Evidence, Anecdotes, and Disability

So, I’ve been fighting for disability for about 2 years now,  I’ve applied, appealed, and am now awaiting a hearing with a judge…eventually.  I’ve got legal help, and am hopeful.

I noticed when I see posts about disability on the Facebooks and the Twitters, and almost every time some person will pop in with some anecdote about their sister’s hair stylist’s grandmom’s thrice removed who’s cheating the system and how we need to crack down on this loafers who just don’t want to work and want to live off the government teat.


As someone on public assistance, i hear the same shit about welfare recipients.  It’s like everyone’s cheating the government or something, trying to get something for nothing, and it’s growing and how can we sustain all of these freeloaders?

Except they’re not. Yep, right in the New York Friggin’ Times.  Read it. Skip the comments, because as usual, even in the face of fucking facts, people are really, really, invested in hanging onto their bullshit.

Part of it is that BS insistence on hanging onto crap about freeloaders.  Part of it is a terrible misunderstanding about the process of getting disability, And part of it is a general misunderstanding about disability in general.

The process is long.  Almost two years for me.  It requires so much information – good luck if you haven’t had consistent health care. It requires so much waiting and waiting and waiting and fucking waiting.  Lots of people give up after that first rejection. Even more after the rejected appeal. Your life is picked apart as complete strangers examine every part of it.  If you can’t lift 30 pounds with your chronic illness, can you lift 10?  You can’t speak on the phone without a panic attack, but how about customers face to face?

It’s hard and fuck anyone who thinks it’s just as easy as “Just find a doctor who will lie for you.”

The misunderstanding about disability is frustrating as hell.  To way too many people, to be disabled means that you lie in bed in all day, staring at the wall while others care for you until the day you die.  If you have to leave the house, and you have a disability placard, you better LOOK like a ‘cripple’. Otherwise, you’re a liar, liar, liarface fraud and we all hate you.

So you get anecdotes like “Oh, I saw that guy with a bad back on a sitting mower that one time? Doesn’t he know he’s supposed to be in his house in bed all day? Liar!”

Or “What’s that? The lady who you know has depression laughed in my presence once. That’s not how depression works! She’s obviously faking it.”

Or “Didn’t I see that person in a wheelchair yesterday? But they’re walking all their own today! Liar! Faker!”

There’s no such thing as a “good day’ when you’re disabled. There’s no such thing as “good meds” that work, but not well enough for you to hold down a job. There’s no such thing as “invisible illnesses”.  Not in the black and white world of these people.

Their ignorance is to our determent. They have no idea about the details of the subjects of their anecdotes, what exactly is wrong, what treatments have been tried.  But it’s enough to judge.  Fuck them.

And no, spare me the fucking anecdotes in my comments, kay?

Evidence, Anecdotes, and Disability
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