ARE YOU UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE SSA?
How do you know if you are under investigation by the SSA? Most claimants who are seeking disability benefits are not aware the Social Security Administration can investigate your activities. The SSA does put people under investigation. Therefore, you should be aware of when they are watching you.
BEING UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE SSA STARTS AT THE LOCAL OFFICE
Typically, it is the workers at the local claim office who start investigations. Workers at the local SSA office often talk to claimant’s on the phone. They may help you with your application. Or, they may call you to ask about your doctors. During these phone calls, if the worker gets the impression you are lying, then they can decide to investigate you.
Likewise, if the worker thinks you are still working because of answers to SSA’s work history questions, they may try to find out if you are committing fraud. It is always best to tell the truth to the SSA. Additionally, it is always best to hire a law firm with experience in disability law to speak to the SSA on your behalf. You will not be told that you are under investigation.
YOU ARE UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE SSA AT YOUR CONSULTATIVE EXAMINATION
Typically, when the SSA decides to start an investigation, they will follow you at your Consultative Examination. Consultative Exams are set by the SSA and they pay the doctors who do the exams. Most people attend a Psychological Evaluation or a Physical Evaluation with a physician. The SSA sets the time and place for these examinations. It is best to go. They will deny your disability claim if you do not attend.
SSA sends investigators to the offices of the Consultative Examiner. This person can park outside the doctor’s office in a car. Sometimes, the investigator will be in the doctor’s waiting room, pretending to wait for an exam like you. The investigator may start a conversation with you.
WHAT WILL THE INVESTIGATOR DO?
The investigator will listen to you if you are talking on your phone to someone. They will watch how you act and what you do. They are watching to see if you can drive a car. Also, they will write about whether you need a cane to walk into the appointment. Likewise, they will watch to see if someone drops you off at the appointment or picks you up. If you are on your phone, they might say in their report that you can concentrate on a phone or computer game. Also, if you sit in the waiting room and don’t stand up, but you are claiming back pain, they will write down the amount of time you sat on a chair.
The investigator may also follow you home or to a gas station or a store, if you drove to the appointment, . Wherever you go after your doctor’s appointment, they may be following you. If you go shopping, they will watch what you buy. Their comments will be about whether or not you have physical problems getting in or out of your car, walking into the store, or sitting or standing. Even if you are not being investigated, the doctor and the doctor’s staff will also note how you act, sit, stand, and get into the building in their consultative report.
IF YOU ARE UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE SSA THEY WILL COME TO YOUR HOUSE
Here is the second thing you need to know. The SSA investigators will come to your house.
They will typically pose as detectives. Who knows, maybe they are detectives? You could ask for their identification. They will usually say they are investigating the theft of your identity. Sometimes, they pretend they are investigating an internet crime, or they make up some other lie in order to get you to invite them into your house. Most of the time, they say they think someone is trying to steal your identity. Sometimes, they look up complaints you may have filed with the police and claim to be interviewing witnesses.
For example, let’s say you had your laptop stolen within the last year. They will come to your house and say they need to ask questions about your stolen laptop. This information gives them even more credibility, but they are still lying to you. The CDI unit calls it an “investigative technique,” but the rest of the world calls it a lie. They are telling you a lie to get you to trust them.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO SPEAK TO THE SSA INVESTIGATORS
Please remember, just because two people show up at your front door claiming to be detectives with information about identity theft or information about your old laptop, does not mean you need to talk to them. You do NOT need to let them into your house. Similarly, you do NOT need to answer their questions. In fact, you do NOT need to talk to them at all.
Frankly, it would be best for you if you refused to speak to them. Why? Because they are writing a report about you even though they do not have any medical training to assess your disability. The investigators are not medical doctors. They have no training in mental or physical medicine, yet they are writing a report about whether or not you “appear” disabled. Does this sound fair or ethical to you?
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU ARE UNDER INVESTIGATION?
If investigators follow you or come to your house, you simply do not need to talk to them. Even if you are not at home, the investigators may ask your neighbors about you. Likewise, they may ask questions about you to your roommate or other members of your family.
Explain to your family members or roommate that you do not want them to talk to strangers about you. Even if those strangers are claiming to be investigating something on your behalf. There are serious constitutional issues with regard to the SSA collecting information about claimants and using it against them in this fashion.
Beyond those issues, it is wrong to have people with no medical background making medical assumptions about disabled claimants. Watch out for these investigators. They are not on your side. The SSA investigators are trying to write a report that says you are not disabled, even though they are not qualified to make that determination.
HIRE CANNON DISABILITY LAW TO REPRESENT YOU IN YOUR DISABILITY CASE
You do need an experienced legal team to represent you before the SSA. Not only do you need an attorney in court, you need a legal team to help you apply for benefits and appeal SSA denials. You also need an advocate to explain to a judge why SSA’s investigators should not be judging your disability. Especially when they are not doctors.
Cannon Disability Law has lawyers and representatives in Utah, Nevada, and Idaho. Dianna Cannon has been representing clients with disabilities for over 30 years. During that time, we have won over $100 million in disability benefits for our clients. We work with you to build the evidence in your case. Also, we will help you from the day you apply for benefits through your hearing before a disability judge. Contact us today for a free consultation.