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Laura Matherne
Thank you #maxfieldsparrow on #disability and #poverty. It covers so much more than a +The Big Issue Australia talk for an hour [though those are great for #primary and #secondary #students in #sydney and #melbourne to schedule for 2018 and 2019]:

"A 2012 study, published by the National Disability Institute, found that 70% of people with disabilities said they “certainly or probably” could not come up with $2000 in an emergency while only 37% of people without disabilities said the same. Without a savings cushion, an annoyance becomes expensive, and an expense becomes deadly.

Not so long ago, I looked at my tax records and saw that I have a lifetime earning total of $17,358. Since that sum covers the years from 1985 through 2016, it averages to $542 per year. That’s not a lot of money.

How have I lived on an average of $542 per year? Some of that time was spent institutionalized. Much of it was spent homeless. I’ve eaten at soup kitchens and out of dumpsters. I’ve slept under bushes and in public bathrooms. I’ve escaped the heat of summer and the cold of winter in shopping malls and libraries—often even when I had a place to live, because when I have had a roof over my head, it’s often a roof that leaks. I’ve lived without heat, running water, or even panes of glass in the windows.

And much of that substandard housing was only made possible because I have been receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for disability since 1994.

“So you shouldn’t have dropped out of high school,” you say. “You should work harder. You should get a better job. You should try harder. Give up that dream of supporting yourself through writing and go get a real job.”

Let me see if I can untangle some of that for you.

I was forced out of high school because no one was protecting me from severe bullying that included having rocks thrown at my head and bleach thrown on my clothes. I had books and papers stolen. Bullies slipped laxatives into my food, so I stopped eating or drinking at school. And I was pushed into isolated building niches where I was sexually molested.

This is why I am so stern about the incredible burden of bullying that Autistic students endure. Bullies stole my guaranteed education and my future earning potential from me. Bullies stole the life I might have had, and set me on this hand-to-mouth path, one I have been fighting for three decades to escape.

As I detailed in my book, The ABCs of Autism Acceptance, CBS reports that 63% of Autistic children have been bullied, and they are three times more likely to be bullied than children without autism. Time Magazine reports a 46% bullying rate for Autistic children and cites that figure as being nearly five times higher than non-autistic classmates. And the bullying Autistic students face is particularly brutal, including documented cases such as being covered in human excrement, choked and threatened with a knife, or having both hands blown off by explosives.

If we want to fight the life-long poverty so many Autists live with, we cannot ignore the role that abuse from both age peers and adults plays in setting us up for ongoing poverty, whether due to not completing our educations, or mental distress and complex PTSD from being targeted by bullies, or both.

Mental health issues are huge when it comes to keeping disabled people in poverty. Some people’s primary disability is psychiatric, while others develop psychiatric disabilities as a result of the poverty and isolation brought on by living with another disability in a society that does not adequately address the needs of disabled adults.

Those of us with developmental disabilities often have added cognitive burdens. For example, my executive dysfunction already makes it difficult for me to focus on a task. Once I am well into the task, I have strong abilities to hyperfocus—I wrote my book, No You Don’t: Essays from an Unstrange Mind, in just two weeks because I was finally living alone with no one to distract me from my work. But any distraction is fatal to my flow, and it can take me hours to get back on task.

My executive function worsens when I am sick or stressed out. Not having enough money to eat or pay my bills is incredibly stressful. That means that one of the factors that keeps me in poverty—my uneven energy and focus abilities—worsens with poverty, making me even more likely to remain in poverty once I find myself firmly wedged there. I am like a plane that keeps circling the runway because I can’t get enough power to take off and the circling is running through my fuel reserves, ensuring that my plane will never leave the tarmac.

Another disability I live with is Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which is a connective tissue disorder that may turn out to be one of autism’s “genetic hitchhikers,” potentially occurring more often among us than in the general population. Anecdotally, a significant proportion of the Autists I know are also diagnosed with EDS or related syndromes. Having EDS has led to a range of seemingly unrelated health conditions. (Doctors have a saying, “if you can’t connect the issues, think connective tissues.”) Along with such “delights” as pelvic organ prolapse and intermittent gastroparesis, EDS has given me feet that shred and tear when I use them. After much expensive experimentation (and a lot of classes missed because my feet were so damaged I could only crawl), I found shoes that don’t damage my feet. They cost over $100 and need to be replaced every six months when I have walked holes through the soles. That’s $100 that has to come from a budget stretched so thin I regularly go days without food.

