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Watch Your Online Footprint

Facebook and other social media platforms have been a great help to many disabled persons as it provides a means of communicating and socializing with others without requiring travel or physical interaction.  Unfortunately, when it comes to a disability claim, the use of these platforms can become detrimental to you.

Disability insurers are increasingly using private investigation companies to perform background checks on claimants. Part of this process involves investigating claimant social media profiles.  This is a cheap means of acquiring information on claimants which can be utilized to create a “false narrative” alleging much greater daily activities than actually are taking place.

This investigation goes well beyond the typical Facebook profile, but will include LinkedIn, dating sites (Match, OurTime, Chemistry,Tinder, etc.), Instagram, review sites (Yelp, Travel Advisor, etc.), and any other chat groups or posting sites in which you participate.

Examples witnessed by this firm include the following allegations:

  • Ability to take a vacation equates to the ability to work
  • Engaging in a dating site is activity which undermines disability
  • Assisting others in job searching such as resume assistance or career guidance which is equated to starting a new business
  • Volunteering equated to being able to perform work during those time periods
  • Photos showing routine activities used as evidence to undermine claimant claims of physical or mental disability
  • Accusation of insurance fraud for attempting to play tennis by standing and hitting the ball directly to and from the other player without any attempt to win points or keep score

Even if direct allegations cannot be made from the material obtained from the social media checks, the background information may lend itself for more targeted investigation of the claimant.

So, what do you do?

First, secure your Facebook and other profiles so that information cannot be obtained through a simple search and access must be granted.

Next, do not allow strangers to access your social media accounts.  Don’t put it past investigators to use phony profiles to fool you into granting access.  If you are not sure, then do not grant access.

Then, warn close friends and family members and make sure they take down your recent photos documenting any activity.

Even if this is done, if you grant access to an insurer to your credit information, the insurer can find out organizations and associates with which you are involved.

Therefore, if you have a disability insurance claim, you will need to be much more careful in your use of social media.

Is this fair? – No

Is it worth the risk of losing your benefits – NO!!!!!

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