Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Disability programs: money and drug abuse

This is what diabetes does to a poor, overweight woman
with bad nutrition habits.
She is on disability, with home care support,
unable to work, stand or walk.
I listened to a This American Life podcast about the American's disability (read welfare) system. It was shocking.
You can read about it here, with graphs and statistics.

490: 490: Trends With Benefits 03.22.2013

MAR 22, 2013 The number of Americans receiving federal disability payments has nearly Planet Money's Chana Joffe-Walt spent 6 months exploring the disability program, and emerges with a story of the U.S. economy quite different than the one we've been hearing.
Read more here: Diagnosis of the Disabled
doubled over the last 15 years. There are towns and counties around the nation where almost 1/4 of adults are on disability.
Ira Glass talks about Hale County, Alabama. The government has determined that due to a health issue, 25% of the adults in Hale County are unable to work, qualifying them for monthly payments and health care coverage.
But disability has also become a de facto welfare program for people without a lot of education or job skills. But it wasn't supposed to serve this purpose; it's not a retraining program designed to get people back onto their feet. Once people go onto disability, they almost never go back to work. Fewer than 1 percent of those who were on the federal program for disabled workers at the beginning of 2011 have returned to the workforce since then, one economist told him. 

Binder and Binder, a law firm that handles some 30,000 disability cases each year. It's big business.

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