Posted on 12 Jul, 2015
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has been allocating additional fiscal resources to conduct Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDI). These are conducted in cases where and individual has applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments or is receiving SSDI or SSI and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) believes the claimant may be defrauding SSA. http://oig.ssa.gov/cooperative-disability-investigations-cdi
The process typically begins with a fraud referral from the DDS or SSA to the CDI Unit. They also receive fraud referrals from SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review’s Administrative Law Judges, private citizens, anonymous sources, and other law enforcement agencies. Disability fraud can involve malingering, filing multiple applications, concealing work or other activities, and exaggerating or lying about disabilities.
Fraud and deception in an attempt to obtain Federal benefits is anathema and should be condemned by anyone who is aware of someone engaged in this behavior. The problem with the CDIU is that the referrals tend to be fairly arbitrary in their attempts to discredit the person seeking benefits. The investigators are largely comprised of off-duty State Patrol officers who attempt to discredit the claimant by deceiving that person in the form of a “ruse”. The reports inevitably reflect the investigator’s perspective that the claimant is a deadbeat and ne’er do well otherwise he would not have been referred to the CDIU to begin with. The non-medically trained investigator will highlight his report with phrases like; “moved fluidly”, “was able to answer my questions politely and without hesitation”, “did not appear anxious and was able to take a phone call while I spoke to him.” Nothing in the report is neutral or objective and every comment is intended to provide a strike against the claim for disability. The report actually serves as a narrative furnished by the investigator as to how fit, capable and ready for work the deceptive claimant is and why the claims made to SSA should be discredited.
The most common deception involves sending two plain clothes investigators to the home of the claimant where they claim to be investigating identity theft. The investigators lie to the claimant about having found the claimant’s name, address and Social Security number on a piece of paper in a motel room where identity thieves were staying. When a claimant is confronted with the extremely unsettling and disturbing news of having their identity stolen, the instinctive reaction is to do anything possible to assist the investigator in any way possible. The investigators use the claimant’s cooperation and concern against them in the report, identifying them as lucid, clear thinking and cooperative. There is nothing objective about the reports written by the CDIU.