Texas residents, like their counterparts across the country, are very likely to post pictures and updates on social media. While many may find social media platforms a way to communicate with their friends, what they post can be used against them in certain cases. For example, the Social Security Administration recently decided it would analyze whether program integrity and fraud identification would be improved if social media networks were used in disability determinations. This means if a Social Security Disability benefits recipient posts their picture playing golf while claiming a back injury, it could affect their eligibility.
Likewise, the government has been working on a proposal to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to weed out people who are receiving Social Security Disability benefits for injuries but are not disabled. Posts could be used to show that the injury in question was not disabling. Social media can become a treasure trove of information about SSD recipients or claimants.
While many are supporting the move as a way to ensure only deserving claimants receive SSD benefits, others worry that photos should not be used to provide reliable evidence of someone’s current condition. Its difficult to tell when a picture is taken-just because it is being posted now does not mean it has been taken now. Additionally, people are more likely to post pictures of happier times, not bed-ridden or unwell. Currently disability examiners do not use social media while making determinations, but they can refer suspicious cases to the inspector general.
Changes in the SSD benefits program can impact how one not only prepares their application but also how to handle one’s reviews. It might be helpful to consult an experienced attorney for guidance on what one’s legal options are.