DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture Week 12 Notes Part 2
DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture Week 12 Notes Part 2 DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Katie on Friday April 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture at University of Illinois at Chicago taught by Aly Patsavas in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Disability Rights And Culture in Culture at University of Illinois at Chicago.
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Date Created: 04/08/16
¨ Proving Disability ¨ Austerity Review ¨ Austerity measures, as discussed in lecture and course readings, reflect a set of beliefs and practices that enact cutting government expenditures ¨ Part of the justification for these measures is the fraud within social supports ¨ Disability Benefits ¨ We have learned about the rights disabled people have within the U.S. ¨ What about “Disability Benefits”? ¨ Are benefits the same as rights? ¨ What are some examples of disability benefits? ¨ Who is Disabled? ¨ Who, exactly, are we talking about when we talk about disabled people? ¤ What have we discussed so far this semester? ¨ What is involved in accessing disability benefits? ¨ Social Security ¨ Social Security office defines disability as inability to work. “We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if: ¤ You cannot do work that you did before ¤ We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and ¤ Your disability has lasted or is expected to last one year or to result in death ¨ No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability. ¤ Who Verifies Disability? ¨ One of the first steps in accessing disability benefits is proving that you are disabled. ¨ Who, exactly, is responsible for proving and verifying the presence of disability? ¨ Biocertification ¨ Ellen Samuels coined the phrase “biocertification” to describe “the many forms of government documents that purport to authenticate a person’s social identity through biology, substituting written description for other forms of bodily knowledge and authority” (122). ¨ Biocertifications = the things that “prove” and “verify” identity ¨ “Biocertification materializes the modern belief that only science can reliably determine the truths of identity and generally claims to offer a simple, verifiable, and concrete solution to questions of identity” (122). ¨ In other words: ¤ Science authorizes identity and claims (especially to social supports) ¤ What about experience? Self-report? ¨ In determining disability, Social Security asks: ¨ Are you working? ¨ Is your condition “severe”? ¨ Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? ¨ Can you do the work you did previously? ¨ Can you do any other type of work? ¨ Step 1: Are you Working ¨ “If you are working in 2014 and your earnings are $1,070 a month, you generally cannot be considered disabled.” ¨ “If you are not working, we will send your application to the Disability Determination Services office that will make the decision about your medical condition” ¨ Disability Determination Services (DDS) ¨ DDS agency within states and disability specialists (and doctors working for agency) gather information from your doctor. They ask your doctor ¤ medical condition ¤ when medical condition began ¤ how medical condition limits activities ¤ what the medical tests have shown ¤ what treatment received ¤ what is your ability to do work related tasks: sitting, standing, walking, remembering instructions ¨ Step 2: Is your condition “Severe” ¨ It must interfere with basic work related activities for claim to be considered. ¨ “If it does not, we will find that you are not disabled” ¤ (In other words, in SSDI systems, if you work, you are non-disabled) ¨ Step 3: On the list? ¨ “For each of the major body systems, we maintain a list of medical conditions that are so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled.” ¨ “If your condition is not on the list, we have to decide if it is of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list” ¨ Exploring the list Social Security Disability List ¨ Step 4: Previous Work ¨ “If your condition is severe but not at the same or equal level of severity as a medical condition on the list, then we must determine if it interferes with your ability to do work you previously did. If it does not, your claim will be denied. If it does, you move to step five” ¨ Step 5: Can you do any other type of work? “If you cannot do the work you did in the past, we see if you are able to adjust to other work.” “We consider your medical condition and your age, education, past work experience and any transferable skills you may have. If you cannot adjust to other work, your claim will be approved. If you can adjust to other work, your claim will be denied” ¨ Navigating this Process ¨ Read for today an article featuring a lawyer who helps people navigate this system. ¨ “Social Security is there to deny benefits,” Neuhaus said, adding that those who work for the federal program want to make sure only those who truly deserve the benefits get them” (Schweitzer). ¨ Continuing Disability Review ¨ Once granted Social Security Disability Benefits, you undergo a review process that falls (on average) anywhere between 3 and 7 years. ¨ Must submit to a review of your “medical condition” and activities to see if you have improved ¨ You can lose your benefits also if you are not undergoing treatment (meeting with your doctor regularly) that shows you are actively trying to get better ¨ And yet, once you get approved for Social Security Disability you are only enrolled in Medicare after two years of SSDI ¨ Relationship