On March 10, 2019, the New York Times reported the Trump administration has been working on a proposal to use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to help identify people who claim disability benefits without actually being disabled. The example the Times gave was if a person claimed disability benefits due to a back injury but was shown playing golf in a photograph posted on Facebook, that social medial post could be used as evidence that the injury was not disabling.
While the Trump administration’s concern is related to Social Security disability benefits, in the private long-term disability world it has long been known that the likes of Unum, MetLife, Aetna, Hartford, or Mutual of Omaha have a keen interest in the social media of disability claimants. This is based on the belief that social media is a goldmine of information about people applying for or receiving long term disability benefits.
It is not impossible for this to be true. But as with many things related to long term disability insurance, the topic has layers. Social media is often an outlet for the disabled. A place where a person unable to work goes to socialize and post pictures of themselves in better times or when they are having a good day (not a bad day). Sure, some of our client’s use social media to share with the world their struggles with MS, or back pain, or fibromyalgia, or lupus, but it’s the exception.
What is not the exception is that long term disability insurance companies will use any social media activity against the person making a disability claim. The rule of thumb every disability insurance company is that any social media post is proof of fraud.
Taking this view of social media activity denies long term disability benefits for those who truly cannot work and support themselves. Kantor & Kantor has proven, in Court, the limited value of social media in evaluating a disability claim.
If you have questions about this or have had your disability benefits denied, please contact us for a free consultation at (818) 886-2525 or use our online contact form.