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Trump administration could use social media to cut down on federal disability fraud | TribLIVE.com
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Trump administration could use social media to cut down on federal disability fraud

Megan Tomasic
| Monday, March 11, 2019 1:30 a.m.
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The Trump administration could soon use websites like Facebook and Twitter to help find people who claim Social Security disability benefits who are not actually disabled, The New York Times reported.

Federal disability recipients may want to watch what they post on social media.

The Trump administration could soon use websites like Facebook and Twitter to help find people who claim Social Security disability benefits who are not actually disabled, The New York Times reported.

About 10 percent of Westmoreland County residents under the age of 65 identified as having a disability between 2013 and 2017, according to the Census Bureau. Between the same years, 9 percent of Allegheny County residents under the age of 65 identified as having a disability.

The number of people receiving disability benefits in both counties was not immediately available Monday.

According to the report, social media would be used to identify fraud and to increase the integrity of the program.

The New York Times said administration officials have been working on the proposal with Social Security, calling social media a possible “treasure trove of information” about people applying for benefits.

On Monday, President Trump announced a $4.75 trillion budget proposal, The New York Times reported, proposing to spend “$26 billion less on Social Security programs, including a $10 billion cut on the Social Security Disability Insurance program.”

To apply for disability benefits, a Social Security number must be provided for the applicant, spouses and any kids, along with a routing number from a bank.

Information about the applicants medical condition like dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals and clinics; names of medications taken and the name of the doctor who prescribed them; and the names and dates of all medical tests done much be provided in the application.

Trump also proposed new work requirements for recipients of federal housing support, food stamps and Medicaid, which could reduce spending by $327 billion on the programs over a decade, according to the newspaper.

About 41,000 people in Westmoreland County and 148,000 people in Allegheny County receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program, also called food stamps, according to December state figures.

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, mtomasic@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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