Why Do Disability Insurance Companies Conduct Surveillance? Secret video surveillance is a common tactic used by disability insurance companies when reviewing a claim for benefits. Typically, the surveillance is conducted in hopes of “catching” a person doing activities that either they:
- claimed they could not do or,
- does not fall in line with the physical abilities the doctor(s) recommended.
Normally a disability insurance company will conduct video surveillance a couple of days before someone is scheduled for an Independent Medical Examination (IME) or Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). It can also be common for video surveillance to be taken the day of these examinations. Additionally, insurance companies also request this occur during holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions. Why Do Disability Insurance Companies Conduct Surveillance? Their goal is to disprove your disability.
Along with surveillance, your disability insurance company may want to have an “in home” long-term disability claim interview with you. These interviews look at what the person is able to do. It takes into consideration the medical conditions from which they suffer. If an insurance company contacts you for this interview, it is likely that surveillance has already been conducted.
Long-term disability insurance companies normally do not weigh all of the medical evidence evenly. Instead, they focus heavily on edited portions of surveillance. It is not uncommon for a person’s long-term disability benefits to be terminated based, in part, on surveillance footage.
It is important to understand that you may not have a right to privacy in public areas. This means footage taken at the grocery store, on the street, or while you are doing errands is not necessarily unlawful.
The surveillance footage taken in public places can be used against you in your long-term disability case. Fortunately, for most people “caught” on surveillance, they are only seen running errands or doing normal activities of daily living. These types of normal activities of daily living usually do not have any relevance as to whether they are unable to work.