November 29, 2014

Can Your Facebook Profile Hurt Your Social Security Disability Case

I recently ran across a very timely post on Jim Reed’s New York Injury Law blog entitled “When Facebook Isn’t a Friend to Your Personal Injury Case.”   Jim correctly points out that the default privacy setting on Facebook is essentially “no privacy” meaning that anyone in your geographic area can view your profile, your photos and comments made by and about you.

What does this have to do with your Social Security disability case?

First, remember that the main issue in most Social Security cases is whether you have the capacity to perform simple, entry level, low-stress, sit-down type of work.  Now, take a look at your Facebook profile.   Does it contain photos of you dancing at a wedding, or on the beach?  Are there comments from friends chatting about that family get-together or class reunion?

Some of my disability clients “friend” me and I always find it interesting to look at their profiles.   I am looking at one such profile right now and it reads as follows:

“I am a writer/poet, artist, sculptor, musician, wood artist, wordsmith, businesswoman, mother, ex-wife, retired postalworker, driver, fragrance designer, student, photographer, jokester, painter, and furniture designer.”

The profile also lists an “employer” and according this person’s profile, she “acts like she is 32,” she is most like President Harry Truman, her love meter reads “inferno,” and she thinks about sex 1440 times a day!

Now, this particular client has a legitimate disability case and her case was approved several months ago.  Imagine, however, that the judge who was assigned to her case came across this profile during his hearing preparation.   Might he get a different sense of what this person is all about?

I also know from my own snooping around that several of the judges who work in the Atlanta hearing offices do have Facebook profiles.  Do they look for open profiles of claimants that will be appearing before them?  I have no way of knowing if they do now, but I would not potentially put my case at risk unnecessarily.

Remember, too that most disability cases will be subject to a periodic continuing review, and it would not surprise me at all if Social Security begins using web searches to locate information about claimants who may be engaging in activities that may look like work.

I call also report that I get two or three emails a year from unhappy ex-wives or ex-friends who would like nothing better than to mess up a former friend’s claim.    A couple of years ago, I represented a claimant who was approved, but then had his approval withdrawn when a former friend sent links to his web site to Social Security, which then triggered an investigation.

So, if you use Facebook or mySpace or any of the hundreds of other social media sites, I strongly recommend that you spend a little time learning about the privacy features, and that you restrict access to your profile to people who you know well.  You should also keep in mind that anything you post or do on-line may reappear, so be very careful about your on-line activities.

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Jonathan Ginsberg represents Social Security disability claimants in Georgia. In practice for over 23 years, Jonathan publishes a widely known disability blog, a podcast and several disability web sites. In 2004, Jonathan published a "how to" book about Social Security disability called the Disability Answer Guide. Jonathan lives with his wife and 2 children in Atlanta.

Comments

  1. I used my profile on a social network and handed it to my lawyer. My doctor told me to keep a log of my feelings. So I did. I started using it as a diary in 2001. There is some real dark stuff on my page. I did not apply for SSD till 2004. Was not approved till 2008. I had 8 years of my ups and downs recorded from my point of view. When I went to the doctor, what the doctor said and so on.

  2. kimberly Kinseth says:

