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Attorney Shawn Taylor

SSDI benefits scrutinized in the light of social media posts

by | Mar 20, 2019 | Social Security Disability |

West Virginia residents may be interested in knowing the new role that Facebook and Instagram could play in determining whether applicants qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration released their budget for 2020 and said that they want to expand the use of Facebook and Instagram to evaluate whether an applicant for disability benefits actually meets the criteria.

This is nothing new; the Social Security Administration, in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector General, has been using social media to flag what they feel may be fraudulent activity for some time. What the Social Security Administration is asking for now is a budget that will allow them to use social media to a greater extent.

Understandably, hearing that the SSA will use social media in this way has raised a lot of eyebrows, especially among people who are concerned about data privacy. How will SSA get access to a person’s social media account? Social media accounts are not connected to a person’s social security number, so SSA will need to partner with social media companies to get access to backend user data.

Even if they were granted that access, it would be difficult to validate that the social media account they were looking at was actually created by the individual applying for benefits. Additionally, a photograph is just a snapshot of one moment; it does not reveal a person’s true lifestyle. A person who deserves disability benefits may have a good day and go out for a walk. Thankful for having a good day, they post an image of it online, and then their benefits are scrutinized.

A Social Security disability lawyer may be able to help clients whose SSDI benefits were denied. They may be able to help their clients through the appeal process and provide them with instructions on when and how to apply for benefits. An attorney may also explain work history and eligibility requirements that their clients must meet prior to applying.