The awkward cashier: How federal disability policy mangles its mission (+video)

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  • khansen26 West Jordan, UT
    April 9, 2013 3:50 p.m.

    This is something I know all too well. I have a disabled daughter and partially disabled husband. I have worked both part and full time in between being a care giver, and I'm currently in school trying to get a better education to make the situation better. We make just enough to not qualify for help but not enough to actually pay the rent. During certain months we could qualify for services but other months we wouldn't. There needs to be a better way of some sort of buy down system for families that can afford to be working part time. Why does it have to be all or nothing? I have never wanted to have to get help, although eternally grateful for the help when I have had it. But some how the system is set up that either you can get help or not but nothing in between.

  • RBN Salt Lake City, UT
    March 11, 2013 1:45 p.m.

    Additionally, there are many that could work if they received adequate medical care. The all or nothing notion of disability is outdated. Many could work meaningful part-time jobs, particularly if they received medicare. The concept of a gap stipend would allow many people to retain their dignity and contribute to the economy and tax coffers. Working can also help one's mental health by providing something to do and increased self-worth.

    The system needs an overhaul.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    March 11, 2013 12:07 p.m.

    JoeCapitalist2 - The basis of the Afordable Care Act is specifically to "cut off free-loaders from the government" like the folks who can easily afford medical insurance but choose not to pay for it, yet when they show up at the emergency room and can't pay for it someone else - meaning all those who actually do pay for their insurance - end up paying for their freeloading. That payment gets passed along to all of us as hospitals raise their charges to cover the uninsured costs and you and I pay higher premiums to cover those higher costs. It is those who oppose the ACA that are supporting the freeloaders of our society. And who knows, those freeloaders and those who oppose the ACA might be one and the same.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    March 11, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    ECR: "What, on earth, does that statement mean and why is it even included in the otherwise appropriate comment?"

    While I am not the orginal commenter, I understood very well what Samhill meant by his comment. We have a president who has absolutely no desire to cut off free-loaders from the government teat. Obama wants as many people as possible on food stamps, SS disability, unemployment benefits, and every other government program under the sun. He realizes that the more people dependent on government, the more voters he gets.

    There are a lot of people who are more than willing to let the government provide for them even when they are perfectly able to provide for themselves. They will vote for whoever promises to keep the gravy train rolling.

    Times are tough and we have many legitimate disabled people in this country. The government should help people who really need it, but we need to get rid of payments to people who play sports while claiming they can't work (and other such abuses).

    Obama has zero desire to do that. So like Samhill, I won't hold my breath either.

  • carpoolmom SOUTH JORDAN, Salt Lake
    March 11, 2013 10:23 a.m.

    I KNOW several people on disability with nothing physically wrong with them. They love gaming the system.I've written letters to turn them in but nothing happens. They get disability,food stamps and anything else the government provides. They work on the side and get paid in cash. They make nearly 100,000 from the government while we work long long hours and don't make that amount. They system is messed up.I'm tired of paying for these types of people but wouldn't at all mind helping this man. He's amazing.

  • rogerdpack2 Orem, UT
    March 11, 2013 10:25 a.m.

    This man is a hero.

    March 11, 2013 9:27 a.m.

    I remember seeing a 50 year old patient in a walk-in clinic with back pain. He had been cutting wood and hurt his back. While taking a history, I asked him what he did for a living and said that he was disabled because of neck injury and hadn't worked for 20 years. Yet he was able to cut and haul wood (until his very minor, short lived back injury). Unfortunately, this is all too common. Personally, I have made it my policy that I look at you when I walk into the room. If you look like you can work, then you can work. There are enough docs out there giving people disability, they don't need me adding to it. I want people to be productive.

    Ironically, some of the truly injured are the ones that desperately want to get back to work. I know many patients who I think would truly qualify for disability, who want nothing more than to get back on the job. I really admire their dedication.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    March 11, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    "...when so many of the electorate can be persuaded to do what they did in the last Presidential election, I have some heart-rending doubts."

    What, on earth, does that statement mean and why is it even included in the otherwise appropriate comment. In the last election the majority of Americans voted for a president who, for the first time in our history, has made a significant step in ensuring that all of us are covered with healthcare - that is closely related to disability care - and that everyone who can pay for their coverage will be required to, instead of freeloading off those of us who responsibly pay for insurance. The rules at SSDI that the article and samhill are complaining about were, no doubt, created to guard against the cheaters in our society. Attempting to protect the system from the "greedy, lazy gamers" has caused the rules to become cumbersome and they hurt people who genuinely need it. I'm just waiting for all those who claim we all should be responsible for our own problems to complain about the help that Dal Schrader has obtained or will obtain.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    March 11, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    "In 1989, just 2.3 percent of Americans aged 25-64 received SSDI benefits. Today, that number has jumped to 5 percent, or nearly 9 million adults.

    That jump was not cheap. In 1990, Social Security spent $20 billion a year on disability. Today, it spends more than $128 billion."


    So, in the same time the percentage of people 25-64 receiving SSDI funds approximately doubled, the associated cost blew up by more than **6 times**!?

    And then, as the rest of the story tragically details, there are genuinely disabled and deserving people, like Dal Schrader, who are stuck in a bureaucratic black hole while other greedy, lazy gamers steal (let's call it like it is) their ill-gotten proceeds. And all because of ridiculous SSDI policy rules. Rules that have remained ridiculous **for decades**!

    I'd love to think these kinds of injustices will be remedied someday. But, when so many of the electorate can be persuaded to do what they did in the last Presidential election, I have some heart-rending doubts.