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A moral question for the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave - what of the disabled?

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posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:02 PM
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Hi ATS, and in particular our American friends,

I'm a disabled man living in the UK, and I've experienced some resentment towards myself as a welfare recipient. It's not often particularly overt, but people like myself tend to get lumped in with the 'scroungers' (not sure if you use that word in the US - it means dodgy/ scoundrel/ wastrel - a deceptive money grubber..) There are quite a lot of those scroungers here, but they only make up approximately 2-3% of the welfare recipients in the UK.

I worry for myself and my family (wife & two sons), because we just had Brexit, and now we have a right wing government in charge of all domestic matters, without the oversight & protections which were afforded (in part) by being a member of the European Union. Don't get me wrong, the EU isn't great, and I voted Remain somewhat embarrassed about it. Anyway, seeing as we have Brexit now, we'll just have to wait and see how things play out for a variety of issues, including welfare for the disabled.

Our country is tightly controlled, as you know - most watched nation in the world (400 CCTV appearances each on an average day in London), and we don't have particularly liberty-loving rules in effect, no guns, etc. We are quite strictly 'herded' I suppose, with all manner of regulations (and yes, the EU introduced even more, which was part of the problem). Speaking to you guys across the pond, I know you all are much more in control of your own destiny in several respects, and although your freedoms are being eroded as we speak, you had a lot of them (freedoms) to begin with.

I understand that you would view unnecessary welfare claims as being insipid/ fraught with worrying social ramifications and so on, but how do you guys view the welfare status of the disabled? Over here in the UK, we are entitled - following the necessary assessments - to an amount of money as 'income' which equals (approximately) the average national wage in this country. I see this as being very positive, though clearly costly. We are afforded dignity, enabled to live our lives simply but well, thankfully we're certainly not in poverty, and can raise our families in relative peace (incidentally, it's made for some interesting - & sometimes trying - conversations with the kids about personal fiscal responsibility, social responsibility, etc - they understand that the disabled are a class unto themselves really, and that otherwise one would seek to be a professional in some field or other).

As disabled citizens, we are subject to frequent reassessments by health professionals associated with the welfare department of the government (called the Department for Work & Pensions), and these are extremely stressful, and the process can drag on for many months. Apart from this aspect of the situation, I feel we are well treated - but subject to misunderstanding or even malice from the general public, and discrimination/ abuse can be a problem for some. Thankfully, most taxpayers look at the situation with the understanding that if they were to be suddenly incapacitated by an accident or devastating illness, they would appreciate having such a system of support in place, and so we are generally respected when our situation is made clear, which is nice.

My question to you guys, is how is the situation similar, or different, in the USA? So many of you value the idea of 'less government, more freedoms' - does that affect your view of the welfare state in a positive, or negative light, with specific regard to the disabled? Would you say that disabled people in the USA are well-treated in general, are they afforded a reasonable, fair income, or are they scraping by in poverty? I am genuinely curious, because I've seen a couple of very negative threads recently regarding the welfare state in the US, and I wonder whether there is a more tolerant, understanding view of the genuinely disabled than seems to exist at first glance..

Thanks in advance for any input, anecdotes, stats, etc. Welcome to the conversation!






posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:20 PM
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Some people piss and moan about disabled people because they have to work for a living.

It does create enmity with those that think they should get something for nothing. That lends back to entitlement, and the very notion of some peoples expectations about American Exceptionalism.

The state has to take care of its disabled on some level, whats the alternative? The NAZI idea of 'taking care of them' through Euthanasia, "Life unworthy of life".



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:22 PM
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In my experience most people in the U.S. treat the disabled with scepticism. unless a person has a visible disability
( missing arms or legs) people tend to question whether the person really is disabled or just cheating the system.

the way I figure it is it`s not my place to judge whether they are disabled or not, the government doctors examined them and decided that they are disabled,that`s good enough for me.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:38 PM
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a reply to: FlyInTheOintment

First off, thanks for the insight into the UK system, as to much of that I must plead complete ignorance.

Both my wife and I get a bit of federal disability, but it is in regards to medical issues brought on by military service, so it is through the VA and not the regular welfare system.

