The United States of Disability

Chana Joffe-Walt, of NPR and Planet Money, took a long look at people who are on disability benefits in the United States. She researched for six months as to why so many Americans are on disability now and why they aren’t getting off it. From the doctors who diagnosis physical ailments, to the courts who grant the benefits, to the new industry of disability law firms and the men and women who no longer fit into the work force who’s only chance at a living wage is a disability check, all these things are looked at. One of Chana’s final thoughts – Somewhere around 30 years ago, the economy started changing in some fundamental ways. There are now millions of Americans who do not have the skills or education to make it in this country. Read more below.



  1. RonsCigar

    March 26, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Wow way more back and other body pain apparently and yet aren’t there fewer factory/industrial jobs? What exactly is going on? Is it because we are more sedentary and that also can cause back pain/pain in general?

  2. turfgrass64

    March 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I’d rather not read more, I’m disgusted enough by the first paragraph…

    • Morgan McNasty

      March 26, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      @turfgrass64 I agree with you, this actually fucks up my blood pressure

      • Recyclerz

        March 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm

        @Morgan McNasty Hey! Stop angling for a disability claim, you HBP having slacker.

  3. Recyclerz

    March 26, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    I hope this issue actually finally gets the political heat it deserves.  The This American Life/Planet Money podcasts are really the most important work they’ve done since the “Giant Pool of Money” shows.
    The Social Security Disability Program has morphed into a de facto welfare program and, and as the program indicates, is becoming an expensive program for tax payers as well as a poverty trap for those people whose job prospects have evaporated with globalization and other secular economic trends. 
    This is one of the “new” problems that requires us to smash the old fashioned “left v. right” dynamic that we’ve been stuck with since the 1960’s (if not earlier) in order to find solutions that work for the 21st century.  I encourage everyone to read through the linked story and give a listen to the podcasts on this topic.

  4. SpeedKills

    March 26, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Excellent article.  Sheds alot of light on a tricky subject.

  5. TimLemerande

    March 26, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Pigs who do nothing but suck off the government tit.

  6. TheDonCarpenter

    March 26, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Buying votes and hiding unemployed people from the official numbers. That’s all you need to know about disability.

  7. zel

    March 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    I definitely recommend listening to the story on This American Life.

  8. FLprodivider66

    March 26, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Much respect to Miss Chana Joffe Walt for exposing this national epidemic of LIARS!

    • zel

      March 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      @FLprodivider66Yes, there are many liars, but to be fair, it seems that in states, the state is actually encouraging these people to lie.

      • zel

        March 26, 2013 at 6:43 pm

        @FLprodivider66 But yes, I hate the dirtbag liars too.

      • Amsterclam

        March 27, 2013 at 1:42 pm

        @zel  @FLprodivider66
         Not sure what article you two read.

      • zel

        March 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm

        @Amsterclam @FLprodivider66 on which point?

  9. Iknowyoujj

    March 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    We should just fall in line with them and give up trying to get ahead. But then who foots the bill? Bastards!

  10. jasonhathaway

    March 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    5.4 million people added to the disability rolls under Obama. This is the America deserve.

    • Amsterclam

      March 27, 2013 at 1:45 pm

       Charts is confusin’.

  11. Siccerson

    March 26, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    enough of this intelligent & depressing shit where are the dick jokes

  12. Moe Green

    March 26, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    If Fez can stay off it, then a lot of these freeloaders need to go.

  13. treekiller

    March 26, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    My “morbid obesity” (docs words not mine)   would qualify me, but know what..  I get my fat ass out of bed aty 5:30 every morning and go to work… so I can pay even more taxes to float these jerks… . when all i have to say is “My fibromyalgia is flaring up,”  and I live in Florida so doctor shopping is the preferred procedure. .

    • Amsterclam

      March 27, 2013 at 1:41 pm

       You’re a working class hero and the country would be lost without your awesome work ethic. Happy now?

  14. The Pickle

    March 26, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    About halfway through that article I had high blood pressure. Now that I read the entire article I have anger management and depression issues.

