We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I am asked to do a brief post about Disability and have been sent a couple of links. "Disability," as in our Social Security Disability welfare program, is one about which I have unpleasant feelings which some might view as cruel. I prefer to view it as Tough Love.
However, it comes from experience. The fact is that I will not consult with anybody on Disability, nor will I participate in anybody's Disability application unless they are in a coma, severely brain-damaged, or the like. Can people with (treated) schizophrenia work, be useful, and maintain some dignity? Of course they can. Every patient of mine with schizophrenia works, except for one housewife.
Here are my reasons for that, from a psychiatric standpoint:
1. Nobody with a treated mental problem is incapable of doing something useful 2. Helping a patient obtain Disability is a way of saying that you have given up on their future 3. Many people on Disability give up on making a life, and just mope around for years 4. I see people with severe disabilities working all sorts of jobs, maintaining their pride and independence 5. The scam component is huge, I believe: free money. I've seen it plenty of times. I even get spam emails weekly inviting me to fill out a form for Disability lawyers: "Find out if you're entitled." Also, lots of people with Disability seem to work off the books.
Scam is a modest word for what has become the biggest bunch of c**p in the long list of free money. The lawyers and doctors who make money off this would not be advertising 24/7 on TV if the dollars weren't there.
I remember a friend who did the "buys" for a huge ad agency addressing the mother of a friend, commenting that she really didn't need to know what shows she watched since older people didn't have that much optional money to spend on the products she was promoting. Well, guess what, those agencies have found a huge market: disability, various diseases and complaints unknown to mankind three decades ago, a litany of indignities that a lawsuit will satisfy and so forth. The marriage between lawyers and healthcare providers is an embarrassment.
I read a dr's description of people coming in his office looking for workman's comp and disability claims as basically saying they could not cope with the problems of life. Everyone has good and bad days especially as you age. They are normal.
There does not seem to be a better definition of handicap or disabled when it comes to the work world; the inability to cope.
To be sure, scams come in all shapes and sizes. Where the ability for profit and personal aggrandizement appear, there will be opportunists. As I recall, Thomas S. Szasz, M.D. had a few choice things to say about that problem in the world of Psychiatry. In my small universe of experience, I have seen people awarded permanent disability for many things. Lots of times, it doesn't look very serious to me. But, if I'm not mistaken, the standard lies not so much with the injury as it does with being an injury which prevents the individual from doing his job. Thus, a guy got disability because his injured wrist didn't allow him to tighten screws anymore. You get the picture. The thing is, the main problem with these programs is not that people defraud it. The trouble is the system is designed to attract customers. It is a government program, designed to serve others, which by serving more and more people also serves itself. The profits are huge. Your lawyer gets paid, the government lawyers get paid, the entire legal infrastructure for disability gets paid and doctors on both 'sides' of the issue get paid. It's a win, win, win, win, LOSE. Only the taxpayer loses and most of them collect a check from the government too. Except me. Which is why I don't pay anymore.