If you are filing for or receiving long term disability insurance benefits, it’s important to be mindful of the consequences your online social media presence may have on your claim. While platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X offer a means to connect with friends and family, they can also allow your insurance company to potentially deny or terminate your benefits.
In this article, we’ll explore how your social media feed can hurt your long term disability claim and what you can do to protect your rights and benefits.
What do insurance companies look for in social media posts?
In their quest to assess disability claims, insurance companies often delve into the social media profiles of claimants. While they claim to do so in the interest of verifying claims and preventing fraud, their intentions can sometimes raise concerns among claimants. It isn’t uncommon for insurance companies to divorce these social media posts from context in order to portray a claimant as having higher function than they do – and consequently, use this online presence as justification to deny or terminate disability benefits.
Here is what insurance companies typically look for when conducting social media surveillance on long term disability claimants:
Inconsistencies with Claims: Your insurance company may search for inconsistencies between what you state in your claims and what you post online. When you’re coping with health challenges, you may inadvertently post content that your insurance company interprets as contradictory to your disability claim.
Physical Activities: Your posts that reflect physical activities or even moments of joy may be scrutinized. Your insurance company may take these as evidence of better health than what you allege in your claim. Of course, this can be an unfair interpretation. “Good” days can coexist with chronic conditions, and understandably, people often want to present their best face forward on social media rather than share their hardships or private health struggles.
Work-Related Information: Any insinuation that you are engaging in work-related activities or seeking new job opportunities can be alarming to your insurance company. This may lead your insurance company to question the legitimacy of your claim.
Social Activities: Claimants who occasionally share moments of social interaction on social media can face challenges. Your insurance company may misinterpret these posts as proof that you are not as isolated or impaired as you claim, without considering the broader context.
Travel and Vacation Posts: Pictures from a vacation or a trip can be met with suspicion. Your insurance company may not recognize that these rare outings are often necessary for your emotional well-being and shouldn’t invalidate your disability status.
Health-Related Information: Sharing information about medical appointments or discussions about health can inadvertently reveal more than you intend. These posts can be used to challenge the legitimacy of your disability claim, even if the condition has good and bad days.
Statements and Comments: Casual comments or conversations can be taken out of context. A fleeting remark made in frustration or a simple conversation can be used to undermine your case.
Publicly Available Information: Even with strict privacy settings, insurance companies can access publicly available information or content shared by your connections. For example, if a family member of friend tags you in a post, and their profile is private, your insurance company may be able to view their content. This information may be misused in the context of your claim.
As a long term disability claimant, it’s important to be cautious about your social media activity. While your insurance company will allege they only conduct this social media surveillance to protect their interests and prevent fraudulent claims, you should be aware of your rights and consider seeking legal advice from a long term disability attorney to ensure your legitimate long term disability claim is not jeopardized.
What social media sites do insurance companies look for?
Insurance companies may search for information on various social media platforms to gather additional information about you, especially if they are skeptical of your long term disability claim. The specific platforms they monitor may depend on the information they are seeking. However, some of the most commonly reviewed social media sites include:
Facebook: Facebook is one of the largest and most popular social media platforms. Insurance companies often check your Facebook profile for information about your daily activities, social life, and overall well-being.
Instagram: Instagram is known for sharing photos and visual content. Insurance companies may browse Instagram to view photos and captions that might provide insights into your lifestyle, hobbies, and health.
Twitter/X: Twitter/X is a platform for short, real-time updates. Insurance companies may look at tweets and interactions to gauge your daily activities and general well-being.
Threads and other Twitter alternatives: Threads is also a platform for short, real-time updates. Insurance companies may look at information shared and interactions on these platforms to gauge your daily activities and general well-being.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. While insurance companies might not find personal lifestyle information here, they could gather data about your employment history and professional activities.
YouTube: YouTube hosts videos that may reveal your physical abilities and activities. Insurance companies could review this platform to search for such content.
Snapchat: Although Snapchat messages disappear after a short time, some insurance companies may monitor this platform for real-time updates and photos you share.
TikTok: TikTok is a popular platform for sharing short videos. Insurance companies may check TikTok for videos that showcase a person’s daily activities and physical abilities.
Pinterest: Pinterest focuses on visual content and interests. Insurers might examine Pinterest boards and pins for information on a person’s hobbies and interests.
Other Niche Platforms: Depending on the circumstances and the information needed, insurance companies may also explore other social media platforms, forums, or online communities where you share information about your daily life.
How do insurance companies search social media?
Insurance companies employ several methods to search social media for information related to long term disability claimants. Here are some of the techniques they commonly use:
Publicly Available Information: Insurance companies can access publicly available information on social media platforms without requiring any special access or authorization. They can browse public profiles, view public posts, and gather information that you’ve shared openly.
