Tuesday Truth - More Money, More Problems

America was once cutting edge, politically, technologically, socially.  That hasn't been true for the better part of a century.  Sure, we still have a huge technological step up to the world around us, and our entertainment is still cutting edge, but even that is waning.  Our legal system is so slow, and so corrupt, that we're playing with technologies there are no laws for.  When FDR started building the interstate highway system, he was in a unique position to coordinate the entire nation's efforts toward a single goal, something that he had already done with WWII.  In it's day, the interstate network was cutting edge.  The technology exists, today, to replace all standard pavement with an electronic smart pavement that would not only allow city planners to change the signage on the road itself, and use electric heat so that no one would ever have to plow ever again, but could use solar energy to generate three times more energy than the whole country currently uses.  That technology exists today, but the power companies, the road companies, the legal system, is just too bound up in tradition to make any changes.

Something else that's broken, and everyone knows it's broken, but there are just too many powerful people involved to change it now, is America's social security system.  That, too, was mostly put together in FDR's day, in response to the communist and socialist revolutions overseas.  He figured if he gave us a little of what we wanted, we wouldn't overthrow our government, too.  He was right, to a point.

 In today's world, there is not just a glass ceiling, but a freaking bullet-proof glass ceiling, in that there is a maximum amount of money a household is allowed to make and still collect social security benefits.  Unfortunately, this maximum is way below what it actually costs to pay for the equivalent of all those benefits.  What this means on a practical level, is that people who have already enrolled in social security benefits have a virtual income that the government gives them to go towards things like: food, medical insurance, housing, and spending capital.  This virtual income, for those that handle it responsibly, is the equivalent to a solidly middle-class lifestyle.  However, the level of household income where these benefits stop is at an upper-lower-class level.  Meaning, there's a huge gap between your quality of life on social security, and quality of life off of it, if you are in fact running the spectrum of income and slowly growing your status.  In order for this to not be a problem, one would have to magically quantum leap in income level.

For people with Diverse Abilities, this is even more pronounced.  People with Diverse Abilities debilitating enough to require home care or home-based healthcare must be so disabled that they cannot make an income.  If they can afford to work from home, or be able to get out enough to go to a place of employment, then clearly they're not "that" disabled, in which case they don't deserve any benefits.  If every health insurance company offered ongoing home health care, then maybe that would work, but they don't because it's expensive.  Some people, like my wife, really do need it, so someone has to offer it, if we're to consider ourselves a moral society, and since the government has taken up the role of doing jobs no one else will do because they're not profitable, that means that health insurance that will pay for home care must come from the government.  Since the only health insurance company that offers home health care on a permanent basis is the government, well, it gets tied up in that glass ceiling.  People with Diverse Abilities in America are expected to stay home, do nothing, maybe get a job they can do on their computer or over the phone, but stay out of everyone else's hair, and if they don't, if they push through all that pressure and make something of themselves, then give them a medal, because they're amazing for acting like "normal" people.  What makes them amazing is that they broke through all that pressure.  No one else gets medals for starting their own businesses, or doing well in the corporate environment, or having a family.

My wife has to carefully navigate this broken system. As you have all been witness to, she is intelligent, driven, diligent, and creative. While these are all qualities I admire about her, it is these same qualities that makes our government question if she is "disabled" enough to receive the benefits they offer. Mandi has severe mobility limitations and does need the services she gets, but why should her Diverse Ability define who she is?

We'd love to hear your own stories of balancing "being disabled enough" and pursuing your goals and passions. We are also asking that you support Mandi's business by shopping at http://bitly.com/mandifashionshow and/or donate to her GoFundMe page to raise funds for The DiversAble Model Fashion Show, since she is limited in the amount of income she can have: gofundme.com/DMPFashionShow

Comments

  1. I never had SSI before last year when all of a sudden my financial world was turned upside down. I never knew how many barriers I'd face when enrolled. The first thing? $2000. More than $2000 in cash and assets and you do not qualify. Here's the thing: Once you do qualify, there is a cap on how much you receive per month. They do some tricky math and then further deduct if you do not pay your fair share in rent and food. So if your roommate pays even $100 more in rent then you, they deduct money from you and your income is even less. I learned much of this the hard way.

    My goal: Get into the workforce as a public service lawyer and help change the system from within. Sounds idealistic but it's something to work towards. No one can live off of $900 a month and be independent.

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