Long-term disability insurance companies spend large sums of money to check up on their claimants each year. Generally, these surveillance tactics are done to catch those trying to cheat them out of a claim. Because of this, it can be important to follow through on all treatments and care required for your condition. In the event that your insurance company’s surveillance shows you doing activities inconsistent with your claim, they may use it as evidence to deny or end your benefits.
Some disability insurance companies spend millions each year on private investigators and surveillance tactics. They do this because catching non-compliant individuals help them increase profitability. Unfortunately, it also can make it harder for those who are truly struggling with a disability to get the funds they need to take care of their condition. Below, we will discuss the different surveillance tactics that disability insurance companies may use. You should also note that the possibility of surveillance is generally disclosed within the terms of your disability insurance policy, so they are within their rights to do so.
Background checks are often a part of the disability inquiry process. The results of the report may be utilized to better investigate you in the future. These checks can be used to verify your position at work, your criminal history, the properties registered in your and your spouse’s name, and more.
Video and photo surveillance is not an uncommon practice in disability inquiry investigations. Generally, the investigator may park outside of your home for a few days in the hopes of catching you acting unimpeded by your debilitating condition. They may also follow you if you leave the house. There are a number of different aspects the investigator may be looking for. These might include:
- Whether or not you moved with difficulty
- How long you have remained at your home
- Whether you socialized
- If you carried anything
- If you drove, and for how long
- Where you went
- Whether you used an assistive device, such as a cane, wrist brace, etc.
- What you were wearing
Depending on your claimed condition, as well as other factors, the investigator may look for other factors than those listed above. Generally, it is the investigator’s job to overanalyze everything you do. The insurance company can use any instance of activity that is not in line with your claim as a way to deny or terminate your benefits.
Internet Checks & Searches
Searching for your online activity is also a tactic employed by some insurance agencies. This can be inspecting your activity on social media, or searches that go much deeper. At a base level, it is common for the insurance company to look into your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms. It would be easy to catch you doing non-compliant activities if you are posting them online yourself. They may look into your photos, statuses, posts, comments, location, and more through your social media accounts. Overall, this is a way that many insurance companies are able to terminate non-compliant individuals. It is not hard for the investigators to find a post that can justify further inquiry or even termination of your benefits.
Beyond social media, there are plenty of other ways that an investigator may be able to catch you doing non-compliant activities on the internet. For example, comments on forums, posts on business web pages, dating apps, and photos posted by other people may be enough to question your disability claim. Even articles about you could raise a red flag for the insurance company.
Pretty much anything on the internet regarding you can be fair game for the insurance company. Don’t assume that because your account is private, you are clear to post whatever you want. Changing security settings can sometimes limit the investigator’s ability to look into your account, but that isn’t always the case.
Reducing Your Risk of Losing Your Long-Term Disability Benefits Denial Because of Surveillance
Overall, it is important that you do not lose your much-needed disability benefits because of nefarious surveillance tactics. Insurance companies often use these tactics to limit their payouts and maximize profits. However, they can often harm those that truly need the benefits. Below, we will discuss some ways to help reduce your chances of losing your long-term disability benefits in this way.
Know When Surveillance is More Likely
Generally, it is more common for surveillance practices to occur around claim-related appointments. These may include doctor visits, important testing procedures, Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs), or field interviews with insurance reps. Because the insurance company has a good idea of where you will be for these appointments, they are more likely to surveil before or after these.
Avoid Activities Outside of the Purview of Your Disability
One of the ways people can have their benefits terminated is if they are acting outside of the activities they should be doing while disabled. This can vary greatly based on disability. But generally, if you have a physical debilitation, ask someone for help instead of lifting or carrying heavy objects. If your condition prevents you from being able to drive for long periods of time, consider asking a loved one for a ride, or using a rideshare app. If you have a condition like carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis, which prevents you from typing for long periods of time, don’t spend all day gaming on the computer. After you are injured as a result of an accident, avoid exercising affected areas without the permission of your doctor or physical therapist.