How Social Media Activity Can Impact Your Social Security Disability Claim
Like millions of other people, you might rely on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms to stay connected to loved ones and make new friends. Social media is particularly helpful for those with serious disabilities, as it offers a barrier-free way to connect with people. For example, while someone with disabilities might not be able to attend a weekly chess club due to transportation concerns, they can easily make friends via an online chess group.
There is a downside to social media, however. Your social media activity could be used to deny your Social Security disability application. Call Walton Law at 251-455-5819 to talk about your claim now.
Your Social Media Leaves You Exposed
Many people are surprised to find out just how much information can be gathered by searching their social media posts. An experienced social media analyst can figure out a person’s job, family members, favorite places to go, hobbies, and relationship history by digging into their social media profiles.
Obviously, this can hurt you when it comes to a Social Security disability claim. If your social media features the highlights of your life like it does for most people, it may not include information about your chronic pain, inability to work, or medical issues. In fact, it might make you look completely healthy and carefree. While it is undoubtedly unfair to judge people based on this, the Social Security Administration does so.
Evidence That Can Weaken Your Claim
If you’re concerned about how this might affect you, you’re not alone. Many SSDI applicants are concerned to find out that their social media could harm their claim. Consider doing a thorough search of your social media profiles, looking for posts including:
- Physical activity or athletics. For the SSA to approve your application, they must have substantial evidence that you cannot perform your work duties. If you claim you are unable to work, a post showing you hiking with your family last weekend might cast doubt on that. The SSA can’t look at your post and immediately know that hiking left you bedridden for the next four days, or that you used a wheelchair most of the time and just got out for a picture. Expect that anything that can be misconstrued willbe misconstrued.
- Traveling. Traveling is another activity that is typically unavailable to those with disabilities. This is an example of an unfair stereotype hurting disabled applicants, but it is still something that can hurt your application. Try to keep posts about your travels off of your social media.
- Posts regarding your SSDI application. In general, it’s best to keep your Social Security updates as private as possible. Avoid discussing the process on social media.
Social Media as a Reason for Claim Denial
Currently, the SSA cannot use your social media as the primary reason for a claim denial. However, they can use it as supporting evidence for their primary reason for denial. If they see something in your application that raises questions, they may go to social media to look for additional evidence.
This Issue is Ongoing
While social media cannot currently be the main reason for a claim denial, note that this situation is still evolving. This issue only came up within the last few years, and there are still lots of questions swirling around the use of social media for SSDI applications. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when using social media.
Protecting Your Claim
Working with a disability law attorney during your application process can help you safeguard your application and avoid social media mishaps. Until your claim is approved, consider following these tips:
- Avoid using social media entirely. This would be ideal.
- If you must use social media, lock it down. If you can’t stop using it entirely, at least make your profiles private so strangers cannot view your posts.
- Limit your posts. Avoid making your entire life public.
- Have a trusted friend or family member log out and view your profiles as a stranger. This can help you look for information you don’t want to be publicly available and plug up holes in your security.
Strengthen Your Claim with Walton Law
Applying for SSDI can be stressful, but having the right lawyer working for you definitely helps. Find out how Walton Law can help you now. Call us at 251-455-5819 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.