The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and Social Security Administration (SSA) routinely examine social media accounts to determine if recipients are claiming Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits fraudulently. An article detailing their investigations appears here.
With the SSA carefully monitoring the Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media accounts of SSDI recipients, those who receive benefits—or have claims under investigation—should be very cautious with the information they share online.
Social Media Investigations Could Expand
Currently, the SSA’s disability investigations units and the OIG routinely check social media posts for fraudulent activity. However, the 2020 budget proposal released recently would allow the SSA to expand social media reviews in order to evaluate and review applicants claiming SSDI benefits. A spokesperson for the SSA indicated adjudicators could use social media activity to determine the supportability and consistency of evidence that reinforces a claim.
Issues surrounding data privacy have been raised, even though the SSA has not yet detailed how they will incorporate social media reviews into claims reviews. A major concern is profile authentication, as social media is seldom tied to verifiable identifying information. This could potentially require that the SSA request back-end user data directly from social media companies.
Critics also have concerns that social media is often an improper measure of a user’s average lifestyle. Users typically post only what they want others to see. To complicate things, user posts commonly involve memories, rather than current events. Opponents worry that the SSA could deny a claimant’s application if they share photos of an outdoor hike or ski trip from before they became disabled, for example.
Another concern regarding social media review is that the approval process is already long and complex, taking anywhere from one to three years to complete a review. Critics worry that adding another component to claim reviews could put additional strain on applicants who are already out of work and potentially struggling.
As we frequently advise clients, SSDI applicants should refrain from making social media posts regarding their claim or injury. Authorities monitor social media and can use this information to deny benefits at a hearing. Negative posts on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter can affect an examiner’s or judge’s opinion of you and hurt your claim.
We Can Help.
If you are unable to work due to a medical condition, mental illness, or injury, contact Daggett Shuler for help. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can handle all of the paperwork and details necessary to work to secure the Social Security Disability benefits you deserve.
If you have questions about Social Security Disability benefits—or if your claim has been denied—call Daggett Shuler Law at 336-724-1234. When you call, you will speak with a North Carolina Social Security Disability Attorney absolutely FREE. We will investigate every detail of your situation at no cost to you—and fight hard to secure the benefits you deserve.
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