American Everyman is the Latest Victim of Neoliberal SSD “program integrity” Tidal Wave

by Scott Creighton

[see UPDATE at end of article]

The Wave of Integrity

Over the years of doing this I have learned that the hardest things to write about are those that are the most personal. The things that lay bare who I am and what I have become. How I live and how I lived up to the expectations I set for myself all those years ago is a point of contention for me. While I am proud of this work, I am not proud.

We are all impacted by social conditioning whether we want to admit it or not. Though no rational reading of my work over the past 9 years would lead anyone to conclude I am a follower or a conformist, I am not immune to the narcotic lure of the American Dream and the promise it holds of a better life just beyond the horizon.

As a result I am not inoculated against the shame of the failure to realize that dream or the dread that comes from seeing an awful nightmare replace it just beyond the skyline.

American Everyman is about to change. I am about to change. And it is the direct result of a vicious and cruel program justified by the manufactured “crisis” created to justify the incremental change to the Social Security Administration in pursuit of their ultimate prize: privatization.

This is how they impose unpopular policies: they see a target, they create a crisis and offer a solution that wins them their target. When it comes to changing domestic economic policy, the favored method of manufacturing the necessary crisis is under-funding programs they wish to fundamentally change. They are doing it to the VA. They are doing it to public education. They are doing it to the postal service. They did it to the prison system. And, they are doing it to the Social Security Administration and have been for quite sometime. In 2010, under the left-cover of the Obama administration, they enacted the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 which reduced the amount paid into Social Security by employees by 2% for 2011 and 2012 which allowed neoliberal lawmakers to declare an evolving crisis in the Social Security system that had to be addressed because, as we were told, “at the current wage base structure” the program would collapse by (pick a year)

That crisis combined with an uptick in Disability Benefits claims in the wake of the designed economic collapse of 2007-2008, produced mixed results in their efforts to privatize SS due to the fact that SS is a popular program even among right wing republicans (and for that you can simply Google Donald Trump’s views on it)

So what they decided to do once their crisis was in place in 2014 was pump an additional 1.4 billion dollars into the Social Security continuing disability review boards nationwide in order to provide what they called “program integrity” for the SSD program. They also decided to stop keeping official track of how many disabled people were kicked off disability every year. The last such numbers were reported in 2013 at about 17,000. In 2015 there were 790,000 continuing disability reviews which was double what it was on average from 2009 to 2013 and therefore it is easy to assess that at least 34,000 people were kicked off disability that year and probably more considering the fact that the major increase in the budget of the review program is contingent on kicking as many people as possible off disability. Where those numbers are in 2016 is anyone’s guess as that is the year which was determined to be the deadline for the program if they didn’t massively reduce the roll of people on it. In all likelihood, there is a good reason they decided to stop keeping track of disabled people kicked to the curb by the system set in place as their last social safety net in this country.

Without being privy to the exact numbers involved, I can tell you there is at least one disabled person now stricken from the disability insurance program he paid into his entire working life: me.

I will not say there is no fraud committed by people either “double dipping” with other safety net programs or folks who are on disability who really aren’t and who work under the table this very day. I personally know at least one and possibly more, but I am not that social so that’s about all I can attest to. But evidence does show that there are many out there who should be off the program and to that end, SSD had a system in place to provide reviews before this extra 1.4 billion dollars of incentive money was kicked into the mix.

What I can say without any question is that the review process itself is tilted in favor of the cheater.

My own review process has been going on for two years, slightly more actually, and never once was I able to afford a lawyer to represent me during the process. I attempted to do it myself. This was a mistake but one born of poverty, not ego.

How is it possible that someone who is truly unable to work and living on an average SSD payment of under $1,200 per month, is able to pay the $3,000+ average cost of legal representation in this process? The fees are usually demanded up front by the legal experts, at least that was the case with all those I spoke to years ago. It is not or at least it is highly unlikely even if they manage to live with $0 monthly living expenses.

