Forum Thread

Will the Government use Social Media to catch disability fraud?

Reply to ThreadDisplaying 3 Posts
  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?

    It seems as though there's a proposal circulating in the White House pertaining to those who receive Social Security disability benefits. The proposal would let investigators use someone's Facebook and Twitter as evidence that they are no disabled but are collecting disability checks from the government. So pretty much if someone claimed benefits for a back injury but was shown in a photo playing Frisbee, they could use it as evidence. A quote from the New York times sums up my opinion.

    “It may be difficult to tell when a photograph was taken,” said Lisa D. Ekman, a lawyer who is the chairwoman of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, a coalition of advocacy groups. “Just because someone posted a photograph of them golfing or going fishing in February of 2019 does not mean that the activity occurred in 2019.”

    Right now, disability examiners do not routinely use social media, but they can refer cases to the inspector general, who can use it to corroborate information. According to a financial report, Social Security estimated that it paid $3.4 billion in over payments to disability insurance beneficiaries back in 2017, mostly because they didn't report work activities. That's a lot of money going out, that's for sure. Still, I think that photos on social media can be deceiving, say your significant other or spouse takes a photo of you 2 years prior to your injury, but you don't post it until after. How can that be used as evidence then? Most of the time, people like to post photos of themselves when they're happy or enjoying something, and sometimes they're throwback photos. What does everyone else think of this? Do you think photos from social media is strong enough evidence to prove fraud?

  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?

    Brave New World we are in.. yeah that's a good point you are making. Hopefully they are using logic. Like if it's a photo that's clearly date-able then you can use it against someone that is committing fraud.

    Say you are claiming an injury that you don't have and you are dumb enough to post a photo of you running in the latest city marathon or something, an event that clearly can be tracked down to a particular current date with photo evidence, then yeah, you deserve to be found out. And I think it would be 'in bounds' for the SSA to be able to use that info against you.

    But if it's just a random photo of you doing something active, without any way of knowing when it happened, then yeah that shouldn't be used against you.

  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
    True, but I think as long as real logic is applied here, then it could be a good tool for situations like these. Like you were saying, as long as the photo can be linked to an event or a solid date, then it's fair game.