With the rapid increase of disabilities, particularly Autism which is now occurring 1 out of every 166 births, the demand for services is increasing. Parents think funding is inadequate for their child’s education and other needed services. Some taxpayers feel that too much money is spent on disabled people. Could it be that both are right?
We are all familiar with red tape. Policies relative to services to persons with disabilities has more than its’ share. Here are a few examples:
A man with multiple disabilities and medical issues draws Social Security as disabled adult child claim of his deceased father. He is not eligible for Supplemental Security Income (which is an entitlement not a claim someone has paid into from employment) because he makes too much money from the claim his father paid into until his death. Eligibility for approximately $5,000 a month of in-home services to assist with his care and the state health plan, requires he be eligible for SSI (he doesn’t have to receive it just be eligible). In order to do that he is going to be asked to give the state the difference between his present Social Security benefit and what he would receive on SSI. He lives at home with mother and stepfather who struggle to cover his expenses not covered by other programs. Since he requires substantial care from his mother over and above the in-home services it would not be possible for his mother to work away from home to replace the lost income the state will require.
The above man requires supervision 24 hours a day. If placed outside of his mother’s home he would need a very specialized program that could easily cost $20,000 per month. To conform to policy and save approximately $500 month taxpayers could pay out as much $15,000 a month more than the $5,000 they are presently paying.
If a disabled person meets a future mate, marriage is very difficult because benefits that are vital to his or her survival may be threatened. In reality, if two disabled people were to marry the need for in-home supports and other services may be reduced because they could share supports. In addition, to the allowing the couple to experience the same joy many people choose, it could actually save the taxpayers money to change policies and cut red tape.
Part time work can add quality to the lives of a person with disabilities together with contributing to the community. The policies and red tape make juggling a part time job very difficult.
Perhaps looking at inflexible policies and red tape would save the taxpayers money and reduce the frustration in obtaining appropriate services for a person with disabilities.