Like many who use social media, you may find it is a convenient and fun way to stay in contact with people you would not normally see. Family members who live outside of Mississippi, old high school friends and people you've never met who share your same interests all convene on Facebook and Instagram to post their ideas and opinions.
If you suffer from a disability, you may find this connection to the world refreshing and uplifting, especially during those times when your condition does not allow you to get out and about. However, your friends and family may not be the only ones checking in on your status updates. If you intend to apply for disability through the Social Security Administration, the government may also begin monitoring your social media.
Who is lurking on your social media?
The upcoming federal budget apparently includes funds to allow the SSA to monitor the social media pages of those who apply for disability benefits. This is an effort to curb the growing rate of fraud among disability claims. With this in mind, you may want to be cautious about the comments you make or pictures you post. Anything you post that contradicts your claim of being disabled may jeopardize your eligibility.
The problem many critics have with the SSA's increased monitoring of social media during the disability screening process includes the following:
- The pictures you post may be from the time before your illness or injury.
- Technology makes it easy to alter digital images, and the SSA would have no way of authenticating your pictures.
- You may be like many who choose not to post the negative aspects of your life but focus on the positive.
- The SSA may take your posts or pictures out of context.
- Scrolling through the social media of disability applicants will add even more time to the already long process of screening and approving applicants.
- The SSA has no way of knowing if the site it is reviewing actually belongs to you or is a fake site.
Even though the widespread review of social media is apparently not yet part of the disability screening process, you will still have your share of obstacles to overcome to obtain approval. You do not have to go through the process alone. A skilled legal professional can advocate for you along the way.