of this process to Neoliberalism ¨ Personal responsibility central feature of neoliberalism ¨ “…a key principle of body management within neoliberalism: those who don’t adequately maintain their bodies are held personally responsible for their descent into the chaos of ill health and nonwell being” (102). ¨ This personal responsibility translates into relief of governmental responsibility. ¤ If you don’t prove you are taking care of your own health, then social supports will stop ¨ Waiting Periods ¨ http://www.medicarerights.org/pdf/two_year_waiting_period_fact_sheet.pdf ¨ Two Year waiting period instituted to keep cost down and to avoid replacing coverage for disabled workers still receiving benefits under private group plans. ¨ SSDI determinations take several months ¨ 5 month waiting after approval for SSDI ¨ 24 months before receiving healthcare coverage ¨ The Process: ¨ Apply and wait: First rejection ¨ Re-apply within 60 days or go back to start ¨ Second Rejection: Hire an attorney File an appeal within 60 days or go back to the start (wait sometime up to a year) ¨ Hearing and approval: wait 5 months between approval and SSDI benefits ¨ wait 24 months for insurance ¨ Numbers ¨ estimated 1.8 million people with disabilities caught up in this wait for Medicare ¨ Nearly 39 percent of these individuals do not have health insurance during this waiting period ¨ 24 percent have no health insurance during this entire period. ¨ Failed personal responsibility ¨ As you learned from today’s reading, people can lose their SSDI benefits if they do not have a record of continued medical care ¤ “Social Security also wants to know that people are helping themselves. They can be denied if they stop going to the doctor or stop taking medications or doing prescribed therapy” (Schweitzer). ¨ The system itself, however, creates barriers to not only obtaining medical care, and accessing the “proof” of disability status by showing history of continued medical care ¨ What does this outline of how social security disability determines benefit eligibility tell us ¤ about how easy or difficult it is to access benefits? ¤ about how we, as a society, view disability? ¤ about how we, as a society, view benefits? ¨ What role does the “budget” or “resource allocation” play in this determination process? ¨ How does the Social Security Disability Benefits process reflect what Ellen Samuels identifies as processes of biocertification? ¤ how does this process reflect the belief that science can determine truths of identity and can verify experiences? ¨ Fraud ¨ Part of the reason that we have such elaborate certification processes and procedures: ¤ Concerns over fraud within the benefits system ¨ These concerns have grown more culturally salient and pervasive with “economic crisis” ¨ What we are analyzing for class: ¤ NOT fraud itself ¤ Representations of Fraud ¤ Asking what does the concern with and over fraud do? ¨ A Look at UK Media Representations ¨ Authors do a survey of media representations ¤ content analysis ¨ Argue that prior to financial crisis, cuts to disability benefits were seen as too politically dangerous (875). ¨ These cuts are now being enacted, and the authors argue that this is made possible by the cultural link between disability benefits and fraud. ¨ Take claims made by disabled people and disabled people’s organizations that media coverage has shifted to represent disabled people as frauds and cheats and set out to prove it. ¨ What were some of the differences that the researches found in reporting between the two periods they examined (2004/2005 and 2010/2011)? ¨ Take Home Points ¨ Within US System, we have elaborate systems to verify disability ¤ These systems require medical and scientific certification ¤ They are time consuming and often difficult to navigate ¨ Widespread belief in fraud within disability benefits system (both within the UK and the US) ¤ Concerned not with refuting or proving that fraud exists but rather with what these concerns over fraud do ¨ Fraud and The Cultural Anxiety Around Disability Parking ¨ What do we see? ¨ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGumVWXkwIM ¨ Fraud ¨ Concerns over disability fraud were a source of comedy in early film: “The Fake Beggar (1898),” “The Fraudulent Beggar (1901),” “The Fake Blind Man” (1905). ¨ http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675065284_impostor-beggar_blind- beggar_policeman-chases-beggar_crowd-gathers ¨ Welfare Queen ¨ One of the most common and long lasting cultural ideas surrounding benefits fraud ¨ President Ronald Reagan (who some scholars argue was the US president to really bring neoliberalism into US politics) famously waged war against welfare cheats, citing the “Welfare Queen driving a Cadillac” as the ultimate cultural figure of “cheating the system” ¨ This figure was notable racialized: as black women ¨ constructed as having children to “live off the government” ¨ Disability and Welfare ¨ Deborah Stone argues that disability is central to the welfare systems ¨ Modern welfare system functions through ¤ work based (those who have earned their benefits by paying into social security) ¤ needs based (those who need support because they cannot work) ¨ Disability has long been the acceptable category for needs based supports ¨ Disability Comes Under Fire ¨ With growing financial concerns and increasing neoliberal efforts to privatize supports, disability moves out of the “exceptional” category that constituted “needs based” welfare and into a category subjected to scrutiny ¤ Scrutiny over its susceptibility to fraud ¤ Disability people still part of needs based supports ¨ Only for those “severely disabled” ¨ Disability Cheats ¨ Cultural ideas about people faking disability to get on benefits: ¤ serves as the figure that requires the kind of certification discussed on Tuesday ¤ functions culturally to support cuts to welfare ¨ Often puts Disabled People into a position to have to defend their “true” status as disabled people against those “faking” ¨ “National Epidemic of Horrible People Pretending to Be Disabled” ¨ Time reports: ¨ “While it’s assumed that only a small percentage of the population think of using a faux service dog to avoid leaving a pet outside a store or at home in order to grab a bite at a restaurant, even a single service dog usage is enough to get people—disabled and able-bodied alike—up in arms” (Tuttle) ¤ Brad Tuttle, Oct 12 2013 ¨ “In late September, the Walt Disney Company felt compelled to change its disabled guest policy at theme parks partly due to “abuse of the system.” The announcement came after reports surfaced that wealthy guests were paying wheelchair-riding tour guides top dollar so that the group could use the line- skipping privilege granted to the disabled at Disney theme parks” (Tuttle) ¨ Privilege vs Rights ¨ What does the framing of the “line-skipping” at Disney as privilege suggest? ¨ How might this issue be framed different if we include the fact that many of the rides at Disney offer this line-skipping because the lines are inaccessible? ¨ Parking Placards ¨ “Suspicion of disabled placard abuse have gotten so bad in New Jersey— where more than 500,000 people have special placards and license plate privileges—that the state introduced tougher regulations last spring” (Tuttle) ¨ How does privilege work here? ¨ Flashback ¨ Earlier in the semester we talked about the cultural idea that disability is something exceptional, rare, and/or singular ¨ How do you see that idea play out here? ¨ If we hold the belief that disability is rare, and exceptional then a number like 500,000 people in New Jersey using disabled parking provides evidence of fraud. ¨ What happens when we take into account the figures that place the number of disabled people as high as 1 in 5 (according to the US Census)? ¨ Disability Parking ¨ Ellen Samuels critiques and analyzes the ways in which disability parking ¤ reflects broader struggles over definition of disability ¤ reflects limits of administrative and state systems to adequately “validate” or “verify” disability ¨ By looking at disability parking, we can see the anxiety around definitions of disability and the inability to sustain the notion that we can verify disability through clear, uncomplicated, scientific/bureaucratic structures (biocertification) ¨ Severe Disability ¨ “Thirty-four out of fifty forms [for disability parking] contain the word [severe] at least once, and many of those repeat it multiple times, sometimes in the actual title of the permit as in New York’s “Parking Permit or License Plates for Person with Severe Disabilities” or Pennsylvania’s “Severely Disabled Veteran’s Parking” (Samuels 129). ¨ Focus on Severity ¨ Creates category of “truly disabled parker” (130). ¨ Gives the impression that there is limited number of parking to go around ¨ Reinforces the notion that many people who are disabled are not “truly” in need of disabled parking ¤ not severe enough ¨ Total Disability ¨ many disabled parking applications require the applicant to have “a total or lifelong condition of mobility impairment from which little or no improvement or recovery can reasonably be expected (Louisiana), be permanently and totally confined to a wheelchair” (Tennessee) and have “no prognosis for improvement” (Delaware)” (Samuels 131). ¨ Why the focus on Severity and/or “no prognosis of improvement”? ¨ Who is responsible for authentication? ¨ Context of social media, information age, and cultural concerns of limited resources ¨ Work with historical anxieties around fraudulent disability claims (or faking disability) ¨ to “recruit a wide swath of the population into the ranks of lay diagnosticians and enforcers of disability identification” (Samuels 132). ¤ The belief that we can (and should) be determining who is truly disabled and who truly deserves/needs “benefits” like disabled parking ¨ What, exactly, makes us feel authorized to police someone’s disability status? ¨ Why do we feel like we can look at someone with a disability and ¤ diagnose them or ask their diagnosis ¤ make assessments about what they need in terms of access (parking?) ¨ In Chicago ¨ in the 3 miles between my house and work, I passed at least 5 of these signs on bus stops (last year) ¨ What message do these signs send? ¨ “Handicapped Fraud” ¨ Think, Pair, Share ¤ discuss what you have found on the website “handicappedfraud.org” ¤ What understandings of disability did some of the people posting have? ¤ How does the website, as a whole, work to create certain notions of disability and disability status? ¨ What is the relationship between the signs we see on the streets in Chicago and this website, if any? ¨ What is the relationship between this website and the impulse that we may feel to assess someone’s disability status? ¨ Radical Acts of Reframing ¨ What does it mean in this context to reframe disability “benefits” like parking as a right? ¤ as a matter of access? ¨ Radical Acts of Refusal ¨ What does it mean to refuse to answer questions about disability status or need when asked? ¨ As allies to (other) disabled people, every time we refuse or resist the impulse to diagnosis someone or question their access claims, we are performing an act of resistance. ¤ What do I mean by this?
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