In 1998, the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Office of the Inspector General, with help from the State Disability and Determination Services (DDS) and local law enforcement, established the Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDI) program in order to prevent fraud by applicants for Social Security disability. The Units investigate claims for Title II and Title XVI benefits that disability examiners believe to be suspicious. Disability fraud includes but is not limited to malingering, concealing work activity, exaggerating about disabilities, receiving disability for a child who is not under the applicant’s care, failure to notify SSA of the death of a beneficiary, concealment of marriage or assets, and misuse of benefits by a representative payee. CDI Units obtain evidence in order to help resolve questions of fraud either before benefits are paid or at continuing disability reviews. The current program has CDI units in 31 states.
The process begins when a CDI Unit receives a referral. Referrals can come from many sources including DDS, the Office of Adjudication and Review (ODAR), private citizens, anonymous sources, or other law enforcement agencies. Once a referral is received by the CDI Unit, it is screened for its legitimacy and may be accepted or rejected. If the case is accepted, a CDI Unit will investigate the allegation. Investigations performed by a CDI Unit include interviewing the claimant, interviewing third parties, and/or conducting surveillance of the claimant. Once the investigation is complete, a report is sent to DDS. DDS has the ultimate authority to determine if a person should be eligible for benefits or if a person’s benefits should be terminated. Applicants found engaging in fraud may also face criminal prosecution, administrative sanctions, or civil monetary penalties.
For more information on CDI Units, contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. today at 251-343-1111 for a free case evaluation. Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. represents Social Security disability claimants in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana at all levels of the disability process from initial application to appeals to Federal Court.