I count myself lucky, though. I know people with cerebral palsy who have to replace their shoes on a monthly basis because their gait destroys even the toughest shoes in a matter of weeks. And this is something that has to come from our budgets because Medicaid won’t pay for non-prescription clothing. And those of us living on Supplemental Social Security (SSI) are roughly 20% below the poverty threshold to start with.

The federal poverty threshold in the United States for a household of one is currently $12,060. That’s $1005 per month. Right now, I get $735 per month to live on, but starting in December the government will be holding back $73.50, leaving $661.50 per month because I earned $1229 from my writing last year—and that means I owe the government some of the SSI money it gave me. Social Security’s rules are set up to help disabled people transition from SSI to employment, but since I began writing I have learned that those rules are not as easy to live with for those trying to build their own business rather than stepping into traditional employment for others.

So why don’t I just go get a job? Yeah, I tried that. I tried it a lot. Before I finally got on SSI, I’d held 27 jobs and none of them for a full month. I work hard and learn quickly but I … well, employers have always been careful what they said when they fired me, but from what I gather, I kind of creep people out. I don’t smile at the right time. I do smile at the wrong time. I don’t respond to sudden, unexpected questions the way people expect people to respond. I’m too rule-bound (or, conversely, I break rules that “everyone knows” but were never explained to me).

My job pool was limited early on by a neurological disorder I was born with, called delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS). From a very early age, I had difficulty staying awake in the daytime, and was unable to sleep at night. But back then it was “diagnosed” as lazy and undisciplined. I never even knew I had a disorder until my thirties, when it shifted into a much more severe related disorder, hypernychthemeral syndrome (also known as non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome or N24 for short) that shares many genetic markers with DSPS.

DSPS and N24 are also “genetic hitchhikers,” occurring much more frequently among Autists than in the general population. When I was exhausted or asleep in the daytime and wide awake at night, my job options were largely limited to restaurant and bar work, or night security guard.

Once I developed N24, my brain’s subjective “day” became longer than 24 hours, and my wakeful period began moving every day. Imagine if you had to go to work an hour earlier every day, until your 9 to 5 job went from a 9am start time to a 9pm start time in just a couple of weeks, and then continued to get earlier until you were arriving at work at 9am again ... but completely drained from weeks of little or no sleep. That’s what it feels like to try to function with N24.

That is why I cannot work for someone else. I can’t keep someone else’s hours because it’s as if my brain and body are living on Mars time while every employer out there has a timeclock programmed in Earth hours. Even Vocational Rehabilitation admitted that there was nothing they could do to help someone with my circadian rhythm disability.

I have estimated that Autistic people are three times more likely to have a sleep-related disorder than the general population. (I can’t cite a source for this, because I came at this number by combing through medical studies and running lots of calculations. It would take an entire paper all its own to show my work—and I might write that paper at some point.)

With an estimated prevalence of 1% in the general population and as much as 16% among adolescents (most of whom grow out of circadian disruptions by their mid twenties), Autistic rates of circadian disorders could range from 3% to as much as 48% (since many of the studies I analyzed were of youth and no one to date has studied lifespan prevalence of circadian disorders among Autists).

While I know many Autistics who have little or no circadian struggles, those of us who do experience these neurological sleep disruptions are destined to struggle with employment. Those of us with N24 tend to find employment altogether impossible. And, of course, not being able to work is a major contributor to poverty.

So it’s clear that there’s a problem with disability and poverty, but what are some solutions we can work toward?

Disabled people need mentors to help them navigate governmental systems. Many disabilities make it more difficult to fill out forms, make phone calls, travel to offices to meet in person, or even understand the complex legalese so much of the government information about benefits is written in. I’m not talking about payees or guardians but mentors—workers dedicated to helping disabled people to live more fully, with full agency and autonomy.
We need to raise the asset limits for people receiving benefits. Currently, SSI recipients are not allowed to have more than $2000 in assets. Yes, the ABLE Act increased that asset limit, but only for those with documentation of disability onset before age 26. That doesn’t help those with disabilities that occurred later in life, and it doesn’t help a lot of Autistics, even though we were born Autistic, because not all Autists can produce acceptable documentation.

