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Yes, I am thinking it is either due to the acceptance of CFS and fibromyalgia as legitimate diseases by the medical community and/ or the emergence of Firms like Binder that nationally advertise for disabled candidates. It could also be due to the obesity epidemic and its attendent comorbidities.
If you are in a grey area where could stretch and make a case for disability but you actually have a job, you normally prefer to keep the job(most people), because it pays better than dis, and most people dont want to be disabled, but if jobs dry up and you run out of savings and unemployment, and you see the Binder ad as you lay on the couch, apathetically desperate, you might grasp that straw, in which case you have a 39% chance.
Of course Onion's scammers have some skin in that game too.
Years ago I read an article that in some rust belt towns, docs were tacitly putting old guys on dis as a backdoor policy to alleviate the post-industrial hard times. These old guys are walking extinct. If you go to these towns and old rust belt cities you can spot them a mile away.
Then there was some legislation in the 90s that had some consolation for 'displaced workers'
These days you drive through some OH towns and young able bodied regular looking guys each have their own intersection.
Meanwhile job vacs are going unfilled because people dont have the skills.
I don't know if your numbers even include military. The number of military disabilities is alarming as anything from hangnails to hemorrhoids qualifies. Physicians in my family have performed the exit examinations on soldiers leaving the military and the soldiers are encouraged to report "now" ANY item that is even remotely amiss with them as once discharged they cannot come back and claim any items amiss that were not disclosed to the exit physician before discharge.
The number of disabilities has skyrocketed of late due to the number of soldiers deployed for the Bush wars, but also for the "free ride" obtained by reporting items which are hard to objectively verify(headache, emotional stress, pain, etc).
STOP!! I am not talking about those wounded soldiers who deserve their disability payments from obvious objective signs or those who have suffered PTSD from action.
I personally know soldiers who have served (no action) for as little as 1 month, who claim headache and stress and receive over 2,000/month for the rest of their lives with COL's and free education for their children for as long and as high as they choose to go. Free medical for their lives for the vet, and that is for any term of service. The soldiers I know saw one month of service(no action) in Baghdad who now receive their 2,000/month payments for life. These are "partial" disabilities and as such they can work at any job for as long and as many hours as they choose.
They presently are employed and seem just fine to me. Never complain of headache or any other problems. I rub shoulders with them on a weekly basis.
"Some 633,000 veterans -- one out of every four of the 2.3 million who served in Iraq and Afghanistan -- have a service-connected disability, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics....The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expects to spend $57 billion on disability benefits next year. That's up 25% from $46 billion this year, and nearly quadruple the $15 billion spent in 2000, before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began."(CNN money: A Cost of War, April, 2012)
This soaring geometric progression of folks receiving monies from the public trough is not going to get smaller. Without checks we will see that 1 in 4 number go to 1 in 3, then 1 in 2, as the "where's mine" attitude takes hold. Again, PLEASE, I am not talking about the wounded and/or maimed in body and/or mind. If you "say" the right things on your exit exam with your physician you can and will get your disability.
One more reason to get the H out of where we don't belong...
A former friend of mine got her husband and herself on disability. I know they're cheating, but they have multiple doctors who have affirmed their diabilities, so who's to believe me. What's up with these doctors? Are they getting a kickback, or are they blind to the truth? He claims PTSD from Viet Nam, and she claims complications from peritinitous [sp?] which she did have but there are no complications. Sadly, he comes from a wealthy family so with his inheritance he doesn't need the money ... but who's to quibble.
How about our retirement benefits for police, firemen, etc. after only 20 years. In New York, the amount of the benefit includes consideration of over-time worked in the last year of employment. I'm sorry to be cold, but everytime I saw those firemen/policemen at ground zero [9-11] lined up a dozen at a time to show respect for every piece of humanity they found, all I could think of was the over-time that was creating. There was a huge rush to retire after ground zero was cleaned up because of the over-time that is now being paid to them for life through retirement benefits. All these guys are making over $100,000 a year in retirement now in some cases for 30-40 years.
Our real problem is the people we elect to office. Every dynasty has crashed and burned [Greece, Rome, Hapsburgs, Ottoman, Soviet, etc.] and we are on our way. I fear that it will happen in our lifetime .... maybe it should, we did a lot to cause it.
I know people with "items which are hard to objectively verify(headache, emotional stress, pain, etc"
The free ride disability payment lottery gets you a slum apartment in a dangerous neighborhood and a diet of expired "save-a-lot" ramen noodles. To most people who are confronted with "items which are hard to objectively verify(headache, emotional stress, pain, etc" that is not a lottery they want to win.
This conversation has been going on since the dawn of civilization. You can see the swings in public sentiment for example in England, where a century apart, we find documented cases of people broken on the wheel (if you dont know what that means, look it up) for stealing a piece of cheese, at one extreme, to the establishment of the Dole on the other.
While some are wired to see it one way or the other, those who are less predisposed can be convinced one way or the other.
Probably in times of sustained economic expansion and low population pressures, the Magnanimians prevail, while in times like these the Parsimonians have the day.
But now, we are living in new economic times, in a parsimonious age Here's the problem of our day:
We live at a time when the one party learned that the American people will toss their #$%$ out of office as a reward for the economic boom of the 90s, (2000) or The Americam people will vote the other party in to stop them from tending to the economy at all (2010) while the other party is in militant confusion over seeing their own economic policies produce hard-to-remediate chaos and fiasco.
In short, the parties have concluded that good economic management either doesnt pay or is impossible, so they will be fighting about Guns and Gays and Deadbeats from here on out, while leaving the economy to itself.
In the arguments about slum dwellers, no amount of objective data, measurement, or factual analysis will convince many to re#$%$s their dogmatic, ludicrous envy of unicorn slum dwellers who live fantastical free ride lives of luxury and ease with free government cell phones and days of idle leasure.
In documents and artifacts of a way back, long ago America that may have never existed, I often see the phrase "dont judge a man till you walk a mile in his shoes"