According to the latest social media update from Pew Research Center, 79 percent of adult Internet users were on Facebook in 2016, with many of those same adults using numerous other social media sites. More people are turning to social media sites to connect with friends, coworkers and loved ones. However, disabled adults thinking about applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits need to be prudent with what they post online.
Your social media posts provide a window into your daily life and activities. Disabled people should bear in mind that their private lives are visible whenever they post. Posts from disabled people have already been used to stop benefits, according to Government Executive. In addition, with speculations surfacing regarding benefits fraud, The Washington Times reported lawmakers are asking the Social Security Administration (SSA) to use these channels to investigate SSD claims.
To protect yourself, speak with your lawyer about what you should and shouldn’t post online while you apply for SSD benefits as well as for the duration of receiving SSD payments. Many attorneys will advise that you stay offline completely or limit your use of the networking sites. Because so many people are on the sites where information is easily accessible – even if you have strict privacy and security settings around your profiles – you need to be extremely careful about what you share online.
What Types Of Social Media Posts Can Cause Red Flags?
According to Government Executive, one rock musician got SSD benefits for years. However, the SSA stopped his payments stopped in January 2014. That’s because the SSA learned he didn’t have a disability at all from the musician’s online posting history. SSA claims reviewers learned he was still performing via online posts, which called into question his eligibility for SSD benefits.
Social media posts can also catch fraudulent workers’ compensation and insurance claimants. Stories abound about how social media has helped claims adjusters and insurance companies investigate questionable claims. For example, Leaders Choice Insurance reported that one Los Angeles man alleged his back injury stopped him from working. Meanwhile, the claimant posted on his social media profile that he bowled a perfect game. What this tells investigators is that this person’s claim may be fraudulent.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
An experienced disability attorney or advocate can help you secure benefits faster. In fact, having a disability lawyer file your paperwork doubles your chances for benefit approval the first time you apply.
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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.