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Government May Start Monitoring Social Media of Disability Applicants

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Needs-based governmental benefits such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Medicaid can be a vital and necessary part of a retirement plan, especially if the person has a disability. Special needs planning might need to take into account social media activity from this point forward.

SSA Considers Reviewing Social Media for Applicants

The SSA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has used social media as a method for identifying suspected fraud and abuse among SSDI and SSI recipients since at least 2014. However, until this point, the SSA has never had an official policy calling for the review of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts to determine eligibility for benefits.

The SSA’s 2020 budget request to Congress included the statement that the SSA is now. The policy has apparently not yet been implemented at the application review phase, but reports indicate that the White House has been actively working with the SSA to flesh out the proposal.

Opponents of the proposal argue that having disability adjudicators review social media accounts of applicants at the outset, without any cause for investigation, represents an invasion of privacy. Posts can also include photos and videos from before a person became disabled, and without a timestamp, such photos could be seen to contradict their application.

Investigative reports, such as from opponents also point out that one of the biggest problems in SSA adjudication currently is that the application process is glacially slow, with appeals often taking up to two years.

A skilled West Palm Beach special needs planning attorney can help you and your family plan appropriately to maximize your chances for needs-based eligibility. Contact the seasoned, compassionate, and professional West Palm Beach trust and estates attorneys Shalloway & Shalloway at 561-686-6200.

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