I read two interesting things I wanted to share with you folks. One of which is very low on the tottem pole and the other a very serious situation with folks like me and possible many of my readers.
As you folks know I am a Court TV viewer as I like the live trials. As all stations, changes are made from time to time, some better than others. I have never seen the lady that is going to now appear regularly on Court TV, Star Jones, formerly from the tv show, The View. All I know about Star is that she was born and raised in Badin, just a stones throw from my house. That of course makes me a bit more interested. As it stands now, she will be taking the 4 p.m. time slot placing her in between the best, Catherine Crier and the worst Nancy Grace. I have always thought and said that Ms. Grace was on her way out at Court TV and I do think this is a great start. This will be trimming Ms. Grace's Closing Arguments from a two hour period to one hour.
Most disturbing is this article written about us folks on disability. I am a member of the Disability Coalition headed by Linda Fullerton and I back her response to this article 100%. I wish this lady had researched and interviewed many of us who are on disability and I think she would not have written this article. Although now I am at retirement age, I had much rather get up in the mornings, dress and go to work than to be disabled. I would not want this lady to walk in my shoes for one day, but I wish she would have come and spent the day at my house just one day prior to writing this article:
Mar 5, 2007 2:00 AM by Melanie Scarborough
WASHINGTON - Congress and President George W. Bush agree on one scourge they’d like to tackle: the outrageous compensation packages given to some corporate executives.
Sure, many “golden parachutes” are absurdly lavish — but boards of directors should answer to stockholders, not politicians.
Lawmakers’ concern ought to be for their own culpability in squandering money on the undeserving. They could start by addressing one of today’s biggest rackets: Social Security disability payments.
Most Americans probably assume that to qualify as “disabled,” an individual must be physically unable to work for a living. In fact, the Social Security Administration deems individuals disabled if they cannot continue working in their chosen profession and “cannot adjust” to a different job.
So if a basketball coach blows out his kneecap and can no longer run up and down the court, he might collect a disability check even though he is perfectly capable of selling insurance or managing a hardware store.
It’s even possible to collect payments for being disabled from a job you were never able to perform. A few years ago, a Newport News pipefitting apprentice was fired for cause after earning failing marks in her training courses.
But because she injured her wrist before she was terminated and would have been unable to continue in the job, had she been able to do it, a judge ruled that she established “a prima facie case of total disability.”
The SSA’s guidebook, which might as well be entitled, “You, Too, Can Be Disabled!” walks applicants through the steps to collect their jackpots. The first requirement is not to have traceable income of more than $900 a month.
Next, one must present a malady that is either among the listed impairments or is equal in severity. The lists are so exhaustive that almost everyone has some condition by which they could claim to be disabled.
For example, the guidelines say that in determining whether an individual has a musculoskeletal disability, the “inability to walk on the heels or toes, to squat, or to arise from a squatting position may be considered evidence of significant motor loss.” It also may be considered evidence of being older than 40.
Among the disabilities listed under “skin disorders” is dermatitis — i.e., dish-pan hands. Some skin conditions can be deemed disabling merely because they’re upsetting.
The SSA says, “Facial disfigurement or other physical deformities may also have effects we evaluate under the mental disorders listings in 12.00, such as when they affect mood or social functioning.” Ah, the catch-all category.
The guidelines say “social functioning’ includes the ability to get along with others, such as family members, friends, neighbors, grocery clerks, landlords or bus drivers.
“You may demonstrate impaired social functioning by, for example, a history of altercations, evictions, firings, fear of strangers, avoidance of interpersonal relationships or social isolation.”
Why should anyone collect a check from taxpayers just for being a jerk?
In determining mental disabilities, examiners also consider the applicant’s “concentration, persistence or pace.” So work slowly and give up easily, and you might be rewarded with a monthly check.
Mentally disabling conditions also include depression, anxiety, substance addiction disorders, and “oddities of thought, perception, speech and behavior.” Now there’s a capacious category.
Last month Congressman Michael R. McNulty, D-N.Y., held a hearing to address the crisis of backlogged applications for SSI benefits. The numbers alone — more than 1.3 million claims — indicate how many people are trying to take advantage of the system.
Genuine disabilities are relatively rare. About 400,000 Americans have multiple sclerosis; 350,000 have Down Syndrome. The number of people in this country who are totally blind is about 150,000. If they all applied for benefits at once, they couldn’t account for a million claims.
Moreover, the backlog adds expense for taxpayers because successful applicants almost always get back pay for the months they waited for their claims to be approved.
Yet the biggest travesty is that chiselers are clogging a system designed to help individuals who drew the genetic short straw and, through no fault of their own, cannot work to support themselves.
Before Congress gins up too much indignation against the extravagance of corporate America, members ought to stand up for the genuinely disabled — as well as the taxpayers stuck with supporting slackers who could work to support themselves.
No individual deserves to be disabled, but this system certainly does.
Examiner columnist Melanie Scarborough lives in Alexandria.
We did not ask to be disabled and I found this very harsh on folks that are. Linda Fullerton has written a response to this article and I just hope it too will be published.
It is going to be a beautiful day here and I am going to do my best to enjoy it, hope you folks do too.