I really don't know what to make of this story from the N.Y. Times. Is Mr. Garbiras a worst case scenario? Or is he typical? Who knows how many thousands there are in his position?
"Hospital records [...] noted that Mr. Garbiras suffered from hepatitis C and had a history of heroin and alcohol abuse but had begun a methadone program to treat his heroin addiction.
Toward the end of the year, Mr. Garbiras also found himself living on the streets after his brother lost the apartment they were sharing. When Patrick Garbiras applied for Social Security disability benefits on Dec. 19, the interviewer noted on his application that “he had difficulty breathing and he was coughing a lot.”
Over the next several weeks, as Mr. Garbiras’s chest pains worsened and the heart surgery drew closer, his disability application moved through Social Security’s review process.
Social Security records show that Mr. Garbiras worked and paid federal taxes all but three years between 1973 and 2004, and that if deemed disabled he would be eligible for monthly payments of $1,247. His jobs included a decade as manager of a pornographic video production company and more recent stints as a moving company laborer.
His disability claim was denied. SS is denying 65% of disability claims, according to the article. Where is his money? Oh, right, we have Iraqis to blow up!
Obviously, he's disabled. He's entitled to SS Disability, even if he is not a particularly admirable person. And this article does not touch on the cases of people waiting to get benefits who are not so flamboyantly badly off or have not been involved with drugs or the sex industry. Are they denying Mr. Garbiras's claims on the basis of his bad morals? He is getting all kinds of expensive medical attention but has no home. It's just crazy, what's going on.
This is pretty disturbing. We have got to do something about social services in this country.
Starting with families. What kind of family did this man come from that he should have led such a bad life? We make such a big deal about families in the U.S., but we do nothing for parents and kids. The upshot is that we have people like Mr. Garbiras everywhere.