Disability for Criminals but not for the Disabled

By: Jeff Katz – May, 2012

I’ve often shared the story of my daughter, Julia.

My little princess is a beautiful girl who loves music, cookies, the ocean and summer breezes. She is nine years old and is just now learning to walk, small little Frankenstein like steps but steps none the less. We still use Julia’s wheelchair to take her around but we sure hope that some time in the future we’ll only need to hold her hand as she walks. She may always need to wear braces on her legs or use a cane, but it would be wonderful to think of her as more mobile at some point in her life.

Julia’s disabilities are not just physical; they impact her mind, as well. At nine years old Julia does not speak and we’re gradually coming to accept that she never will. Chronologically nine years old, she functions at about the level of an eighteen to twenty-four month old toddler. Something as basic as going to the bathroom by herself is not within Julia’s grasp at this point and she still wears diapers and needs us to change her.

I have detailed some of Julia’s challenges simply to point out that she is, by all accounts, disabled. There’s not a single person who has ever met Julia who has ever doubted that she is a sweet little girl who is also severely disabled. Well everyone except the Social Security folks who have refused our application, on her behalf, to receive disability payments.

Now contrast Julia with someone who the Social Security Administration deemed disabled.

Lester Young is a long time guest of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. Inmate Young is a convicted killer. In 1994 Young was committing a robbery when he expanded his criminal activities and then shot and killed a man in Dorchester. He served fifteen years in prison and was then paroled.

In 2009, while he was out on parole Lester Young encountered an automatic sink in a public restroom. He told the Massachusetts Parole Board, “I actually sat there and couldn’t turn the water on until I saw another individual come in to use the bathroom. And that kind of made me feel incompetent, it kind of made me feel inadequate, and ashamed.” Young found someone who was willing to diagnose him with post traumatic stress disorder. Oh no, he wasn’t stressed by the murder he committed. He was not ashamed of taking another person’s life.

But he was severely traumatized he claimed because he had been incarcerated. The Social Security Administration awarded him a monthly check of $700 to help him deal with his trauma.
Apparently those disability checks were not enough for Young. He wound up violating parole and is once again back in the clink.

The Federal government gave thousands of dollars to this despicable bottom feeder to blow on, shall we say, non-essentials? Of course if they would have sent those disability checks to my daughter, we would have used them for her wheelchair or other medical supplies.

Julia is still my princess, Lester Young is still a delta bravo and I’m now suffering from the trauma and stress of knowing that he got her money.

Wonder if I can get a check now?