Pennsylvania residents have likely seen examples of individuals who have had negative experiences at work, at school or with law enforcement because of what they posted on social media. Now, the Social Security Administration may start turning to Facebook and Instagram when evaluating a person's disability claim.
The Social Security Administration already uses social media to identify fraudulent activity. However, the proposed budget for the 2020 year shows that SSA is hoping to expand the way they use social media to evaluate an applicant's claim for disability benefits. The goal is to assess the consistency and supportability of a claim.
There are a number of individuals who are concerned that an expanded use of social media by the Social Security Administration could represent a data privacy concern. It would seem that the social media company being used by SSA would need to allow SSA access to the backend of user's data. This is because a person's social media profile is not connected to their Social Security number. In addition, a good portion of social media users have their profiles on a private setting, making it impossible for non-friends to view them.
Another challenge that the Social Security Administration faces when using social media in this way is that social media does not give a clear picture of a person's lifestyle. A person may not post on social media about the difficulties they are going through on a daily basis with their disability. However, if they have a good day, they may post a photo of a hike they went on or a vacation they took. When taken out of context, these posts may paint an untrue image of the quality of life the person has.
An attorney with experience in dealing with Social Security disability benefits may be able to guide their client through the legal process of claiming benefits. They may be able to evaluate their client's claim and help them to see whether they are eligible for disability. They may explain the process of filing for benefits and show them what steps to take to increase their chance of success.