In our increasingly fast-paced world, social media is being used to connect people with distant friends, family members, and acquaintances. Social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great ways to stay updated on the major milestones of people you care about.
However, social media is also being used in professional and legal settings. A lot of information that you would prefer to only be shared with family and friends is becoming public knowledge. Sometimes, the information that you put on Facebook and other social media outlets is used against you, affecting things like your job or legal claims like Social Security Disability.
Can Your Facebook Profile Be Used as Evidence?
Officially, your social media presence should have nothing to do with your Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration has passed rules making internet searches off-limits in determining an individual’s eligibility for disability benefits.
However, the information that you post online isn’t invisible to judges and examiners. If they do happen to see information on your Facebook that contradicts your claim for disability benefits, then they will likely do some more digging to see if you have properly represented your case.
For example, let’s say that your Social Security Disability application claims that an injury has caused permanent damage so you cannot sit or stand for extended period of time. Later, you post pictures on your Facebook profile of you and some friends parasailing and playing touch football.
If a judge were to see those pictures, he or she may assume that your disability is not as severe as you claim. That assumption may affect the decision that will be made regarding your case.
How Can Your Facebook Profile Harm Your Case?
You should be careful when you post to your Facebook profile, even if you aren’t involved in a Social Security Disability suit. Avoid posting any photos of you performing illegal acts or acting irresponsibly, as they could be used against you in the future.
You should be especially careful about the information you post after you submit a claim for Social Security Disability benefits. If you report particular conditions to the courts, you should not be engaging in any activities that would exacerbate your conditions or contradict your impairment allegations.
What Should You Do?
The best thing to do is to practice caution when posting information or pictures on Facebook and other social media outlets. This is especially true when you are still in the process of submitting a Social Security Disability claim.
Avoid posting any information about your disability or about the legal process. If you must communicate about the process, restrict your digital communication to email, text message, and other private methods.
If you have already posted information regarding your case, it is impossible to completely delete it from the internet. However, you can take some steps to limit the likelihood that someone will see it.
You can adjust your privacy settings to the maximum restrictions possible for all of your social media platforms. You may also consider deleting the posts from your social media platforms. While deleting posts does not prevent diligent searchers from finding your posts, a casual observer will not see them.
Also, avoid making digital connections with people you don’t actually know. Don’t accept friend requests or follow requests from people who you have never met in real life. If investigators decided to pose as friends to gain access to your social media profile, you would hand them access to potentially damaging information by accepting their requests.
Remember, be careful of how you use social media, especially if you are involved in litigation. Private information is no longer private when you post it on Facebook or other social media profiles. If you’re getting ready to submit a Social Security Disability claim, contact Horn & Kelley, PC Attorneys at Law for more information on how they can help you with your claim.