Saturday, February 4, 2017

Those Fakers Getting Disability Benefits

So this will likely just be one of those posts where I'm preaching to the choir but I'm so frustrated about this garbage I keep seeing (and have been seeing for years) that I have to vent.

Let's start with the basic truth that eludes so many -

You cannot tell who is disabled and who is not just by looking at them.
Many disabilities are invisible. Not only that but many disabilities/abilities do not remain static. Maybe someone can walk some days and not others depending on their pain levels. Maybe they can only walk for short distances. Maybe they are autistic and some days their sensory issues or executive functioning skills are better than others. Maybe their depression kept them in bed the last 3 days but they just stopped at the grocery store on their way home from therapy.

The point is, there are countless types of disability and you can't know what their reality is like by seeing random moments out of their lives.

Now comes the ranty part of this post. Every time I see someone say something about all the 'disability fraud' or complaining about 'special treatment' it just makes them look like a gigantic tool. Now, I used to have the foolish idea that they simply didn't understand and if someone explained the reality to them that it would make a difference but, nope, they just double down. And if you examine the facts it all just boils down to pettiness.
"Must be nice to sit on your ass all day and get a check from the government. Wish I could do that." 

I won't speak to Workman's Comp or disability insurance provided by employers as I know they vary and have had no experience with them. I don't know so I'm not going to pretend that I do for the sake of my argument. See how that works? What I do know a great deal about is SSI and SSDI. SSDI is based on what a person has paid into the Social Security system before they became disabled. The more they earned the bigger the check they receive. SSI is for those who were not able to work enough to pay into that system. As familiar as I am with the program I still won't apply a definitive amount because I know that sometimes the state of residence will add to it. I can say that for a disabled Vermont resident with NO other income, the amount is less than $800 a month. If you believe that surviving on $800 a month in an area where the average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment without any kind of subsidy is $600 is somehow 'living large' you may want to reconsider your career choices. In my case, I am married so it is drastically different. My husband works at Walmart so I get less than $100 a month. In case you missed the 'Walmart' part, yes, they consider Walmart wages to be 'high enough' that they cut my check that low. For a family of four.

Okay, let's assume that everyone is dying to live this high life so they decide to fake a disability. I had medical documentation for my disability going back to the age of 11. I also had a documented work history that went back 20 years and clearly showed that I could not function for more than 4-6 months at a time (at best). And when I say that, I don't mean that I just hopped from job to job. I mean I would work, crash for 18-24 months (sometimes involving hospitalizations), and then try all over again. It still took 18 months of paperwork, evaluations, and me hiring a lawyer to be approved. Every 3 years I have to go through a thorough evaluation to prove that I am still disabled.

Then there are the disability accommodations or, as these people love to refer to them, "special treatment". How dare those people with mobility issues get the good parking?! Yeah, I know, most of us can agree that the people with that attitude are tools but I have seen that mindset applied to all kinds of things that disabled people require to live their lives on anything close to equal terms. Don't believe me? Google 'pre peeled oranges' and watch the flaming asshattery unfold. And skipping lines at amusement parks or fan conventions? Sweet baby Jesus! How unfair is THAT?!

Lemme tell you a little story. Once upon a time I attended a fan convention with a disability pass. With it I was allowed to cut the line for my favorite actress. Did I prance merrily about with my 'magic pass' Skipping All The Lines Ever? No. I didn't skip any other guest lines because *drumroll* I was too disabled to access the con like everyone else even with the pass. What the folks throwing me the stinkeye (and the ones I saw bitching about it online for days afterward) didn't see was that I paid for my VIP pass just like they did. Only instead of frolicking about the con from open until closing all 3 days like them, I only managed about 6 hours in that building over the entire weekend. While they were hanging out with their friends I was saying,"I'm sorry guys but I have to leave." I met wonderful people and it was worth it for me but I was paying a price that others couldn't even see. If only folks could keep that in mind instead of promptly getting jealous that someone is getting something they are not.

I was going to write out a paragraph wrapping this up but I think I'm just going to repeat the previous line since it's really my whole point.
If only folks could keep that in mind instead of promptly getting jealous that someone is getting something they are not.

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