My point is simple: if you are a review board and you are tasked with producing a certain high percentage of “unfavorable” decisions in your rulings in order to meet a quota set by those now employed with the extra 1.4 billion dollar extra financing at the SSA, who do you target? The “disabled” who come in with the expensive lawyers in tow… or the disabled who have to defend themselves?

That isn’t hard to understand, is it?

The results? The appearance of “program integrity” as tens of thousands are cut from the disability insurance program while in reality, the exact opposite is true.

Take my case for instance:

On March the 3rd I attended the final hearing of my review before Administrative Law Judge Wallace Weakley. I walked in without a lawyer and the hearing lasted an hour and forty minutes. With me I brought copies of my original medical reports from my original declaration of disability as well as numerous new documents relating to my medical treatments and condition since then.

I was immediately struck by the fact that in the notice sent to me about the hearing, I had been instructed to be prepared to show that my condition was “continuing” but Judge Weakley told me that was inaccurate and in fact I was there to present my case to prove I was disabled. It was as if what came before, the previous ruling of my disability from that very same program, in that very same room all those years ago, had been thrown out. And indeed, that is how Judge Weakley approached the hearing.

My Own Case History

At this point it is necessary to disclose a bit more of my history than I care to but in order to make my point about how they are deliberately kicking disabled people off the rolls of the disability insurance program we paid into, I have to provide evidence that I am not one of those who either faked my illness or signed up for it due to the economic crisis of 2007-2008 or in fact, continued to work while claiming disability.

In 2006, after just turning 40, I owned my own business, an architectural drafting and design company which basically consisted of one employee, me. I worked free lance for several commercial businesses providing them with drafting services and some project management services. These were design/build firms, general contractors, residential cabinet companies and commercial fountain businesses located throughout this area.

Like many people, when I hit that age, my metabolism changed and in my case, so did my clotting factor. But I had no idea until one night, at home, I stood up, felt massive chest pain, felt dizzy, threw up, fell on the ground, repeated that process a couple times and woke up with my mother and neighbor telling me the ambulance was on it’s way. How long I had been there on the floor, I don’t know to this day. I lived alone at the time.

I was in the hospital for a week due to a completely occlusive thrombotic blockage of my popliteal vein. A deep vein thrombosis (DVT). My leg had swollen to the point where I couldn’t see the toes on my left foot. But that wasn’t the problem. The real problem was that some of it had broken off and traveled to my lungs. Like many people who have suffered from this, a pulmonary embolism was my first clue that something was wrong. Though I had been noticing swelling of my leg in the days just prior to this event, I attributed it to spending too much time at the computer drafting with my leg tucked up under my chair and simply shrugged it off, straightened my leg and went on with my work. Like many small business owners I did not carry insurance on myself at the time but even if I did, I probably would not have bothered having it checked out. A simple sonogram at that point in my life would have made a world of difference. DVTs are bad, but PEs are much worse and so detection is critical at an early stage.

I have also suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) for many years. As a young man I started developing bi-annual bouts with acute bronchitis which visited me every year starting in 1984 and continuing until I moved to Florida in 2002. That combined with smoking weakened my lungs but not to the point of disability. The damage caused by the PE changed that.

It took a while to recover from the DVT and PE and I tried to return to work after about 6 months but it was difficult. Several clients had to find other contractors to keep their work on schedule but I still had a few and did what I could to continue with my business.

As the pain and swelling in my leg continued and breathing because more difficult, I applied for disability in that it was severely affecting my ability to work and eventually I won my case.

As it turned out, in 2009 I was in the hospital recovering from my second PE when I received notification that I had been determined to be fully disabled. I called my lawyer from Binder and Binder and informed her of the news. I had to fax her a copy of the notification letter from University Community Hospital.

Pulmonary Embolisms are extremely dangerous and I have now suffered from three of them at least. That is three that I had to go to the hospital and remain for days on end as a result of them. Smaller ones have certainly occurred over the years but only registered as pain and not such to the level of me going to the hospital.

None of this is in question by the Administrative Law Judge Wallace Weakley as he demonstrated in his official ruling mailed to me yesterday. He concedes that my disability existed due to multiple DVTs, PEs and recurring medical issues with COPD.

