It is no fun being disabled

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Perhaps due to California’s budget problems, it seems that the disabled are an easy target. I have received comments on my blog accusing the disabled of being freeloaders. There is similar talk on the street; something akin to that it is easy being disabled and collecting a government check. I understand that people who make such remarks are just blaming problems on others but you have to wonder what would happen if they became disabled.

No one chooses to become disabled. No one chooses to have a serious accident or to get a long-term disease. I recently spent some time at a hospital with a friend who was having surgery. My friend was having what is considered routine surgery and will make a full recovery, but while I was there I was thinking about my clients who do not make full recoveries and who have not just one surgery, but multiple surgeries. I spent two days at the hospital and was very stressed the entire time. While I was there, I observed the stress that families and friends of other patients had. I realized, I think for the first time, that is not just my clients who are under stress due to their disabilities but also their families and not just at the time of surgery but also in taking care of them later. When my friend had an allergic reaction to one of the medications, I thought about my clients who take multiple medications and who experience side effects that are sometimes as bad as the symptoms of their impairments.

It only gets worse for my clients when they apply for Social Security disability They apply to an agency where the prevailing attitude seems to be that the claimants are lying. It is not a search for the truth. It is a search for how to deny their claims. Since most claims are denied, my clients have to appeal and hire an attorney while at the same time, struggle to live with their emotional and physical impairments. My clients lose their savings, their standard of living, and nowadays, lose their homes while waiting for their claims to be processed.

I cannot believe that anyone thinks there are people who want to be disabled on purpose. I believe that most people would rather work and be productive. Most people do not choose to live in pain. I hope that those who think being disabled is easy never have to actually experience a disability. It would be a rude awakening.

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