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Compelling Constitutional Conversations


Disability & Facebook: Be Careful What You Post

Mar 29, 2019

Fair warning: anything you do or say on social media can and will be used against you in a court of law. 

I know that sounds an awful lot like one element in a Miranda warning or a line out of a television docudrama. But it's true. Facebook and social media will likely impact your legal situation— any legal situation. As we’ve covered here on ALJ, it can be a workers comp claim, a divorce or custody issue, an employment matter, etc. Anything.

Here’s a new one: social media posts may affect your Social Security Disability claim. 

Watch video starting at 7:11:

Yes. Even though SSD is not a typical legal matter with a plaintiff vs. defendant, lawyers on both sides, according to CBS News report the Social Security Administration may start screening your Facebook and Instagram posts to evaluate your disability claim. Right now the SAA uses it to evaluate  potential fraudulent activity. But in its 2020 budget Proposal the Administration hints it may use it to evaluate claims. 

"We are evaluating how social media could be used by disability adjudicators in assessing the consistency and supportability of evidence in a claimant's case file.” - SSA Spokesperson Mark Hinkle 

Although it raises privacy concerns, questions the authentic link between social media user and claimant, and brings the problematic aspect of the timing of such posts on claims— overt, plain-on-its-face evidence could ostensibly be introduced, compromising an already difficult disability claim.   

From CBS News: 

Paul Young, a disability attorney with Young Marr and Associates, said one of his clients had to defend such a post to a judge who brought it up at his disability hearing. Disability claimants typically receive benefits at the hearing level. The client said the photo, which showed that he went on a hike, wasn't representative of his typical lifestyle and reported that he was bedridden for three days afterwards. "You want to be careful because you don't want something to be taken out of context," Young said.


Christopher Naughton is the Host and Executive Producer of The American Law Journal. On the air since 1990, the Emmy award-winning program examines consumer, business and Constitutional law issues.


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