Timesizing® Not Downsizing
[Commentary] ©2002-15 Philip Hyde, Timesizing Wire, Box 117 Harvard Sq, Cambridge MA 02238 USA (617) 623-8080 - HOMEPAGE
Disability and “disability”
For current disability news, see ‘Additional disability news’ below first long story  

Downsizing instead of timesizing has made it harder and harder to support ourselves, when it should be getting easier and easier with automation and robotics. Burgeoning disability is another unintended side effect. It's another dark secret that America has besides the largest prison population in the developed world and a huge homeless population - nevermind workers' comp (see 7/26-28/2003#2), unemployment, and welfare. In 2013, roughly 11 million (see 7/29/2014 below) collected disability benefits, up from 8.2m in 2010 (4/07/2011 disab.sec.) and 7.9m in 2004 (7/29/2014 disab.sec.) and at 11m, equal to 3.7% of a US population of 300m. Thus, benefit-drawing disability has been increasing by 933,000 Americans a year since 2010 - all this despite huge untapped potential in the area of job design and unprecedented medical and computer tools to offset every kind of disability (as demonstrated by the continuing contributions of quadriplegic physicist Stephen Hawking - see "New tools to help patients reclaim damaged senses - Tiny and powerful, the devices are moving out of the laboratory," by Sandra Blakeslee, 11/23/2004 NYT, D1, and "Job listings will be open to the blind," 1/31/2013 AP via BG, B6).  Re: the source of the problem ("laid-off workers" alias downsizing), scan down to article on 9/02/2002 below -

Disability news
mostly from the Wall St Journal & the New York Times -


7/29/2014  disability in the news (more recent items, if any, are on our homepage or homepage archives) -


4/08/2013  disability in the news (more recent items, if any, are on our homepage or homepage archives) -


4/25/2012  disability in the news (more recent items, if any, are on our homepage or homepage archives) -


12/20/2010  1 item on disability (more recent items, if not above, are on our homepage or homepage archives) -

12/10/2007  disability in the news (more recent items, if any, are on our homepage or homepage archives) -

  1. Disability cases last far longer as backlog rises - Reform plan stymied - Most appeals succeed, but waits can go on for years, by Erik Eckholm NYT, A1.
    Steadily lengthening delays in the resolution of Social Security disability claims have left hundreds of thousands of people in a kind of purgatory, now waiting as long as three years for a decision.... The backlog...has soared to 755,000 [today] from 311,000 in in 2000 [and] will require $100m more than...the $9.6B that Bush has proposed for the 2008 fiscal year..\..and still more in the future..\.. The Social Security Administration['s] new plan [is] to hire 150 new appeals judges to whittle down the backlog.... There are 1,025 judges currentlyl at work, and the wait for an appeals hearing averages more than 500 days, compared with 258 in 2000....
    The disability process is complex, and the standard for approval has, from the inception of the program in the 1950s, been intentionally strict to prevent malingering and drains on the treasury.
    [The standard for approval is hardly strict when a local handyman could start acting nuts, hugging trees, get a letter from a friendly doctor and get on permanent disability with full Medicare at age 55. And what about the ex-nurse with that lovely home near the ocean in Rhode Island who developed "back problems" and went on permanent disability? Even so, the "drain on the Treasury" is hardly our biggest worry. Much much bigger are the drains from government bailouts of big companies, like Chrysler in the 1980s and the S&Ls in the early 90s, and the $2 billion of our taxpayer money wasted every week on the unnecessary and completely bungled "war" on Iraq, coupled with the billions lost or stolen in unbid contracts - all supposedly in response to 19 guys with boxcutters?]
    In a recent interview, the commissioner of Social Security, Michael Astrue, said that outright fraud was rare....
    [Define "rare."]
    Of the roughly 2.5m disability applicants each year now, about two-thirds are turned down initially by state agencies.... Most of those who are refused give up at that point or after a failed request for local reconsideration. But of the more than 575,000 who go on to file appeals...two-thirds eventually win a reversal....
    If approved, those who have paid into Social Security receive income...averaging more than $1000 a month and potentially more. The poor, and severely disabled children, receive Supplemental Security Income checks that will be $637 a month in 2008....
    In New York State, about half the 38,000 people now waiting on disability appeals, for an average of 21 months, are receiving cash assistance from the state, said Michael Hayes, spokesman for the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance....
    [And the overall population on disability is now...how many, and growing...how fast? Obvious questions. No info. Bad journalism.]
1/09/2004  1 item of 'disability news' (more recent items, if any, are on our homepage or homepage archives) -
  1. Disability rates are up sharply, pointer (to A7), WSJ, front page.
    ...for working-age Americans over the past two decades, and obesity appears the prime suspect, Rand says.
    [target -]
    Researchers link sharp rise in disability rates for younger adults to obesity, by Ron Winslow, WSJ, A7.
    Disability among Americans in the prime of their working lives has risen sharply in the past two decades, another consequence of the nation's obesity epidemic.
    Researchers at the Rand Corp., the nonprofit Santa Monica CA thinktank, found a 40-50% rise in recent years in the number of people from the ages of 30 to 49 whose ability to care for themselves or perform routine tasks was limited by disability.... The study appears in the current issue of the journal Health Affairs..\.. Several factors may be contributing to the rise in disability, says Dana Goldman, director of health economics at Rand and the principal investigator on the study. But there is "evidence to support that obesity may be a primary reason," he says....
    [Never mind the deepening dearth of jobs and the fact that they got kicked off welfare at the 5-year lifetime limit.]

12/11/2003  disability news - 11/25/2003  some good 'disability news' - 9/18/2003  disability news - 4/29/2003  disability news - 11/29/2002  disability news - 9/02/2002  disability news -

4/30/2000  disability news -


For the core design of a better, better integrated and oriented society, our handbook Timesizing, Not Downsizing is available from *Amazon.com online or at *Porter Sq. Books, Cambridge, Mass. 02140, USA.

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