Tuesday, April 16, 2019

New Trump Policy Would Cut Disability Benefits If Disabled People Aren't Miserable


Are you ready for some serious dystopian shit? Or if you're disabled, are you ready for a worsening of the dystopian shit you've already been experiencing but it wasn't explicitly coded into law?

How A Trump Proposal Could Reduce 'Happy' Disabled People

I have a feeling that the headline is the fault of an able-bodied editor. Because what this proposed policy would do would simply reduce disabled people. By which I mean kill them.

A new policy proposal by the Trump administration calls for the surveillance of disabled people’s social media profiles to determine the necessity of their disability benefits. The proposal, which reportedly aims to cut down on the number of fraudulent disability claims would, monitor the profiles of disabled people and flag content that shows them doing physical activities. When it comes down to it, the policy dictates that disabled people shouldn’t be seen living their lives for fear of losing vital financial aid and, possibly, medical care.

None of us like the idea of the government monitoring our social media, though we've mostly accepted that it happens. But imagine living with the knowledge that if you admit to having too much fun on social media, the government will take away your only possible source of income.

Disability fraud, by the way, is very rare. Incredibly rare. It's already very difficult to get these benefits. I know someone who was deeply depressed to the point that he couldn't hold a job and could barely get out of bed most days, but even though his own therapist basically gave up on him and suggested that he seek disability benefits, he was denied. It wasn't until after that we learned that you basically have to go in and act as though it's one of your worst days in order to get benefits, but if your worst days are when you can't get out of bed and you have to get out of bed to go to the interview, then ??????

Disabled people are already expected to be perpetually miserable. If they're ever happy, they're accused of faking it. They already have to put up with that kind of bullshit from culture and from the government, but this would take it to a whole new level.

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. 
Additionally, studies have shown that a majority of social media users show only the good in their lives, not the hardships or difficulties. Disabled people should be allowed to share the full scope of their existence without fear they’ll be accused of lying—and even fraud—by the United States Government which will likely reason that if a disabled person is seen going to the mall or taking time to swim or jog, they can be working.

If this policy is put into place, disabled people will either have to give up any authenticity in their social media activity and lean into the stereotypes forced upon them by us able-bodied people or risk losing their benefits, which can literally lead to an early death. It can end their ability to pay for the medical care they need.

There is zero chance that this would save the government money. I would bet money that they would spend more money on this social media monitoring than they would ever save on cutting disability benefits, especially if they only caught the tiny number of people faking it, which won't happen, they will definitely end up mostly cutting benefits from people who need it.

This is eugenics. This is a genocide tactic. Remember how the nazis wanted to exterminate disabled people as well as Jewish people and other ethnic minorities? Targeting disabled people is a common aspect of fascism and genocidal regimes.

They don't care about reducing fraud. Their goal isn't even to reduce disabled happiness. It's just to reduce the number of disabled people, period. Fuck Trump and fuck any person who would support this policy or anything like it.

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