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Social Security and Social Media

Posted by Louis B. Lusk | Oct 31, 2012 | 0 Comments

Social Security and Social Media

Today it seems like social media is everywhere. It seems like everywhere you look, there is some mention of social media, whether it's the newspaper, television or computer. Of course, the majority of Americans use social media in some form. Social media comes in many different forms, whether it is Facebook (the most popular), Twitter, MySpace, or LinkedIn. Social media is very helpful with keeping in touch with friends and family, finding old friends, developing business connections and even getting the news. However, social media does have its downfalls. The content of posts and pictures can come back to haunt people, especially those applying for or receiving Social Security Disability benefits. In the past, people have had their benefits stopped or denied due to something they posted on a social media website. For example, a person seeking Social Security Disability for a disabling back injury could hurt their case significantly by posting photos of them rowing a boat or chopping wood on vacation. While that person may be able to do such activities for a short period, there's no way to convey the after-effects to those viewing the photos. In fact, the person may have been in pain for days afterwards from simply swinging an ax for five minutes, but the viewer cannot, will not, know. In another example, a person receiving Social Security Disability for disabling depression who posts status updates about a happy event could end up losing their benefits. Again, the problem is that the viewer may not understand the full extent of the person's situation. While a post may make it seem like the person is happy, it does not convey the fact that the person may be depressed the rest of the week. Before you post anything to a social media website you should keep several things in mind: • Can this photo or video convey the wrong message about my injury? • Will friends' comments hurt my case? • Are you posting and commenting excessively, making it look like you can type a lot and return to work? • How will this look to someone that does not know me? In addition, you should adjust your privacy settings so that only your friends can view your posts, pictures and other content. While the privacy settings from some social media sites, like Facebook, can be confusing, there are numerous Internet sources with helpful instructions. Alternatively, if you want to be certain, then you can disable your social media profile altogether. The Social Security Administration has warned all of its decision makers, which includes initial-claims analysts through administrative law judges, not to use Internet websites and social media websites to obtain information about those seeking or receiving Social Security Disability benefits. Even though they have been instructed not to use Internet or social media sources at the moment, that could always change. In the event that the Social Security Administration changes its policy, or one of its decision makers chooses not to follow the policy, it is still advisable to conduct yourself online as if they might read anything you post on social media sites. See Related Links: Why Some Social Security Disability Claims Are Denied How S.S.A. Decides If You Can Do Your Past Work

About the Author

Louis B. Lusk

About Louis B. Lusk – Disability Attorney Attorney Louis B. Lusk has helped thousands of disabled individuals recover Social Security disability and SSI disability benefits.  He is an active member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant's Representatives (NOSSCR), an organizat...


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