Social media has become a part of daily life for many Americans. Posts about our families, our friends, our jobs and our daily activities are so common as to be second nature. In most cases, these are completely harmless ways to share your life with those you love.
However, it’s important to remember that, even though these posts are aimed at those close to you, Facebook statuses, Tweets, and Instagram posts are also out there on the internet for all the world to see. If you’re applying for disability benefits or appealing a denial, it’s important to tread carefully when deciding what is appropriate to post on social media and what could have a negative effect on your case.
Earlier this year, this Trump administration said it was working on a plan to allow the Social Security Administration to check the Facebook and Twitter accounts of disability claimants as part of an effort to combat fraud. Unfortunately, this is just as likely to have a negative impact on claimants who are legitimately suffering from disabling conditions as it is for those who may be fraudulently collecting benefits. Social media is not a reliable source of evidence and posts can be easily misinterpreted or misunderstood.
Tips on Responsible Social Media Use
Avoid this problem by taking the following steps to protect yourself from an unfair claim denial based on information from your social media pages:
- Don’t post: The best way to avoid posting something detrimental to your case is to not post anything at all. By remaining silent on social media, you avoid giving any ammunition that can be used against you. Try emailing or calling friends instead.
- Watch your words: If you feel you must post, avoid saying anything that would indicate that your disability isn’t genuine. No matter how innocent it may seem to you, many posts about your “activities” may make it appear to others that you aren’t really suffering from a disabling condition and just want to avoid work. We know this is likely not the case, but it’s easy for an insurer to try to construe your words that way when denying benefits. Even if the activity you’re posting about, or the photo you want to share, is from before your condition’s onset, it’s better to be safe than unfairly denied benefits.
- Check your settings: Another way to protect yourself online is to change the privacy settings on your account so that only those closest to you receive your updates. Even if you set your account to private though, it is never 100% secure.
While social media can be an amazing tool for staying in touch with family and friends, it’s important to use reasonable caution when deciding what to share. Information can easily be taken out of context and misinterpreted, so if you’re unsure whether it’s OK to post or not, the best decision is to play it safe and not post.
If your disability claim has been unfairly denied, it’s important to get an attorney to help with your appeal. M. Stanley Whitehead is a dedicated disability denials lawyer in Houston, Texas. Contact him today for help.