  15. galactictraveler

    March 26, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    For those of you that are led to believe that NPR is a liberal media organization and is completely biased please take note here . This is why NPR’s reporting is far better than other sources . They spend time on these stories and supply a considerable amount of information . Their stories aren’t sandwiched between commercials . And for those that think the government shouldn’t fund NPR or PBS , the total funding is about 6% of their total operating budget . Now investigate the tax breaks and incentives given to other media outlets and see who actually makes out better . You’ll be surprised.! Then ask why those media outlets that criticise NPR always have one or more of their reporters on the panel !

    • TwizzlesMcNasty

      March 26, 2013 at 10:20 pm

       I am fairly conservative and I love NPR.  They are solid.

      • Iknowyoujj

        March 26, 2013 at 11:13 pm

        @TwizzlesMcNasty @galactictraveler ditto..

  16. Older Fez

    March 26, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    c4 quad here, i’m on disability going to a place that does a new operation to help paralysis to see if it helps any,  YOUR WELCOME if it does THANKS FOR HELPING ME OUT if it doesn’t.

    • zel

      March 26, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      @Older Fez
       Wait… WE’RE welcome?! We should thank you because you’re going “for an operation to help paralysis”.
      Hey, don’t do me any favors!

      • Older Fez

        March 26, 2013 at 8:26 pm

        @zel you’re welcome for me trying to get off disability.

      • Older Fez

        March 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm

        I have a real disability at that. so if you want to be ‘angry guy’ that someone that really needs help is getting it i’ll send you the fraction of a penny you’ve contributed to me personally.

      • zel

        March 26, 2013 at 8:57 pm

        @Older Fez I don’t bemoan people who need it. I bemoan the idea that I need to thank you.
        Chances are that if you’re on disability, we’re paying for your operation. I’d rather you thanked us for giving you the opportunity to undergo the operation than think we have to thank you.
        So no, I’m not the angry guy, but I’m definitely not the one in t his conversation who should be grateful.

      • Older Fez

        March 26, 2013 at 9:35 pm

        @zel fiirst of all it was a joke, second. my insurance is paying for the operation, not you. the taxpayer is helping me monthly in other ways. but if the operation is a success {which honestly its probably not going to drastically}i will be able to get off disability.

      • zel

        March 26, 2013 at 9:41 pm

        @Older Fez Cool, hope it works out and glad you have insurance. Although I would have understood it as a joke if you weren’t playing the ‘angry guy’ yourself after my first comment.
        On a serious note, how did you manage to afford insurance? Did you get to keep it from your old job?

      • Older Fez

        March 26, 2013 at 9:45 pm

        @zel no i didn’t have insurance when i was working {bar-tending/sales}. my family got me on medi/medi while i was in a coma.

      • zel

        March 26, 2013 at 9:49 pm

        @Older Fez
         What’s medi/medi?

      • Older Fez

        March 26, 2013 at 9:50 pm

        @zel People who qualify for both Medicare and full Medi-Cal are known as “dual eligibles” or “Medi-Medis.”

      • zel

        March 26, 2013 at 9:53 pm

        @Older Fez
         Gotcha. I didn’t think it was medicare because you said that I, as a taxpayer, didn’t pay for your insurance, but taxpayers do pay for medicare.
        Well, good luck on your operation. Hope it works out for you.

      • Older Fez

        March 26, 2013 at 9:56 pm

        @zel thanks, but i payed taxes for a long time so i don’t see how i’m out of the equation. thats like saying i payed to help bay for your kids birth.

      • zel

        March 26, 2013 at 10:02 pm

        @Older Fez Didn’t say you were, but your insurance is part of a national social welfare program, and that means that my taxes went towards your insurance.
        I’m not arguing that you shouldn’t have it. I’m fine with it, since it sounds like you certainly need it, but don’t try to claim that you’re not benefitting from taxpayers when you clearly are. 
        As for my children, unless you paid taxes to Fairfax County, Va, I can confidently state that you didn’t pay one red cent towards my daughter’s birth.

      • Older Fez

        March 26, 2013 at 10:12 pm

        @zel i”ve already payed back a lot out of my meager settlement. its not like i haven’t ever contributed you think they won’t be charging me down the road? i’ve done my part, now that i need it its here for me. thats how it should work. i was as much of a taxpayer as you are.

