If you’re a person with a disability who is presently looking for work, or if you’re like me and have been unemployed and told that you’re case is hopeless then this article in the NY Times should resonate. It’s also a reminder that President Obama’s declaration in his speech to the nation yesterday that he won’t abandon people with disabilities in the current budget cutting climate is an important call to action for liberal and progressive citizens to stand up for social programs.
(New York Times)
Excerpt from Inclusion Daily
April 12, 2011
BATESVILLE, ARKANSAS– [Excerpt] Christopher Howard suffers from herniated discs in his back, knee problems and hepatitis C. As a result, Social Security sends him $574 every month and will until he reaches retirement age — unless he can find a job.
Though he has been collecting disability checks for three years, Mr. Howard, who is just 36, desperately wants to work, recalling dredging for gravel rather fondly and repairing cell towers less fondly.
"It makes me feel like I am doing something," said Mr. Howard, a burly man with a honey-colored goatee. "Instead of just being a bum, pretty much."
Programs intended to steer people with more moderate disabilities back into jobs have managed to take only a small sliver of beneficiaries off the Social Security rolls.
Yet, at a time when employers are struggling to create spots for the 13.5 million people actively looking for jobs, helping people like Mr. Howard find employment — or keeping them working in the first place — is becoming increasingly important to the nation’s fiscal health.
Disabled, but Looking for Work