Author Topic: The startling rise of disability in America  (Read 13250 times)

the fixer

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The startling rise of disability in America
« on: March 25, 2013, 10:24:31 AM »
It didn't seem fair to shove this in the Antimustachian Hall of Shame, but it does show a serious problem with middle- and low-income lifestyles that leads to getting on disability as a last resort. http://apps.npr.org/unfit-for-work/

It's really long, deserving of a complex and nuanced issue, and I think worth the read. A choice quote:

Quote
Scott tried school for a while, but hated it. So he took the advice of the rogue staffer who told him to suck all the benefits he could out of the system. He had a heart attack after the mill closed and figured, "Since I've had a bypass, maybe I can get on disability, and then I won't have worry to about this stuff anymore." It worked; Scott is now on disability.

Scott's dad had a heart attack and went back to work in the mill. If there'd been a mill for Scott to go back to work in, he says, he'd have done that too. But there wasn't a mill, so he went on disability. It wasn't just Scott. I talked to a bunch of mill guys who took this path -- one who shattered the bones in his ankle and leg, one with diabetes, another with a heart attack. When the mill shut down, they all went on disability.

CNM

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 11:36:17 AM »
I have a somewhat pessimistic view of the disability system.  I am glad it's there for people who are disabled.  It's not like the benefits are huge or anything.  However, through my work, I see many people who receive disability benefits who aren't disabled. They just work under the table.   

Self-employed-swami

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 12:20:01 PM »
This makes me sad. 

PolarBeer

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 04:54:09 PM »
However, through my work, I see many people who receive disability benefits who aren't disabled. They just work under the table.

If they in fact are severely disabled, I have no problem with them working to the extent that they can. It seems like a waste to spend huge efforts to keep tracking them and discouraging them from being active. Every case is different, if some can perform 1%, or 10%, or 20% of what a healthy person can, I think they deserve to feel that they can contribute and get paid for doing so.

arebelspy

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 05:49:43 PM »
That was a very interesting article.  Thanks for sharing.
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

CALL 911

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 06:57:18 PM »
I have a monologue for this very issue.
The majority of the people without a visible disability (have all digits, can see, are capable of communicating in their native spoken and written language), who are on disability, have one trait in common. Obesity.
Their back hurts because they weigh too much. Their knees hurt because they weigh too much. They have hypertension and type II diabetes because they weigh too much. They're depressed because they weigh too much (or they weigh too much because they're depressed - classic chicken/egg scenario).
To paraphrase, the first doc in the article said if you have low education, you can only do standing/lifting jobs. The graph associated with the article tells the tale. The states with the most obesity, have the most disability; the states with the least obesity, have the least disability. Low education, obesity and disability are a triumverate that go hand in hand. This isn't a coincidence.
For the majority of human history, the ability to eat closely tracked the ability to survive. If you don't/can't eat, you die. We are living in a remarkable time and place - for the first time in the history of the world, the ability to eat is actually a disability.

matchewed

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 07:23:50 PM »
Great article. Informative without pointing fingers and getting into the blaming mentality. Just lays out the issue as it exists.

tooqk4u22

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2013, 09:57:48 AM »
For those of you on the liberal end of the scale who want big government - you shouldn't be surprised by the results of big governemnt that has no oversight and is highly inefficient and simply won't say no to giving out the treats let alone pulling them back.  As suggested in the article disability is nothing more than extended unemployment and is signifcantly driven by laziness and is borderline fraud (34% is the result of back/musculoskeletal problems - i.e. things that can't be proven).  Such BS - glad to see my tax dollars being fretted away more and more and more everyday including the future ones as a result of the debt skyrocketting.

Paul der Krake

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2013, 10:12:39 AM »
I despise fraud and hypocrisy (cut all governent payouts except those I use! 'murica!) as much as the next guy, but also recognize that those 150 billions a year, assuming an annual payout of $10,000 per head, is money that

a) prevents at least some of them from turning to violent crimes to make ends meet
b) doesn't even come close to the military budget
c) goes straight back into the economy

Does anyone have the breakdown of the claimed illnesses for people on disability?

tooqk4u22

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2013, 01:40:26 PM »
I despise fraud and hypocrisy (cut all governent payouts except those I use! 'murica!) as much as the next guy, but also recognize that those 150 billions a year, assuming an annual payout of $10,000 per head, is money that

a) prevents at least some of them from turning to violent crimes to make ends meet
b) doesn't even come close to the military budget
c) goes straight back into the economy

Does anyone have the breakdown of the claimed illnesses for people on disability?

a) maybe, but this still doesn't justify it and a lot of these people wouldn't turn to violent crime anyway.
b) I hate this argument - the liberals standard defense....wah wah wah whatever we spend is less than we spend on defense.....except that it is not true when you combine all of the entitlements (I do not count SSI in this).  And BTW I think defense can be cut too.
c) false - it already came out of the economy, and will continue to do so, so it is wash at best and more likely it is a negative.

The linked article has a summary of the claims by type - 34% back pain, almost all fake. 

the fixer

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2013, 01:58:00 PM »
This story can get a one-sided interpretation through either a liberal or a conservative lens, but either way misses the point. It's a complex issue that spans political ideology.

Both of the following statements are equally true, and both point out problems that should be fixed:

Disability has turned into an out-of-control entitlement being abused by many people, and is even causing the failure of welfare reform because the disability ranks have increased as welfare recipients declined.

People in this country have been so hurt by economic shifts and job losses that they are becoming structurally unemployed: unable to work due to a combination of lack of modern job training and a disability that prevents them from performing the job they were originally qualified to do.

The_Dude

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2013, 03:02:25 PM »
I despise fraud and hypocrisy (cut all governent payouts except those I use! 'murica!) as much as the next guy, but also recognize that those 150 billions a year, assuming an annual payout of $10,000 per head, is money that

a) prevents at least some of them from turning to violent crimes to make ends meet
b) doesn't even come close to the military budget
c) goes straight back into the economy

Does anyone have the breakdown of the claimed illnesses for people on disability?

Well the article claims the amount is closer to $260B year when you factor in the free medical care.  Meanwhile people freaked out over sequestration which was only a cut in total government spending of $110B a year... so yeah this sounds like a pretty big deal.

TheDude

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2013, 03:17:14 PM »
For anyone interested This American Life and Planet Money just did good pod casts on this subject.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

grantmeaname

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2013, 05:00:55 PM »
The linked article has a summary of the claims by type - 34% back pain, almost all fake.
Right, because it couldn't be that people who claim they have musculoskeletal injuries actually have musculoskeletal injuries. You don't think you're overreaching your data here, reading your biases into unknown and complex issues, making an ass out of yourself, and disregarding the pain and suffering of entire groups of people because of your political views about the budget?

