by Stephanie Caudle, contributing writer
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and the list goes on and on of some of the most popular social media platforms available for free usage on the internet. Every day, millions if not billions of people upload personal information about themselves (and their friends and families) to these popular sites without ever considering how this information can be used. Having so many users being so willing to freely give out information has made social media a primary hub for many companies and agencies to gather information about the individuals.
While many social media users don’t care about the amount of information they release on these social media platform, it’s important that Social Security Disability applicants do. This is partially because even the most minute detail can impact an administrative law judge’s opinion.
Recently, the Social Security Administration passed a set of rules and laws that specifically prohibits examiners and judges from using social media to find information about current disability applicants; however, the law itself doesn’t stop those individuals from looking at the things they see online. These laws and rules just essentially protect social media activity from being used as a reason of social security benefit denial. Although social media can’t be used, other public information could still be used and impact the evaluator’s perception of your claim.
This is not to scare you away from social media; however, if you or your legal client is planning to file for social security disability benefits here are a few tips you should consider implementing before you file:
Delete Any Incriminating Photos
If you have recently filed for disability benefits you may want to delete those photos of yourself doing anything that could incriminate your case. For example, if you are currently out of work because you can’t walk and have filed a claim you may not want to post pictures of you going out swimming in the middle of the day. While going swimming could be a part of your rehab, it may send a message that you are being fraudulent in your claim which could ultimately lead to the courts denying your claim.
Be Mindful of Social Media Status Updates
In this modern age of social media, many users feel the need to let their friends and families know what they are doing every waking minute of their lives. While these status updates may seem minor to you, it could appear to be a major problem for an evaluator reviewing your claim.
Refrain from Speaking Directly About Your Claim
This may seem like a no brainer but don’t ever use social media to speak directly about your claim. The last thing you would ever want to do while having an active claim is to reveal the contents of it to your social media family.
Make Sure All Your Social Media Pages Are Private
If there’s something on social media that you feel like could incriminate your social security disability case, make sure your social media pages are private. While social media is a relatively friendly place, you may want to be careful not to add people you don’t know because you never know who could be lurking on your social media attempting to find a reason to deny your claim.