You’re probably used to the idea of social media platforms tracking your online habits, but if you think it’s just a ploy to compel you to spend money in online shopping portals, think again. The day could be coming when the federal government uses Facebook to monitor your eligibility for disability benefits.
As well-respected Social Security disability attorneys serving clients in Camden, NJ, and throughout the Philadelphia region, we naturally took great interest in recent news stories about Social Security disability benefits and social media. According to a New York Times article published in mid-March, Social Security has proposed using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, essentially, to spy on people who claim federal disability benefits and make sure they’re not collecting those benefits under false pretenses. In other words, the goal is to prevent fraud.
For the more than 10 million Americans who depend on Social Security disability benefits for the income they need to live, this news is concerning.
The purpose of Social Security disability benefits is to help people who are unable to work due to illness or injury. It stands to reason that if you tell Social Security you can’t work because you’re injured, then post on Facebook about a recent rock-climbing adventure, it could arouse suspicion.
On the other hand, it’s extremely difficult to accurately judge people’s fitness to work based on social media, which does not always portray what’s happening in real time. The New York Times article raises a valid point: People are more likely to post pictures that portray them in a positive light. What if you post a picture from the past, before you were injured, and someone questions your disability as a result?
This news story underscores the importance of consulting an experienced Social Security attorney to help compile an airtight disability claim, and it’s also a good reminder to be careful when sharing any personal information online.
Social media can be an effective, enjoyable, and educational means of communicating and connecting with family, friends, and members of your community. On the flip side, social media can provide an unnecessary window into your personal life.
Here are a few helpful tips for guarding your privacy online.
As with any development that could potentially impact our practice and our clients, we will keep a close watch on the link between Social Security and social media. Feel free to contact our Montgomery County Social Security lawyers with questions or concerns about your disability claim or any other legal issue you face.