Disability lifestyle getting more attractive under Biden?

I’m wondering if we should expect a massive increase in the number of Americans who transition to the disability lifestyle during the Biden administration.

Let’s consider today’s world of work. Unless remote, the worker will be exposed to variant coronavirus that laughs at our feeble vaccines. The worker may need to wear a mask for 8 hours per day. The worker will be forced to accept whatever injections Dr. Joe Biden, M.D., Ph.D. orders, according to “Sweeping new vaccine mandates for 100 million Americans” (AP):

In his most forceful pandemic actions and words, President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered sweeping new federal vaccine requirements for as many as 100 million Americans — private-sector employees as well as health care workers and federal contractors — in an all-out effort to curb the surging COVID-19 delta variant.

Speaking at the White House, Biden sharply criticized the tens of millions of Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives.

“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” he said, all but biting off his words. The unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”

The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.

Biden is also requiring vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out. That covers several million more workers.

Biden announced the new requirements in a Thursday afternoon address from the White House as part of a new “action plan” to address the latest rise in coronavirus cases and the stagnating pace of COVID-19 shots.

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What is there to like about any of the above?

Let’s consider disability lifestyle enhancements during the Biden administration.

First, it should be much easier to qualify: “Biden says ‘long Covid’ could qualify as a disability under federal law” (NBC). Here’s a list of long COVID symptoms from Mayo:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain
  • Memory, concentration or sleep problems
  • Muscle pain or headache
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fever
  • Dizziness when you stand
  • Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities

I.e., a pretty good summary of how I feel every morning while attempting to get out of bed. Is there anyone over age 40 who wouldn’t qualify as a long COVID sufferer?

Once your claim for disability due to long COVID is accepted, you don’t have to pay back those student loans that have been overwhelming your finances (NYT: “$10 Billion in Student Debt Erased Under Biden, but Calls Grow for More”).

Need to fatten up so that COVID-19 can get a good grip on your body? “Biden Administration Prompts Largest Permanent Increase in Food Stamps” (NYT): “Under rules to be announced on Monday and put in place in October, average benefits will rise more than 25 percent from prepandemic levels.” (See also “Swipe Yo EBT”) Most folks on disability should also qualify for SNAP/EBT, right?

(Separately, have we noticed COVID Karens displaying thinner/fitter bodies compared to 1.5 years ago and compared to their COVID-ignoring Deplorable counterparts? If people are more worried about COVID, shouldn’t they have been exercising a lot more over the past 1.5 years compared to people who weren’t afraid to resume their lives?)

What if you want to move into a $1 million apartment in Cambridge or San Francisco and pay a means-tested $200/month including utilities (set as a fraction of whatever you get from SSDI)? In the bad old days there was a long waiting list for taxpayer-subsidized housing. Maybe not anymore, though! “Biden Administration Proposes $318 Billion for Affordable Housing in American Jobs Plan” (June 1, 2021)

Other than qualifying for disability, how could a working age American escape being hassled by all of these new requirements and simultaneously avoid the risks of contracting COVID-19? A purely remote job sounds like a possible solution, but the government and employer can presumably still impose requirements as a condition of continued employment (anti-racism training, sexual harassment training, vaccine requirements, etc.), just as Rutgers constructively expelled an unvaccinated student who was taking classes from home.


17 thoughts on “Disability lifestyle getting more attractive under Biden?

  1. “We are going to protect the vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers.”

    This is the most absurd statement I can think of. Everyone will get Covid, just like everyone is getting the flu every once in a while. The vaccination will lower the probability of severe symptoms or death. But without Australian-style lockdowns forever, there is no way you can prevent people from getting sick.

    There are two reasons why some measures can still make sense: to spread out infections over time, and avoid hospitals from getting overwhelmed. And it may make sense to delay infections among kids until they are vaccinated, provided that the vaccination for kids does more good than harm (and at least with the current variants, it seems like it doesn’t).
    But in any case, the vaccinated are not the group that needs to be protected. At best, you can delay their inevitable infection. But at what costs?

  2. Kind of amusing they still have an option to test out by getting tested 7 days a week. It’s a joke to stay constitutionally compliant.

    What should qualify as a disability is blog commenting addiction. Some blogs are more addicting than others.

