An increasing number of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases are involving evidence from Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDI) Units. The Social Security Administration (SSA) utilizes CDI Units to investigate allegations of fraud. The Units work in conjunction with the Office of Inspector General (OIG), as well as State Disability Determination Section offices, and local law enforcement agencies. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI claims most often involve CDI Unit investigations where a State Disability Examiner believes there are suspicious elements to the claim. The CDI Units also receive referrals from hearing offices, private citizens, anonymous sources, and law enforcement agencies. The investigations are not limited to initial claims, but also involve Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) where the SSA is looking at cutting off benefits to people currently receiving them.
The CDI Units investigate allegations by interviewing the recipient or potential recipient and third-parties, as well as conducting surveillance and examining social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. The ultimate investigate report is entered into the claimant’s file and may be used in the decision making process whether at the DDS level or before an Administrative Law Judge. While a CDI Unit investigation is ongoing, the SSA does not inform the claimant or the claimant’s attorney. Once the investigation is complete, the report detailing the investigation is supposed to be entered into the claimant’s file, but the claimant may never know that a denial benefit is based on evidence gathered by a CDI Unit, nor given a chance to combat evidence that may be incorrect.
As it should not surprise anyone in the current political environment, the Congress has demanded in the SSA budget that the SSA take necessary action to ensure that CDI Units are expanded nationwide.
If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability, VA disability, Railroad Retirement Board disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or through our website.