I Am Convinced…

28 12 2012

That the most abused social program is “disability”.

Mama made some comment yesterday that after my grandmother had left this earth, she would have nothing to keep her back in West Virginia and she thought she would just “move South” (hopefully way farther south than I am), where she could “make more money anyway.”

“Make more money doing what?”

“It all varies by state. Some states just pay more when you’re disabled.”

“We have enough people on the dole down here.”

The dole? What’s that mean?”

“People on food stamps and welfare and people who think they’re disabled.” I said frankly.

Well I deserve mine. Ain’t all those people broken their tailbone twice like I have.” (31 years ago.)

“Mom, there are people in wheelchairs who work all the time.”

“Yeah but I can’t sit that long. Hurts my back.”

Now, I don’t begrudge any sort of social safety net for people who really need them. But the truth is, shouldn’t you have to have worked at something somewhere along the line before the gubment starts cutting you a check for “disability” (exceptions, naturally, for people who are born with truly disabling conditions)? Mama worked a month or two here and there when she was younger, but whatever physical injuries she’s had aren’t keeping her from doing exactly what she has done for the past thirty-some years–ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. If you never worked to begin with, why should the taxpayers be on the hook because you’ve finally found a doctor who declares that you aren’t fit for whatever hypothetical work you’ve never done anyway?

Of course there are plenty of people who have legitimately been injured such that they can no longer do the manual labor they used to. Training them to do a damn desk job has got to be cheaper than writing them a check for the rest of their lives, right? Am I missing something?






5 responses

28 12 2012
The Incredible Woody

I broke my tailbone in 1983. I think I will apply for disability.

28 12 2012

Yes, you’re missing something here. Painting the disabled with too wide a brush, I’m afraid.

My daughter is “disabled” and is 31. She wasn’t born disabled. She was in a car accident and has fibromyalgia and has had more serious surgeries (unrelated to the car accident) since 2002 than I can recall. One landed her in the ICU for days and 4 units of blood transfused. If you were to look at her and watch her, you’d think she could work a desk job. Truth is, she cannot. She could not sit at a desk for 8 hours straight. She could not go into an office every day for five days a week. She’s a trained vet assistant. She can’t stand on her feet for 8 hours straight – particularly now since she shattered her ankle this year. She also was recently diagnosed with a brainstem abnormality that’s going to require rare surgery to correct (and thousands of $$).

I don’t disagree that your mama is probably abusing the system, and there are probably others who are too. But there are also those who truly need it and who weren’t born with it or had a completely paralyzing accident to cause it. I have another friend who has Lupus who receives disability. She travels a lot and you’d think she could work too. Each case is different.

As a side note – my daughter would give anything to live a “normal” life and not have her “disability”.

28 12 2012
The Vinyl Villager

Hey Claire! Im usually pretty good at putting myself in other peoples shoes…thanks for the nudge to get me there this time. I didn’t know about your daughters brainstem issue…I hope it isn’t as serious as it sounds.

16 01 2013

Yes, you are. However, when it comes to our mamas it’s often hard to be fully objective. Me included. 🙂 It is a risky surgery we are told, and moreso, scary. She’s able to tolerate abdominal surgeries but working on anything close to her brain scares the crap out of us both. And then there’s the expense of it. We just saw the bill that was paid by the government for her broken ankle… close to $80K all totalled. She’d give anything to live a normal life and earn her own way.

16 01 2013
The Vinyl Villager

Oh my gosh…I can understand why you’re both scared. I hope it’s behind you soon…and that the dread you’re feeling now is the worst of it! (And don’t get me going on hospital bills…I had a very minor outpatient procedure a few years ago to remove a small cyst…the bill, in total, for the two hours I was there was as much as a new car!)

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