But then, remarkably, his conclusion determines my disability “ended” as of March 2014. However, his findings report the following information, based on records provided by me and confirmed by the sources:

  • Florida Hospital Feb. 15th -Feb. 17th 2015: “A computerized tomography scan of the chest showed extensive right sided pulmonary embolism (PE)… and a decreased air entry on the right side
  • Florida Hospital Nov. 9th 2015 : “claimant reported shortness of breath, leg pain… studies of the lower left extremity revealed nonoclusive thrombus (DVT) present to the mid to distal superficial femoral vein and popliteal vein
  • Florida Hospital Feb. 24 2016: “seen on this date due to acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and acute chest pain

(These are not the entirety of medical records provided by me to this administrative judge)

If the law judge accepts the fact that I was correctly determined to have been disabled due to a DVT, PE and COPD as would be implied by his determination that my disability “ended” in March of 2014, how is it possible that between Mar. 2014 and 2006, I had another diagnosis of COPD, another major clotting incident causing another DVT and PE which hospitalized me in 2009 and my disability “ended” at that time? Would it not seem to be a continuing problem from 2006 to 2014? What was the determining factor of my disability “ending” on that day specifically?

What’s more, since my disability was based on DVTs, PEs and COPD in the first place, how is it possible that it “ended” in Mar of 2014 when these conditions CLEARLY continued well into 2016 and in fact, continue to this very day?

I have just recently been enrolled in a clinical study down here so I can receive medication at no cost and that study is based on a per-determined criteria of the participants in the study having COPD.

I still suffer from daily leg and chest pain. Shortness of breath. Weakness. Dizziness. Leg swelling brought on by Postthrombic Syndrome (which I was diagnosed with after my second DVT and PE in 2009). All of which are well documented side effects of the ongoing physical ailments I unfortunately suffer from. These symptoms have not gone away nor will they. My capacity to do the work I have done most of my adult life has been greatly diminished and that’s not just me saying that, that is Administrative Law Judge Weakley’s own expert on the subject who was there at the hearing who said that. This is a determination she made in the hearing, which he ends up agreeing with.

“The claimant has a past relevant work as an architectural drafter which is considered sedentary skilled work and as a carpenter which is considered medium skilled work performed as heavy.

The vocational expert was asked to testify as to the claimant’s ability to perform his past relevant work. The vocational expert testified that, given the residual functional capacity detailed above, the claimant would be incapable of performing his past relevant work. The undersigned has evaluated the testimony of the vocational expert in light of the provisions of Social Security Ruling 00-4p in finding that testimony to be credible. Accordingly, given the residual functional capacity detailed above, the undersigned (Judge Weakley) found that claimant would be incapable of performing his past relevant work as of March 3, 2014

So to summarize, I am now declared to be no longer disabled as of Mar. 3, 2014 even though according to the administrative law judge:

  • I still suffer from residual effects of previous DVTs, PEs, COPD and Postthrombic Syndrome
  • I have developed a DVT since then (and remain at a high risk of another)
  • I have suffered an extensive PE since then (and remain at a high risk of another)
  • I have been recently diagnosed (twice) with ongoing COPD since then
  • I am currently incapable of performing past relevant work, sedentary work or medium/heavy work.

This is a remarkable feat of legal gymnastics in my opinion.

In his final evaluation, the judge is suggesting that there is a very narrow band of “light work” that I could be capable of doing but in order to make that claim, he has to disregard testimony from my mother, a SSA doctor who evaluated my condition and parts of my own testimony as well. That testimony goes to the range of motion and breathing/pain issues associated with my condition. Upon dismissing that testimony out of hand, the judge qualifies this narrow band of “light work” that I would be able to do:

“After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that, s of March 3, 2014, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except the claimant can lift up to 20 pounds occasionally and lift or carry 1o pounds frequently. The claimant requires a sit/stand option and can sit for 1 to 1.5 hours and stand for 30 minutes at a time, and sit/stand a total of 8 hours a day. The claimant can occasionally bend, stoop, kneel, climb ramps and stairs in an air-conditioned environment. The claimant must avoid excessive heat or cold and no work around hazardous equipment or machinery.”

