Insurance Benefits Lost Over Facebook Photos

[deleted account] ( 15 moms have responded )

Canadian woman loses benefits over Facebook photo

Sun Nov 22, 1:20 pm ET

BROMONT, Quebec – A Canadian woman on long-term sick leave for depression says she lost her benefits because her insurance agent found photos of her on Facebook in which she appeared to be having fun.

Nathalie Blanchard has been on leave from her job at IBM in Bromont, Quebec, for the last year.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday she was diagnosed with major depression and was receiving monthly sick-leave benefits from insurance giant Manulife.

But the payments dried up this fall and when Blanchard called Manulife, she says she was told she was available to work because of Facebook.

She said her insurance agent described several pictures Blanchard posted on Facebook, including ones showing her having a good time at a Chippendales bar show, at her birthday party and on a sun holiday.

Blanchard said Manulife told her it's evidence she is no longer depressed. She's fighting to get her benefits reinstated and says her lawyer is exploring what the next step should be.

Blanchard told the CBC that on her doctor's advice, she tried to have fun, including nights out at her local bar with friends and short getaways to sun destinations, as a way to forget her problems.

Manulife wouldn't comment on Blanchard's case, but did say they would not deny or terminate a claim solely based on information published on Web sites such as Facebook.


View replies by

Sarah - posted on 11/25/2009




It's a tough one. My initial reaction is that she isn't truly 'depressed'
That is perhaps because at my old job, there was a woman who blatantly pretended to be depressed to get months and months and months off work. It wound me up because she got paid practically her whole wage for the first 6 months, and also, i was covering her job for no extra money. They couldn't fire her. So i couldn't move up to her position in the company despite doing the job!!

I also have an acquaintance who has been off sick with 'depression' his whole life. He's out all the time having fun, he is NOT maniacally depressed. He gets a mountain of benefits due to this, he got more in benefits (which included his rent being paid) than i do!

So i guess i'm a little biased on the whole thing, because i know a lot of people who cheat the system under the guise of depression and it REALLY winds me up!!!

?? - posted on 11/24/2009




There is a man down the street who recently got caught and has been charged - he's had the book thrown at him because he's been dickin around his insurance company for nearly 20 years now... there's fraud charges in every single way they can possibly throw it at him - through the insurance company, the business company, the doctors he saw - plus a whole other wack of criminal charges and the last I heard he's facing astronomical fines as well as minimum 20 years in jail... (there's some other crap in there too, drug usage, drug trafficing etc - he was selling his prescriptions).

Krista - posted on 11/23/2009




Oh sister in law is dealing with her insurance company and is trying to find ANY excuse to send her back to work. She has A LOT of medical problems including severe and debilitating IBS, endometriosis and severe depression. In the last two years she's lost about 70 lbs (quite rapidly) and struggles to say above 100 lbs. The company is trying to disprove all these claims and is trying to make it seem as though she's fallen off the wagon (she's in recovery and has been for about 8 years). It's disgusting that we pay A LOT of money to these companies to insure our well being and they screw us. And you know what it is? The people who DO take advantage of these companies that screw it for the honest people.

Esther - posted on 11/23/2009




Quoting Jodi:

I actually find it very hard to believe that they would make this decision purely based on a Facebook photo. It would be too difficult to dispute in court if she decided to fight it. I would say we are not getting the full story (as is often the case with the media).

Actually - I don't find that too hard to believe. An insurance company will use any excuse not to pay benefits. I don't think they need an airtight case to come to this kind of decision.

My husband's brother is clinically depressed and has been for years. He's been on every medication known to mankind, has received shock treatment, has been in closed psychiatric wards many times, has tried to commit suicide etc. You would not find pictures of him hanging out in a bar on his FB page. Most days he can't make it out of his bed, let alone out of his house. However, I understand there are degrees of depression and people may deal with it differently. I will say though that it would make me question the seriousness of the depression as well.

[deleted account]

I keep my facebook profile private, as I have people who I want to prevent looking on my page (eg family that I no longer talk to).

In a way she did put her self out there, so she has been caught. I also guess it depends on the type of depression she has. I know of people who haven't been able to leave their homes because of their depression.

Mind you we don't know the full story.

Amie - posted on 11/22/2009




I highly doubt that FB photos were the only cause for the cancellation of her benefits. It probably was a starting point or something they found during their investigation.

Isobel - posted on 11/22/2009




My mom used to work in Long Term Disability for an insurance company...they do, indeed hire detectives to follow people and look into all of their personal info to see if they are getting scammed. My mom told me once that she cancelled a woman's policy because an investigator took a picture of her sunbathing with her arms up over her head (her claim was for loss of range of motion claiming that she couldn't lift her arms).

I have mixed feelings though, still photographs don't ever tell the whole story. People fake happy faces, and the pain after the shot has been taken is rarely captured.

Jodi - posted on 11/22/2009




I actually find it very hard to believe that they would make this decision purely based on a Facebook photo. It would be too difficult to dispute in court if she decided to fight it. I would say we are not getting the full story (as is often the case with the media).

[deleted account]

I don't know what i think about her losing her benefits. What gets me is that they were checking out her Facebook page. All the more reason to be very careful about what you make public.

?? - posted on 11/22/2009




If her drs reason is valid - then the insurance company should re-evaluate her case.

There is so much unknown for me to say much more than that. Depression effects people differently. If she's suicidal or homocidal, just unhappy, insecure, you name it there are many different aspects to being "depressed" that a job could actually do her some good, and maybe partying is 1 venue to feel better but generally being productive in life can be helpful too.......... so as far as whether her depression claim is legit or not... there's not enough information to even assume.

Lindsay - posted on 11/22/2009




The first thing that comes to my mind is while some people are very blatantly depressed, there are many people out there that hide their depression from others. I know it's not the same thing but I can slap on a happy face almost instantly even if I feel like crap. Smiling for a few pictures shouldn't be their only evidence.....

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