Uncle Sam Might Soon Be Watching

According to a recent article in the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/10/us/politics/social-security-disability-trump-facebook.html), the Social Security Administration has been quietly working on a proposal to use social media like Facebook and Twitter to help identify people who claim Social Security disability benefits without actually being disabled. If, for example, a person claimed benefits because of a back injury, but was shown playing golf in a photograph posted on Facebook, that could be used as evidence that the person was not disabled and was fraudulently claiming disability benefits.

In its budget request to Congress last year, Social Security said it would study whether to expand the use of social media networks in disability determinations as a way to “increase program integrity and expedite the identification of fraud.” Since then, administration officials said, the White House has been actively working with Social Security to flesh out the proposal, in the belief that social media could be a treasure trove of information about people who are applying for or receiving disability benefits.

Obviously, it may be difficult to tell when a photo was taken. So, posting a picture of yourself playing golf years ago, before you became disabled, could be misleading to some fraud investigator. The bottom line is that if you use social media, be careful about how you post.