Because that's sure how it looks to me.

Paul der Krake

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2013, 05:33:01 PM »
I despise fraud and hypocrisy (cut all governent payouts except those I use! 'murica!) as much as the next guy, but also recognize that those 150 billions a year, assuming an annual payout of $10,000 per head, is money that

a) prevents at least some of them from turning to violent crimes to make ends meet
b) doesn't even come close to the military budget
c) goes straight back into the economy

Does anyone have the breakdown of the claimed illnesses for people on disability?

a) maybe, but this still doesn't justify it and a lot of these people wouldn't turn to violent crime anyway.
b) I hate this argument - the liberals standard defense....wah wah wah whatever we spend is less than we spend on defense.....except that it is not true when you combine all of the entitlements (I do not count SSI in this).  And BTW I think defense can be cut too.
c) false - it already came out of the economy, and will continue to do so, so it is wash at best and more likely it is a negative.

The linked article has a summary of the claims by type - 34% back pain, almost all fake.
We would all love to see this number reduced to near zero. I guess what I'm trying to say is that having the government spending all this money is the lesser of two evilsand just don't see much of an alternative. Stricter controls to prevent fraud maybe, less of the free healthcare that comes with it too.

That money isn't used to buy stocks or kept in bank accounts for a future downpayment on a house. Nobody is getting rich from disability checks.

maryofdoom

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2013, 07:33:33 PM »
I have weird feelings about disability. My father-in-law should almost certainly be on disability - he has destroyed his back and hands through years of manual labor and needs strong painkillers to get through a normal day. He should not be working in the kinds of jobs for which he is qualified.

I also have an Internet pal who has crippling bipolar disorder that prevents her from having a regular job. She's having problems dealing with her illness in order to get the benefits for which she is qualified. She doesn't want to get rich; she just wants to be able to survive without having to beg her family for help, and to afford the medication that makes her brain function correctly.

When people talk about disability and people abusing the system, I think of these cases. I guess I accept that abuses are out there, and that not everyone is perfect, and that some people try to get away with stuff. I try very hard not to pass value judgments on people, because I don't know what situations they find themselves in. I also think that if I were in these situations, I would want people to treat me with compassion and understanding.

sheepstache

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2013, 09:07:48 PM »
Is it just me or is the graphic design of that article really cool?

Fixer, I keep meaning to ask--I doubt it, but by any chance did you name yourself after the Malamud novel?  At any rate you tend to have a nuanced take on things that reminds me a bit of his writings.

tooqk4u22

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2013, 07:26:09 AM »

We would all love to see this number reduced to near zero. I guess what I'm trying to say is that having the government spending all this money is the lesser of two evilsand just don't see much of an alternative. Stricter controls to prevent fraud maybe, less of the free healthcare that comes with it too.

That money isn't used to buy stocks or kept in bank accounts for a future downpayment on a house. Nobody is getting rich from disability checks.

I don't have a problem with a disability program per se, what I have a problem with is its lax standards and oversight. Even ignoring fraud there are plenty of people on disability that could be doing some job of some kind. 

You say that people aren't getting rich, which on the surface may seem true, but if you look at it from the perspective of getting $15k a year plus healthcare benefits and possibly other entitlement benefits you quickly realize that it is comparable to what many people on this forum live on but they worked, saved and invested to get there.

So I don't think it is the lesser of two evils.

tooqk4u22

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2013, 07:33:14 AM »
I have weird feelings about disability. My father-in-law should almost certainly be on disability - he has destroyed his back and hands through years of manual labor and needs strong painkillers to get through a normal day. He should not be working in the kinds of jobs for which he is qualified.

I also have an Internet pal who has crippling bipolar disorder that prevents her from having a regular job. She's having problems dealing with her illness in order to get the benefits for which she is qualified. She doesn't want to get rich; she just wants to be able to survive without having to beg her family for help, and to afford the medication that makes her brain function correctly.

When people talk about disability and people abusing the system, I think of these cases. I guess I accept that abuses are out there, and that not everyone is perfect, and that some people try to get away with stuff. I try very hard not to pass value judgments on people, because I don't know what situations they find themselves in. I also think that if I were in these situations, I would want people to treat me with compassion and understanding.

You touch on a fundamental issue above - it used to be that family, friends, community and religious organizations were the fabric that covered these issues. Not to mention, private disability insurance is available and fairly cheap.  And this ignores individual accountability - spend less than you earn, save for a rainy day, etc.

You have heard the phrase "If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, if you teach a man to fish you feed him for life"  The problem with the government involvement is that there is now a platform where they can simply take the fish of others which leads to more and more people wanting to take others fish...clearly evidenced by the ever increasing disability claims and correlation with unemployment levels.

The program should be for the "severely" disabled. 

the fixer

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2013, 08:24:41 AM »
Fixer, I keep meaning to ask--I doubt it, but by any chance did you name yourself after the Malamud novel?  At any rate you tend to have a nuanced take on things that reminds me a bit of his writings.

I named myself this because I'm known for being good at fixing things, that's all :) I go by other names elsewhere but I don't want people, such as possible employers, to piece together my identity and tie it to this forum. So I came up with something on a whim.

I was raised in a pretty liberal family and was extremely liberal in my teens and early twenties. I never thought it would happen to me, but as I accumulated more wealth I started becoming more conservative (like a 1950s-80s republican, not like the Tea Party crazies). I think of myself as a sort of moderate libertarian today.

I think the biggest obstacle we have in our political system is people trying to conveniently define what problem it is needs to be solved, e.g. "we have a spending problem not a revenue problem" versus "the wealthy aren't paying their fair share." When you do that you've allowed your preferred solution to be favored, but only to you because the other side rejects your definition and, rhetorically, you've dropped the argument all the way back down to the first stasis. Now you'll get nowhere in negotiation. Even if you do get what you want passed, it won't actually solve the problem. For instance, I think the reason disability enrollees went up as welfare recipients went down in the 90s was because the underlying problem of why people were on welfare was not sufficiently dealt with, so they just found another entitlement instead of playing along with the solution.

Defining the problem should, at least at an academic level, be an objective exercise backed by quantifiable data. That's why I like this article: it thoroughly lays out the extent of the problem, even if it doesn't concisely define it.

Fletch

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2013, 09:10:11 AM »

I don't have a problem with a disability program per se, what I have a problem with is its lax standards and oversight. Even ignoring fraud there are plenty of people on disability that could be doing some job of some kind. 

