At Dell Disability Lawyers, we’ve helped thousands of long term disability claimants successfully appeal denials of their claims – and one of the most common reasons for these claim denials involves video surveillance. Even if you’ve never noticed an insurance representative lurking around your house, video surveillance of claimants is so common that it’s not a matter of “if,” but “when.” What should claimants know about how long term disability insurance carriers monitor their daily activity?
Even “private” social media posts aren’t protected.
Social media surveillance is just another form of the video surveillance that insurance carriers have engaged in for years. Whether this surveillance involves items you’ve posted on your own social media pages or tagged posts from your friends, children, or others, they’re always fair game for disability insurance companies. Some disability insurance companies will even create fake social media accounts and send you (and others in your circle) friend requests so that they can access private posts.
While it’s crucial to remain cautious about what you post, it’s also important to remember that social media rarely tells a complete story. For example, your disability claim form may have stated that you can’t walk for more than 20 minutes; if there are social media photos of you on a short hike, these could be used to rebut this claim, but they won’t capture the fact that you spent the next few days confined to your bed. Your best bet is to carefully review any posts in which you appear to ensure that they can’t be taken out of context.
It’s important to always be honest, never exaggerating or overstating your symptoms and limitations.
Although the idea of video surveillance can be intimidating and even offensive, there’s little to worry about as long as you are honest and don’t overstate your limitations in your claim questionnaire. The disability insurance company is looking for any potential discrepancies between what you’re seen doing and what you’ve claimed you can (and can’t) do.
You’ll also want to keep in mind that your claim questionnaire is designed to measure your abilities on a typical day, not necessarily your worst day. Though it can be tempting to focus on your worst days, assuming that doing so will improve your odds of claim approval, it also significantly increases the chance that you’ll be seen doing something you’ve claimed you can’t.
And remember, the ultimate inquiry is whether you can do things like sit, stand, or walk for an entire workday – saying you can stand for 30 minutes when you actually can stand for an hour won’t improve your odds of approval if the question is whether you can work for eight hours straight.
Video surveillance is designed to challenge your credibility.
To the disability insurance carrier, the purpose of this video surveillance (which isn’t cheap) is to challenge your credibility enough that it can justify denying your claim. One aspect of this surveillance involves follow-up interviews. The long term disability insurance company may try to catch you in a lie by asking you about something you were observed doing to see whether you admit to it. Again, honesty is always the best policy; if the insurance company shows that you stretched the truth in both your claim questionnaire and a follow-up interview and has video surveillance to prove it, winning on appeal can be an uphill battle.
You’re entitled to a copy of the video surveillance the disability carrier has created.
Every disability claimant is entitled to a copy of their claim file upon request, and this includes any video surveillance that has been generated as part of your claim review. If your claim has been denied, or even if you’re just worried that your claim might be denied, you’ll want to request a copy of the surveillance so that you know exactly what the insurance company was considering while evaluating your file.
It’s tough to tackle this process alone, but you don’t need to. At Dell Disability Lawyers, our long term disability insurance attorneys have extensive experience in dealing with disability insurance companies, which includes fighting back against video surveillance. To get started, give us a call to schedule a FREE consultation with a member of our legal team.