Social media impacts many parts of our lives. It is a wonderful way to share with the world who we are and what we’re doing with our lives. However, it can also be a tool used against us in the most surprising of circumstances. You may not realize it, but what you post online can impact your legal life and your potential for receiving SSDI benefits.
When you apply for SSDI, an administrative law judge for the Social Security Administration will review your case based on medical records and other evidence submitted by your lawyer and the council. This judge is not supposed to consider evidence outside the administrative record, including social media or information found through an online search.
However, there are still ways in which an administrative judge can review your social media accounts. For example, insurance companies, retained investigators, and legal professionals oftentimes submit evidence for SSDI claims. They may investigate your online activity, including social media accounts and submit that as part of the documented evidence of your case. The SSA may also subpoena files from your insurance company or other sources, which could include your social media account activity.
You may not think that your social media is a big deal. So what if they see your vacation photos or silly rants online, right? The fact of the matter is, however, that innocuous social media activity can be strewn as evidence against your case. Your happy vacation photos may show you doing activities that you are not supposed to be able to do with your condition. While your social media accounts may not paint the entire picture of your disability, it can certainly be used against you when the judge is reviewing your case.
There is also the chance that your judge looks you up online on their personal time. While they may not be able to use your social media as evidence, it can certainly color your perception and lean their bias from in favor to opposed to your case. They are human just like the rest of us, and your social media presence can certainly affect the way a judge perceives you, even if it is based on assumptions.
If you’re in the midst of an SSDI case, be careful of what you post online. You may also want to contact an attorney if you believe that your SSDI claim was denied unfairly because of evidence gained from your social media accounts. Contact Katherine Stone of Injury Florida Law Firm to learn about your rights and options for appealing an SSDI denial.