March 11, 2019

Statement Regarding the Administration’s Orwellian Plan to Monitor the Social Media Posts of People with Disabilities

The following statement was issued by Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, regarding today’s New York Times report that White House officials want the Social Security Administration (SSA) to monitor social media posts of people who receive disability benefits:

“The latest outrageous proposal from the Administration would violate the privacy of every Social Security disability beneficiary in an ill-conceived effort to identify ‘fraud.’ This Orwellian plan must be stopped in its tracks.

“According to the SSA, fraud constitutes less than 1% of the disability program’s outlays. There are significant safeguards in place already, and monitoring social media would be an invasive waste of time and resources.

“We do not need another barrier that prevents people with disabilities from receiving benefits they have earned. People with disabilities already go through a lengthy and difficult legal process to determine if they are eligible to receive modest disability benefits.

“This year Social Security is paying an average monthly disability benefit of about $1,234 to disabled workers. In fact, the number of disability benefit applications is falling. It was down 29 percent last year from a peak of 2.9 million in 2010. Beneficiaries are subject to periodic reviews to ensure they are still eligible for benefits.

“The Old Age and Survivors Disability Fund has been a part of Social Security since President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law in 1956. It is an essential lifeline for millions and the Alliance for Retired Americans and its 4.4 million members will work to prevent this change from ever taking effect.”

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Contact: David Blank – dblank@retiredamericans.org

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