That was one of the most interesting part of the npr podcast to me: it isn't that some of the people interviewed couldn't ever have a a different job, for instance one that didn't require them to stand all day. The problem was they couldn't conceive of any jobs that they could sit at. In some communities, or for some people who think they are too old, or <insert reason here> only know of two options 1) work at the kind of job they have always done, that everyone in the community does, but can now longer do; or 2) go on disability/welfare. If those are the only options you are aware of or capable of, is it really fraud?

The example I'm thinking of in the podcast is the man with nerve damage in his hand. When asked if he had ever considered a job that didn't require him to use his hands, his response was something along the lines of "we don't stomp grapes [for wine] around here". His entire frame of reference for work was only physical labor, which is a perspective most people reading and discussing now (on our computers) will never understand.

I don't see it as something that can be blamed on any particular political doctrine either. If you make it harder to get on or stay on unemployment or welfare, while lower income jobs are less available (because of outsourcing, robots do maufacturing now), right as a huge wave of the population is reaching an age where "disabling" health conditions are more common and an age where acquiring a completely new skill set to only work for 5 more years, but there is still a safety net available.... it just doesn't really suprise me.

My point is this isn't something that has an obvious cause, so it will never be something with an obvious solution. Trying to label it as fraud, as if the only reason someone would be on disability who didn't "need" it is because they are a bad or lazy person ignores pretty much every other factor that led a person to believe they needed disability.

tooqk4u22

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2013, 04:40:19 PM »

My point is this isn't something that has an obvious cause, so it will never be something with an obvious solution. Trying to label it as fraud, as if the only reason someone would be on disability who didn't "need" it is because they are a bad or lazy person ignores pretty much every other factor that led a person to believe they needed disability.

The obvious cause is a having an entitlement program exactly because of what you describe.....they don't feel or believe or seek another option because they ARE entitled. I didn't say it was all fraud and even within the fraud there is grey area such as the examples you provide such that it is not explicitly fraud but they are capable of doing something else. 

I don't see it as something that can be blamed on any particular political doctrine either. If you make it harder to get on or stay on unemployment or welfare, while lower income jobs are less available (because of outsourcing, robots do maufacturing now), right as a huge wave of the population is reaching an age where "disabling" health conditions are more common and an age where acquiring a completely new skill set to only work for 5 more years, but there is still a safety net available.... it just doesn't really suprise me.


Not my problem.  Just because someone is older and never expanded their skills beyond a physical role and never thought to save any money to prepare for those difficult years doesn't mean they should be entitled to a hand out.  Again, I still think that falls on the shoulders of family and community on a voluntary basis.

And even if we do have entitlement programs these people aren't entitled to live in a certain way without compromise or change, which often appears to be the case.



Frugal_in_DC

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2013, 08:43:48 PM »
Folks, this particular NPR series on people with disabilities has been debunked by experts since it aired:

Open letter from former SSA commissioners: http://nosscr.org/open-letter-former-commissioners-social-security-administration

Center for Budget and Public Priorities: http://www.offthechartsblog.org/the-facts-about-disability-insurance/, http://www.offthechartsblog.org/the-state-of-disability/, http://www.offthechartsblog.org/ssi-provides-critical-support-for-disabled-kids-and-their-families/

Center for Economic and Policy Research: http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/cepr-blog/sorry-ira-there-are-factual-errors-in-your-story-on-disability-insurance, http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/cepr-blog/supplemental-security-and-temporary-assistance-how-qthis-american-lifeq-got-the-story-wrong

Shriver Center: http://www.theshriverbrief.org/2013/03/articles/economic-security-and-opportun/npraddressing-the-wrong-question-about-disabilities/

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities: http://www.c-c-d.org/task_forces/social_sec/Unfit_for_NPR_CCD_Statement_with_sign-ons3-27-13.pdf

Major media organizations, including US News and World Report, the LA Times, and the Washington Post, likewise wrote articles debunking the "information" in the series.  Sorry, I don't have the links bookmarked and it's getting late, but feel free to Google if interested. 

Also note that the underwriter of the series, Lincoln Financial, is a company that sells…private disability insurance.  The ombudsmen for NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are reviewing this series due to concerns re. possible non-compliance with NPR's reporting standards, legal requirements that public broadcasting programs be fair and objective, and possible conflict of interest due to the underwriter's line of business.

NPR used to stand for National Public Radio.  When you listen to NPR stations, you'll notice that now it's simply referred to as NPR or This Is NPR.  As public funding for their programs has dwindled over the years, corporate funding has made up an increasing part of NPR's budget, second only to station programming fees - here's a pie chart: http://www.npr.org/about/aboutnpr/publicradiofinances.html .  My guess is that this is going to result in greater corporate influence over what used to be a largely publicly-funded information service.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 08:47:58 PM by Frugal in DC »

matchewed

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2013, 10:30:13 AM »
Not that I'm out right disagreeing with what has been said in the articles you linked Frugal in DC, but I find it particularly funny that you accuse NPR of a bias as you link sites which nearly all have a bias towards either Social Security, disability, or low income.

That aside. I read some of the articles you posted. Where do they "debunk" the article? The first article from offthecharts claims that if you adjust the numbers they look different. That would be a factual statement. But why do we need to adjust the numbers in the first place? They say it is because disability has increased due to demographic factors, I read the NPR piece and I'm not sure where they disagree. NPR never says it is not due to demographic factors. Same with the second article.

The third article states that if you look over the 10 years the percentage isn't that big. While the NPR article is saying over the last 40 years it has grown a large amount. I do agree that the remainder of the section on children is not all that helpful because it dives into an anecdote that while powerful in the message is lacking in any sort of valuable information.

I don't want to go through article by article with you over this but I do have to say that the actual data presented in the NPR story is from government statistics. Yes there are fluff anecdotes but they're necessary for readability, and yes they can have their bias. But aside from the fluff, when we're looking at data directly from the people who dish out the money vs. that same data adjusted by an entity that has a bias already, such as an organization dedicated to advocating for low income peoples, I'm going to have to look at the unadjusted data and ignore fluff and adjusted data.

If you have any direct concerns with the information presented in the NPR article by all means share it. But please present different perspectives as such and not as expert debunkery. I'm sure I can go across the political spectrum and find some experts who say that it is much much worse than what NPR has stated.

the fixer

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2013, 11:29:46 AM »
I'll agree that it looks like NPR gave misleading numbers regarding the growth of the program. It shouldn't have been comparing raw counts of beneficiaries over time. I'm glad these other sources have pointed that out. It's also good to know that readjustments between the SS trust funds are an expected and routine event.

