It is quite common for people of all ages to share details of their lives on social media. It can be a child’s sporting triumphs, special celebrations with family or perhaps photos from a recent vacation. This is seen by friends, family and even work colleagues.
Who can see these posts may, however, change. According to a recent article in the New York Times, the Trump Administration and Social Security are devising a plan to monitor the social media posts of those collecting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and other benefits. The idea is to use these posts to confirm that claimants are actually injured and not fraudulently claiming those benefits.
Critics raise concerns
Amidst a wide range of concerns, the most common criticisms were:
- People tend to post photos of them engaged in physical activities.
- The pictures posted may not accurately reflect the condition of the claimant.
- The pictures may be recently posted but were taken at an earlier date.
- Photos posted by others may not accurately reflect the status of the claimant.
Social media is a public forum
Those getting benefits or applying for benefits would be wise to avoid posting anything that would seemingly be contradictory of the claim. Examples would be an individual with a severe back injury who posts of photos of them skiing or kayaking. Even if the post uses a favorite photo from before a current injury, it is advised to avoid this to avoid any confusion.
For their part, investigators need to consider all possibilities when looking at a worker’s posts or pages. It is crucial that injured workers be regarded as innocent until proven guilty of fraudulent practices. If there is a dispute, those injured may need to discuss how to best protect their rights and benefits with an attorney experienced in handling workplace injuries.