While the judge admitted that “additional limitations” prevented me from being found “not disabled” by way of being able to do “light work”, he tried to ascertain from the vocational expert a list of occupations and current job openings “in the United States” that I would be capable of doing. She then provided three “light work” options that she found and gave numbers of employment opportunities of these openings “nationwide”

But there was one caveat in his acceptance of her job opening findings that I could qualify for:

The vocational expert’s testimony is consistent with the information contained in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, except for the consideration of the sit/stand option, since it is simply not addressed in the DOT.”

His listing of these occupational opportunities that are apparently available to me, work that I could do if you disregard my own testimony, my mother’s and that of a Social Security Administration doctor, are contingent upon his own conclusion that I had to work in an environment that was air-conditioned, far from machinery and… provided me with the ability to either sit or stand as I needed while completing the tasks at hand.

I believe it is safe to suggest the plausibility of perhaps 50% of those “nationwide” jobs opportunities would be closed immediately once those determining factors are considered. If not more.

Finally, there was one last major bit of legal gymnastics performed by Administrative Judge Wallace Weakley in his official finding and that one is perhaps the most telling of all.

At the end of the hearing, after the vocational expert gave her testimony, just before I was allowed to ask questions, Judge Weakley asked a very pointed question to her. He asked her if any of these jobs opportunities would be available to me if you factor in the medications and daily treatments I have to take due to my condition.

Her answer was “no”

I had few questions to ask her myself. I clarified her point about the lack of any determination in the DOT about sit/stand options and she said it would certainly reduce the number of potential job opportunities, but she could imagine a few of them would permit such a work station for me.

Then I asked her to clarify what she meant by “no” when asked by Weakley about my treatments and job opportunities. She repeated herself and clarified it for me.

She stated that I would not qualify for anything she knows of given my physical condition, the medication I take and the treatments that I have to do every day.


Let me make that clear: according to Weakley’s own expert, if I continue with my medication and prescribed daily treatments as required by my doctors, there is nothing that I would be hired to do “nationwide”

Judge Weakley omitted that part of the vocational expert’s testimony from his final decision just as he dismissed testimony from the SSA doctor, my mother and of course, myself.

Judge Weakley concludes with:

“Based on the testimony of the vocational expert, the undersigned concludes that as of March 3, 2014, the claimant was capable of making a successful adjustment to work that existed in significant numbers in the national economy… the claimant’s disability ended as of March 3, 2014”

As a result of this dubious finding, Judge Weakley imposed an immediate end of my disability benefits leaving me less than a week to figure out how to pay rent, the electric bill, water, sewage, car insurance, credit card bills, doctor bills… everything. Less than a week.

If I don’t take my medication and if one or two of those businesses will allow someone like myself with EXTENSIVE medical history to work there under the narrow parameters which I require to perform “light work”, then I am just fine, according the the fine Administrative Law Judge Weakley to go back to work and have been since Mar. of 2014 (I wonder if they would have let me go after I had my third PE in 2015)


Isn’t it curious that it takes such a demonstrably dishonest determination to to produce this current tidal wave of “program integrity”?

I will not presuppose or attempt to assign motive Judge Weakley’s ruling. It could be that he has grown bitter after what must appear to be an endless barrage of people faking disability claims, one after the other. Or he might have seen me walk in there on two good legs and listened to me speak with relative clarity and sound judgement and concluded I could not be disabled in spite of the evidence before him. Perhaps DVTs, PEs and COPD are not a readily commonplace grounds for disability claims. Or maybe he based his decision on other criteria.

Perhaps he simply saw a claimant without a lawyer who walked in on his own two legs and spoke with clarity and thought to himself about his quota.

Whatever he did, he did it in a manner that defies logic and is soundly based in the end on the omission of key testimony from his own vocational expert whom he praised in the final ruling on other testimony he gave… and ultimately based his decision to declare me “not disabled” on her, incomplete, testimony.