If I'm not mistaken, there are multiple troughs from which the chronically/permanently disabled can receive money here in the U.S. One is the Social Security program, into which we all pay when we are working a job. The second can be regular welfare, which if I'm not mistaken would/could include money every first of the month, along with access to other funds for food, children (WIC program [women, infants and children]), and I'm quite sure that there would be state and local help as well. I'm sure I'm missing some, and may be mistaken on others, but that's kind of the gist of it.

As far as how I feel about welfare, I abhor--absolutely abhor--people who take advantage of the system. I see those people as being some of the worst, most free-loading, lazy people on the planet who have zero remorse for taking other people's money in return for basically absolutely nothing. But as you note in the UK, that is a relatively small portion of those here in the US as well, who are receiving welfare.

I understand and accept that there is a certain segment of society who needs perpetual financial (and other) help throughout their life. These people need some sort of a system where it will help take care of them. I get that, and I have no problem with some of my taxes going to those who TRULY need it.

That said, though, I just wish that it were more or less left up to the states to handle in lieu of the federal government, who is NEVER good or efficient at administering all of these one-size-fits-all programs. Our gov't rarely, if ever, gets it right, and when they mess up, it's rarely, if ever, in favor of the individual.

Long story short is that people would have to ultimately be heartless to disregard the fact that society does have an obligation to help its citizens who generally cannot help themselves, but there needs to be a more efficient, cheaper way to get it done and we need to set aside fears of violating these fabricated laws of political correctness in order to weed out those who are an unnecessary drain on the system so that we can better help those who truly need it.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:40 PM
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a reply to: intrptr


Some people piss and moan about disabled people because they have to work for a living.


As I read this I realised that I piss & moan for the exact opposite reason - I really do wish I could work for a living! I used to work insane hours in various semi-technical/ labour-intensive roles, once pulled a 96 hour week in the midst of a bunch of 72 hour weeks. Seriously, I loved the feeling of working for my pay, I was physically fit as an ox, it felt so good to know I was earning my way in society.. I had dreams & ambition, felt ready to climb the corporate ladder, was studying with the Open University (distance learning) for a degree in engineering.. My wife was pregnant for the second time, the world was looking rosy. Everything was set up perfect, I had a great apprenticeship, and a seemingly straightforward path to management within a large engineering firm.

Then it all went tits up, and I damaged my back, my nervous system had a weird reaction to the injury, and I ended up in constant, severe pain. Ten years on & I can't even load the dishwasher or put a load in the washing machine, without passing out in agony straight after. I can't sit in a chair for longer than a few minutes, without the same massive escalation in pain. Standing up for longer than ten minutes causes the same. Mobility is crap, so I've structured my life in such a way that I only ever drive short distances to wherever, and never need to walk further than a hundred metres at a time, mostly a lot less than that.. My wife does all the shopping, lifting, cooking, looking after the kids, and even more besides. Trouble is, my disability is an 'invisible disability', meaning that to look at me, apart from mobility aids of crutches or walking stick, you wouldn't know what's wrong. Until I have a spasm and yell out in pain. Thus, people naturally assume you're faking it. Despite my case being handled by top neurologists & anaesthesiologists.

I really, really long for independence. I keep trying to think my way out of the situation. Recently I started designing items which would help disabled people to get more active, and I've registered the designs with the Intellectual Property Office, hoping to licence their production & secure some income. I have other ideas too, but whatever it is, I can't manage a normal office routine, since I spend most of my time in bed. I have faith that if I stick at it, I'll figure something out, and we'll achieve our independence. Not many people will tell you they wish they could pay taxes, but I'm definitely one of the few who would relish the opportunity, after all this time.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:46 PM
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originally posted by: Tardacus
In my experience most people in the U.S. treat the disabled with scepticism. unless a person has a visible disability
( missing arms or legs) people tend to question whether the person really is disabled or just cheating the system.

the way I figure it is it`s not my place to judge whether they are disabled or not, the government doctors examined them and decided that they are disabled,that`s good enough for me.


This ^^^

You will find a lot of advocates here as well. I am not disabled, nor are my children but I travel around and distribute flyers to grocery stores asking them to provide better shopping carts for disabled patrons so that they may participate in shopping.

www.carolinescart.com...

