LOS GATOS (KPIX) — The Trump administration wants to investigate Social Security disability fraud by looking at the social media posts of beneficiaries, according to a New York Times report.
People posting photos of themselves on Facebook or Twitter doing strenuous activities, bike riding or even walking in the park could get them in trouble.
“If you’re saying you have a disability and can’t stand up to work, and then you post a picture of yourself bungee jumping, you’re showing a fraudulent case,” said Brian Eppes, a social media user from Los Gatos, who agreed with the policy.
Last year, the Social Security Administration said it paid out $3.4 billion in benefits, to people who didn’t deserve it, or lied about their disability.
But some say it’s a slippery slope.
“I feel we have a major lack of privacy and I don’t know how to fix it,” said Thais Palmer, who suspects the government is already searching social media platforms to look for fraud.
“I think it’s a big waste of time and money,” said Jeffrey Preefer, a retired attorney who represented clients in Social Security disability cases for 40 years.
Preefer said a social media post is just a snapshot and can be misleading.
“You’re not going to prove disability or lack thereof in one day. People do a lot of things in one day. Some days
they feel better,” he explained.
Preefer said people would still get an opportunity to explain questionable postings and have their case decided by a judge.
But another social media user said it can be a lesson on keeping your profile more private.
“If you don’t want people to know what you’re doing, then don’t go on social media. Or put your privacy settings on friends only,” said Los Gatos resident Michael Steinrock.
More than ten million Americans receive Social Security disability benefits, totaling $11 billion per month.