My case must not be unique. I cannot advance from a position that believes that to be so. There must be thousands of other truly disabled individuals like myself tossed aside in such a manner as I have been and it is partly for them that I decided to make this personal tragedy of mine public.

And it is a tragedy because I am disabled and even according to the best case scenario which the judge himself has laid out, I would have to quit my daily medicines and treatments in order to find a few jobs “nationwide” that would even consider hiring me. That is, if I could somehow afford to relocate to some job in Utah that pays $9 an hour and would grant me all the things I need to be able to work (minus my medication of course)

This is the nature of neoliberalism. Allow the weak and sick to fend for themselves. Let them live off the charity of others or find some new low standard of living they can maintain without being a burden on society. Deny them the disability insurance they paid into for thirty years so that money can be privatized in the end with less overhead to reduce profits.

I am not the first victim of neoliberalism and I will certainly not be the last.

At this point I have hope that things are the works to keep me intact this month but I know that is a one time solution to this problem I face and my future is decidedly different than it was just a few hours ago really.

The skyline is rather dark today.

No one wants to live in poverty and therefore, no one wants to be disabled and living like I have been all these years. I tried a return to work twice. Both times I registered them with the SSA and both times they did not end well. I even drove to nearby cities every day in my efforts to get back some part of my life that I had before this happened to me.

But disability insurance allowed me to stay alive. It allowed me to go to the doctor and maintain my PT/INR and it provided me life saving medications that I cannot afford without it. It allowed me to provide a home for my animals and lately, my mother. And it allowed me the ability to continue to contribute to society as I have been doing these past 9 years here on this site.

Now that is done.

I have very little recourse in that I cannot afford a lawyer still and cannot afford the time to wait to try to find one.

Ultimately I will have to return to the only kind of work that will employ someone like me, without checking my medical background and based on my work history. It is not work that I will be capable of doing for very long but I have to try. Homelessness is the only other option.

This is not a pity party. I am simply one of millions tossed into the meat-grinder by another grinder doing his bit for “the greater good” whether he knows it or not. I, like millions of others out here and in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Greece, Haiti and countless other places in the world, am simply an externality. I am not special. None of us are. And that maybe should be moral of the story: to them, we are all expendable. Commodities that once used up, are tossed aside.

This website will continue as best I can manage. I do not know what path I take from here and though it will be different for me at home, my outlook, my hope, my opinions will remain the same. For these past 9 years I have been a scathing critic of neoliberal globalization and that will not change. I have been committed to a more peaceful foreign policy and that will not change. I have dedicated myself to exposing false flag events and vicious propaganda both at home and abroad and that will not change.

I will not be here as much as I have been but I will be here and I will try to continue to post every day.

I wish I knew how many disabled folks are being jettisoned by our “liberal” president every year in this fashion. The numbers must be horrifying. I personally only know of one and that’s bad enough.

My leg hurts, been sitting to long. I gotta call the doctor’s office and insurance company. The trivialities of the life of an externality I suppose.

I am proud of this work though. And for that I am thankful. It’s good to take pride in your work. I used to and that never left me. I hope it never does.


When you write something this personal you hope you’re not doing so in vein (no pun intended) and then you remember, sometimes bitter honesty works.

Years ago I replied to a request for information on a website about people on disability struggling to pay old college loan payments to privatized financial companies who held and managed the debt for the Department of Education. Their practices had become quite predatory and Pro Publica was doing a study on the subject along with the Center for Public Integrity to be published by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Sasha Chavkin made contact with me sometime late Dec. of 2010. He was working with Cezary Podkul, Jeannette Neumann, and Ben Protess on the study and decided he would like to interview me about what I was going through. In the end, my story made it into their study which was published on Pro Publica on Feb. 13th, 2011. I was sort of the poster-child… me and Church that is.


The result of their tireless work was that the Department of Education announced they were going to make some quick adjustments to the way disability loan forgiveness is processed and in very short time, they did.


The result of the work of Pro Publica via Sasha Chavkin, Cezary Podkul, Jeannette Neumann, and Ben Protess was that thousands of disabled people in the country were freed from the clutches of predatory financial institutions who were further crippling them after they fell ill and became disabled. I was one of them and for that I am forever grateful for their work.