This one in particular. I convinced the US DoD to purchase one cart for every single commissary on every military instillation. I've been chipping away at local stores like Albertson's and RainTree. So far so good.

So there are good and bad.

Jax



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:48 PM
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a reply to: FlyInTheOintment

I'm happy to pay taxes so that people are helped when they need it.
I'm even happy if our system allows a few bull#ters to get through and rinse the system...I'd rather a system where a tiny percent rip it off than a system where genuine folk lose out.

Brexit hasn't changed anything yet, same Tory government in power, just vote someone else at the next general election...vote anyone other than Tory and disabled provisions won't be cut.
Brexit has # all to do with it to be honest as far as I see things.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:49 PM
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a reply to: SlapMonkey

Great post, thank you for the comprehensive information. It's interesting to consider how unwieldy the massive federal programs must be, considering the scale of the task in the US. I think it's easier in the UK as our population is much smaller in comparison, and we don't have devolved government generally speaking (we have no 'state' controls, it's all from central government). The US system seems to be more fragmented in some ways, I suppose it could be quite tricky to figure out what one is entitled to, and how to access it - we do have some similar issues here, in terms of people not being told what they are eligible for, etc, but that would seem to be on a smaller scale again.

I share your anger towards the fakers & the takers - they really do cause untold misery, in terms of the effect they have on the rest of the populace who are genuinely in need. People look at their brazen arrogance & thievery, and tend to colour every claimant with the same brush, even if the resentment is somewhat subconscious in many cases.

I wonder - do you have the effect known here in the UK as a 'postcode lottery', over there, with regards to what support a disabled person would be entitled to? As in, do people living in different parts of the country receive varying amounts of support depending on where they live, by 'random chance' effects? I suppose if there are devolved state programs & federal programs, and various other sources of support, it could become a bit unbalanced depending on where one lived? That would be really unfortunate.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:49 PM
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I think most people have no issue with helping the disabled. But I also think most people know somebody taking advantage of the system. That's where the true resentment comes from. Unfortunately you feel the pressure of proving your disability.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:50 PM
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If you are truly disabled, then you should be freely helped. There are countless laws in place designed to assure the disabled are fairly treated. "Access" is particularly required so that the disabled can get to any venue possible. Many billions of dollars have been spent to assure this. Public assistance is available for those who need it. I don't know anyone who resents the truly disabled being helped.

However, there are many people who claim "disability," but are not. It is simply used as an excuse not to work and too often, people like this brag about how they have pulled one over on the society. And, as usual in public policy, people have taken the idea of being "disabled" to extremes. So, for example, if you are "emotionally disabled" then you can bring your pig onto an airplane and claim it is a "service animal," without which you will be emotionally disturbed--and this is allowed, because we wouldn't want to discriminate against the disabled.

Complying with laws designed to help the disabled has also been a bit of a farce. For example, every single sidewalk in the country has been converted to wheel-chair accessibility by installing ramps because of the small chance someone with a wheelchair might possible "need" to use these ramps. The cost must have been in the billions to retrofit those curbs. When I was a kid, a wheel chair bound person would simply go up to the curve, give a little jerk on the wheels, and up the chair went. We had a bookmobile made out of a typical step van that had several steep steps to get to the inside. Because there was a possibility that someone with a wheelchair MIGHT want to use this public place we had to install a "lift" on the back, a motorized contraption that cost several thousand dollars that fit on the back of the van. This van was used for nearly thirty years: 1981-2010, went through several engines, etc. I nearly 30 years ONE PERSON in a wheelchair asked to be lifted, but when he saw how the thing worked, he grew frightened of it and would not use it. Well, I guess of you divided the cost into the years it wasn't all that bad, but you have to wonder, do all these laws actually HELP the disabled at all? Perhaps it's all well-intentioned, but you have to wonder how much "good" is being done here.

In essence, we have increased the depth and breadth of what constitutes being "disabled" to include more and more people. The same has happened with being a "minority." As people begin to understand the perks of "minority status," everyone wants to be included. So you have people like Elizabeth Warren claiming to be Native American, when in fact she was raised Caucasian culturally, financially, etc. only to find out that somewhere in her distant past her great times six grandfather was half Indian. So she has enough "Indian blood" (a bad image unless it's to your advantage) to fill her right little finger. Yet she has the gall to claim Native American heritage.