I'm still unsettled, though, by the heavy bias in the "debunking" articles, and from the few I read it seems they are pushing to prevent change to the program because that change might harm someone it shouldn't. What we should be asking is would reform help more people (by freeing up govt funds, getting not-really-disabled people back to work, etc.) than it hurts? You'd think liberal groups would be more open to that kind of social analysis.

Frugal_in_DC

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2013, 07:49:10 PM »
Hey matchewed and fixer, I'm pretty low-tech and don't know how to quote from two posts at once so I'm going to put your posts in italics below:

Not that I'm out right disagreeing with what has been said in the articles you linked Frugal in DC, but I find it particularly funny that you accuse NPR of a bias as you link sites which nearly all have a bias towards either Social Security, disability, or low income.

That aside. I read some of the articles you posted. Where do they "debunk" the article? The first article from offthecharts claims that if you adjust the numbers they look different. That would be a factual statement. But why do we need to adjust the numbers in the first place?


My guess is that the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) adjusted for gender and age to try to show changes based on the other factors mentioned in the NPR piece.  So for example, if the premise is that there has been a huge increase in the SSI/SSDI rolls because of fraud or because former welfare recipients are now on disability instead, you would see a substantial increase in the adjusted numbers.  As far as other critiques of the NPR piece, see also my other responses below.

They say it is because disability has increased due to demographic factors, I read the NPR piece and I'm not sure where they disagree.  NPR never says it is not due to demographic factors. Same with the second article.

The issue that many have with the NPR piece is that it tries to link anecdotes with broader trends that the SSA had already predicted.  The NPR piece also makes broad and unfounded mischaracterizations.  For example, one section of the NPR piece has a graph showing the increase in the number of low-income people on disability right below a graph showing a decrease in the number of families on welfare as part of a section that seemingly implies that SSDI/SSI is the new welfare.  However, being poor is not enough criteria to qualify for disability benefits. 

Another graph depicting demographic changes is shown as part of a section on what the author calls a disability-industrial complex.  The premise of this section is that disability cases are sometimes approved during appeal because while the applicant may have an attorney representing him or her, there is no attorney representing the government.  The author tries to depict a disability appeals hearing as a trial.  A hearing is actually presided by an administrative law judge whose job is to resolve a dispute between a government agency and someone affected by a decision of the agency.  Appeals hearings are explained on SSA’s website - http://www.ssa.gov/appeals/hearing_process.html#what_happens .

The third article states that if you look over the 10 years the percentage isn't that big. While the NPR article is saying over the last 40 years it has grown a large amount.

It looks like the CBPP pointed out the trend over the last 10 years of children receiving SSI to try to take into account the time periods right before, during, and after the Great Recession.  The author of the NPR piece implies that children of poor families have an incentive for their children to continue to receive SSI so they can support their entire families.  If this were the case, you would expect a definite increase during the past 10 years as more families entered poverty due to the recession, but it looks like this was not the case.  The CBPP graph showing SSI shows the growth in the number of children receiving SSI (same as the NPR graph, but on a different Y-axis scale), but it also shows the large decrease in the number of people ages 65 and over receiving SSI; this is not something that the NPR piece points out.

I do agree that the remainder of the section on children is not all that helpful because it dives into an anecdote that while powerful in the message is lacking in any sort of valuable information.

This is the section that gave me heartburn and prompted me to call my local NPR station to express my concerns.  As a longtime financial contributor, I want to see my money go towards programs that meet NPR’s criteria for fairness and objectivity.  I have also observed over the years that parents of children with special needs go to great lengths to make sure their children do their absolute best and become contributing members of society.  I recommended to my local station that they air a piece to provide more context regarding children with disabilities.  The program director was nice enough to put me in touch with the producers of a local talk show that the station produces.  I worked with them to provide ideas for a segment on educating children with special needs that aired a few weeks ago - see http://thekojonnamdishow.org/shows/2013-04-10/educating-special-needs-kids

I don't want to go through article by article with you over this but I do have to say that the actual data presented in the NPR story is from government statistics. Yes there are fluff anecdotes but they're necessary for readability, and yes they can have their bias. But aside from the fluff, when we're looking at data directly from the people who dish out the money vs. that same data adjusted by an entity that has a bias already, such as an organization dedicated to advocating for low income peoples, I'm going to have to look at the unadjusted data and ignore fluff and adjusted data.

I just checked again and the data presented in the articles I linked to are also from government statistics.  Anecdotes are fine, but it’s not accurate to make broad generalizations and perpetuate stereotypes about a whole segment of society based on a handful of anecdotes.  I don’t know if I would say that advocating for the basic needs of vulnerable populations means that someone or an organization is biased.  Unfortunately people in poverty and people with disabilities do not have organizations with deep pockets that can do things like underwrite news programs.  All they have is grassroots efforts and press releases like the one I linked to from CCD.  The views of people with disabilities were not considered in the NPR piece.

If you have any direct concerns with the information presented in the NPR article by all means share it. But please present different perspectives as such and not as expert debunkery. I'm sure I can go across the political spectrum and find some experts who say that it is much much worse than what NPR has stated.

I encourage you to read the letter from the former SSA commissioners, the CCD press release, and the Shriver Center that I linked to earlier if you feel that the articles from the two non-profit think tanks are simply different perspectives.  I would say that executives who ran the SSA and dozens of organizations that work one-on-one with people with disabilities have pretty good knowledge of disability safety net programs and how they impact recipients.

I’m not sure what you mean by across the political spectrum since the organizations I mentioned in my post are not political.  Assuming you mean right-of-center organizations, I checked the websites for the Heritage Foundation, Brookings, and American Enterprise Institute (AEI).  As far as I can tell, Heritage had a blog post on the NPR piece but nothing else directly on the issue.  Brookings has a couple of studies with proposed reforms such as early intervention, improving the disability determination system, and privatizing disability insurance - see http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2013/02/disability-insurance-reform and http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2010/12/disability-insurance-autor .  One of the co-authors of the study on privatization is David Autor, who is interviewed in the NPR piece.  AEI and Brookings co-sponsored an event on disability insurance a few weeks ago - http://www.aei.org/events/2013/04/19/disability-insurance-inherent-problems-practical-solutions-and-action-for-reform-part-2/ .  The video is not showing up on my computer.  I understand that one of the presenters, Richard Burkhauser, mentions the NPR piece at some point during the event.  Apparently he refers to the NPR piece as an opinion piece rather than a news piece, but I can’t see the video so I’m going off what I read in someone’s Twitter feed.

I'll agree that it looks like NPR gave misleading numbers regarding the growth of the program. It shouldn't have been comparing raw counts of beneficiaries over time. I'm glad these other sources have pointed that out. It's also good to know that readjustments between the SS trust funds are an expected and routine event.

