As an Alabama resident who currently receives disability benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration, you may already know that your ability to continue to receive benefits depends on whether your disability is likely to ever improve, among other factors. At the Law Offices of Clark, James, Hanlin & Hunt, LLC, we understand that the government is considering granting the SSA access to the social media accounts of those receiving disability benefits in an effort to help reduce the number of Americans making fraudulent disability claims.

Per U.S. News & World Report, about 10 million Americans currently receive disability benefits. Because the current administration believes some of the people receiving these benefits are doing so without just cause, the government is considering monitoring social media accounts in a manner similar to which a divorce attorney might do so.

What does this mean, exactly? Just as a divorce attorney might peruse the accounts of a client’s ex who is seeking, say, alimony, to look for signs of excessive spending, the government may look for clues in social media accounts that suggest a benefits recipient may not have a valid disability. For example, say you are receiving disability benefits because you have a disability that prevents you from walking upright, but your online profiles depict you playing softball. This could potentially jeopardize your ability to continue to receive disability benefits.

Right now, disability examiners will typically only explore a recipient’s social media accounts if there is already an allegation of fraud in place. Should this change, however, examiners may be able to access the profiles of all disability recipients, regardless of whether a recipient is the subject of a fraud accusation.

This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not a replacement for legal advice.