In the age of social media, nothing is private anymore. Every day, millions of Americans upload personal information about themselves, most without thinking about how that information could be used.
If you are filing for Social Security Disability benefits, you should be highly aware of what you are posting online. Even things that may seem innocuous have the ability to affect a disability examiner or administrative law judge’s opinion about you.
While the Social Security Administration has official rules prohibiting examiners and judges from searching the Internet for information about disability applicants, that doesn’t mean it never happens. It just means that social media activity cannot be cited as a primary reason for denial in a disability decision. Public information about you could still be found, and could color a case evaluator’s perception of your claim.
We’re not trying to scare you off Facebook forever. We just want to you to be aware of what information is publicly visible on your social media accounts. As long as you’re being honest about your condition and abilities on your Social Security Disability application, you shouldn’t have any problems, but just in case, you may want to do an audit to see what information about you is publicly available.
Delete anything you feel could affect your case for benefits. Even an innocent status update posted in jest such as “love all this free time I have waiting for disability benefits,” could raise some eyebrows by the Social Security employees evaluating your claim.
Once you’ve cleaned up your social media profiles, consider making them private if you haven’t done so already. Not just because you are applying for disability benefits, but because it’s simply a good idea for your protection. You never know how people will use your information, and the last thing you want is for it to fall into nefarious hands.
Finally, as you move through the disability process, be mindful of what you are sharing and how a disability examiner or administrative law judge could react to it. While your profile may be set to private, there are other ways it could end up in front of public eyes.
In the end, your social media accounts probably won’t have much of an impact on your Social Security Disability case, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you have any concerns about your claim for disability benefits, including whether your social media activity could be hurting your case, you should consult with an experienced Social Security disability attorney.
Curious on what other behaviors might have a negative impact on your Social Security Disability claim? You’ll definitely want to read our article with “10 Things You Shouldn’t Do When Filing for Social Security Disability.”