Currently there is a prohibition keeping SSA judges and employees from looking at social media when evaluating disability claims. But that prohibition can easily be ignored simply by requesting SSA to perform a “Cooperative Disability Investigation” (or CDI).
In one federal case, the Court concluded it was ok for an ALJ to deny a disability claim because the claimant “displayed a penchant for technology utilizing electronic mail, text messaging, maintaining a MySpace account and playing video games online.” Duran v. SSA, (N.D. Ohio 2011).
It is easy to see how a claim could be denied if a Facebook account shows offers for sales of crafts or jewelry, baby sitting services, travel destinations, lots of meals eaten at restaurants, etc. One federal court found a picture of a claimant smoking and then suggested that the SSA judge consider that when assessing her credibility. Purvis v. SSA, (D. N.J. 2011).
As always, the best course to follow is to always be truthful and not exaggerate any of your activities on any form of social media. Remember that once you post something on the internet, it is “out there” for anyone to see. If you need help navigating the maze of the Social Security disability process, give the board certified attorneys at Morgan & Weisbroda call – we have over 35+ years of experience in helping the disabled get the benefits they deserve!
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.