Here I am, five years later, another DVT, another PE, more COPD and continued Postthrombic Syndrome and a judge decides I’m all better now, and if I just don’t take my meds and I move to Guam or something, I’ll be just fine.

Here’s hoping some good comes out of this story as well.


(For my mailing address, please email me at


37 Responses

  1. Yes this is a familiar story and a deliberately vicious one at that.

    Essentially they know that if they reject/re evaluate large numbers of people that a certain percentage will be unable to afford legal representation and fall through the cracks. When you can appeal, the odds are fairly good that you’ll win at least eventually. That’s how it goes. They call it “due process” but in reality it’s simply about wearing you down and culling everywhere they can.

    I really wish I had a solution for you Scott. Actually a partial “response” does come to mind as least with regards to the medical support part of things (I’ll back channel you on that) but the actual loss of income is another thing entirely. It’s just vicious and they do it deliberately.

    One day at a time now guy.

  2. Wow! So sorry to hear. I hate to sound as paranoid as I actually am but…could your writings have played a role in this? Could the fix have been in because of your insightful analysis on so many vital issues, including 9/11? If yes, I would not be surprised. If no, well then of course the system sucks totally. What else is new?
    Re: “This is a remarkable feat of legal gymnastics in my opinion.” An understatement of atomic proportions, to be sure.
    Wishing you the best, As ever,

    • thank you. I don’t know about the website. more likely, it’s just one more of the tens of thousands they are doing every year. but I wouldn’t be surprised to find it was

  3. I don’t know what state you are in but there will be local bar associations in your state, traditionally they provide probono legal aid.For example in Boston there are two; Mass Bar and Boston Bar Associations. Contact your local law schools, they often provide legal services, contact your local homeless shelters they may have some resources for you as well. The solution to your problem is to keep filing and refiling until you gradually rise to the top of the pile and they reinstate you.Good luck!


    Scott writes: “When it comes to changing domestic economic policy, the favored method of manufacturing the necessary crisis is under-funding programs they wish to fundamentally change. They are doing it to the VA. They are doing it to public education. They are doing it to the postal service. They did it to the prison system. And, they are doing it to the Social Security Administration and have been for quite some time.”

    And they are doing it to the TSA in airports too. The British government is doing it to the National Health System.

    Here’s how the scam works…

    [1] You see a public service (e.g. the US Postal Service) that would make you a multi-billionaire if you personally owned the service, and everyone had to pay you for the service. You would have a fabulous monopoly.

    [2] You bribe politicians to cut the service’s funding by 20%, and then by another 20%, and another, and another.

    [3] This causes the quality of the service to plunge. You bribe politicians (and professors and media pundits) to say that this is what always happens with government services, and to say that privatization is more “efficient.”

    [4] The service continues to die because of gratuitous underfunding. The suffering masses start begging for relief in any form, even if it means privatization.

    [5] Politicians sell the public service to you for a handful of shekels. Once the service is yours, you eliminate its unprofitable parts, while you quadruple the prices you charge for the remaining parts, offering just barely enough quality to keep the scam going.

    In this way you become extremely rich at everyone’s expense. The masses become your impoverished slaves, and they worship you for it, because, “At least we don’t have evil socialism!”

    This scam is repeated worldwide.

    P.S. My own daughter is on Social Security disability. She lives in a wheelchair as a near quadriplegic. So far her disability has not been cut (yet).

    • that is absolutely how it works and like you said, they have done it here and so many other places for decades. Unfortunately, not enough of us see it for what it is in real time.

      I’m sorry about your daughter’s condition. I certainly hope there isn’t a neoliberal yesman who is disgusting enough to even review her case but I fear when they are done with those of us who aren’t confined to wheelchairs, they will have to feed on someone. And for that, I am sorry. Perhaps Pro Publica should take a look into this new “program integrity” purge of theirs.

      • She has what’s called Friedreich’s ataxia, which causes progressive damage to the spinal cord, while leaving the brain and the mind intact.

