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Could social media profiles be considered in a SSD claim?

With the recent predictions that the Disability Insurance Trust Fund could become bankrupt at some point in the near future, concern over fraud within the program has also become an issue. Administrative law judges with high claim approval percentages -- up to 99.7 percent in one case involving $2.5 billion in total lifetime benefits awarded from 2005 through 2011 -- have come under scrutiny.

It isn’t just those that award benefits that have drawn attention. Cases involving applicants accused of fraud have also become the basis of nationwide debate. A major case out of New York involved allegations that police officers had falsely claimed that they had a disability.

In the case mentioned above, photographs found on the officers’ social media pages played a role in raising the suspicion of fraud. Now, lawmakers on the Oversight subcommittee for health care have recommended that Social Security Administration employees that review initial applications should be allowed to access the social media belonging to individuals seeking benefits.

Reps. James Lankford and Jackie Speier are members on the subcommittee that drafted an 11-page memo addressed to the acting commissioner of the SSA, Carolyn W. Colvin, making recommendations for improving the administrative efficiency of the Social Security Disability Insurance program. The social media suggestion mentioned above was one of these recommendations.

It has yet to be seen whether this authority will be granted and what the effect could be on the application process for those with a disability. In any case filed in Missouri, a SSD attorney can address any issue that may come up and ensure that no details or documents are missed that could affect the outcome of a claim for disability benefits.

Source: The Washington Times, “Social media snooping encouraged to ferret out bogus Social Security claims,” Stephen Dinan, April 8, 2014

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Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
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