Let’s face it: Americans are on social media constantly. It has become the norm for people to post regular updates about their lives, sometimes multiple times a day, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you are one of these social media savvy individuals and you also receive or have filed an application to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, it is important to know that Uncle Sam may soon be monitoring what you post. It is a potential tool many in the Social Security Administration (SSA) want to take advantage of in order to evaluate the veracity of disability claims.
Behind the scenes, the current WH administration has been working on a proposed plan to use social media platforms in an effort to identify individuals who claim SSD benefits but are not actually disabled. For instance, if an individual claims benefits due to a knee injury, but is discovered in a photograph posted on Facebook playing volleyball at a neighborhood picnic, such evidence may potentially be used to counter the veracity of the claim.
What the critics of SSD say
Those who are critical of the Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income programs claim that they are fraught with many abuses of individuals taking advantage of the system. At the same time, it is also important to understand that a substantially rigorous process is in place through which claimants must pass in order to gain approval for their benefits.
Proponents of the SSD benefits program assert that the abuses are relatively few in number compared to the whole, and often involve a group of complicit individuals. In other words, the average person is not savvy enough to fake his or her way through the required medical exams and doctors’ visits to become eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
Potential evaluation of claimants’ social media pages
As we said, the SSA is currently considering allowing their initial examiners to review the social media pages of claimants prior to the award of benefits. This could mean a claims examiner would have the power to deny a claim based on a single photo or comment that seems to indicate the individual is not disabled.
Here is an example of how this may lead to a wrong decision on a claim. Suppose a photo of you smiling at your child’s birthday party is present on your Facebook page dated after the time of your injury. Although you may be in pain, you chose to smile through the pain. This and many other examples could be given that would potentially lead to misevaluation and an unjust denial of a claim.
These types of issues should serve as a reminder for SSD beneficiaries and claimants to use great caution when posting on social media.
If you are unable to work due to an injury that has left you disabled, Plaxen & Adler, P.A. is here to help. Our Maryland Social Security Disability attorneys can help you submit a claim for benefits and fight on your behalf to recover the benefits you are owed if you have been denied. We serve our clients on a contingency basis, so we only get a fee if you are approved for disability benefits. To set up as free consultation about your case, call us today at 410.988.4449 or fill out our contact form.