The June 4 front-page article “Generations, disabled” disappointed. Bigotry against people with disabilities is on the rise, and our civil rights are under attack by the current administration. It is a myth that the Social Security Disability Insurance system is replete with fraud.
Research shows a nexus between disability and poverty: lack of access to adequate health care, housing and living conditions; difficult physical work; distress related to the struggles associated with poverty; poor educational resources; lack of employment opportunity and persistent stigma.
It is not easy to get SSDI. The criteria to qualify for disability payments are more stringent in the United States than in all other advanced economies, with 64 percent of applicants denied coverage.
The work of the disability civil rights movement remains unfinished. It aims to eliminate institutional ableism and stigma, eradicate employment discrimination, build accessible transportation, improve education for students with disabilities, reimburse family members who are full-time caregivers of people with disabilities and improve access to health care and affordable housing.
Susan M. Dooha, New York City
The writer is executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled.
A 55-year-old grandmother of four and ex-wife of four men is teaching her grandchildren that in a crisis, one takes pain medicine and spends money one doesn’t have at McDonald’s. It’s small wonder that her daughter, a 32-year-old mother of four, has trouble thinking when she is medicated with multiple psychoactive drugs: an opiate, an anti-epileptic, an antidepressant and an anti-hypertensive that is being used off-label.
It’s no wonder that life is chaotic with six people and at least three dogs living in a trailer where the children are medicated and Grandma can shut herself in her room to watch soap operas while the 10-year-old hyperactive twins fight over video games. Where are the men who helped to produce all these disabled people?
Poverty, toxic stress, poor nutrition, unplanned pregnancies, preterm births, lack of coordinated health care, polypharmacy and parental dysfunction all contribute to the growing number of disabled families in our country. Is there a solution? Probably not. If I tweeted, I would say, “Sad . . . very, very sad.”
Deborah Schumann, Bethesda