LTD insurance companies have been known routinely subject their claimants to field investigations, surveillance, and “independent” examinations. Once you are awarded Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) does not regularly monitor your claim looking for ways to terminate benefits. Depending on the nature of your disability, the SSA may review your case from time to time with the frequency and extent of the review being directly correlated to the likelihood of your disabling condition improving in the future.
On the other hand, LTD insurance companies rarely leave you alone while you are on claim. They are constantly harassing claimants and their treatment providers for continual updates, which often include lengthy forms and interviews. Insurance companies will also routinely hire private investigators to perform surveillance, background checks, and social media activity checks. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to conduct video surveillance (along with internet activity checks), followed up by an in-home interview with one of their field investigators. The investigator might obtain a recording of the claimant outside their home performing some type of activity, which the insurance company will use to support a denial. This surveillance rarely tells the entire story and its significance is regularly exaggerated by the insurance company. For instance, the claimant may be seen on video outside of their home taking out trash or running a few errands. However, what may not be captured by the surveillance is the hours of rest the claimant required inside their home after performing the small amount of activity. Since the goal here is to attack the disabled person’s credibility (and deny their LTD benefits), the insurance company has little interest in making sure they have a complete picture of the situation.
What’s more, the insurance companies can also require you to undergo an “independent” medical examination or functional capacity evaluation with a physician or examiner of their choosing. These examinations can be extremely problematic due to the potential for significant bias on the part of the evaluator. The “independent” evaluator is being paid by the insurance company to perform a one-time assessment of the disabled individual and usually spends very little time with the person otherwise.
While you typically don’t have the option to refuse an interview or independent examination request, an experienced LTD attorney from Abell & Capitan Law can help you navigate these perils. We will push back against improper behavior by the insurance company, and expose/document the examiner’s bias. If your long-term disability insurance company has you under the microscope, Abell & Capitan Law’s experienced lawyers can help. For a free consultation, please dial 800-689-1056 today.