Anonymous Browsing: Insurance companies can use anonymous or dummy profiles to access information without alerting the user. They may use these accounts to follow or connect with policyholders or claimants.
Private Investigators: Some insurance companies hire private investigators to conduct surveillance on policyholders or claimants. These investigators may have expertise in social media research and can collect information from your public and private profiles.
Monitoring Software: Insurance companies may use software tools designed to monitor and aggregate data from social media platforms. These tools can search for specific keywords, posts, or profiles related to policyholders or claimants.
Information Shared by Connections: Sometimes insurance companies may gather information from your social media connections, such as friends, family, or colleagues. These connections might inadvertently publicly share information that can be used against you in your long term disability claim.
It’s important to understand that while insurance companies may use these methods to search social media, there are legal and ethical limits to how they can gather and use this information. For example, using deception to gain access to private information is generally not allowed. To protect your privacy and insurance claims, it’s a good practice to be cautious about what you share on social media and consult with an attorney if you have concerns about how your online presence may affect your long term disability claim.
How can I protect myself from social media surveillance by my insurance company?
To protect yourself from social media surveillance by your insurance company and minimize the potential impact on your claim, consider the following steps:
Adjust Privacy Settings: Review and adjust the privacy settings on your social media accounts. Make your profiles as private as possible to limit the access of outsiders. Restrict who can see your posts, photos, and personal details. Only accept friend or connection requests from people you know personally.
Be Cautious with Posts: Avoid oversharing personal details about your health, daily activities, or any aspects that might be used to challenge your long term disability claim. Think twice before posting photos or status updates that could be interpreted as evidence against your claim. This includes images of physical activities, parties, or vacations.
Limit Public Information: Be aware that even with strict privacy settings, some information might still be publicly accessible. Double-check what information can be viewed by anyone, not just your friends or connections. Regularly review your profiles and remove any public information that may be used against you.
Monitor Your Online Connections: Be selective about who you connect with on social media. Avoid accepting friend or connection requests from individuals you don’t know personally, especially if they have no mutual connections or appear suspicious.
Use Discretion in Comments and Conversations: Be cautious in talking about sensitive topics, such as your medical condition or disability, in public comments and discussions. These comments can be used as evidence by your insurance company to invalidate your long term disability claim.
Regularly Review Your Social Media Profiles: Periodically review your social media profiles to ensure they align with your disability claim. If you’ve made changes in your condition or circumstances, update your profiles accordingly.
Seek Legal Advice: Consult with a long term disability lawyer experienced in disability insurance to understand how social media may impact your claim. They can provide guidance on what to post and what to avoid during the claims process.
Remember that while these precautions can help minimize the risk of social media surveillance affecting your long term disability claim, your insurance company may still have legal means to access certain information. Therefore, it’s essential to be cautious and consult with an attorney who can provide advice specific to your situation.
How can The Maddox Firm protect me in the event of social media surveillance by my insurance company?
An experienced long term disability attorney can play a crucial role in helping you if your insurance company conducts social media surveillance on you. The Maddox Firm has helped hundreds of clients secure their long term disability insurance benefits and fight back against unfair social media surveillance by insurance companies.
Here are some of the ways The Maddox Firm can assist you in this situation:
Legal Guidance and Expertise: The Maddox Firm is well-versed in the complexities of insurance law and disability claims. Our team can provide you with essential legal guidance, ensuring that you understand your rights in the face of social media surveillance.
Advice on Social Media Use: The Maddox Firm can provide guidance on how to manage your social media presence during the claims process to minimize potential negative impacts on your case.
Disability Insurance Policy Review: The Maddox Firm can examine your insurance policy and claim documentation to ensure that everything is in order and to identify any potential issues that may have led to the surveillance in the first place.
Review and Analysis of Evidence: The Maddox Firm will review the evidence gathered through social media surveillance. We can assess the relevance and admissibility of the information and determine the best response to your insurance company.
Assistance with Appeals: If your insurance company’s surveillance leads to a claim denial or termination, The Maddox Firm can prepare a strong case on your behalf. Many times social media posts are taken out of context by your insurance company. We understand how to refute your insurance company’s interpretation of your online presence. This may involve gathering new evidence to build a robust defense.
Litigation Representation: In the event that your claim is denied due to the evidence obtained through social media surveillance, and your administrative appeal options have been exhausted, The Maddox Firm can represent you when filing a lawsuit against your insurance company.
Protection of Your Interests: Your long term disability attorney’s primary responsibility is to protect your best interests. They will work to ensure that you receive the benefits and support you are entitled to under your insurance policy.
If you believe that your insurance company has conducted social media surveillance and you have concerns about the impact on your disability claim, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The Maddox Firm can help level the playing field and protect your rights, and maximize the chances of a successful outcome. Our team will examine your insurance policy, correspondence from your insurance company, medical records, and any other relevant documentation in order to give you personalized guidance on how we can help you win your disability claim.