And we've also extended the "disabled" label to people who caused it themselves. I'm not talking about workplace accidents or diseases the debilitate people, but alcoholics and drug users. But in our great wisdom the AMA has decided to define alcoholism as a "disease" rather than a character flaw. As a result they fall into the "disabled" category. Are they disabled? Certainly their addictions have caused them to be disabled, but I would submit that there is a qualitative difference between a soldier returning from battle with a loss of limbs and thus being disabled and someone who has allowed himself to become addicted to drugs.

As a result of some of these issues there is some resentment towards the "disabled," not because people like you are, but because many people claiming the label are not. That's a natural human reaction when people think they are being taken advantage of. But none of the problems I've presented here should prevent or make more difficult the lives of truly disabled people.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:53 PM
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a reply to: grainofsand


Brexit hasn't changed anything yet, same Tory government in power, just vote someone else at the next general election...vote anyone other than Tory and disabled provisions won't be cut.
Brexit has # all to do with it to be honest as far as I see things.


I certainly hope you're right. I would love to see a Labour government to clear up the austerity fallout, but I sincerely believe that Corbyn is unelectable. I will vote for them anyway, but I fear we're in for a long stint under the Tories.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:56 PM
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a reply to: Jaxsmash


I travel around and distribute flyers to grocery stores asking them to provide better shopping carts for disabled patrons so that they may participate in shopping.

www.carolinescart.com...

This one in particular. I convinced the US DoD to purchase one cart for every single commissary on every military instillation. I've been chipping away at local stores like Albertson's and RainTree. So far so good.


That's brilliant that you devote yourself to helping like that, really commendable. I can't manage the shopping unless I use one of the motorised carts, and even then the trip would be exhausting - every excursion is, unfortunately. I always need several hours of rest after any such foray. I wish you all the best with your activism, I'm sure it's greatly appreciated where folk know about it.




posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:58 PM
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a reply to: schuyler


So, for example, if you are "emotionally disabled" then you can bring your pig onto an airplane and claim it is a "service animal," without which you will be emotionally disturbed--and this is allowed, because we wouldn't want to discriminate against the disabled.


LOL that just made me spit out my coffee. Thanks for lightening the mood of the thread! I will respond to the rest of your thoughtful post shortly.. Ten stars for the emotional pig buddy!



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:18 PM
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a reply to: FlyInTheOintment

In the United States we have Social Security Disability Insurance so that disabled people are taken care of by the Government. All working people pay into this system as do their employers. While there is a fair amount of abuse of this system by unscrupulous individuals it is still a necessary evil.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:25 PM
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There are many people that look down at anyone "not as good" as them. They're empowered by a sense of superiority, and assume that because we're disabled, we owe them something because "they're paying for me to live." You get the offensive stares, and whispers behind your back.

In reality, I'm twice retired, once from the military, and once from 25+ years of employment in the private sector. I also capitalize off of investments made in my 20's, 30's, and 40's, and off of my rental properties. Admittedly, I do receive a social security check, but so does pretty much every other age 65+ person, disabled or not. Alternately, those generous individuals who I'm apparently mooching off of don't earn enough to support their families, they rely on my tax dollars to educate their children, and receive more from the government at tax time than they actually contributed to the system. Disgusting.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:47 PM
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originally posted by: FlyInTheOintment
My question to you guys, is how is the situation similar, or different, in the USA? So many of you value the idea of 'less government, more freedoms' - does that affect your view of the welfare state in a positive, or negative light, with specific regard to the disabled? Would you say that disabled people in the USA are well-treated in general, are they afforded a reasonable, fair income, or are they scraping by in poverty? I am genuinely curious, because I've seen a couple of very negative threads recently regarding the welfare state in the US, and I wonder whether there is a more tolerant, understanding view of the genuinely disabled than seems to exist at first glance..

Thanks in advance for any input, anecdotes, stats, etc. Welcome to the conversation!


In the US they don't really do followups once enough doctors sign off that you're disabled. They used to but those stopped because the case workers would frequently think people without obvious physical problems weren't disabled, and then it would become a long drawn out process with doctors and lawyers. Now the case reviews are only every few years.

