Voices of the Community: Are all disabilities equal? No, Laziness is Not a Disability

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Once again I’m about to piss off some people. Are all disabilities equal? No. Sorry, that’s just not the case. I’m not taking away from the seriousness of everyone’s ailment. However, don’t come up to me and say you understand what it’s like being a quadriplegic because 10 years ago you broke your leg and had to use a wheelchair for a month. I appreciate someone who is trying to relate, but how about we relate on a normal topic unrelated to the chair? You know, like food or where we live. There will always be those people that are awkward with the fact I’m a quadriplegic. I don’t mind that at all. What do I not like? The people who try to tell me their occasional gout is just as debilitating and requires disabled parking and government assistance.

A majority of people applying and receiving disability are capable of working. In addition, they generally receive other programs meant for those who are truly disabled. We’ve become so afraid as a society to inquire about someone’s disability. That word in itself, “Disability” strikes fear in employers and educational settings. Disability to them means spending money on accommodations.

There are people that get government assistance for disability and it blows my mind. There is only so much funding available for disability. People who demand accommodations in the workplace that aren’t necessary have made it harder for those who actually need accommodations. The same goes for government disability. When so many people receive disability, they are forced to spread funding thin. Websites are available to guide people on what to say to get approved for disability. Am I the only one who thinks this wrong? In order to determine if someone qualifies, they ask the following questions:

  1. Are you working?
  2. Is your condition “severe”?
  3. Is your condition found on the list of debilitating conditions?
  4. Can you do the work you did previously?
  5. Can you do any other type of work?

It’s all about if you can work, and not about what your actual medical costs and needs are. Laziness has officially become a disability. Some people have eaten their way to immobility and you want me to feel bad for them? You think being obese is the same as me being a quadriplegic? It’s not. I wouldn’t start walking if I stopped eating crap food. No matter how healthy I eat, I’m still paralyzed. I would do anything to walk, and yet every day I watch people who do whatever they can to not walk. It’s hard not to resent the people hopping on the carts at Walmart (especially because they all see them as battering rams), parking in handicap parking, taking the elevator over the stairs, or just simply choosing to not be mobile.

gina

Here is how we feel about those who abuse the disability benefits and parking, Grrrr

The funding for disability is being spread so thin that people who have genuine needs, like a wheelchair, are unable to be approved because there is such a large demand. All of the benefits are spread thin. Yet there’s not much we can do. We’ve allowed for this type of abuse to happen while fighting for our “privacy” as a disabled individual. Well, we screwed ourselves. We don’t really have any true privacy, we’re just protecting those people who have a “disability” that allows them to scam the system. Benefits should be based more on medical necessities and not just sending a monthly check to whoever slips through the cracks.

One example that is perfect for showing that people will use and abuse a program, despite their actual needs, is handicap parking. I want to scream every time I hear someone say “invisible disability” and “handicap parking” in the same sentence. There is no such thing. Disabled parking is for mobility problems, and that’s it. There are qualifiers to receive disabled parking, but doctors won’t say no to the lazy assholes who ask for it because walking an additional 10 feet is too much. Those are the same people that go to Costco and walk up and down the aisles, then load up their lifted truck with heavy items. I see this all the time and when I do I want to do things I could get arrested for.

Mobility disabilities are different. A chair user’s limitations are real. I’m not going up the steps, I can’t just hop into any car, I require a wide doorway, a table my chair can get under, I need that parking space to open up my ramp, I can’t use the crap scooters at Walmart, I need a bath chair to wash my bum, I need my caregivers in the morning to actually stay alive, and I’m not able to stand up…ever. Back to the issue, laziness is becoming a disability and if we question it we’re shamed for it, told we aren’t being understanding, and that we only care about money. Well, consider these numbers:

1968 – There was 1 person receiving disability for every 51 people working full-time.

2013 – There was 1 person receiving disability for every 13 people working full-time.

Those numbers don’t even include the rise in payment to spouses of someone with a disability. And you wonder why you’re only getting one catheter? We can’t maintain these numbers. Some arguments you’ll hear are that baby boomers have started having health issues. However, there is another factor that isn’t discussed. The government has broadened who “disabled” applies to. In fact, in researching for this article there was a “NEW!” disability added to the list on the government’s website. We need to consider truly fighting for disabled rights, rights for those who are truly disabled and not for anyone who claims it. Let’s face it, we have a ton of users in this country. We don’t need to placate them by making it easier to jump on the disability bandwagon.

So what is the purpose of this article? I urge the disabled community to encourage discussions about disability, not stifle them. We need to share why some disabilities are more severe than others, that some require more assistance, while some don’t deserve jack shit from the government…and not accuse those questioning it of being insensitive. If I make the statement that being fat isn’t a disability, you’ll say I’m fat shaming. Well I’m not, I’m just reiterating the fact that an addiction to food isn’t the same as having a brain injury. So to those of you who make the loudest noise and claim that your disability is as bad as any other disability (while you load up your lifted truck with 15 gallons of ice cream, frozen pizza, and 50 pound bags of dog food), just know that I’m flipping you off in my head…because my hands don’t work.

Gina Schuh, Editor, Law and Advocacy

Gina, a C-5/6 quadriplegic, describes herself as a “politically incorrect foodie who is an equal opportunity offender.” Beyond that, Gina is a law school graduate who grew up on a farm in California. Gina’s true passion is food, and you’ll often find her posting food pictures on her Instagram under Culinary.Quad . Raised by a strong mother who had an insatiable appetite for any educational psychology materials, Gina swears she was raised by an unlicensed psychologist which led to her being so introspective. After people observed her success in dating, they asked for tips, which eventually led to her regular contribution here at Push Living on issues of dating, disability parking, and medical supply reimbursement, leading to the role of Editor of Law and Advocacy.

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