Just like Michael Jackson sang in the chorus of Rockwell’s 1983 semi-hit, “Somebody’s Watching Me” … “I always feel like somebody’s watching me, and I have no privacy … Woh!” Everyone is accustomed to this feeling in today’s world of social media and smart devices. Placing tape over your computer’s webcam, getting targeted ads after discussions with your spouse, and devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home listening to your every command. “Alexa, who is watching me now?” It’s easy to feel like you are being watched, and that you truly have no privacy. However, there may be someone new watching you in the near future, that is, if you have applied for social security disability benefits.
Unfortunately, it can take years for your claim for social security disability benefits to work through the system, and what you say, do, and share on social media during this time can have an impact on your benefits. You and I know your medical condition is severe, and your family and friends see the significant impact it has on your life, relationships, and mental/emotional health. However, what does your social media account show everyone else? I suggest you begin to think twice when posting on social media.
Disability Claims Under Review
Starting in 2020 the Social Security Administration is going to expand its review of claimant’s social media when evaluating claims for disability benefits, or so provisions in the 2020 Social Security budget proposal suggest. This is not entirely new, for years the Social
Security Administration has reviewed social media when investigating fraud. However, fraud review affects a small fraction of claims. If the Social Security Administration follows through with social media review on all claims, or even certain subsets of claims, it will add a whole new consideration and potential pitfall to disability claims.
Does Your Social Media Activity Put Your Case at Risk?
Posts can easily be taken out of context by disability examiners and administrative law judges. Dates on posts do not always reflect when events actually happened, and it is easy to appear more active and capable than you truly are in the limited context of social media posts. More importantly, regardless of the context or date, posts do not give a true representation of a person’s life. We are far more likely to post the good in our life, or portray happiness for appearances than to be honest on social media. Will claims examiners and administrative law judges take these facts into consideration when reviewing your claim? Is this a risk you are willing to take?
Regardless of the answer to these questions, reviewing social media accounts will only lengthen already extensive wait times for decisions on disability claims at all levels. If social media review does become an everyday consideration for the Social Security Administration, it will be more important than ever for claimants to contact our office for assistance and guidance for disability claims. Regardless, you should be aware of what you post and how it can be interpreted.
Our office has the experience and knowledge to assist you with your disability benefits claim and guide you through the pitfalls of the Social Security system, including social media review. Whether you are thinking about applying for disability benefits, have applied for disability benefits, or need to appeal a denial, Gold, Khourey & Turak can help. We will fight to get you the benefits you and your family need and deserve. Do not hesitate to contact our office at (304) 845-9750 for a free consultation.
As much as social media and smart devices can do and predict, they can’t make the call for you … at least not yet. I look forward to hearing from you.