Nov 18, 2008

Growth Industry in Allentown

Yesterday I went to the Social Security Office, across from the prison, to discuss my retirement options. I was given number 199. In addition to retirement, Social Security also dispenses money for disability. I would say from the gray hair, there were
about three of us contemplating retirement, all the others were for disability. A few middle age men were carrying their fake canes. The canes aren't fake, it's the disabilities. I saw one such gentleman walk in from the parking lot, clearly the cane bore no weight, and was merely a prop. Most of the people waiting were quite young, in their twenties. Disability has been expanded to include mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, additive personality and anger management. I will say many of them did look angry to me. It was hard finding a parking space. Business also looked good at the prison. If Johnny Manana's had gotten these crowds....


Anonymous said...

the level of arrogance it takes to deem that people are faking or that their mental diseases aren't disabilities is astonishing. Normally I have respect for your perspective but your self-righteousness is disgusting in this case.

Is there anything else that your all-knowing wisdom can bestow upon us, the unworthy but for your leadership?

michael molovinsky said...

i have no delusion that you normally have any respect for my perspective, or even who you are, but your predictable snark allows me to elaborate. i have received hundreds of calls from perspective tenants who are on disability. when i ask them what's wrong with them, they laugh and say nothing; that i believe. spent an hour sitting down at the social security office, or look through the phone book at the lawyer ads, and the enormity of this problem should be apparent even to you. this migration to disability was a result of welfare reform, now instead of getting an entitlement for 5 years, the unmotivated get it for life. this abuse isn't discussed, after all it took decades for the establishment to admit welfare was being exploited. another consequence of political correctness.

Anonymous said...

michael, very interesting and provocative post!

you alluded to something that needs more explanation....your mention that being an "addictive personality" is grounds for disability.

let me make this much plainer; a good number of drunks and drug addicts are currently on disability.

younger people go on to lead totally chaotic, addictive lives, blowing through all their money, their retirement and any hope of every being gainfully employed . . . and then they get on disability where they get not only social security early, butm more important, become immediately eligible for medicaid, which is a better health plan than almost everyone who works has in place.

no wonder we have so many addicts when we are rewarding such behavior.

Anonymous said...

"when i ask them what's wrong with them, they laugh and say nothing"

Is it possible that when they laugh they are coping? And your phone calls aford you the authority to deem who in the room is and isn't faking? Did you talk to any of them? You know, ask their story? Or did you just conclude that it's politically incorrect, except for the purposes of your writing?

But really, who cares... it's part of the non-partisan but very ideological insistance that the poor are poor b/c they choose to be or b/c they are lazy.

Yeah, you know better than everybody else. B/c you are right.

Anonymous said...

"It was hard finding a parking space. Business also looked good at the prison."

That's right. The region's problems get dumped in Allentown. I wonder how people in Lower Mac would act if there was a prison in their neighborhood. Or the people in North Whitehall if the SS office was next to their high school.

Anonymous said...

I would guess there are probably as many people abusing the disability program as there are legitimately injured people using it, at least around center city.

(By the way, I like the Beetlejuice photo.)

michael molovinsky said...

dear anon 1:24 or whatever identities your using today. i would think as an intercity landlord for 35 years and in communication with many others, i might have more insight than you on this subject. there are indeed people who receive disability who rightly deserve it. however, the explosion of recipients in the last 10 years is largely caused by intention to receive benefits, rather than suffering from some condition.

Anonymous said...

When the first Senior Citizen high rise was built in Emmaus, 333 Ridge Street, it included apartments for the physically disabled. Then when being a drunk or a drug abuser became a disability they moved them in the building along with the mentally disabled. The Seniors living in the building are harassed by and terrified of the disabled in the building.

Squirrel (SS) said...

Without doubt not everyone who frequents the SS office is on the lamb. However I agree with the general gist of Michaels post. Increasingly individuals are altering their definition of the American Dream. Too often it has morphed into a disability parking sticker, subsidized housing and SSI. Obtaining disability often is an exercise in the fine art of manipulation the focus of which is simply to getting something for nothing.

I know a woman who prefaces every thing she says with the statement "You realize I do not work, but". Well she has a kid. Her kid does everything my kids do. All the lessons, involvements etc are the same. Her kids clothes come from the mall. My kids clothes frequently come from the thrift store. While she does not work neither does my wife, but I do, frequently 60-80 hours each week. I am lucky I truly enjoy what I do and even more so it allows me the privilege of supporting my family.

My vacations occur every two years, hers every summer for two months when she returns to the country of her origin in a tropical climate. The major difference is that her ability to do and acquire all of the things she does is not financed by her personal economic resources but by the definition of the American Dream I have described above. Soon after coming to the US she was able to obtain the parking sticker, subsidized housing and the "coup d'etat" - SSI. The last time I say her she was bragging that her child was now attending a private school the tuition of course was paid through a scholarship. She has become the modern day hero of the urban culture.

She chooses to do what she does and I choose to do what I do. I doubt if I could live with myself if I tried to do what she does and I doubt if she could survive if she tried to undertake what I do on a daily basis. Does it make me angry? Are you kidding of course it does. Why should I work and subsidize here when it is highly evident she takes great pleasure in what she has achieved with little regard for anyone else in the community.

I also realize though that the worst part of what she is doing is that ultimately it hurts the very people these services were designed to assist. This is a true transgression. Good post Michael.

Anonymous said...

Social Security disability and SSI ( For those without enough working quarters with Social Security ) is nothing but a substitute for those takrn off thev welfare roles. You have people who are doctor shopping looking for the right one to sign for benefits. There are families with MULTIPLE children on the roles because of Attention deficit Disorder and similar Mental disorders. They receive more in SSI per month than my wife receives in Social Security after working at low paying jobs for over 40 years. It is just a scam by the government to show lower welfare roles yet still replaced by taxpayer dollars.

Larry Heckman said...

Michael is right on this issue. There are thousands of people who have Social Security diasabilities and also SSI benefits. They were removed from the welfare roles and had assistance from the Welfare offices in applyinfg for and receiving benefits. There are families with multiple family members receiving benefits for Attention Deficit disorder and minor mental health issues. Almost anyone can claim for back pain just by stating it radiates down the leg or neck pain with arm pain. Impossible to tell if it is really present or not. Watch the people with canes after there appointments with Social Security and the limp and slow movements disappear. Also in response to some of those who stay gutless by responding to statements with criticism yet remain anonymous maybe you too are also collecting at my tax dollar expense. These people on SSI and Disability are collecting more money from Social Security and SSI than my wife who worked over 40 years full time but at lower paying jobs.