      • zel

        March 26, 2013 at 10:20 pm

        @Older Fez Jesus Christ. When you were in that coma, did your reading comprehension deteriorate to the level of a 6 year old? I said I’m fine with you having access to medicare.
        But your implication that you didn’t receive help from taxpayers is just false. You did, you do, you will. And that’s fine. But don’t imply that you don’t, because you do.

      • Older Fez

        March 26, 2013 at 10:23 pm

        @zel you seem to have the same problem. i said the taxpayers help me. but your not paying for my operation since i have to pay that back at some point.

    • TwizzlesMcNasty

      March 26, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      Good luck buddy.  I wish you the best.

      • Older Fez

        March 26, 2013 at 10:25 pm

        @TwizzlesMcNasty thanks man. its a new operation they have had some success with. heres the news story on it.

      • TwizzlesMcNasty

        March 26, 2013 at 10:35 pm

        @Older Fez
         I wasn’t wishing you good luck I was wish Zel good luck with overcoming his obvious comprehension problems, but that is ok, make everything about yourself.  Just like the real Fez.

      • Older Fez

        March 26, 2013 at 10:36 pm

        @TwizzlesMcNasty HAHAHA

      • TwizzlesMcNasty

        March 26, 2013 at 10:36 pm

        @Older Fez
         You could learn alot from his plucky spirit and go get em attitude.

      • TwizzlesMcNasty

        March 26, 2013 at 10:37 pm

        @Older Fez
         All you crips just need a little backbone and all your problems would go away.

      • Older Fez

        March 26, 2013 at 10:38 pm

        @TwizzlesMcNasty literally.

      • TwizzlesMcNasty

        March 26, 2013 at 10:41 pm

        @Older Fez
         I really hope all goes well for you.  I have MS and might end up on the dole myself.  We are lucky we have something to fall back on.  I know you probably do not feel fortunate but medicine keeps improving and they will figure all this stuff out soon enough.

      • Older Fez

        March 26, 2013 at 10:45 pm

        @TwizzlesMcNasty it will be 6 years on the 1st since my accident, i got hit by a car on april fools day, that takes talent

      • TwizzlesMcNasty

        March 26, 2013 at 10:46 pm

        It was nice to talk and I will see you around but it is past my bed time so take care amigo.

  17. Ziggy Stardust

    March 26, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Imagine that? Assholes taking advantage of the program and riding it until death. They better be glad I’m not running the show.

  18. TwizzlesMcNasty

    March 26, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    I might end up on this.  I have been told that I have MS and it is satarting to affect my balance.  The doctor has already asked me if I work on ladders alot, which I do.  When I am sick for a day or two and can’t work I almost go stir crazy so I don’t think that I would be able to handle not working mentally.  I do not want my kids to see their dad as a lazy bum but I want to be invincible in their eyes as my father was in mine.  I think it gives a child stability and comfort to feel like there is an unconquerable figure backing them up.  On the other hand I know my family will not starve if I do become unable to work and that is more than what many people have.

    • Older Fez

      March 26, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      @TwizzlesMcNasty Its not a pleasant thing. i wish you the best man. life can be pretty rough.

      • Aria Taint

        March 27, 2013 at 10:41 am

        @Older Fez  @TwizzlesMcNasty But to lighten this up a little, he’s bragging about his MS?

    • SpeedKills

      March 26, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      @TwizzlesMcNasty Wish you the best man, don’t get yourself down about your situation. This is why this is such a touchy subject, cause its easy to read things like this and not take into account that there are also alot of people using the program that are deserving of it and what it was made for. What I’ve observed in my own life is those who speak out the loudest against programs like this and others do so cause its not personally benefiting them then and there or are privately benefiting from the same thing but don’t want anyone to know. I try to reserve judgement of others cause I control what I can in my life but when it comes to health theres are alot of things you can’t control and I don’t want to be the guy that bitches about someone today and tomorrow I find myself in the same situation.

  19. BadNewsJeff

    March 27, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I love me some NPR.  Except Click and Clack.  They are the most annoying SOB’s on the planet.

  20. treekiller

    March 27, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Wow, can I interrupt this epposode of thin skinned cunts to switch back to regular scheduled interrorbanging?