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Leveraging Social Media and Online Evidence in Disability Appeals

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

In the digital age, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives, providing a platform for individuals to share their experiences, thoughts, and activities. When it comes to disability appeals, social media and online evidence can play a pivotal role in presenting a comprehensive picture of an individual’s life and limitations. This article explores the strategic use of social media in disability appeals and how individuals, with the guidance of a California disability benefits law firm, can leverage online evidence to strengthen their case.

Leveraging Social Media and Online Evidence in Disability Appeals

Social media platforms offer a wealth of information about an individual’s daily activities, lifestyle, and interactions. For disability appeals, this information can be both beneficial and challenging. While social media can provide insights into an individual’s life, it can also be misconstrued or selectively presented to cast doubt on the severity of their disability.

In disability appeals, a proactive and strategic approach to social media can make a significant difference. Rather than avoiding social media altogether, individuals should consider how to use it to their advantage while being mindful of potential pitfalls. Here are some tips on how to leverage social media in disability appeals:

  • Controlled Sharing: Individuals can proactively share aspects of their life that align with their disability claim. Posting updates about medical appointments, therapy sessions, or activities that reflect the challenges posed by their disability can help create a more accurate narrative.
  • Highlighting Limitations: Social media can be a platform for individuals to express their limitations and challenges in a genuine way. Sharing experiences related to their disability, without oversharing personal details, can provide valuable context for the disability appeal.
  • Professional Guidance: Seeking guidance from a California disability law firm can be crucial. Disability attorneys can advise clients on the type of information to share or avoid on social media, helping to ensure the content aligns with the goals of the disability appeal.

One of the key considerations in using social media as evidence is ensuring consistency with the information provided in medical records and disability applications. Discrepancies between social media posts and documented medical conditions may be scrutinized, highlighting the importance of accuracy and transparency. To help minimize the adverse use of social media and online information, individuals should be vigilant about privacy settings on their social media. Adjusting privacy settings and controlling the audience for specific posts can help limit access to personal information. However, it is essential to be aware that even private content may become accessible in certain legal situations.

Social media can serve as evidence of the impact of a disability on an individual’s social life and relationships. Posts that highlight the challenges of maintaining social connections or the emotional toll of the disability can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the individual’s situation. It is also worth emphasizing that, while leveraging social media can be beneficial, individuals should exercise caution about sharing certain types of content. Posting about activities that may be perceived as contradictory to the claimed disability, such as engaging in physically demanding hobbies, can be detrimental to the case.

Contact Our California Disability Attorneys Today

Social media and our online worlds can be powerful tools when strategically leveraged in disability appeals. By thoughtfully curating online content, individuals can provide a more nuanced and accurate representation of their lives, emphasizing the impact of their disability. Don’t worry, you do not have to handle this all by yourself. The dedicated team at Disability Advocates is here to help. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.