As part of my job (as a social worker), I train case managers & service coordinators in a program aimed at helping folks receive the disability benefits they need in as quick a time frame as possible.*
It is a two day training that is ripe with information and it always brings up a lot of common issues that I hear/see a lot in the rest of the non-social work area.
1. “legitimate” disability - Hearing this once is hearing it too many times - “so and so is… legitimately disabled” or “s/he gets a disability check, but you know, it is legitimate”
Listen, everyone who gets a disability check is “legitimate” - unless you are someone’s doctor, you have no way of determining/judging the legitimacy of anyone’s health conditions. It takes a lot to prove disability to social security, thus the need for our 16-hour training. And as for anyone who claims they are receiving a check without actually being qualified/disabled, s/he is just downplaying their own problems because of pride,etc…- with so much stigma around mental health issues, it is no wonder people lie about living with a mental illness and having to receive disability benefits because of it. (often disability checks are called “crazy checks” and this is not cool)
2. With so much concern over the cost of social security/Medicaid/medicare, I really can’t help but wonder whether having better health care in America could reduce the costs of these programs over time.**
Too many folks are not getting any treatment for their health issues until they reach a really severe level and by then those individuals are so unstable and ill that they can take months or years to properly stabilize, if at all. This is frustrating because it keeps folks living in poverty and makes it difficult for them to reach their own potential and goals, whatever they may be. If folks received more consistent services over their lifetime and never became so mentally and/or physically ill, a lot less folks would need to rely on SSI and medicaid to help them just survive, instead of thriving. And back to the original point, medicaid/medicare and social security wouldn’t be such a drain or at least as MUCH of a drain.
*Only about 25% of those who apply for disability benefits get approved the first time. The appeals process typically takes several months (all the while individuals receive only $205/month in welfare benefits from the state), sometimes even more than a year. That’s why you see all those attorneys on the tv talking about helping “you get the benefits you deserve” and other such stuff. This program averages a 93 day approval period.
**I’m down with Obamacare but I get that other people aren’t. That’s cool - we just need to admit as a society that what we have going on right now is.not.working and that something needs to change about the way folks get healthcare treatment in this country