Support for disabled people is much less though. There's the occasional job rehabilitation program, but otherwise, disability payments are extremely low, around $750/month. In the US the disabled have the highest rate of poverty of any group and virtually no way to get out of it.

Making it even worse, is that if you do get a job you lose your disability. That's an if though, because if you get disability an employer likely won't hire you.

We use a system in the US which takes $1 away in aid for every $2 you earn. The problem is that this is what you earn pre tax and there's not really any buffer to account for the expenses of going to work. You'll pay 15% in federal income tax, x% in medicare tax, 5-15% in state tax, 5% in city tax, for around 35% total turning that $2 into $1.30. Then you lose $1 in aid leaving you only 30 cents ahead for $2 of earnings. Then you have work expenses like travel, the disabled always get the worst shifts and they'll be things like 3.5 hours a day 6 days a week, so your gas expenses just to get to and from work can easily be higher than the amount you're being paid since you only clear $1.20 per day.

On top of that, if you do this, the disability commission will see that you're working and cut off your disability. This wouldn't be so bad for some who truly do find a job they can work, except it also means they lose health coverage and can't afford any equipment they may need.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:50 PM
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originally posted by: SlapMonkey
If I'm not mistaken, there are multiple troughs from which the chronically/permanently disabled can receive money here in the U.S. One is the Social Security program, into which we all pay when we are working a job. The second can be regular welfare, which if I'm not mistaken would/could include money every first of the month, along with access to other funds for food, children (WIC program [women, infants and children]), and I'm quite sure that there would be state and local help as well. I'm sure I'm missing some, and may be mistaken on others, but that's kind of the gist of it.


No. Money received from one program, means that other programs pay out less. Disability is the last to pay out. If you get SSI for example, you will get less SSDI as a result. Regular welfare does not pay people who are disabled or without a job. The philosophy of the program and how it works in practice is that it's designed to pay for children that people can't afford. If you don't have children, there is no help available.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:54 PM
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It is the fraud and abuse in all of our safety nets that causes the resentment , surprisingly, I would guess the biggest frauds are committed by doctors, pharmaceutical companies, dentists, and the owners of convenience stores or small grocery stores. No I don't have a direct source, just some personal insight, and news stories that I have read in the past.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 03:06 PM
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originally posted by: FlyInTheOintment
a reply to: SlapMonkey

I share your anger towards the fakers & the takers - they really do cause untold misery, in terms of the effect they have on the rest of the populace who are genuinely in need. People look at their brazen arrogance & thievery, and tend to colour every claimant with the same brush, even if the resentment is somewhat subconscious in many cases.


I think that the big problem here is that there has been ingrained into the psyche that there ARE fakers and takers, and therefore everyone in the system is suspect because we have no way of knowing, even if the odds are that an individual is not faking/taking.


I wonder - do you have the effect known here in the UK as a 'postcode lottery', over there, with regards to what support a disabled person would be entitled to? As in, do people living in different parts of the country receive varying amounts of support depending on where they live, by 'random chance' effects? I suppose if there are devolved state programs & federal programs, and various other sources of support, it could become a bit unbalanced depending on where one lived? That would be really unfortunate.


That much I do not know, but I know that it varies on number of dependents and possibly other factors. I'm wondering if the federal government adjusts the amount given determined by the cost of living in a certain area over another. Obviously, someone living in Washington, D.C., would need a higher base amount to equal the same purchasing power than someone living in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, where cost of living is quite low. Honestly, if it DOESN'T do that, that would be an injustice both on the taxpayer and the welfare recipient. From what I've been able to look up, it doesn't seem like the system works that way, but I could be looking in the wrong places.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 03:10 PM
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originally posted by: Aazadan
No. Money received from one program, means that other programs pay out less. Disability is the last to pay out. If you get SSI for example, you will get less SSDI as a result. Regular welfare does not pay people who are disabled or without a job. The philosophy of the program and how it works in practice is that it's designed to pay for children that people can't afford. If you don't have children, there is no help available.


Is that just concerning federal assistance, or all states as well?
edit on 5-7-2016 by SlapMonkey because: (no reason given)



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