    • Why is invasive testing “constitutionally compliant”? How about Thirteenth Amendment squeezed-in by deplorable Republicans?

  3. Long Covid is no joke. It’s done some bad things to my body and brain. If I were a doctor, I doubt I’d be seeing patients, and if I were a pilot I’d probably be grounded. (Lots of doctors are already out on disability over it) Luckily I’m a desk nerd, so I’m just less productive.
    It’s reminiscent of aging, but it’s like collecting your lottery winnings all at once, versus the installment. Kind of like how “I’m a little OCD” is not like “I can’t leave my house because my OCD is completely overwhelming”, and right now we have no idea if it will get better or worse over time.

    • Get well soon @Supermike. Why is it “Long”? Do you still test positive? Or are you suffer long term post-coronavirus detrimental health effects?
      Last year additional disability insurance price did not change. Is it higher now?

    • Mike: I’m sorry that it hasn’t been getting better (I forget how long it has been since we last talked about your recovery). I didn’t mean to make light of people who’ve been knocked flat by COVID, only point out that the current symptom list includes the majority of common human ailments and, therefore, qualifying for disability under “long COVID” should be straightforward.

      (All of the above said, no matter how bad COVID is, fighting COVID with lockdowns, mask orders, etc. makes sense only if we have some chance of winning. When I mock coronapanic, it is not because I am dismissing COVID. I mock coronapanic because it is not an effective method of fighting a respiratory virus.)

    • @low skilled long covid is just a name. I don’t test positive for the virus (plenty of antibodies too) Little is known for sure, but it appears to be a kind of post-viral syndrome, a kind of ailment about which very little is known. (I’m told that I’m fortunate that so many doctors got covid because it’s really brought attention to the problem) https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210609-how-long-will-long-covid-last is a good article about how strange it can be.
      @philg I get it, but that’s one of the more frustrating things about this: a lot of the symptoms are the sorts of things people deal with on a daily basis, but with much greater intensity. I’m tired, I get confused sometimes, I have trouble sleeping; well, everyone gets that way! (not like this!) I’m making good progress, but it’s very two steps forward, one step back.

  4. If the vaccinated are at risk from the unvaccinated isn’t that proof that the vaccine doesn’t work? And if true then getting vaccinated makes you weaker. No one is saying get vaccinated to protect those that refuse or are unable to get vaccinated.
    Check out the Mongolian covid data for a headscratcher almost zero covid pre vaccination now with high vaccination rates covid is through the roof.
    I’ll just stay clean-blooded and see what happens.

  5. Clearly you aren’t familiar with the realities of how difficult the SSDI approval process truly is. Those that are approved at the first stage of the process have to “meet a Listing.” Those that will be approved “quickly” (within a year) for SSDI benefits from a Covid related illness, will be those that have had devastating permanent injuries to internal organs & therefore will qualify by meeting or equaling a Listing. I imagine this will be those that spent long periods hospitalized. Long Covid doesn’t have a specific Listing & is the kind of disability that will be difficult to provide the type of medical evidence needed for approval. SSDI is meant for those that are unlikely to ever be able to return to the workforce. Those that have to prove they’re incapable of performing “Significant Gainful Activity” (Step 5 of the Sequential Evaluation Process) almost always require going before an Administrative Law Judge or ALJ. So, they have to wait for 5 months before they apply, wait 3-9 months for their denial at Step 1, then most file an appeal for Reconsideration which will again be denied taking several months, next they file for an ALJ hearing which have a wait time of typically around a year. Then they generally will have to wait for a written decision from the judge. Sometimes this happens within a few months, sometimes it takes several. Those that are approved then have to wait for their checks to begin, sometimes taking months. Backpay is yet another wait, sometimes taking a year or longer. For those that are eventually approved, a 3-4 year delay before they’d see a single dime would not be unexpected. For those without resources to survive that long, it can be a pretty hard core game of chicken. Most that are able to return to any type of work will. Those that can’t often become homeless. SSDI is for the severely disabled & the SSA errs on the side of caution when approving beneficiaries—especially with those that have a reasonable work history. The 6 states that offer short term disability have fairly simple approval processes. Those with private short & long term disability policies are generally lax with approvals for short term claims & a nightmare for long. This simply isn’t the easy scam people assume.

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