How Social Media Posts Could Affect Your Social Security Disability Application

social media icon concept with laptopClaims examiners used to ignore disability applicants’ social media profiles unless they were looking for evidence of fraud. Typically, they would not review social posts unless they already had questions about a claim.

Things changed in 2020 when the Social Security Administration announced that disability adjudicators could expand their social media monitoring. They could look at your posts even if your application did not raise red flags. They could check to see if your posts supported the evidence in your case file.

Below, Sigman Janssen explains how your social media activity could affect your application for benefits, and what you can do to protect yourself.

If you have questions about securing disability benefits, call our Appleton Social Security Disability lawyers to learn how we may be able to help. We have decades of experience and a track record of success.

Sigman Janssen. No upfront costs or legal obligation. Call (877) 888-5201.

Understanding Social Media Monitoring by the Social Security Administration

The SSA may review applicants’ social media activity to help verify the information provided on the application. They want to make sure the evidence provided matches the words and images on your social media profiles.

It is unlikely the SSA is aggressively combing through every post you have ever made. They are more likely to check social media if they have questions about your claim. They want to see if there are any discrepancies about your physical and/or mental limitations.

If your posts seem to indicate you can engage in more physical activity than what is detailed in your application, they may question the authenticity of your application.

Can the SSA Deny My Claim Based Solely on My Social Media?

Social media can contribute to doubts about the legitimacy of your claim, but it is unlikely to be the only reason for a denial. It is one piece of a larger puzzle the SSA uses to assess your application.

Negative Effects of Social Media on an SSD Application

Your social media content could affect the outcome of your SSD application, even though there was no intent to deceive claims examiners. Here are some of the potential problems with social media posts by disability applicants:

  • Contradictory posts: Photos or updates that depict physical activities, travel or other actions could be interpreted as inconsistent with your claimed disability. It might also raise questions about the true severity of your condition. You may view this perception as unfair because people usually only post about positive things. Perhaps you are uncomfortable posting about your disability because it is more fun to post about having fun with friends or family members.
  • Social media posts can be taken out of context: Posts taken out of context can affect the meaning of a picture or statement you made. Unfortunately, the SSA may be more likely to take things out of context. For instance, you may have posted about going to the playground with your child. The SSA may view this suspiciously because they do not know that you were home in bed the day before and right after you took your child to the playground. The SSA may see that one picture as a representation of a typical day in your life.
  • Time stamps and location tags: Posts with specific locations and times can provide unintended insights into your mobility and activity levels, potentially conflicting with the information provided in your SSD application.

Should I Delete My Social Media Accounts?

Being mindful of your social media presence does not mean you have to stop posting or delete your accounts. Instead, follow these guidelines to protect your SSD application:

  • Review your privacy settings: Ensure your accounts are set to the highest privacy settings. This action limits who can see your posts and personal information.
  • Think before you post: Before sharing anything on social media, consider how it might be perceived by someone reviewing your disability claim. If there is any chance it could be misconstrued, it is best not to post it.
  • Limit social media use: While your claim is pending, consider limiting your social media activity. If you do post, keep the content unrelated to your activities or physical capabilities.
  • Tell friends to avoid tagging you: Even if you do not post on social media, you could get tagged in someone else’s posts. This could affect your eligibility for disability benefits. You may want to tell your social media friends and followers to avoid tagging you.

Are You Seeking Federal Disability Benefits? Call Sigman Janssen

Social media has the potential to influence the outcome of your Social Security Disability application. However, with careful management and the support of experienced legal counsel like Sigman Janssen, you can navigate this challenge effectively.

If you need assistance with your SSD claim or appeal, reach out to our experienced law firm. Our team is dedicated to advocating for your rights and securing the benefits you deserve.

Free consultation and no upfront fees. Contact us: (877) 888-5201.