2020/01/28/SS comment

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020 (#28)
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Transcript of comment I left on the proposed Rules Regarding the Frequency and Notice of Continuing Disability Reviews (found via this Patreon post), comment tracking #1k4-9epc-jj9t:

I am not myself disabled, but I co-parented someone (now adult) who is, and I also have a number of friends who depend on disability, and I know a number of others whose lives could be greatly improved by disability support if they were able enough* to deal with the process required to obtain it.

My strong impression of the current system is that it is far too punitive and restrictive, trapping the people it is supposed to help in an ever-spiraling cycle of fear and desperation, while also often dragging others -- family, partners, friends -- into the same pit, causing careers to be destroyed or put on hold while struggling with the system to obtain basic support for their loved ones.

* One specific irony of the current system is that it places the barrier to entry so high that a high level of functionality is usually required in order to avail oneself of its services -- meaning that the most disabled people aren't able to use it at all, and those who are able to get it often live in terror of being found "not disabled enough" to continue receiving it. This unpredictability is one of the system's very worst features, undoing much of the good it does for those who are able to get it.

Assuming that some kind of periodic review is necessary -- and it should *not* be too frequent; I would suggest no more than yearly, though every other year would probably be better, since disabilities generally do not "go away" -- that the *default* should be for disabled status to be retained, and any kind of decision to remove it should be accompanied by a multi-stage process in which the client has plenty of time (at least 2-3 months) to seek help either towards disputing the change of status or to make any life-changes necessary to deal with the loss of disability income.

I could write a lot more, but just the idea of revisiting the years of anxiety and trauma we spent while trying to get absolutely necessary services for my partner's nonverbal-autistic son is making me avoidant of finishing, so I think I'll leave off with this summary:

Increasing the frequency of gatekeeping over disability status is a BAD IDEA. Disability income needs to be something that recipients CAN DEPEND ON, as they try to move forward with their lives as best they can.