Social Media in Long-Term Disability Claims
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Feb 10, 2017 in Long-Term Disability
One of the more sinister things that insurers can do during the long-term disability (LTD) claim process is to have you surveilled (followed) for a period of time to see if the limitations you discussed in your application for benefits match what they observe. This means that the insurer may hire a private investigator to follow you for a brief period of time as you go about your day, recording what he or she sees (often by videotape). If you are observed walking normally, for example, while you stated that your disability makes it impossible for you to walk, this will absolutely be used against you in your LTD claim.
There is nothing you can do to stop the insurance company from doing this. However, you do have control over another area in which the insurer will most assuredly be checking on you: your social media accounts.
More and more, claimants undermine themselves with evidence from their own social media postings. This is an incredibly easy way for an insurer to find against you in your LTD claim. Even one post can be damaging. For example, say you are disabled but you decide to go to a new restaurant with your spouse to break the monotony of sitting around the house all day. The process might be difficult with your disability, but this probably is not the part you will show in your social media profile. Instead, you might be tempted take a picture of your plate of food, tagged at a trendy new spot. DO NOT do this. It will be hounded on by the insurance company and used to deny your claim.
The nature of social media makes us want to show our “best selves” to followers. Especially when you are living with a disability, the moments when you feel normal and like your old self feel like genuine cause for celebration. It is obviously tempting to show the world that you can enjoy yourself and that your disability is not preventing you from having interests, hobbies and activities. But social media is not the avenue to demonstrate this. You must keep your presence as minimal as possible while seeking LTD benefits. The minimal gain from having others “like” your post will be completely outweighed when you get denied and must continue through the appeals process.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to think like the insurance adjuster. If you were in her shoes, how would the post look? Would it make it easier to deny the claim?
Insurance companies make it difficult enough for you to get the long-term disability benefits you deserve. Do not make it easier on them by posting your activities on your social media accounts.