Social Networking Can Affect Your Social Security Disability Claim
BY: Jennifer L. Ruth, ESQ.
Social networking websites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are making more of our personal lives public. Social networking can have many benefits but, being careless with your profile can have significant financial consequences if you have filed for disability. Disability companies and the Social Security Administration are increasingly turning to social networking sites to find evidence that can be used to deny a disability claim.
The Social Security Administration has proposed checking up on claimants on social networking sites to discover fraud and abuse in its Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Such monitoring is already being done in some fraud and abuse investigations. Previously, the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General reviewed social networking sites to investigate fraud claims and arrested more than 100 people who had defrauded the Administration out of millions of dollars.
The Social Security Administration is looking at expanding social networking site-monitoring to claims earlier in the application/claim process before any benefits have been awarded or investigations have been initiated. Disability advocates and representatives argue that social networking profiles can often provide misleading evidence. Dates when photos were taken are not always identifiable. Further, not all disabilities prevent individuals from participating in activities that might otherwise seem questionable given the individual’s claim for benefits.
There is undoubtedly fraud and abuse in the program. Any program this large is almost certain to be a target for people who want to scam and take advantage of the system. There are ways individuals who are claiming disability benefits can protect themselves from an allegation of fraud, as it relates to the content of their social networking sites.
If you are pursuing a Social Security Disability claim or any disability claim for that matter, it may be best to simply refrain from having any social networking presence at all. However, if you feel you cannot give up your favorite social networking sites, you can protect yourself by being very careful about what you post and what you allow to be posted about you online. Additionally, adjusting your privacy settings can be beneficial. The default privacy settings on most social networking sites allow anyone to look at your page. If you are thinking about filing for Social Security Disability or have a pending claim, only trusted friends and relatives should have access to your social networking pages. Simply by adjusting the privacy settings, you can restrict who is permitted to view your content and protect yourself from unwarranted allegations of fraud.
If you are considering filing for SSDI or SSI or if you have filed and been denied, call Scaringi Law now at 717-657-7770 and speak to one of our disability attorneys.