Insurance claims assessors often review social media sites to determine eligibility for disability benefits. Media posts that raise concerns or show conflicts can result in disability claim denials.
The Dangers of Social Media
Millions of people regularly use social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter to share personal information and photos with the public. For people who apply for disability benefits or are already receiving them, social media can have negative effects on disability claims. Insurance claims assessors commonly review claimants’ social media sites to determine eligibility for benefits. If a person’s information and/or photos posted on these sites raises questions or concerns about his/her disability, the disability insurance claim may be denied.
Written messages and photos found on social media sites can be especially harmful if they show conflicting information related to a claim. When a person claims a disability that prevents him or her from working or performing certain activities, and social media shows otherwise, this is a good reason for most insurance companies to deny the claim. Even with medical records and evidence of disability from a doctor, insurance companies will give a great deal of weight to physical and visual proof and evidence, especially when it shows conflicting information.
Some insurance companies hire private investigators to follow claimants on social media, interview co-workers, friends and family and collect a paper trail of information related to a claim. Insurers also routinely request medical records and contact doctors regarding a person’s disabilities. Although these procedures are used to confirm proof of disability, they are also used to find conflicting evidence that gives insurers a reason to deny disability claims.
Disability Claim Denials
Unfortunately, insurance companies commonly deny disability insurance claims for a variety of reasons. People with legitimate disabilities rely on disability benefits to cover medical expenses, rehabilitation and therapy costs, and lost wages due to the inability to perform job functions. For many people with long-term disabilities, loss of benefits can result in extreme lifestyle changes and financial hardships.
The vast majority of disability insurance denials are under employer-provided policies governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). As a federal law that establishes rules for most private industry health and pension plans in the U.S., ERISA rules apply to employer disability benefits for all private-sector corporations, non-profit corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships, regardless of a company’s size or how many employees they have.