You use social media to stay connected to loved ones, meet new friends, and be involved with your community. Social media is a huge part of connecting with others in this day and age, and it’s even more important for disabled individuals who may not have the ability to participate in physical meetups and events.
Unfortunately, your social media presence could be detrimental to your Social Security disability claim. People tend to use their social media as a highlights reel of their life, rather than a way to show the true details of their day-to-day life. This can hurt your application if the SSA happens to look at your online presence.
Wondering how you can submit the strongest disability application possible? It’s a great time to talk to a disability attorney in Pensacola. We’ll help you prove your case to the SSA. Give us a call at 850-433-0888 to get started.
Assume That Anything You Post is Public
Whether you spend most of your time on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or another social media platform, your presence is likely not as private as you think. Even if you have your profiles set to private, curious searchers can find out a lot by Googling your name or username. For that reason, you should assume that all of your posts could be available to the public.
When you post a picture of yourself hiking from five years ago, will the SSA look at that and assume that it’s recent? What if a relative posts on your wall and thanks you for coming out to a birthday party, even though your disability application states you are homebound?
You know that the hiking post is a memory of a time when you had more freedom over your body and movement, but the SSA might now. You know that you used all of your physical and mental strength to make it to the family member’s birthday party, but the SSA might think that going out is a common occurrence for you.
Does Your Social Media Activity Align with Your Disability Claim?
As of right now, the SSA does not routinely go through applicants’ social media to look for red flags. It would simply be too time-consuming. However, if there are inconsistencies in your application, they may do a quick search to see what they can find.
Look through your social media profiles and imagine you’re someone who’s stumbled onto your page for the first time. Think about what assumptions they would make about you, how accurately your social media represents your life, and if your social media persona aligns with how you describe yourself in your disability application.
How to Protect Your Disability Application
None of this means that you have to give up social media entirely. Your mental health and well-being are important and staying connected to friends is a big part of that. However, you may want to take a few minutes to ensure that you are using social media responsibly.
First, make sure your accounts are locked down. Many platforms have a tool that allows you to view your profile as a non-friend. Verify that your posts, photos, and tagged posts are not viewable. If there are any security holes in your profiles, take this chance to fix them.
Second, avoid talking about your disability claim on your social media. Any jokes or well-meaning advice about your claim could cause the SSA to go through your application with a fine-toothed comb. This is something to keep private and only discuss with your attorney.
Finally, be careful about who you befriend. Before accepting a friend or follow request, make sure you actually know the person behind it. An investigator could easily create a realistic-looking dummy profile and try to follow you so they can see what you’re posting. The tighter you keep your circle, the easier it is to prevent leaks.
Get the Help You Need with Baker & Baker
Applying for disability benefits can be stressful, but having a dependable legal team makes it much easier. To talk about your application with our Pensacola disability attorneys, call us at 850-433-0888 or .