Surveillance

It doesn’t happen every often, but every now and again a claimant will ask me if the Social Security Administration conducts surveillance to use against the claimant in processing continuing disability review (“CDR”) claims. Up until this weekend I would have said, “No. Although possible, I have never heard of Social Security conducting an investigation and using surveillance video against claimants.” However, that is all about to change.

Effective November 23, 2012, the Social Security Administration issued Transmittal No. 09, 11/2012, “Procedures for Special Cases and Handling” in Subchapter 25 of Chapter 330 (Disability Hearing Unit Procedures) in the PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM (POMS).

The long and short is that Social Security may start using video surveillance against claimants in CDR hearings. The Office of Disability Programs states it added this section to provide guidance on processing continuing disability review (CDR) Disability Hearing Unit (DHU) cases with a Cooperative Disability Investigations Unit (CDIU) report of investigation (ROI) in file. Its guidance focuses on the identification, treatment, and resolution of issues with using a CDIU ROI in the CDR decision. These reports contain sensitive law enforcement material and may be used in the claims adjudication process. POMS DI 33025 TN 09 provides an explanation of consideration of the CDIU ROI in the Disability Hearing Officer (DHO) decision.

A Cooperative Disability Investigations Unit Report of Investigation (CDIU ROI) may include video surveillance in addition to copies of school and/or employment records. Most of an ROI will be a report of third party interviews by highly skilled interviewers. The hearing officer will consider the reports, weighed with the totality of the evidence, to evaluate and determine whether, and the extent to which other evidence supports the reports. The ROI helps the adjudicator evaluate the credibility of a claimant’s statements: “Surveillance information in both video and narrative form can provide snapshots of a claimant’s observed functional ability. We consider this information with all the other evidence to reach conclusions about the claimant’s medical impairment(s) and, material to the determination of whether the claimant is disabled, if the claimant is able to work on a sustained basis.”

The newly-issued POMS even provides a sample sentence of how an investigative report may be used to deny a claim: “The record in this case contains a report of investigation by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General. According to the report, investigators observed you performing activities inconsistent with your alleged disability.”

2 Comments
Thought I'd chime in on this. Found you in an online search for the name of the SSA OIG division. My ex-wife is disabled, she has serious psychological problems. It's what caused our divorce. She is not capable of caring for herself because of the paranoia associated with her illness so I built a small apartment like area in the walkout basement for her. When she has issues I help her get through them. Plus she can maintain a relationship with our daughter. Turns out there is a Police Force employed by the Social Security Administration that investigates these cases. She rarely leaves the house and I had been working with her to be able to go to the store but her paranoia, I thought, had gotten so bad she thought she was being followed all the time. I didn't believe her until she refused to leave Wal-Mart parking lot one day she just sat on the bench out front. I had to go pick her up but instead when she described the vehicle and man inside that was following her and I saw him in the parking lot as I pulled in. The weirdest part was he caught my eye when I pulled in before she gave me his description. I had no reason to think anything but when I saw him he struck me as someone up to something and bigger than shit she described that person. I told her to go get in her car and drive home I would follow her home. As she left I'll be damned he followed her but he should have paid attention to me because I was not at all happy about this turn of events and I had no idea he was law enforcement. I cut him off with my truck blocking his access to follow her any farther and was planning on doing a lot more but he backed up and took off through another parking lot. True law enforcement would have identified themselves, at least that's what I thought. He made no such attempt instead he ran away like a criminal would. After that she would not go anywhere by herself. About a month later we get a knock on the door and low and behold 2 "officers" no uniforms were at the door wanting to "interview" her but it was more of an interrogation with me having to stop the one from being so ignorant demanding that she admit she's not disabled and is faking her problems. At that point I kicked them out of the house. I called her attorney to tell them what had happened and they explained that is always a possibility but my concern was in the questioning they said they had been by the house 4 other times and no one answered the door so she must not have been home meaning her statement that she rarely leaves the house was false. Truth was her paranoia keeps her from answering the door when I'm at work. I just happened to be running late for work that day when they knocked. I think they were trying to catch her alone so they could manipulate her into saying what they wanted. They didn't realize I hadn't left yet. They admitted to having our house under surveillance for weeks and following us all the time. What a great thing to do to someone who suffers paranoid delusions but maybe they weren't they actually were causing one of the problems she was having. She won her case but at great distress. The judge actually ruled against the investigators findings after I made my statement about their behavior. Their report was not as bad as I thought it was going to he but it was still negative. He was the one who ordered the investigation but was not prepared for how it was performed apparently. Since her attorney took the matter before him the day I called. This way he had heard about this prior to their report being turned in with the statements about them making an assumption of her not being home.
by Brad S. May 25, 2018 at 05:21 PM
I have been on disability since 2008 for three incurable illnesses.I received TWO long form review questions within 40 days and feel I'm being surveyed.Is it normal to receive TWO long review forms back to back?
by craig February 22, 2018 at 01:31 PM
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