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People with Disabilities and Government Reforms

  • Published: 2011-09-11 : Author: Wendy Taormina-Weiss
  • Synopsis: Governments are attempting to reform their disability support programs in order to save money during financial strife.

Main Document

Governments in certain places around the world are attempting to, reform, their disability support programs in order to save money during financial strife.

The efforts these governments are making are being driven by a number of different things, such as poor job markets, war costs, misconceived notions, non-disabled perspectives, and the idea on the part of some members of society that when all fails it can't hurt to try to claim disability. Even as expensive wars and corporate tax evasion continues, these same governments have chosen to focus on supports related to people with disabilities.

The governments of both America and Australia are pursuing efforts to cut supports for people with disabilities. In America the, 'conservative-minded,' elected officials have a great desire to cut Medicaid and Medicare to the point of irrelevancy. The same officials desire to cut Social Security for future generations. The nation of Australia is pursuing Disability Pension Reform, leaving many Australians to wonder how many people with disabilities will fall through the gaps.

England is going after the same disability, 'reforms,' through ending the Disability Living Allowance. People with Disabilities there are finding themselves having to go through a re-examination that is very strict in order to continue to receive a new and smaller version of it. The result of England's effort is people with disabilities ending up with less support who are more isolated from public life in violation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. America and Australia need to look at how well they are complying with the Convention as well.

It's All About Money

The message from these example governments is clear - when trouble hits the fan, pick on people with disabilities and seniors. For these governments it is all about money, and nothing else. The money must come from somewhere other than rich people, major corporations, war funding, or (heaven forbid) the pockets of millionaire politicians. No - the money to support these nations during times of financial troubles must come from people with disabilities and seniors.

The same political leaders who present themselves in front of nations and tell the citizens they are all for the people are now robbing those who are least able to afford cuts to their supports. What does this tell you about the leadership of these nations? What it tells me is that none of these leaders has anything but the interests of the wealthy, corporations, and war at heart. It tells me they have no concern whatsoever for people who experience forms of disabilities or the senior members of society. The leaders of these nations will lie to you at every turn and then smile.

When Jobs Fail

The United States of America has a horrendous unemployment rate. Veterans returning from wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere, oftentimes with disabilities, find themselves facing a 14% unemployment rate. The only population with a higher unemployment rate in America is People with Disabilities. Even for the non-disabled population in America the unemployment rate hovers around 9%.

When jobs are this difficult to find, people get desperate. They are willing to try anything at all, to include applying for disability through the Social Security Administration. People who would have searched for work in a better job market reach for Social Security in times like this because they have searched for a job for so long they no longer have anywhere to turn or what to do. If the Social Security Administration finds them to be disabled, should society or the government argue

Defining the term, 'Disability,' and Sticking With It

America has experienced a great deal of difficulty with finding a definition for the term, 'disability.' The Americans with Disabilities Act perceives, 'disability,' one way, there are definitions of the term, 'disability,' among various other sources in this nation, while the Social Security Administration views, 'disability,' in these terms:

"The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.

"Disability" under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:

When there are no jobs, people certainly cannot do the work they were doing before, but somehow I think this misses the point. When people apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the administration very often takes the case to court. Medical examinations are performed prior to the court date. In other words, a doctor, lawyers, and a judge have reviewed a person's medical case before the judge decides whether or not a person meets the definition of, 'disability,' and qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits.

America needs to stick with the definition of disability its own federal government has decided upon and stop questioning whether or not people who have met that definition really are. People with disabilities have been badgered endlessly by the same government that was satisfied with its own definition of disability and the processes associated with it until money got tight.

Misconceived Notions

There is a misconceived notion on the parts of some government representatives that disability is somehow, 'fluid,' and will dissipate with heat, or simply flow away. These government representatives seem to think that by putting the heat on people they perceive as perhaps not being so disabled as the systems their own departments have decided are, those people will just dissipate like steam. Other government representatives seem to believe people with disabilities will just flow downstream to the larger river of humanity.

Another misconceived notion on the parts of government representatives involves the, 'they will simply disappear from society,' idea. Some government representatives who love dining on lobster apparently think people with disabilities will just up and disappear like Puff the Magic Dragon at the end of the night. They wine and dine, laugh and jolly-good-fellow about, and then expect people who experience disabilities in society to just hide in a closet or something for a decade or so.

Do government officials truly believe the medical needs of people with disabilities will ever just go away? If so, it is truly a misconceived notion. Sometimes I wonder just how far into la-la land some government representatives have ventured. The very nature of disability involves medical care; everyone on earth needs medical care.

Claiming Disability

People who are struggling for any means to survive in economies that are horrid will indeed do anything. It is not the people who experience forms of disabilities for which they are justified in reaching for social support I have trouble with; not at all. It is people who really have no business whatsoever reaching for a Disability Pension or Social Security that I have trouble with.

The people who have no business reaching for social supports they are not justified in applying for are taking away time, money, and other resources from people who are. These people are a burden on everyone in society because they are taking away tax monies from people who are working. When governments go after these people, I smile. When governments go after people with disabilities - I have nothing but loathing.


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