5 TIPS TO POST, PIN OR TAG WISELY
I hope you had a wonderful time at little Jimmy’s 6th Birthday party but those fun photos holding little Jimmy (even though it was only for a minute) might just cost you your disability benefits.
Facebook, Instagram, etc are wonderful places to share your life’s happiest moments but it turns out that your Facebook family aren’t the only ones looking at these photos. The Social Security Administration is being directed to scan social media profiles to determine who is really disabled and who is faking it.
According to the New York Times, “The Trump administration has been quietly working on a proposal to use social media like Facebook and Twitter to help identify people who claim Social Security disability benefits without actually being disabled. If, for example, a person claimed benefits because of a back injury but was shown playing golf in a photograph posted on Facebook, that could be used as evidence that the injury was not disabling.”
No one wants to defend those that try to game the system but should an innocent photo cost you the Social Security Disability benefits you have earned? Picking up a baby at a birthday party, teaching a child to swim, dancing at a party for a few moments are events we want to share but they can be misleading to the viewer- especially to a viewer looking for a reason to turn down a disability application or cut off existing benefits.
What to do?
The desire to share might not be worth losing a disability case. Post, pin or snap wisely!
5 TIPS TO POST, PIN OR SNAP WISELY
- Pause before posting. Take a moment to look at the photo as the SSA will.
- Go back and erase anything that can be misconstrued (warning: old pages are indexed and never really disappear. Check out www.archive.org known as the Wayback Machine)
- Make sure your contacts don’t tag you in their photos. Tagging you makes that photo public.
- Creating a 2nd page under a fake or cute name isn’t a solution. Your photos, contacts and other ID will make it easy for anyone to find you. If spammers can find you, the government can.
- Privacy settings aren’t all that private. Ever take a funny quiz? They have your info. Ever use a 3rd party app on Instagram? They have your info? Have a friend that does any of the above and ‘tags’ you? Yes, they have your info. You need to assume nothing is private online. An excellent guide on protecting your privacy can be found here.
Filing a Social Security Disability claim is daunting. 65% of all claims are denied on initial application and statistics show that only 10-15% of those are overturned on reconsideration. The odds of being denied because of a photo are slim but why take a chance?