Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Disability and Unemployment

I've been wanting to a write a deep post on this with some real numbers but haven't had the time. Still don't.

But given that there are a few memes floating around about how rising use of social programs is leading to a lower employment to population ratio I feel I need to say something.

Nowadays, with the Americans with Disabilities Act and a greater acceptance of disability in general the notion that Social Security Disability Insurance should be for those completely unable to work is completely outdated since we now know that there is virtually no one so disabled that they can't work. I've known people with very severe physical and mental disabilities that are able to engage in gainful employment. I know of people paralyzed from the neck down that have had paid jobs. There is no one that can't work.

However, our society creates a very limited number of jobs that these people can be hired for. And yes, I said society because our economy produces a vastly larger number of jobs that people with disabilities could do but our society has not caught up with this. So when you see unemployment and disability both increasing at the same time this is because companies are less willing to take a chance on a disabled person than they were in the past forcing people onto disability. And being on disability sucks, a lot. These programs are punitive. Very few people with a choice will be on these programs.

But I never see any of this brought up in these discussions. These issues aren't that hard to think through, but it does require to bother thinking about them. Few people do.

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