Recently the Washington Times reported that the Social Security Administration has directed its Administrative Law Judges not to consider social media when determining whether a claimant is disabled. This means that the ALJ is not supposed to try to find the claimant on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc.
A disability hearing is not an adversarial proceeding; it is inquisitional. The ALJ is there to get all the facts and hear testimony regarding the claimant’s disability. The rules of evidence are relaxed. There is not an opposing party who is attempting to prevent the claimant from receiving benefits.
Social Media is not always a credible source. A Facebook page or Twitter account can be created by anyone and information can be posted that is not accurate. For instance, a photograph of someone water skiing can be “tagged” as the wrong person and the ALJ might get the impression that the claimant is much more active than they actually are.
Social media can also play a role in a traditional lawsuit so always be aware with what’s going on with your social media accounts!