I wrestled for a while with the Social Security Administration (SSA), trying to get my benefits changed from SSI to SSDI-Adult Child. I qualify in every way, and have clear documentation of disability from age 17, but the SSA repeatedly refused to accept that my institutionalization —for the same disability I was later awarded SSI for—counts as evidence. I finally gave up the fight through sheer exhaustion. I could not find a lawyer to represent my case because I am poor, plus switching from SSI to SSDI would not create a back payment to pay the lawyer with.

Because of that battle, I have not even bothered to see if I could get an ABLE account. (See my point above about Disabled people needing a mentor to help them navigate these shark-infested waters of government benefits.) I am assuming the answer would be “no.”
Reform the work rules to make it easier for Disabled people to earn money and eventually transition out of poverty.
Raise the SSI amount to the poverty threshold. It is scandalous that SSI recipients are expected to live in poverty, since the program is specifically designed for those who cannot work. The most recent report (2007) showed that only 19.5% of people on SSDI, and 12.6% of people on SSI, worked in that year. Only 2.9% of disability beneficiaries earned income at the poverty threshold or above in that year.
Support more job opportunities for disabled people. Work programs for Autistic people should not be limited to tech jobs, as those only target a narrow slice of the Autistic population. Encourage supported work in the community rather than sheltered workshops. Encourage programs for Autistics to start and build their own businesses. Support programs that offer legitimate opportunities for Autistics to work from home. Create mentorship programs to help Autistics who have never created a resume or CV, have never gone on a professional job interview, and are lost when it comes to the networking that is so crucial for many careers.
Support affordable housing for disabled people in the community that are not institutions or group homes.
Help eliminate “food deserts,” those communities where it is impossible or very difficult for those with limited mobility or transportation resources to access healthy food for reasonable prices.

The list of what we Autistics specifically and Disabled people in general need is overwhelming. And this is a bare bones list, just a starting point. What we really need is huge: a complete overhaul in how society views us.
Hard Truths: Disability and Poverty Go Hand in Hand
Maxfield Sparrow Photo © *Hajee | Flickr/Creative Commons [image: Person with black hair and a blue coat. They are holding a hand-lettered cardboard sign over their face. Sign reads, "VERY HUNGRY PLEASE HELP...
Violet Scholl
Location reckons I joined the Somali Pirates
Naw. Pirates of Kernow are just into making the right people walk the plank at the right time.
We may need permissions to navigate where there's shark-infested waters,though.
Australia will do and after all,that's where they shipped poor bastards for petty crimes in the face of starvation.
Yeah,what goes around,comes around. Count on it.
Trump Sings - I Just Had Sex by Akon
giga hub
Surfing Shark Infested Waters. also scorpions
Visit the post for more.
Atif Afzal
Surfing Shark Infested Waters. also scorpions
G Money
Some Black River crocodile and me in the water in the last shot. Do a closeup on my face to see the expression made after jumping into murky crocodile infested waters. Yes its horrified uncertainty.
The Final Messiah “Seliph Seraphim Saraph” Celice Serlis Seraph Seris Serif
Swimming in lakes, beaches or any other natural waters feels so much better and more refreshing than being in a chlorine infested public pool that’s probably been pissed and shat on several times
Juan Ochoa
Why have none of the RPG books that were supposed to come my way in December arrived, except the awesome "The Midderlands"?
I'm seriously sad.
Iwan Toris
Download What Just Happened 2008 Full Movie
Download Free What Just Happened 2008 Full Movie Download Film What Just Happened 2008 Story :During the course of an ordinary week in Hollywood, movie producer Ben (Robert De Niro) must navigate his way through shark-infested waters as he...| Comedy, Drama...
Download What Just Happened 2008 Full Movie
Download Free What Just Happened 2008 Full Movie Download Film What Just Happened 2008 Story :During the course of an ordinary week in Hollywood, movie producer Ben (Robert De Niro) must navigate his way through shark-infeste...
Connor Robinson/Warrior X
How to kill a furry and unhuman species

