The Dangers of Social Media and Disability Insurance Claims

It is without question that we live in a world that is often driven by social media. For a multitude of reasons people are becoming increasingly more willing to make what used to be private facets of their lives open to the public. Often the information being shared projects an image of what we want people to see as opposed to the burdens and hardships just below the surface. With the prevalence of social media this scenario can have disastrous effects for people who are on short or long term disability insurance claims- be it under employer provided ERISA governed disability policies or individually purchased disability policies.

Regardless the nature of your policy or claim there is one certainty- your disability insurance company will be searching social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. to gather additional information for review as part of its determination of your eligibility for ongoing benefits under a disability insurance policy. At Dell & Schaefer we are seeing a noticeable increase in denials of benefits, which reference information an insurance company found on a claimant’s social media account.

As the vast majority of disability insurance denials are under employer provided policies governed by ERISA, the information being gathered from social media is especially harmful as the appearance of impropriety is often hard to separate yourself from. A person’s doctors may provide evidence and opinion as to the inability to work; a claimant can provide detailed narratives of restrictions and limitations related to the ability to work or even day to day activities- but all of that can be compromised by a simple Facebook search that shows pictures of people engaged in activities that an insured and his/her doctors have indicated the inability to do. The insurance companies will give a great deal of weight to physical visual proof and evidence of activity as opposed to what they are told by an insured or doctor. In a way these social media findings are the “new” video surveillance and are typically far more damaging than video surveillance.

What can you do to lessen the scrutiny of insurance companies into your daily life?

To be clear, we are certainly not saying that a person cannot have a social life or that what is found on social media pages is a complete picture of one’s physical, emotional or mental abilities- but we are warning you that the adage of appearance is everything rings very true with social media posts. The easiest step you can take to guard yourself from an insurance company viewing your accounts is to ensure you have proper privacy settings in place.

Additionally, for social media accounts driven by Followers such as Twitter and Instagram be cognizant of the people you allow to follow you and the information you broadcast. Finally, the most applicable suggestion, before you post pictures or updates consider how these posts will be perceived, especially by your disability insurance carrier.

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Questions About Hiring Us

Do you work in my state?

Yes. We are a national disability insurance law firm that is available to represent you regardless of where you live in the United States. We have partner lawyers in every state and we have filed lawsuits in most federal courts nationwide. Our disability lawyers represent disability claimants at all stages of a claim for disability insurance benefits. There is nothing that our lawyers have not seen in the disability insurance world.

What are your fees?

Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate.

In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.

Do I have to come to your office to work with your law firm?

No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via telephone, e-mail, fax, GoToMeeting.com sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.

How can I contact you?

When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-682-8331 or by email. Lawyer and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.

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Vanessa T.

I came to Dell & Schaefer utterly defeated by my private disability insurance carrier. I was devastated that they were denying all responsibility in my long term benefits despite having paid into their horrible program for almost 20 years. When I talked with Alex, all of a sudden I had hope of not only closure but of compassion for my situation. He explained everything to me. Held my hand when I needed hand holding and he and his assistants provided me with information anytime I asked. Should I ever need assistance again I would not hesitate to contact Alex or recommend him. This law firm and Alex was definitely a beacon in what has continued to be a horrible time in my life.

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