Can Social Media Be Used Against You in a Disability Claim in NJ?

Even if you yourself do not have it, social media is ever-present in our lives. Literally billions of people worldwide use platforms like Instagram, TikTok, X/Twitter, Facebook, and more. Many details about someone can be found on social media platforms. There are countless stories of people getting fired, relationships ending, and other bad things happening because of something that came to light on social media platforms. Recently, attorneys have begun to look at the social media platforms of clients and opponents to try and get an edge. If you are looking to obtain or keep disability benefits, this can be troubling.

It is entirely possible that things like Facebook and Instagram will be used to try and hurt your disability claim. Interested parties can find things you post, both public and “private,” and use them against you if they work against what you say is true in your disability claim. However, it is also true that social media is only a glimpse into someone’s life, so something that may initially appear compromising may simply be misunderstood by whoever is looking at it.

For a free review of your situation by our New Jersey disability attorneys, contact Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (609) 557-3081.

How Do Posts on Social Media Harm Disability Claims in NJ?

Of all the reasons that a claim or application for disability coverage may be denied, a social media post is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. However, online posts can hinder efforts to get disability coverage in more ways than you may initially expect.

Your Posts Show Lack of Disability

One way that social media posts hurt individuals seeking disability coverage is by demonstrating to insurance companies and application evaluators that you are not, in fact, disabled. For example, suppose you claim you are disabled because you cannot perform basic physical tasks, and after you submit your application, you post videos of yourself kayaking on vacation. That video clearly would show that you are not as totally disabled as you claimed to be. Accordingly, you may be denied coverage by an insurance provider or government program.

It also does not matter whether these posts are public or private. There are various ways of getting access to “private” things on social apps. So, if your public-facing page is squeaky clean, but there are private videos showing a lack of disability, you may still be in hot water.

Other People’s Posts

Your social media pages are not the only ones you need to worry about. Things other people put out online can also compromise your claim. For example, if you claim disability, but a friend’s Facebook page has a video of dancing during a night out, that could raise suspicions as to the extent of your disability.

Will Disability Insurance Providers Really Look at My Social Media in NJ?

Private insurance companies will absolutely prowl through your social media presence to see if you actually need coverage. Insurance companies are not in the business of paying out every policy all of the time, so they are going to make sure that it makes sense to provide coverage. If you believe there is anything that may raise some eyebrows on your social media pages – even if you are completely deserving of disability coverage – you should discuss it with our NJ disability lawyers so that we can address it when it inevitably comes up.

There are different rules for federal programs evaluating whether you are disabled. These programs can generally only look at your social media presence if they suspect you of fraud per HALLEX § I-3-2-40 – a set of rules the SSA uses when hearing claims.

Tips For Social Media Use When Applying for Disability in NJ

Our Mount Laurel, NJ disability attorneys have put together some tips and tricks to help make sure that your disability application process goes as smoothly as possible. It is important to manage your social media pages during that time because even innocuous posts may sound proverbial alarm bells for someone looking at your application.

Limit How Much You Post

One important thing to do is limit how much of your life you make available online. Try to keep social media postings to a minimum as you go through the application process. This way, there are fewer chances that someone can take a post out of context and put your claim into question.

If you are going to post something, avoid posting things that make it look like you are not disabled. For example, if you are going to post yourself doing a physical activity prior to becoming disabled, it may be best to hold off posting it until after your claim is approved. Even then, if you’re going to post it, be sure that it is crystal clear that this is not a recent video. Additionally, do not post about your disability, work, or other things directly related to your claim.

Let Friends Know Your Situation

Talk to friends and acquaintances and let them know that you do not want them to post anything that could make it harder for you to acquire the coverage and benefits you are entitled to. A well-meaning friend could inadvertently post something that would tip off someone looking at your claim.

Google Yourself

One trick you can use to find anything that may make your disability claim more difficult is typing your name into a search engine and seeking what comes up. You might be surprised. If anything troubling for your claim does come up, it is better if our lawyers know about it so we can address it.

Talk to Our New Jersey Disability Lawyers About Your Claim

Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates’ Passaic, NJ disability lawyers can answer any questions and address any concerns you have about your claim when you contact us at (609) 557-3081.

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