Several weeks ago I drove into the parking lot of one of the local supermarkets where I shop regularly. As I was looking for a parking space, I noticed that one of my acquaintances had parked in one of the parking spaces designated for those who are handicapped. I also noticed that he had the appropriate “handicap” sticker hanging from his rear view mirror. I am not a car person so the only reason that I knew that it was his car was because of the “vanity plate” that his vehicle bore.
The individual of whom I speak is not handicapped. He is 28 years old, works out at the gym five times a week and is in excellent physical health. However, he “inherited” this sign from a deceased relative – and has no issues of conscience in using it. As he put it to me the one time that I drove with him, “It’s more convenient.”
When he made that statement I was undecided whether I should respond. But I did. My statement was, “You know, there are people who need to access these spaces because they have physical limitations. Don’t you feel guilty about taking their spaces?” His response was, “There are lots of handicapped spaces. They’ll find plenty available for them to park in.”
I didn’t pursue this further as it was obvious to me that I was dealing with someone who was too self-absorbed to care about the needs of others. While I think that I can be persuasive – I know my limitations.
I thought about this situation because I recently started documenting the number of ads I see on television for those who are “advocates for the disabled.” These ads offer their services to assist those who are disabled in obtaining their benefits from the Social Security Administration.
Since there are so many of these ads, I concluded that this must be a service that is needed. But then I thought about it – and wondered why someone would need that service. So I began doing a little investigation.
Apparently, more than six out of ten initial claims that are filed with SSA are denied by our friends in government. The exact statistics that I read were that 63/100 were rejected. But apparently the “advocates” understood the vagaries of the system.
Of those 63 who were rejected and used their services, they were successful in winning the cases of these claimants an average fifty percent of the time. That is to say, of the original 63 who were denied initially, 31 were subsequently approved.
I applaud their efforts – but I wonder why there is a need for these services. Let’s think about this for a minute.
There is probably no one reading this who believes in freely doling out taxpayer funds to people who are not qualified to receive them. I know that I am one of those.
But why shouldn’t the SSA do it’s job properly in the first place? If they approved legitimate claims to begin with and rejected those that were invalid, there would be no reason for these “advocacy firms” to exist. (By the way, the Federal Government has mandated that these firms charge the successful claimants a fee of 25% of the back due benefits that they ultimately receive).
The appeals process is so lengthy that it typically takes a minimum of three months to over a year – depending on the specific case – during which time the disabled individual has none of the benefits to which she is entitled. No income and no ability to support herself.
What a way to run a country.