WaPo profiles a desperately poor family that lives on disability payments. The ten year old twins, who are the fourth generation in the family on disability, got taken off it because government says they no longer meet the requirements. The family is now unable to meet monthly expenses because of the reduced payments they get.
Yeah, I know. Get a job. Well, the daughter, 32, has a form of Down’s Syndrome, an IQ if 75, and is essentially unemployable. There are four kids. Grandma hasn’t had a job in years. There are no men in the household.
Money management skills? Nope. Cell phones, cable, and internet are $432 a month. Income from disability checks is now $2,000 a month, down from $3,100. The electricity bill is overdue, the furniture was bought on credit with no doubt usurious interest rates.
So grandma tried repeatedly to get the twins back on disability because that’s all she knows how to do. Yes, some super kids can work super hard, maybe get super lucky, and escape this poverty trap. But most can’t.
“Ruth Horn, director of social services in Buchanan County, Va., which has one of the country’s highest rates of disability, has spent decades working with profoundly poor families. Some parents, she said, don’t encourage their children academically, and even actively discourage them from doing well, because they view disability as a “source of income,” and think failure will help the family receive a check.
“It’s not a hard thing to limit a person,” Horn said, adding: “It’s generations deep.”