Monday, August 22, 2011

Disabled Or Less Abled?

As I've stated before, should this next procedure to address my breathing issues does not succeed I will facing the very real probability of applying for an early disability retirement. Seriously, it's not that bad of an option, and is probably a preferable one given the alternative of working for the same level of income that I would receive from not working.

The main issue with my health is that I cannot perform some of the more strenuous work my employer may occasionally call upon me to perform. My standard job position is actually fairly laid back. I got it easy most of the time. There are many things I can do without issue, and they are all a part of my regular duties.
The issue with my employer is their requirement that I be 100% capable of working where they need me at any time, and not just where I'm regularly scheduled. Fair enough, really. The choice is clear: get fixed, or get lost.

This brings me to the Social Security Disability issue. If you have not heard, the program is going broke really fast. It seems kinda not right that somebody who's been in the mill for 20-30-40 years can retire with a full benefit for what really only amounts to a partial disability. And I'm not talking about just myself. There have been a string of co-workers 'forced' onto disability when they are perfectly able to do less demanding tasks. The most common ailment is a bad back or something else equally easy to acquire with age. (I think I would be the first case of Laryngeal Paralysis H.R. had ever seen.)

To the best of my knowledge, SSDI doesn't have a semi-retirement status. There is nothing physically preventing me, or many others, from taking less demanding work at a lower rate of pay if SSDI only offered a partial benefit. Think of the money that would be saved.

And think: why should a normally healthy, if limited, worker be paid the same benefit as one who had a terrible accident and ended up in a wheel chair?

As for me, should I become eligible, I'm taking all the money they'll give me, and using my remaining abilities to earn cash money on the side... It would be stupid not too.

8 comments:

Foxfier said...

Tragedy of the commons, no?

Part of why the system needs to be utterly restructured... at which point folks will just find new ways to use it. :(

The way the system is now, the little exposure I've had to it, you'll be spending a LOT of time fighting the paperwork for those things. (Thus ensuring that a higher than would be expected number of the folks who get "help" aren't who it was intended for.)

Brian said...

I think the main reason that partial disability retirement benefits are not really part of the system is a practical one: it is really difficult to adjudicate what constitutes a partial disability, what the boundaries of it are, what benefit would therefore be appropriate, and (most importantly) how to detect fraud. Whereas if you are on "total disability" they know what to pay and can catch you (say) repainting your boat or chopping firewood.

The costs of managing such a system in a remotely competent way would probably offset the gains to lower payouts.

That said...it does seem like something worth attempting, even if it isn't much a money-saver to the program itself, because it would almost certainly be better for the economy as a whole (and reduce the incentives to working under the table.) It's absurd to have someone 100% economically sidelined when they really only need about a 20% break.

Foxfier said...

They could borrow the military's disability calculations-- a friend of mine developed scoliosis in the Navy, and she's at 30% disability. They even have a list of the sort of jobs you can do without threatening your disability status.

I kind of wish they'd consider rolling the food stamp program into WIC program, to avoid the abuses that sees. >.<

Brian said...

They could borrow the military's disability calculations-- a friend of mine developed scoliosis in the Navy, and she's at 30% disability. They even have a list of the sort of jobs you can do without threatening your disability status.

That is an outstanding idea.

The legislative process is very poorly suited to rigorous analysis of what works, and what doesn't, and learning from that information. There is no need for the SSA to re-invent the wheel if DoD has already figured out a workable solution.

Much better than the standard Democratic and Republican lines of throwing more or less money at something, respectively.

Gino said...

and here we have solved one of the nations problems within 4 quick responses.

why cant all blogs do this?

Foxfier said...

Power.

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

More power to you!

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