Security.
Depending on the severity of your medical condition and how long it’s expected to take for you to recover, these reviews can happen every three years, seven years or over longer periods.
They’re generally not as hard as applying for benefits the first time, but just like when you applied, you want all your information to be complete and correct.
And sometimes, the SSA might also decide to conduct surveillance on you.
Why Would the SSA Conduct Surveillance?
Disability benefits are not guaranteed for life. You need to continue to be classified as “legally disabled” to keep receiving benefits.
Because some dishonest people have cheated the Social Security disability system by continuing to receive benefits when they no longer needed them, the SSA doesn’t rule out spying to ensure you’re still incapable of working and that you’re following your doctor’s orders.
Remember, you have to meet the following qualifications to maintain Social Security disability benefits:
- You have a medical condition that makes you incapable of working.
- Your condition is expected to last at least 12 months.
- You’re unable to perform the work you used to do.
- You’re unable to adjust to a different type of work.
If you need help maintaining your benefits – or if you need to apply or appeal a denial – contact us today.
What Kinds of Surveillance Does the SSA Use?
While the 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 or injury has improved and you’re now capable of working.
- Video Surveillance: The SSA could try to catch you on video doing something that shows you no longer have a disability. This video evidence, if captured, can be very damaging in a CDR.
- Social Media Monitoring: These days, it seems like almost everyone is on social media documenting their lives. The SSA can take advantage of social media accounts to see if you’re posting messages, photos or videos that suggest you’re no longer legally disabled. Our advice is to keep your accounts set to private and be careful what you post.
How You Avoid Losing Your Disability Benefits in a CDR
If you get notification from Social Security that they are conducting a Continuing Disability Review on you – whether they use surveillance methods or not – at Mathis & Mathis Disability Advocates we recommend you avoid activities that push the limits of your physical or mental health condition.
Don’t attempt something that signals you are healthier than you really are.
Absolutely follow all your doctor’s orders down to the last detail.
And don’t go it alone when you’re submitting information for your review. Get an experienced disability advocate to make sure your benefits are protected.
Call Mathis & Mathis today. We’ll evaluate your situation for free.