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Can social media affect Social Security disability benefits?

When you suffer a disabling injury or illness and cannot work, securing benefits is crucial. For man, this includes disability benefits from Social Security. These benefits can replace a portion of your wages and cover necessary medical care.

However, the process for applying for these benefits is complicated. And these complexities combined with an overwhelmed system means that the Social Security Administration can reject applications for just about any reason. This could include your social media activity and statements.

Using social media to screen applicants

According to reports, the SSA is considering adding a social media screening element to disability claim evaluations. The proposal would allow adjudicators to review an applicant’s Instagram and Facebook pages as part of the application process.

Proponents say that this will allow the SSA to screen applicants better. They say it could serve as another tool to review a person’s condition and make decisions on whether he or she meets the requirements for disability benefits.

Critics argue that using social media regularly as a part of the application process is unwise. One serious concern is that adding social media review to the evaluation would delay the review process further. The approval process can already take several months or longer. Considering the importance of these benefits, every day matters.

Additionally, it could also present adjudicators with misleading information. People often represent themselves online differently than they do in real life. They might post pictures or statuses that make themselves appear more active or healthier than they actually are. Some people do this to seem happier or more independent. Others post information that strangers simply take out of context.

Finally, people also worry about how it would affect an applicant’s privacy. Would the SSA be able to access back-end data? What if a person’s account is private? How would the SSA authenticate a person’s profile?

Presenting a solid case

Whether this proposal will move forward or not remains to be seen. However, it can be crucial for disabled workers to understand all that goes into the decision-making process for disability benefits. Again, the SSA can reject applications for any number of any reasons. Having the guidance of an attorney as you complete an application or pursue an appeal can be wise.

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