The popularity of social media has been a gift to insurance companies. Now, they can gather enough detail to deny your disability claim in just ten minutes of scrolling instead of a week or more of surveillance.
Even one innocuous social media post can be ammunition for a claim denial. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
“Social media canvasing”
Insurance companies refer to the process of scouring your feeds as “social media canvasing.” Someone scrolls through weeks or even months of your feed to find a discrepancy in your claim.
If you hurt your back, they’ll look for anything that suggests you were out being active. They may even go farther back in your timeline to see if and when you had back problems before, in case it qualifies as a pre-existing condition.
Photos and videos of you looking and acting healthy are damaging, obviously. But even a simple text post saying you went to a basketball game can be used against you, because how did you get from the car to your seat if you’re in too much pain to stand for long periods?
Cleaning up your social media feeds is an option if you think of it in time. If the insurance company has already rejected your knee injury claim because there’s a picture of you hiking in the mountains, it’s likely too late. They already have the screen shots.
You should also avoid posting old pictures and video showing you being active. In the Instagram world, these are known as “Latergrams,” when you post a picture of yourself, say, in a kayak from last summer, while wishing for warmer weather.
You should also un-tag yourself from posts by other people that suggest you’re not disabled. You may even want to warn close friends and relatives about accepting friend request from strangers who might be insurance investigators.
However, combing through all your social media accounts looking for even a hint of evidence the insurance company can use against you can be time consuming. An easier option is to lock down your accounts.
Rather than scrolling through weeks or months of all your social media feeds for posts that might weaken your claim, you can go into your visibility settings and change them to maximum privacy. This means that only your friends/followers can see posts.
Again, for this to be effective, you need to lock down your accounts before you submit the claim. If you wait till after the insurance company starts their investigation, they may already have the screen shots they need to deny your claim.
You may want to consult an attorney when applying for disability benefits. They can steer you clear of any obvious red flags. If your disability claim was denied, you can still appeal with experienced counsel on your side.