Basic problems with the Ticket to Work program

I only know one person who took advantage of this program, got hired, and ditched her benefits for good. I know a few others who got jobs, but only worked part-time, or for substandard pay, and eventually stopped working due to overall discouragement.

The problem with the Ticket to Work program is the overall assumption that “benefits” are a positive thing that should be pushed on people indefinitely. Are SSDI and the rest of the handouts actually benefits, or are they really hindrances?

The ticket to work program encourages people to work and keep their benefits. I keep wondering why this is the goal, instead of working, making a substantial, livable income, and getting off the benefits totally. So long as the safety net of benefits is there, people will continue to take advantage of that net being there and continue to fall back into it.

The thing that really sucks about the program is that when you get hired through them, the employer knows you’re disabled. This is going to lead to “special” treatment on the job, legal or not, just because you’re seen this way. Imagine having your coworkers and even the public know that you’re the token disabled person in the workplace. It’s not a good foot to start off on.

The Ticket to Work program hands you free job counseling, free pampering while on the job. Some people get free transit (what? Another mental health van?). What’s worse, you have the privilege of keeping Medicare for the next eight years….

All this isn’t very encouraging. If you have the Medicare handed to you, you’re deprived of the responsibility of finding health insurance for yourself, or the privilege of going without insurance and paying the tax penalty. If they drive you to your job, you’re deprived of the responsibility to get yourself to work on time every day.

People with disabilities who manage to find substantial work shouldn’t be on disability. Period. If you can work you very well may be disabled, but you are not disabled in a way that means you should get extra payments coming in from Uncle Sam.

I know a few people who work and need assistive technology to do certain tasks. By all means assistive technology should be more widely available, not only to people who do paperwork to prove they are disabled, but to anyone out there.

I don’t think we should have this delineation between “disabled” and everyone else, anyway. I think the notion of “applying” for these benefits and having to get evaluated by a doctor to somehow “prove” you’re disabled is hogwash.

Every single human being has limitations. We all do, whether we want to believe it or not. We’re human!

How many out there can see without glasses? Glasses are assistive technology. Look how many people take advantage of this amazing technology and are now productive members of society! The wheelchair is another amazing invention that helps people ambulate.  These inventions changed the world!

Are you an auditory learner? Handbooks and work manuals used to be all text. Now, most workplaces use this technology called video. Video is another technology that caters to people who have poor reading comprehension or just don’t like to read. That said, when we have had a new video lesson to watch at work I find it tedious to sit there and watch those darned things. I try to request a text version. Those of us non-auditory learners are losing our ground as far as I am concerned. However, if you look at the rate of illiteracy in our country (about 50%!) it’s kind of understandable why employers love video, annoying as it is.

When you think about it, workplaces already cater to the middle ground, or more commonly, it’s more like No Worker Left Behind. They will hire a bunch of people supposedly based on experience and knowledge, and then they’ll bend over backwards to cater to those that aren’t quite experienced or knowledgeable enough. It’s just a little odd when you realize they’re covering all their bases. My new workplace is actually going to robo-call me on Saturday to remind me to show up on Monday. Huh? Yep, they assume we don’t have enough sense of responsibility to show up without a kick in the butt.

All this ends up being a huge time-waster during work training. If the workplace hires people, for instance, based on computer knowledge, then it is truly exasperating to those of us who are qualified for these jobs to be trained alongside people who do not know basic things like how to copy-and-paste. But maybe I have fallen prey to a little bit of arrogance here.

Every single person has limitations. At the same time, every person is capable. I don’t think there should be any separation of the privileged (or disadvantaged) group that has disability paperwork. Why should the piece of paper make any difference?

I think the paperwork holds people back. Those that are “beneficiaries” have to follow rules that others do not have to follow, just to continue the bribery payments. This may include limiting how much you earn, just so you stay “qualified.” You are handed pamperers, too.

I suspect the hand-holding backfires. Think of the overprotective parent. The hovering parent provides a constant safety net for the child. The parent provides the fall-back, but what is that really saying?

“I don’t trust you to live without me.” “I don’t see you as capable of independence.” “You will always need me.” The hand-holding is insulting, tiring, manipulative, and sends a very strong signal to the child to lapse into incapability. Why? To please the clinging parent!

This is exactly the message of the Ticket to Work program. I think they had great hopes for the program but statistically, more and more people are getting on disability, and still, after all these years, very few get off of it.


Feedback and comments welcome!