How Social Media Can Ruin Your Social Security Disability Application
We’ve never been more open about our movements, thoughts from minute to minute, and our favorite snack foods. Social media has turned the everyday into news; thrust the spotlight on the mundane moments of our lives. What some of us don’t realize is that the images and words we let loose on the Internet are permanent, and can be accessed by almost anyone. If you’re in the midst of applying for Social Security Disability benefits, what you post on social media websites could be the deciding factor in your application’s approval.
Change Your Privacy Settings
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have ways for users to restrict who can view their pictures and personal information. During the application process, you want to set the most restrictive privacy settings possible, and only accept follow or friend invitations from people you know in real life. Review photos your friends have tagged you in on Facebook, and if the content looks questionable, remove the tag. For example, if there are old pictures of you jumping on a trampoline, you want to restrict those who see them.
Photo Credit: Mashable
Don’t Talk to Strangers
Just like your mother said, it’s a bad idea to talk to strangers, especially on social media. Someone striking up a conversation with you on Twitter could very easily be a representative from the Social Security Administration gauging your functional capacity in light of your illness or injury. Innocent comments you make about your weekend could end up as evidence used against you to deny your application. Keep the tweets and status updates about the news, your thoughts on modern art, anything other than the time you went hang gliding when you were healthy. All it takes is one misconstrued statement for a rejection.
Don’t Post New Pictures
Avoid posting new pictures with you in them until you have received your approval letter from Social Security Disability. Again, this is about managing the perceptions about your illness or injury with its reality. Agents from the Social Security Administration don’t want to see pictures of an active lifestyle if you’re battling an illness that’s robbed you of your ability to walk without help. Agents might not concern themselves with the date you posted the pictures, and only pay attention to their content. Five year old pictures of your vacation to Barbados could be the doom of your disability benefits. Wait to post them.
Do a Google Search…of Yourself
Google yourself. Then have a friend (from a different computer) do the same thing. At the top of the page, you want to select the ‘Images’ tab and look through the first couple pages of results. This should give you a good idea of what other potential searchers see when they type in your name into the search engine.
Social media is a tricky and evolving platform for communication. It’s in everything we do, and there’s no escaping it in the modern world. However, with effective management, you can avoid the misunderstanding that could lead to the rejection of your Social Security benefits. If you have questions about how to handle the process, contact our law firm today for more information.