I'm still unsettled, though, by the heavy bias in the "debunking" articles, and from the few I read it seems they are pushing to prevent change to the program because that change might harm someone it shouldn't. What we should be asking is would reform help more people (by freeing up govt funds, getting not-really-disabled people back to work, etc.) than it hurts? You'd think liberal groups would be more open to that kind of social analysis.


Again, I would say that executives who ran the SSA and dozens of organizations that work one-on-one with people with disabilities have pretty good knowledge of disability safety net programs and how they impact recipients.  I’m not sure if I would call this bias.  I think organizations that work with the disabled are deeply concerned that misleading news pieces during these times of austerity will lead to indiscriminate cuts.  I think it’s always a good idea to look into changes and reforms that make safety net programs more effective and efficient while protecting vulnerable populations. 

Disability organizations are definitely open to reform and have advocated reform policies throughout the years, to no avail.  One of the proposed reforms would allow parents of children with disabilities to open accounts similar to college 529 plans for their children.  It is my understanding that young adults with disabilities can only have $2,000 worth of assets so they can qualify for safety net programs.  These savings accounts would allow parents to bequeath funds to their adult children while allowing them to remain eligible for basic services such as job supports and companion care.  However, even this one straightforward reform does not seem to be a legislative priority; although bills are introduced in every Congress, they never pass.  Perhaps all the news coverage about SSI and SSDI will prompt more talk of possible reforms, we shall see.

ace1224

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2013, 10:33:19 AM »

My point is this isn't something that has an obvious cause, so it will never be something with an obvious solution. Trying to label it as fraud, as if the only reason someone would be on disability who didn't "need" it is because they are a bad or lazy person ignores pretty much every other factor that led a person to believe they needed disability.

The obvious cause is a having an entitlement program exactly because of what you describe.....they don't feel or believe or seek another option because they ARE entitled. I didn't say it was all fraud and even within the fraud there is grey area such as the examples you provide such that it is not explicitly fraud but they are capable of doing something else. 

I don't see it as something that can be blamed on any particular political doctrine either. If you make it harder to get on or stay on unemployment or welfare, while lower income jobs are less available (because of outsourcing, robots do maufacturing now), right as a huge wave of the population is reaching an age where "disabling" health conditions are more common and an age where acquiring a completely new skill set to only work for 5 more years, but there is still a safety net available.... it just doesn't really suprise me.


Not my problem.  Just because someone is older and never expanded their skills beyond a physical role and never thought to save any money to prepare for those difficult years doesn't mean they should be entitled to a hand out.  Again, I still think that falls on the shoulders of family and community on a voluntary basis.

And even if we do have entitlement programs these people aren't entitled to live in a certain way without compromise or change, which often appears to be the case.
this.  i agree

Frugal_in_DC

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2013, 11:12:56 AM »

My point is this isn't something that has an obvious cause, so it will never be something with an obvious solution. Trying to label it as fraud, as if the only reason someone would be on disability who didn't "need" it is because they are a bad or lazy person ignores pretty much every other factor that led a person to believe they needed disability.

The obvious cause is a having an entitlement program exactly because of what you describe.....they don't feel or believe or seek another option because they ARE entitled. I didn't say it was all fraud and even within the fraud there is grey area such as the examples you provide such that it is not explicitly fraud but they are capable of doing something else. 

I don't see it as something that can be blamed on any particular political doctrine either. If you make it harder to get on or stay on unemployment or welfare, while lower income jobs are less available (because of outsourcing, robots do maufacturing now), right as a huge wave of the population is reaching an age where "disabling" health conditions are more common and an age where acquiring a completely new skill set to only work for 5 more years, but there is still a safety net available.... it just doesn't really suprise me.


Not my problem.  Just because someone is older and never expanded their skills beyond a physical role and never thought to save any money to prepare for those difficult years doesn't mean they should be entitled to a hand out.  Again, I still think that falls on the shoulders of family and community on a voluntary basis.

And even if we do have entitlement programs these people aren't entitled to live in a certain way without compromise or change, which often appears to be the case.
this.  i agree

The word “entitlement” is a polyseme, i.e. a word that has several different but related meanings.  Another example of a polyseme is “loose,” which can mean either not securely attached (i.e., “the rope became loose”) or lacking in restraint (i.e., “loose lips sink ships”), among other meanings.  For purposes of the federal budget, an entitlement means payments to individuals or groups that, under law, must be made to those who are eligible.  Besides Social Security, other federal entitlement programs include Medicare and agricultural farm subsidies.  Over the years this word has evolved so that it is sometimes used as a pejorative, e.g. as in “a sense of entitlement.”  Here is more information on the etymology of the word entitlement: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=4240.

Incidentally, Social Security disability programs include work incentives - see http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/generalinfo.htm#work .  SSA also reviews disability recipients every 3 years to determine eligibility - see http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/text-cdrs-ussi.htm

Regarding fraud, a former SSA commissioner said on a news program recently that the rate of fraud in Social Security disability programs is less than 1/2 of 1%.  Anyone who suspects Social Security fraud can report it to the SSA’s Inspector General - http://oig.ssa.gov/report .

Many people who now receive Social Security used to be cared for by family members back when the United States was an agrarian society.  With the rise of industrialization and increasingly specialized jobs that require people to be away from their homes for most of their waking hours, that type of support system is no longer tenable.  Before Social Security came along, 1/3 of the nation’s senior citizens lived in poverty.  People with developmental and intellectual disabilities, who now may be eligible for SSI, were warehoused in institutions.  There are still 160 of these large facilities left in the United States financed by Medicaid that cost the federal and state governments an average of about $200,000 per person per year to maintain - see http://www.ucp.org/the-case-for-inclusion/2013/state_scorecards.html , select United States under Select a State.  In contrast, the average annual SSI payment to an individual is about $6,000 (about $500/month x 12 months) - see http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/ , table 3. 

MrsPete

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #28 on: July 02, 2013, 07:46:06 AM »
Very interesting article.  Take aways for me:

1. Two people go into the doctor with the same physical problems.  One is qualified only for manual labor, while the other has a desk job.  The manual labor guy is termed "disabled" because his education doesn't allow him any options that his body can support, while the desk-jockey is not disabled because his job is less physically stringent.  That's insane.  Either you are disabled, or you are not. 

2.  Disability is a way to get people off the state payroll and onto the federal payroll.  Maybe I should've realized this, but I didn't. 