    It doesn’ matter I have never experienced such stress trama, shocked, horrified by just exactly filing a claim for social security, I documented all I mean 4 medical doctors who all told me to file for disability you can’t return to work and hold a job. I won’t go into detail. I felt so ashamed to file let alone just exactly how claims are processed and the denials and claimed laws and legal evidence documents and test opinions treating doctors in the field and all were consistant lab mris watts testing, tova testing radiologist report 7 pages exhusband 8 pages sent to him on my daily condition, why judge discreditied all doctors all evidence and excluded test, records don’t match CD of all evidence in records, examiner when it first filed never collected any medical records from treating doctors or medical test evidence, all i listed, get this, seriously if the judge had reviewed all the information I QUESS HE WOULD OF NOTICED IN MY RECORDS AND CD WERE RECORDS OF ANOTHER LADY PATIENT, I found it when I got Social Security Local Office In MC Iowa, after 4 refusal to give me a cd which I was told by Senator Harkins Dec Moines Office Jewel who has been my angle through all this, I sent Senator Harkins an email regarding what all has happened, oh you have no Ideal but on a suport web site by other claiments who have all experience and who have help me get through this terrible wrong and many judges who if they dont like you or are trying to lower there approval percent due to articles when Social Security was attacked due to One Judge who had the highest approval of cases than any one, so off course now finally they are trying to track judges rulings, all who have went through the maze of unexceptable cases put in backlog due to AlJ judges decide to not use treating medical doctors and so many cases a judge one I had last cases tracked all denied to women my age and discredited all doctors treating and opinions on judge used that of a doctor who treated in 1986 not treating current, oh on this web site I learned to CD must be reviewed by every claimant to see all the evidence not in records . also I learned by doing this the examiner who first gets case for first 120 days from filing is deadline by the President to get claims processed and eat away at backlog and time to process cases, I didnt know he said 120 days to process first denial, always but see claimed doctors who claim to have reviewed records to deny or approve, evidence not just me many have by checking CD doctors on my case all had conflicting statements all listed moderate to severe in allRCF report and listed only one of my documented illnesses and medical evidence to back up, when asked by me calling des moines claims process center told they dont give enough space to list all if you reapply that could be used to change in and new evidence the best signed sept 22 by doctor or he never sighned but 4 weeks before medical evidence sent and examiner told me it had not be sent to medical doctors to review it had really been denied 3 weeks prior he out right lied any way at my hearing 45 min the judge never asked or spoke to me or had any questions on medical evidence he didnt like me guy before me 9 min he approved AND HIS MEDICAL EVIDENCE WAS WEAK NOT AS MY LAWYER STATED WHO IS A JUDGE ON BENCH IN COURTS WHO SAIDTHIS WAS THE BEST JUDGE IN 27 YEARS HE HAS LOST TWICE WITH HIM AND QUESS WHAT HE USED HIS OWN BIAS JUDGEMENT AGAIN RESEARCH FOUND WITH WOMEN LAST 18 MONTHS ALL EXACTLY SAME WORDS AND REASONS ALL OVERTURNED AND RULINGS STATED JUDGE FAILED TO FOLLOW LAWS AND NO EVIDENCE TO BACKUP HIS DENIAL ALL OVERTURNED WHO SUFFERS AND WAITS WHO DOESNT GET REPREMANDED I WAS TOLD BY APPEALS COUNSIL VIRGINIA THERE IS NO WAY TO TRACK JUDGES ERRORS UNLESS COMPLAINTS COME IN WOW, HAVE A GREAT DAY APPEALS IS REVIEWING MY CASE I HAVE OPEN CASE AND CASE ASSIGHNED NUMBER WHICH SENATORS OFFICE SAID WOW THAT IS VERY IF EVER RARE THERE IS ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO OPEN A CASE FROM COMPLAINTS FILED SO I CANT GO BACK TO SAME JUDGE BUT MY LAWYER WANTED TO BE NO PART OF IT HE HAS TO GO INFRONT OF SAME JUDGE AND IF YOU ARE A PARTY TO DISTRIMINATION AGAINST JUDGE IT WONT GO WELL FOR HIM HE SAID JUDGES DO WHAT EVER THEY WANT SOME EVEN REFUSE TO AGREE WITH APPEALS HE DOESNT CARE WHAT THEY SAY HE RULES WITH OTHER JUDGE TO BACK THEM UP THIS IS WORD FOR WORD FROM MY ATTORNEY WHO HASNT DONE SHIT,

Trackbacks

  1. Social Media profiles can damage your claim for Social Security or other disability benefits | NJN Network says:

    […] Stephen Pate, Disability Alert, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, July 9, 2009 with story from Social Security Disability Blog […]

  2. […] Stephen Pate, Disability Alert, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, July 14, 2009 updated with story from Social Security Disability Blog […]

  3. […] in July, I posted a blog about how Facebook can potentially damage your Social Security Disability claim if information contained in your profile contradicts your disability claim and somehow gets in the […]

  4. […] to return to work. That's left attorneys who argue for disability benefits concerned. Many now advise against giving away too much on Facebook. 4. Your ex can use it against you in a divorce. Facebook is a […]

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