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Think Before You Post: How Facebook Could Impact Your Boston Social Security Disability Application

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John L. Keefe
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If you’re like many Bostonians, you love to keep your status updated on Facebook, check in at your favorite restaurants on Newbury street, and share photos of your adventures around town. Facebook is a fantastic social media tool for staying in touch with friends. Unfortunately, it’s also one that could come back to do more harm than good when it comes to your Social Security disability case.

Can Facebook Really Harm Your Social Security Disability Application in Boston?

In 2012, the Social Security Administration (SSA) passed a law banning administrative law judges from accessing Facebook profiles while deciding whether or not a person should receive Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. This instilled a false sense of security in some applicants who were trying to game the system and collect SSDI benefits they didn’t deserve.

There was quite a bit of controversy around the law.

Supporters felt that Facebook posts could be interpreted incorrectly and therefore should not be relied upon as evidence to support a judge’s decision. Opponents said that accessing Facebook profiles would give unique insight into a person’s level of disability and limit fraudulent claims.

While both sides make good arguments, it is important to remember a few things when it comes to posting on Facebook and your application for SSDI in Boston:

  • Social Security officials still allow judges to use information gleaned from the Internet to make decisions—they just cannot actively search for info from your Facebook page.
  • Fraud investigators still have full access to your Facebook newsfeed, and they can use it if they suspect you might be receiving SSDI fraudulently.
  • It is always better to take the safe route and not post anything that could be misinterpreted, just in case it accidentally lands in the hands of the wrong people.

Today’s Internet- and social media-driven society is beneficial in many situations. However, posting to Facebook while your application is being reviewed or while you are receiving SSDI checks might not be the best option for your case.

Do you know someone receiving SSDI who frequently posts photos and status updates that could be misconstrued to make a judge or investigator believe she is not disabled? We encourage you to share this article with her so she can tune in to what she’s making public and how others could interpret her posts.

Category: I Already Applied

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law

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