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ERISA LAW BLOG

Why Surveillance Can Make or Break Your Disability Claim

Why Surveillance Can Make or Break Your Disability Claim

I am writing this blog to follow up on my previous blog on social media and short term/long term disability claims.   

Another insurance company tactic that all short term/long term disability claimants should be aware of is surveillance.  Insurance companies can and do hire outside investigators to perform surveillance on claimants.  Insurance companies also very frequently use the surveillance collected to deny claims.

As with social media, if you have an active short term/long term disability claim it is imperative that you are observant when outside.  I am not implying that a short term/long term disability claimant should stay inside like a hermit, however, it is important that individuals be aware that there is a very real possibility that the insurance company’s investigator is recording outside activities.

By way of example, many years ago our firm handled a case for an individual who was on long term disability due to back problems.  His long term disability claim in South Carolina was denied, and my firm handled the appeal.  As part of the initial claim process, the insurance company had an investigator perform surveillance on the claimant.  During that surveillance, the claimant was observed playing football in a park, as well as other activities that were not necessarily consistent with an individual being disabled due to back problems.  As a result, the negative surveillance greatly impacted the amount of disability benefits that my firm was able to obtain on the claimant’s behalf.

Many times claimants can tell when they are being surveilled, but that is not always the case.  Investigators are hired because they are able to perform surveillance without being detected.  Therefore, if you do have an active short term/long term disability claim, it is important that you are aware of the fact that it is a very real possibility that the insurance company is performing surveillance on you.  If you suspect that you are under surveillance, it is imperative to your claim that you are not observed performing activities outside of your reported restrictions and limitations.  It is possible to overcome many bases for denial, however, video surveillance of a claimant performing activities that are not consistent with reported restrictions can possibly prove fatal to a short term/long term disability claim.

If you have a denied short term or long term disability claim, please do not hesitate to contact Leila Louzri at 864-242-6200 or llouzri@fosterfoster.com.

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