How Long-Term Disability Insurers Use Social Media Against You
Statistics show there are now over 127 million Instagram users in the United States. The platform, which is owned by Facebook parent company Meta, invites members to document their lives through pictures and video footage.
While this can be a great way of expressing yourself, it also presents risks in certain situations. If you’re filing a claim for long-term disability benefits, you need to be cautious about what you’re posting on your social media profiles and whom you’re allowing to see it. Insurance firms know exactly how to leverage certain kinds of online content to fatally damage valid disability insurance claims.
How Social Media Can Damage Your Long-Term Disability Insurance Claim
Insurance company representatives will try to make the most of any evidence that appears to suggest your illness or injury is less severe than you say. Just because you’re capable of doing a bodyweight exercise, a cooking demonstration, or a dance routine for the duration of a three-minute TikTok video, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to operate at a demanding pace in the workplace for 40 hours every week. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the kind of story disability insurance companies use to wrongfully delay or deny long-term disability benefits.
Even evidence of less physically demanding activities can be used by insurance companies to give adverse benefit determinations. For example, the coverage provider might say that photos of you at a social event indicate you’re not as incapacitated as you claim.
This doesn’t stop with visual content. Insurers will also look for written posts that may indicate some inconsistency in your reports about your disability. If you continue posting regularly on Facebook or LinkedIn after you stop working due to a condition like chronic fatigue, for instance, your long-term disability insurance provider might construe this as proof of your ongoing capacity to perform sedentarily work in an office setting.
Unfortunately, managing what goes on your own social profiles isn’t sufficient to ensure your insurer won’t find anything it can use to question your credibility. Claim people will examine pages belonging to your family members, friends, and colleagues as well.
Other Surveillance Risks To Be Aware Of
Before people shared so much of their lives online, it was more difficult for long-term disability insurance firms to gather information that served to damage disability claims. However, it wasn’t impossible.
Insurers often hire investigators to observe claimants in the hope they will “catch” them engaging in some activity that purportedly proves their disability is less serious than they say.
It’s much more difficult to protect yourself against a risk like this. While it’s relatively easy to limit your output on social media, you can’t stop doing normal activities indefinitely for fear that someone might be watching.
An insurance company will generally exhaust online surveillance options before going to the trouble and expense of hiring an investigator to follow you. If an insurance examiner sees a hint of something that might be useful to them on your socials, they will use this to direct their search if they do take their investigation further. This allows them to save money by finding any “low-hanging fruit” that might be on your social pages before paying a specialist investigator to dig deeper.
Another tactic disability insurance companies have historically used to glean damaging information about your personal circumstances and activities is a home or field visit. An investigator hired by the insurance company might request to visit your home to discuss some aspect of your claim and use their time there to observe your surroundings for evidence they can later use.
Again, your insurer may decide to do this having seen something potentially incriminating on your social profiles, hoping to find confirmation in your house or apartment.
How To Stay Protected
Limiting your posting activity on social platforms is the best way to prevent your insurance company from using your online presence to defeat your disability insurance claim. This is particularly true of posts featuring images or video clips of you partaking in strenuous physical activity if your disability and previous occupation are physical in nature.
Past that, your privacy settings are vitally important. Make sure only your friends or approved followers can see what you put up on social media, and don’t accept any requests from people you don’t know. Additionally, make sure to review any content someone else tags you in as soon as it goes live.
Ultimately, though, the truth is that an insurer providing individually purchased or employer-sponsored long-term disability insurance will use anything they can to create the impression that your claim is invalid. You won’t be able to negate the company’s evidence-gathering efforts entirely. However, by hiring a top-class Chicago ERISA lawyer, you’ll be able to fight its skewed interpretations of your social media content and other information.
Reach Out to Our Expert Disability Lawyers
Contact DarrasLaw today to schedule a free initial policy analysis, claim assistance, or appeal assistance. If you’ve already received notice of a claim denial in relation to an ERISA disability policy, it’s imperative that you start the mandatory appeals process as quickly as possible to ensure a timely and comprehensive response.