3.  I disagree with one item in the article:  It said that a disabled person receives about 13K/year, which is poverty level and X number of Americans have "signed on" for this deal for life.  I don't think it's quite true to say that all those people have signed on to live in poverty.  In my personal experience, when one spouse is disabled, so is the other.  Since people tend to marry people with similar socio-economic backgrounds, this might go back to the "only qualified for manual labor jobs" thing.  Two people, both drawing a disability check, would bring in 26K, which is enough for a frugal-but-comfortable lifestyle.  Throw in a disabled child, and you're doing rather well -- and you have all your time free, allowing for money-saving habits and the occasional under-the-table job.  Additionally, a disabled person (or family) will qualify for some state benefits, and his children will qualify for Pell grants.  No, I don't believe those people have "signed on" to live in poverty for the rest of their lives.






Fletch

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #29 on: July 02, 2013, 11:03:58 AM »
Very interesting article.  Take aways for me:

1. Two people go into the doctor with the same physical problems.  One is qualified only for manual labor, while the other has a desk job.  The manual labor guy is termed "disabled" because his education doesn't allow him any options that his body can support, while the desk-jockey is not disabled because his job is less physically stringent.  That's insane.  Either you are disabled, or you are not. 


I'm curious how you feel this extrapolates to mental deficiencies/disabilities (mental disability here is intended to be a separate definition from the government assessment of qualified for disability payments). A person goes to the doctor with a mental disability. They can't do a job that requires communication or adaptability to changing situations, but they can follow a simple direction and work a station at a factory, in fact the consistency and repetition of tasks is enjoyable them. If they go to the doctor when they have a job, they aren't disabled (by government definition), because they have a job and are capable of earning a living? If they go to the doctor when all manufacturing has been outsourced to another country, with no hope of ever returning in their lifetime, they are disabled (by government definition)?

Is there any room for grey areas between "Either you are disabled, or you are not"?

Jamesqf

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #30 on: July 02, 2013, 11:30:52 AM »
1. Two people go into the doctor with the same physical problems.  One is qualified only for manual labor, while the other has a desk job.  The manual labor guy is termed "disabled" because his education doesn't allow him any options that his body can support, while the desk-jockey is not disabled because his job is less physically stringent.  That's insane.  Either you are disabled, or you are not.

I don't see the logic here.  Used to work with a guy who was a semi-quadraplegic (that is, his legs were totally paralyzed, but he had some limited movement in his arms & hands - enough to roll a wheelchair, but not enough for more than hunt and peck keyboarding).  Managed to get through engineering school, and hold down a good job as an engineer (with great performance reviews, etc).  Was he "disabled" in terms of his work performance?  I don't think so.

OTOH, there's this http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/02/lirr-fraud-scandal-retirees-disability-benefits_n_3534620.html? from todays news.

MrsPete

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2013, 01:43:39 PM »
Fletch and James, Did you read the article?  This was a point that was made -- particularly, the article discussed the doctor who asked his patients about their education, although that had nothing to do with their physical health.  I was surprised that this is a consideration in determining whether a person is disabled. 

Fletch

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #32 on: July 03, 2013, 02:28:49 PM »
Of course I read the article, which is why I asked "how do you feel this extrapolates", and James asked a similar question. Sure,  disabled or not sounds like an easy cut-and-dry question, but do you really think that reflects the day-to-day reality of people with disabilities trying to work in this country?

Furthermore, if you are clearly eligible for disability (such as the quadriplegic in James's example), but happen to find work that you can do, should you not take that work because "either you're disabled, or you're not"? I think restricting this complex question to a binary answer is insane.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #33 on: July 03, 2013, 02:49:27 PM »
Fletch and James, Did you read the article?  This was a point that was made -- particularly, the article discussed the doctor who asked his patients about their education, although that had nothing to do with their physical health.  I was surprised that this is a consideration in determining whether a person is disabled.

But the point of the benefit is to compensate them for the work they can't do because of the disability. A person's employment opportunities are influenced by her level of education. It's very different for someone who does not have a HS diploma to get a job that doesn't involve manual labor, so if that person has a chronic condition that prevents them from doing manual labor, they are up a creek without a paddle. If a lawyer has a chronic condition preventing her from doing manual labor, then she can still get a remunerative job.

Daleth

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2013, 01:42:06 PM »
I don't have a problem with a disability program per se, what I have a problem with is its lax standards and oversight. Even ignoring fraud there are plenty of people on disability that could be doing some job of some kind. 

You say that people aren't getting rich, which on the surface may seem true, but if you look at it from the perspective of getting $15k a year plus healthcare benefits and possibly other entitlement benefits you quickly realize that it is comparable to what many people on this forum live on but they worked, saved and invested to get there.

The "plus healthcare benefits" is the key thing. We are the only developed country in the world that doesn't have universal health insurance. Result? People who are disabled CANNOT GET insurance or at least can't get it at anything remotely resembling an affordable rate ($5000/month, anyone? That's what an in-law of mine was quoted). But if they're disabled, they need insurance more than most of us. Wheelchairs are astonishingly expensive (a good electric wheelchair can rival a new Subaru and no, there aren't low-low-loans to buy them with). Incontinence supplies are astonishingly expensive. Hospital stays, which disabled people tend to need more than most of us, are astonishingly expensive. Guide dogs, hearing aids, treatment for bed sores, drugs... you can practically hear the tsunami of money rushing away from disabled people.

So how do they get health insurance? By going on disability, of course, since they're disabled and you can't get Medicare before retirement age unless you're on SSDI. But because we, the US taxpayers and our representatives, are idiots and/or have some kind of Ayn Randian agenda, we set up the STUPIDEST disability system in the world: you lose your SSDI, and thus also lose your health insurance (Medicare), if you earn more than some pissant amount of money (the amount changes periodically, but at the moment it's $1040/mo for most disabled people and $1740 for the blind). Here are the amounts: http://www.ssa.gov/dibplan/dwork2.htm

What would be SENSIBLE is if we required disabled people to start paying something to get Medicare once their income exceeded X amount. For instance, maybe they get Medicare for free if they earn less than $12k/year, and then for anything they earned beyond that, they had to pay some fraction towards their Medicare premiums. But no. We don't do that. We CUT THEM OFF, from having health insurance to having NO insurance at all, the second their income exceeds $1040/month. And that's despite the fact that (1) that makes NO SENSE compared to the alternative of requiring them to start paying some percentage, so they pay more and more as their income rises; and (2) WTF, $1040 a month?!? We're talking about adults here, many of them with families! And even when they HAVE insurance there are many things they need for their disability that aren't covered or are only partially covered!

