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15 Things People Receiving Disability Benefits Wish Others Would Stop Saying

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The myths and misconceptions about people who receive disability benefits are sadly all too common. Many people believe those who receive disability benefits are “scamming the system” and that it “must be nice to not have to work,” when in reality, the decision to apply for disability benefits is a complex one, and life afterwards could hardly be called “easy.” 

We asked our disabled Mighty community what they wish people would stop saying about disability benefits. It’s time to put an end to these hurtful and offensive statements, and for people to start realizing that there is a story behind each person who receives disability benefits.

Here’s what the community told us:

1. “’It must be nice to not have to work. And sit home and draw a check.’ What they don’t realize is that I have a college degree and had to quit a medical office job after six years (a job that I loved by the way) and file for disability. My income is now one third of what I originally made while working. I would much rather have my health and job back.”

2. “’You must be cheating the system if you work and get disability benefits.’ Not true. I work almost full-time and keep my SSDI using various work incentives including impairment-related work expenses and an ABLE account.”

3. “I hate the assumption that I can spend it on whatever I want when actually I need it for special equipment like my wheelchair.”

4. “’I don’t want my taxes to pay for lazy people not to have to work.’ It’s usually followed up by a quick, ‘Oh, but I don’t mean that about you! Just the other people scamming the system!’ But it hurts to know they assume anyone on disability must be lazy and scamming.”

5. “I was checking out at the grocery store and pulled my food stamp card out. A man about three people back yelled, ‘Glad I just worked a full day to pay for your food!’ I was mortified! I turned around and said, ‘Excuse me. You don’t know my story.’”

6. “’So-and-so resisted going on disability and kept their dignity.’ Like making the decision to go on disability has anything to do with one’s dignity.”

7. “’How come you can’t work but you went out with friends last week?’ As if a two-hour meal in pain for a friend’s birthday means you can cope with traveling five days a week, eight hours a day for a job, even though it’s the first time you’ve been out socially in months.”

8. “My favorite is when people compare me to other people who were turned down, and saying ‘Their illness is worse than yours, so how did you manage to get it?’ I can’t answer that! I’m not in charge of the system.”

9. “’At least you don’t have to worry about money. You have it easier because of your disabilities.’ I was told this by someone who gets paid more money than I get on disability money… I do have to worry about money because I have to pay for things like taxis which are quite expensive. I also need money for mobility scooter hire so I can get out an about to do grocery shopping and hospital appointments. If anything disabled people worry more about money.”

10. “’Are you sure you need it?’ Am I sure what? Hell yes I am sure. Mind your business.”

11. “’Must be nice to get handouts.’ This isn’t a handout. I paid my National Insurance like everyone else. It just so happens that it’s only a few years into my working life that I have become disabled, but that’s why we have it!”

12. “’But there’s nothing in your diagnosis about your fingers, so there must be a job you can do,’ and ‘Don’t you get bored doing nothing all day?’ Yes, yes I do. If I had a choice do you really think I would be in this position.”

13. “My favorite was, ‘I go to work every day so it means that I am paying for you to be off sick.’ Actually no you are not, because I have paid my taxes and insurances for 20 years and that is what is paying for me, thank you very much!”

14. “’You could work if you just pushed yourself a bit, even if it’s part time. I know it must be lovely not having to work, but it will do you good to have something else to focus on rather than sitting around all day focusing on how poorly you are.’”

15. “’Why are you complaining? You’re, like, always on vacation.’ Yes being in 24/7 pain is just like a vacation.”

What do you wish people would stop saying about disability benefits? Share in the comments below.

 15 Things People Receiving Disability Benefits Wish Others Would Stop Saying
Originally published: February 8, 2017
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