Slepian Smith, PLLC

SSA to look at social media when making disability decisions

If you are like many Americans and use social media to connect with friends and loved ones, you should be aware that the Social Security Administration may soon be looking to social media for help in deciding disability claims.

Recently, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration is planning to use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to help investigate whether people collecting or applying for Social Security Disability benefits are actually disabled.

The Social Security Administration said last year in its congressional budget request that it was exploring the option of using social media to help make disability determinations, and since then, the Trump administration has been working with the SSA to make it a reality.

Politicians and conservative groups that support the plan say that it will help prevent disability benefits from going to those who are not actually disabled.

However, advocates for the disabled have raised concern that social media can be misleading and could provide an unrealistic portrayal of a person's disability status. For example, people could post photos of themselves golfing or playing Frisbee, but the photos could be from months or years ago.

Additionally, as we all know, people tend to portray their "best selves" on social media, so they are less likely to post about the suffering they are going through.

Although it appears that the SSA is still in the planning phases of implementing this proposal, it is a good reminder that what we post on social media can reach beyond our friends and families. 

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