I speak as the daughter of a quadriplegic woman who ran a business out of our house (she was too disabled to work for someone else--commuting and using normal office equipment is quite the challenge for quadriplegic people) for more than 20 years and had to PURPOSELY keep her business from growing because if it grew too much, she stopped having health insurance. I am so tired of hearing discussions of our disability system degenerate into "I know this guy who says he has back problems just to get SSDI," when we could BOTH remove part of the motive for fraud AND take better care of our disabled fellow citizens, enabling them to contribute more to the world, SIMPLY by getting rid of the idiotic rule that you can't get Medicare as a disabled person unless you're on SSDI and earning less than $12,480/year.


Micheal

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #35 on: July 15, 2013, 11:57:04 PM »
I have a very biased view of disability, my wife is on it.  She makes exactly 658 a month thats 7896 a year.  If I work more than I do then it goes down $2 for every $1 I make over  72$ a month.  If you see my wife in public you would no doubt call her a faker, a mooch of the system.  You would be quite wrong.  She suffers from severe Bi-Polar disorder, severe anxiety, and crippling agoraphobia.  Without SSI benefits and medicare we could never afford the $1000+ a month it would cost to keep her properly treated and medicated.  Even if I got a job that paid me 3xs as much as I make now, the little she would bring in makes a huge difference in her attitude as she feels like a contributing member of our partnership (she always has been but we are talking feelings here not rational logic). 

Now to those who think getting disability is easy, you are quite mistaken.  It took my wife 5 1/2 years and being turned down many times before she got approved.  Almost all cases are turned down the first time just on principal.  The few abusers of the system are rare.  And most disability claims are only temporary,  and reviewed every three years maximum, but usually on a year to year basis, abusers of the system can rarely get away with it that long and are caught often. 

To say that most people who are on disability are on it because they are obese I think you are missing a simple link between cause and effect.  It's damn difficult to get up and exercise when your body is in extreme pain.  How motivated would you be to exercise if your every move needed to be analyzed and planned around pain.

I do however agree that fraudulent people are to blame for the current affairs.  It makes it much more difficult for people who need it like my wife to get benefits.  But to jump to a conclusion that most people on disability are fakers is a crass generalization.  Abusers of any system that involves money exist and are part of the problem, but not enough to really affect the bottom line.  *[soapbox]If you want to bitch about the money being wasted on people why not look to corporations who make billions of profit in America yet pay less than I do in taxes each year and receive billions in public funds in return.  Or to the vastly inflated salaries payed to lawmakers who only work a tiny portion of the year.  Or , or, or, or. [\soapbox]

*feel free to ignore anything in the soapbox as arguing politics on the internet is an inherent waste of time

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #36 on: July 16, 2013, 07:57:07 AM »
I have a very biased view of disability, my wife is on it.  She makes exactly 658 a month thats 7896 a year.  If I work more than I do then it goes down $2 for every $1 I make over  72$ a month. 

It goes down $1 for every $2 you make.

Micheal

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #37 on: July 16, 2013, 10:19:42 PM »
Quote
Quote from: Micheal on July 15, 2013, 11:57:04 pm
I have a very biased view of disability, my wife is on it.  She makes exactly 658 a month thats 7896 a year.  If I work more than I do then it goes down $2 for every $1 I make over  72$ a month. 

It goes down $1 for every $2 you make.

Sorry must have missed that in the edit.  I kinda spew typed, thats why i generally avoid these kinds of discussions.

BlueMR2

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #38 on: July 17, 2013, 10:48:55 AM »
It's a sad thing.  I know a number of people on disability.  Every single one of them could be working, if an appropriate job was available.  However, those are not available.  Unskilled, uneducated people really only have the option of manual labor, and uneducated people also don't have the knowledge on how to take care of themselves and get damaged/disabled with frightening regularity.

It's one of those places where our schools are failing us.  How these people are getting through high school and graduating with a 4th-6th grade (effective) education is astounding.  We don't need more people going to college.  There isn't a need to ramp up subsidies on that end.  Many people are wasting all kinds of money with that extra schooling that is useless for the bulk of the population.  We really need to not fail the people in primary education...

Micheal

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #39 on: July 17, 2013, 12:04:16 PM »
Quote
It's a sad thing.  I know a number of people on disability. 
I know a few racist jokes that start this way.

Quote
Every single one of them could be working, if an appropriate job was available.  However, those are not available.  Unskilled, uneducated people really only have the option of manual labor, and uneducated people also don't have the knowledge on how to take care of themselves and get damaged/disabled with frightening regularity.

It's one of those places where our schools are failing us.  How these people are getting through high school and graduating with a 4th-6th grade (effective) education is astounding.  We don't need more people going to college.  There isn't a need to ramp up subsidies on that end.  Many people are wasting all kinds of money with that extra schooling that is useless for the bulk of the population.  We really need to not fail the people in primary education...

I had a huge and meaningful post typed in here but then realized this is the internet and trolls are trolls so credit where it is due. Very nice insult aimed at a single economic class of people wrapped in a plea for better primary schooling, it was masterfully done.  By the way my wife holds 2 BAs 1 in Art and one in (insert ironic laughter here) Education and couldn't get a job teaching kindergarten let alone Art.  And one last thing for you a thought exercise really, find me someone who will hire a 38 year old single man who has worked the last 10 years in the same factory and has recently lost his hand in an accident, and now the injury benefits and unemployment are about to be gone, and he has about 3 months of safety left thanks to the retirement fund he will need to cash out to survive (did not say he was a mustachian).  Now remember most long time factory workers get paid pretty well for working hard.  Now here'e the twist he has a BA lets say in business, but went to the factory right out of college so no experience in that field.  Who's gonna hire him?

You will find that if you take true cross section of people on disability that it will span many socioeconomic classes and education levels. 

Jamesqf

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #40 on: July 17, 2013, 12:10:21 PM »
And one last thing for you a thought exercise really, find me someone who will hire a 38 year old single man who has worked the last 10 years in the same factory and has recently lost his hand in an accident...

The company he worked for?  I did work with a guy in pretty much the same situation: was an electric lineman, lost his hand (and a foot) in an accident.  Company paid for him to re-train as an engineer and hired him after graduation.

BlueMR2

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #41 on: July 17, 2013, 04:07:25 PM »
I had a huge and meaningful post typed in here but then realized this is the internet and trolls are trolls so credit where it is due. Very nice insult aimed at a single economic class of people wrapped in a plea for better primary schooling, it was masterfully done.


... find me someone who will hire a 38 year old single man who has worked the last 10 years in the same factory and has recently lost his hand in an accident, and now the injury benefits and unemployment are about to be gone, and he has about 3 months of safety left thanks to the retirement fund he will need to cash out to survive (did not say he was a mustachian).  Now remember most long time factory workers get paid pretty well for working hard.  Now here'e the twist he has a BA lets say in business, but went to the factory right out of college so no experience in that field.  Who's gonna hire him?

