Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How Much Would It Take?

British flag
Labour calls for radical reform of social security for disabled people
Randeep Ramesh, The Guardian, UK - July 9, 2013

Awhile back, I was reading a small flurry of articles on big changes in the Great Britain's disability service programs. It was hard to figure to figure out what was going on, but it seemed like the UK system in general was simpler, based more on cash support than services, and possibly more flexible. The problem seemed to be that the Conservative / Liberal Democratic coalition government wanted to make the system a bit simpler still, but also reduce its expense, thereby cutting overall support individuals receive.

Puzzle piece with dollar sign
Now it looks like the opposition Labour Party has it's own proposal, and it seems to more clearly address simplicity, while reducing one what sounds like the system's most annoying aspect … people with disabilities needing to prove their impairments again and again to different departments. The Labour proposal would apparently consolidate all support into "lump sum" payments, out of which each individual would pay for whatever services they needed … personal care, rent, food, adaptive equipment, counseling, training, whatever.

That sounds good to me, as long as the individual budgets are the right amounts, and based on individual needs, not a cookie cutter formula.

If you have a disability, how big of a support check per month would it take for you to be able to buy the disability-related support and assistance you need?

Who Knew? I Really Want To Know

Charles Wilson, Associated Press / Huffington Post - July 9, 2013

The article mentions the President being "pushed" in his wheelchair, but it looks to me like he's wheeling himself; in the video, I think I can see his arms and elbows swinging back and forth.

photo of president roosevelt in a wheelchair, dog on his lap, little girl by his side
Everything you read about it says that the President kept his disability a secret, but that just doesn't sound possible. My parents grew up in the 1930s, and my Mother, at least, always told me that people knew FDR used a wheelchair. It wasn't a secret, it just wasn't discussed. I wonder if that's really how it was. I really need to read "FDR's Splendid Deception", which I believe is the definitive book on the subject.

If Roosevelt's disability was a taboo topic but widely known, that would suggest that people had much more complex ideas about disability than people today give them credit for. Roosevelt was already famous when he got polio as a younger man, so people knew he'd had it. People certainly knew a lot about polio in general … a lot more than people know these days. So, wouldn't they have assumed that Roosevelt had to have at least some residual impairments? Maybe they didn't know the details. Maybe they didn't know he was fully paralyzed. They had to know something, and I suspect there was kind of an unspoken deal between the people and their President … an agreement not to acknowledge or discuss the disability.

Anyway, that's why I need to read the book, because I really am curious about the nature and extent of FDR's so-called "deception."
"FDR's Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt's Massive Disability-And the Intense Efforts to Conceal It from the Public", by Hugh Gregory Gallagher, 3rd Edition, 1999