Facebook Pictures Lead to Disability Benefits Denial

Photos on Social Media Sites May Give Insurance Adjustors Wrong Impressions
Canadian citizen Nathalie Blanchard was merely following her doctor’s suggestion that she spend time with friends and vacation in a sunny climate as a cure for depression when her sick-leave benefits from her employer-provided insurance were abruptly terminated. Nathalie made the fatal error of posting photos of herself having fun on Facebook. Her insurer discovered the photos, determined she was no longer depressed and told her to return to work. Although the insurer told the Associated Press that it did not solely rely on the Facebook photos in making its decision, it neglected to mention what other sources – such as sound medical evidence — it did rely on. Nathalie is appealing the denial. See “Canadian Woman Loses Benefits Over Facebook Photo,” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091122/ap_on_re_ca/cn_canada_facebook_insurance.

This latest news article illustrates the level of scrutiny ill and injured people typically encounter from their insurers when they are unfortunate enough to actually need the benefits they’ve paid for. Their lives become open books where even the most innocent of activities become an insurance inspector’s evidence of suspected fraud.

Here’s our sad but true advice to Americans receiving disability benefits: What you post or print on social media sites will be discovered by your insurer and interpreted in the light most unfavorable to your disability claim – even if you are only following doctor’s orders.

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