I'm sorry that your unable to have a discussion without calling others trolls.  That must be your disability...

Anyways, I work with 30ish guy with only 1 hand who works in a machine shop...

Micheal

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #42 on: July 17, 2013, 10:43:35 PM »
Quote
Anyways, I work with 30ish guy with only 1 hand who works in a machine shop...

Sadly this is not the norm.  Most places that specialize in manual labor would not hire someone who is disabled in an obvious way without a lot of things going for them, one person a point does not make. 

The problem I had with your post Blue was  not the fact that you advocated better education to get a job after a disabling incident, it was your obvious disrespect for and assumption that most manual laborers were too uneducated, too unskilled, and too stupid to protect themselves from injury. 



Quote
The company he worked for?  I did work with a guy in pretty much the same situation: was an electric lineman, lost his hand (and a foot) in an accident.  Company paid for him to re-train as an engineer and hired him after graduation.

Hadn't thought about that James, I'd like to see more companies taking care of their employees like this.  Many companies companies do not, preferring to protect their bottom line instead.  If more companies did things like this the burden on the disability system would be much lessened.

grantmeaname

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #43 on: July 18, 2013, 10:42:33 AM »
Sadly this is not the norm.  Most places that specialize in manual labor would not hire someone who is disabled in an obvious way without a lot of things going for them, one person a point does not make.
You're saying that your hypothetical, imaginary one-armed man means more than BlueMR2's actual one-armed man?

arebelspy

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #44 on: July 18, 2013, 11:07:51 AM »
Sadly this is not the norm.  Most places that specialize in manual labor would not hire someone who is disabled in an obvious way without a lot of things going for them, one person a point does not make.
You're saying that your hypothetical, imaginary one-armed man means more than BlueMR2's actual one-armed man?

Neither of whom mean as much as this man's one-armed man:

I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

Micheal

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #45 on: July 18, 2013, 12:26:31 PM »
Sadly this is not the norm.  Most places that specialize in manual labor would not hire someone who is disabled in an obvious way without a lot of things going for them, one person a point does not make.
You're saying that your hypothetical, imaginary one-armed man means more than BlueMR2's actual one-armed man?

Neither of whom mean as much as this man's one-armed man:



If you can find him :)


MrsPete

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #46 on: July 18, 2013, 06:38:24 PM »
Very interesting article.  Take aways for me:

1. Two people go into the doctor with the same physical problems.  One is qualified only for manual labor, while the other has a desk job.  The manual labor guy is termed "disabled" because his education doesn't allow him any options that his body can support, while the desk-jockey is not disabled because his job is less physically stringent.  That's insane.  Either you are disabled, or you are not. 

I'm curious how you feel this extrapolates to mental deficiencies/disabilities (mental disability here is intended to be a separate definition from the government assessment of qualified for disability payments). A person goes to the doctor with a mental disability. They can't do a job that requires communication or adaptability to changing situations, but they can follow a simple direction and work a station at a factory, in fact the consistency and repetition of tasks is enjoyable them. If they go to the doctor when they have a job, they aren't disabled (by government definition), because they have a job and are capable of earning a living? If they go to the doctor when all manufacturing has been outsourced to another country, with no hope of ever returning in their lifetime, they are disabled (by government definition)?

Is there any room for grey areas between "Either you are disabled, or you are not"?
Sure, some disabilities are mental rather than physical . . . But if a person can work at some job, he should do that rather than go on disability, whether it's the job he's used to or not.

An illustration:  I'm a teacher.  If I were to lose the ability to walk, my job would be harder, but I could still work.  I could be moved to a classroom closer to the school entrance and excused from my occasional cafeteria duty.  I could still perform my job.  On the other hand, if I lost my sight, I could not monitor students' behavior in class, nor could I grade their written work -- too many things would be too difficult and I could not reasonably do my job, if I were blind.  However, that wouldn't mean I couldn't work.  I could teach online, which I could do with a modified computer and some new training.  Or I could answer phones in the office -- not the same job, but still within the same school system.  Why should someone who can work in a different capacity be labeled disabled? 

Many people can learn a new job -- even if they're not academic, even if they've been doing the same old, same old for years and years. 
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 08:02:34 AM by MrsPete »

GuitarStv

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #47 on: July 19, 2013, 01:13:43 PM »
Sure, some disabilities are mental rather than physical . . . But if a person can work at some job, he should do that rather than go on disability, whether it's the job he's used to or not.

An illustration:  I'm a teacher.  If I were to lose the ability to walk, my job would be harder, but I could still work.  I could be moved to a classroom closer to the school entrance and excused from my occasional cafeteria duty.  I could still perform my job.  On the other hand, if I lost my sight, I could not monitor students' behavior in class, nor could I grade their written work -- too many things would be too difficult and I could not reasonably do my job, if I were blind.  However, that wouldn't mean I couldn't work.  I could teach online, which I could do with a modified computer and some new training.  Or I could answer phones in the office -- not the same job, but still within the same school system.  Why should someone who can work in a different capacity be labeled disabled? 

Many people can learn a new job -- even if they're not academic, even if they've been doing the same old, same old for years and years.

I think that there's some stuff you're not factoring in here . . . the training and equipment to be able to handle another job is not always available.  In your blind example above, sure, it would be possible for you to teach online with a specially modified computer.  But it would not be an easy thing to learn.  You're talking about retraining to use some kind of braille or voice reading screen, a completely different way of teaching from what you're used to, probably a completely different age group and classroom type to what you're used to, PLUS you need the hardware and software set up for you by someone.  Is the school board going to fork out all the money for that?

There are also the matters of need and efficiency.  Maybe you can do the new job of online teaching, but the positions available for that are already filled.  Maybe you can do the job, but your disability puts you at a 40% disadvantage compared to a regular non-injured person.  Are companies going to hire someone who will do the same job, worse (slower)?
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 01:15:24 PM by GuitarStv »

Micheal

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Re: The startling rise of disability in America
« Reply #48 on: July 19, 2013, 10:25:04 PM »
It seems some of you are missing the point of disability.  IT is actually pretty rare to be on it for the rest of your life.  The point of disability is to make it financially feasible to get the treatments and training to go to work.  If they ever find a miracle med, or the right combination to help my wife she would be off disability and go to work.  Or if my income goes up a few hundred a month then she would also be off of it.  If however I was disabled in some way that I could not do my job then I might go on disability until I re-trained for a new field and got a job there.  Thats why I've paid SS taxes since I was 14 correct?