1. Your traditional shotgun to the face.

2. Boiling them alive in reused vegetable oil.

3. Starving them in an empty room.

4. Amputating their limbs with a plastic knife.

5. Feeding them to a bear.

6. Driving over their bodies with an army tank.

7. Sending them to Afghanistan.

8. Crucifixion.

9. Dipping them into vats of hot mustard.

10. Suffocating them with their own fur.

11. Dragging them through a three mile cheese grater.

12. Injecting nitroglycerin into their body.

13. Setting their head on fire.

14. Pushing them underneath a working press.

15. Tripping them over into a bed of nails.

16. Pouring a bucket on piranhas down their throats.

17. Forcing them into a meat grinder and making chilli con carne out of them.

18. Shooting them with paintballs for seventeen hours.

19. Shoving their faces into a deep fryer.

20. Pouring acid onto their stomachs.

21. Sacrificing them to a giant spider.

22. Deporting them to Guantanamo Bay on twenty three fake charges of child molestation.

23. Telling Freddy Kruegar that a Furry called him a douche.

24. Inserting several lit fireworks into their arse.

25. Harpooning them in the mouth.

26. Giving them to Paris Hilton for adoption.

27. Putting them in a death match with Spock.

28. Drowning them in a toilet.

29. Setting up a rigged and wired R.P.G behind their front door.

30. Doing the typical “flaming dog poop” trick, while replacing the poop with a landmine.

31. Throwing them into an active volcano.

32. Burning their bodies with nacho cheese.

33. Putting them in a trash compactor.

34. Dropping them into a giant blender.

35. Pushing them off a cliff.

36. Shoving them into a room full of hungry lions.

37. Burying them alive in a coffin full of snakes.

38. Introducing them to “I.T”.

39. Sending assault troops into an Anthrocon.

40. Smothering them into a giant ball of fairy floss.

41. Pouring hot caramel into their eyes.

42. Injecting glue into their bloodstream.

43. Severing their muzzles off with a chainsaw.

44. Forcing them into battle with a Balrog.

45. Inserting a powerful vacuum cleaner down their throats.

46. Dumping them into the North Sea.

47. Force feeding them toxic waste.

48. Torturing them on a stretch rack.

49. Placing a bottomless cage of rats onto their faces.

50. Premature mummification.

51. Setting up a giant thumbscrew on their heads.

52. Throwing them into an iron maiden.

53. Stoning them.

54. Pouring hot liquid metal down their throats.

55. Annihilating them with a minigun.

56. Flaying them alive.

57. Rolling a giant boulder over them.

58. Using a Voodoo doll to tear them apart.

59. Driving over their heads with a bulldozer.

60. Throwing shuriken at their foreheads.

61. Rolling a lawnmower over their backs.

62. Impaling them with your national flag.

63. Cremating them alive.

64. Tying them in a sack and then throwing them into a river.

65. Sending them up into the Sun.

67. Electrocution.

68. Skewering them on top of Big Ben’s tower.

69. Throwing them into shark infested waters.

70. Strangling them with a razored wire.

71. Dipping them in burning sulphur.

72. Tying a vest of dynamite onto them.

73. Feeding them into a coal burner.

74. Tripping them over into a jet turbine.

75. Feeding them to a twenty foot cicada.

76. Rubbing a power sander over their faces.

78. Burning them on a stake.

79. Placing a bear trap in their mouths.

80. Dropping an atomic bomb over a Furry convention.

81. Driving them into a paper shredder.

81. Shattering their vertebrae with a wooden mallet.

82. Hammering a wooden stake into their hearts.

83. Performing a deadly Russian Omelette on them.

84. Simply kicking them to death.

85. Stabbing them repeatedly with a pencil.

86. Sticking their heads underneath a moving helicopter blade.

87. Planting an electric coil in their toilets.

88. Nailing them onto a dartboard.

89. Stabbing them in the back with a screwdriver.

90. Serving them poisoned tea or coffee.

91. Drilling several holes into their skull.

92. Dropping a classical hundred ton weight on top of them.

93. Throwing them onto a highway of moving traffic.

94. Filling their mouths with concrete.

95. Hanging them with their own intestines.

96. Coating them with plastic explosives.

97. Throwing them at the mercy of P.E.T.A.

98. Deporting them to Ethiopia for food.

99. Tying them to a train track.

100. Cutting off all possible Internet connections they may have.
George Anderson
You've been swimming in piranha infested waters for so long that you forgot you were even swimming never mind being surrounded by deadly, meat-eating predators.
Greetings good citizen, after 4 decades suddenly the same people that destroyed the global economy are wrangling over the 'unfairness' of the global race to the bottom. Don't ya think they should have thought of that forty ye...