Monday, August 3, 2009

Injustice in Disability Benefits

Oprah's show today was about super-obese people, those who weigh 600+ pounds.
My SSDI lawyer was representing one of them, and simply was going to tell the judge that the gal (a) physically could not leave home to attend medical exams and the court hearing, (b) was too big and would break the available chairs, and that was likely to be enough to get her claim approved. 
My lawyer couldn't explain the injustice that someone who brought their disabling condition on themselves would get benefits and someone who didn't do a thing to cause it was going to have to fight for a decade.  
That gal, all she had to do was stop eating, and she would not be disabled any more – why don't the judges suggest that to her in the same derogatory tone of voice they use to tell me that I just need to get counseling and go back to work?  She's the one who needs counseling, but she gets enabled with money to buy more food to feed her addiction; I have a virus and am told that if I don't have money for food, I should get a job.
The letter I received scheduling my medical exam was quite blunt, that if I didn't attend, they'd assume I was not disabled, and I would not receive benefits.  I was essentially housebound at the time; that didn't matter.  I was still told to show up or else.
Why the different rules for different medical conditions?  If I needed to be brought to the hearing in a wheelchair because I couldn't walk that far without collapsing, then that was what I needed to arrange for, not just tell them "I can't come", because "the judge needs to see you in person".  So I went, and kept telling the judge that I was dizzy and about to pass out, I needed to put my head down, and then was given the illogic that my ability to get to a hearing and sit with my head down for most of the hour proved that I could get to an office and sit up for 8 hours at a desk, fully functional. 
Maybe if I hadn't put my head down, so I would actually pass out, that would've rated a mention in his decision?



Nicky Reiss said...

Any chance at all of bringing the CFS problem to the attention of Oprah? We really need some big name people on our side.

CFS Facts said...

Oprah's good friend Dr. Oz has recently written an article about fibro. Quite a few of the comments about it include reference to CFS.

Of course, we always welcome patients making contact with high-profile people who might be willing to publicize that this is closer to MS than to depression, and definitely isn't just laziness