• Stephanie Olarte Arango

Stay off our social media feed and disability benefits!

The President of the United States Donald Trump has proposed that Social Media be monitored for people with disabilities. This is discrimination at its best! The administration believes that monitoring a disabled persons social media will be the best way to determine if they are committing fraud by falsely claiming benefits from social security. Not only is this cruel to disabled people, its another form of profiling and discriminatory practices. Let’s not also add that it is very much invasive and its predatory behavior!

Imani Barbarin wrote a piece on Forbes that introduced me to this atrocious proposal and her piece frankly is wonderful and very thought provoking and a reality to this administration current attack to disabled people.

Imani wrote “The proposal, like many of its policies regarding disabled people, shows a fundamental misunderstanding of disability and takes advantage of how social media operates in order to cut them off from the support they need. Disabled people don’t all function in the same way, and disability is not a set of stereotypes like taking selfies staring longingly at the world. They live lives while managing their energy for the activities they can handle and trying to make those they cannot more accessible.”

It would truly be a disadvantage to people with disabilities to suddenly feel that they have to be cautious with their feeds because anything that they post, whether they are on a conference, at a party, at the gym or with their physical therapist can be seen as a non-disabled activity. So basically, a disabled person can lose their livelihood due to a simple post.

People with disabilities need their benefits, in 2016 the U.S Poverty Statistics showed that from those living in poverty 12 % were disabled adults. This number is very much significant and disturbing because it is also a number that keeps increasing, as the disabled community increases as well. Poverty for disabled people, is a cycle if a person is on social security benefits, they cannot work over certain threshold that the government puts them on, or they will lose their benefits as well. That is a problem because growth opportunities for disabled people on the workforce, and education is minimized, it not only hurts the community, but it hurts the country at a larger scale.

This policy proposal is truly disappointing and another unnecessary attack on those most vulnerable in our country. We have seen proposals to remove existing condition from healthcare, to defund special education programs, to remove and regulate the American Disability Act and now they want to produce a predatory proposal to monitor the social media accounts for the disabled people that receive benefits! We as a country need to make more noise to make sure disabled people are protected in all fronts! This word intersectionality needs to not just be defined it also needs to put into action!

We deserve it!

Author Bio: Stephanie Olarte is a Latina disabled advocate for Disability Rights, Reproductive Justice, Women’s Rights, Racial Justice, and Immigrant Rights. She is a Contributor to The Brown Girls Guide to Politics and founder of CaneIWalk

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