        Her condition is too awful for me to feel sad about, but sometimes my sorrow oozes up like a stench from a sewer, making me want to kill myself. I seal it back up, knowing that she needs me, and knowing that about 6,500 other Americans have the same affliction.

        It is not curable.

  5. It’s a lousy, stinking excuse for a government program! If everything is privatized and under corporate control, then we don’t need a government under the people’s control…or so they’d like. The worst thing is that these A-holes like Weakley cannot be held responsible or accountable for their faulty and unfair decisions.

    What you need is a good lawyer and a funding plan. I don’t have much money, but I will make a donation as soon as I can because I enjoy and appreciate your writing and analysis which you produce for free. You should take pride in your work, and please don’t feel defeated. This foul system is temporary and the crooks, thieves, liars, etc., will at some point receive their comeuppances as will the rest of us.

    • thank you very much. As a result of the reminder someone gave me and that UPDATE I posted, I’m thinking of contacting ProPublica again and seeing if they are interested in doing another study, this time on the “project integrity” program that is clearly out of control. Yeah, can’t hold them accountable legally but something like a ProPublica study could certainly shed a bit of unwanted light on their actions, especially when Shillary is trying to pretend to be all “progressive” and shit. May be worth it for others. Doubt it will help me by then, but, it needs to stop. This is even worse than them garnishing the benefits of disabled people. This tosses them right out in the street.

    • Neoliberalism is actually neo-feudalism, a condition in which a handful of people own everything, while the rest of us are their serfs, or their slaves, or their employees.

      The serfs pay rent to the owners.
      The slaves toil in sweatshops for their owners.
      The employees are soldiers, police, politicians, professors, media pundits, and anyone else who is paid to keep the serfs and the slaves in their place.

      Each day the planet becomes more neo-feudal. Each day mankind is split further into owners and owned; masters and slaves. This is the essence of neoliberalism. It is the reason for privatization.

      Communism means the total absence of privatization. The opposite of communism is not capitalism, but feudalism, in which everything and everyone is the property of a few oligarchs.

      We enter farther into feudalism each day.

      BY THE WAY: Last night I watched the 2003 movie “The Last Samurai,” which is an example of American delusion. Most Americans view Japanese samurai through a romantic lens, imagining that the samurai were “virtuous warriors” and “moral exemplars.”

      That’s nonsense. The samurai were thugs employed by Japanese feudal lords (who owned everything) to keep Japanese peasants toiling in the mud.

      • yes, their sense of “honor” was service to the masters of their universe without question and like you said, their job was to keep them in power at all costs. Sounds kinda like Blackwater to me.

        • Blackwater goons, the Marines, the cops, the Special Forces: they all regard themselves as “modern samurai.”

          The Japanese word “samurai” literally translates as service (to the feudal owners).

          “Bushido” (the warrior’s code) meant excellence in impoverishing the peasants, and in boosting the wealth, power, and privileges of the owners.


    This won’t make Scott feel any better, but I think it’s important for all of us to understand a few things…

    QUESTION: Why is there a constant push to privatize Medicare and Social Security?

    ANSWER: The U.S. government collects just over $1.1 trillion per year in FICA taxes. With privatization, that $1.1 trillion will flow straight to Wall Street, whose thieves will steal much of it or all of it. The thieves can crash the markets and claim that the money “disappeared.” No one will be able to stop them, since the thieves are above the law. They are untouchable.

    Incidentally, FICA taxes do not pay for Medicare or Social Security. FICA tax revenue is effectively destroyed upon receipt. Hence there is no need to privatize Medicare or Social Security. All claims about Medicare or Social Security becoming “insolvent” are lies.

    Let me explain…

    Money has no physical existence. Money is strictly a mental concept that is represented by numbers in bank accounts, and also by tokens such as coins and bills. Money is exactly like points on a sports scoreboard. Points, like dollars, have no physical existence. They are 100% mental entities that only exist by social agreement. Numbers on the scoreboard are not points. The numbers represent points. Indeed, numbers themselves are strictly mental entities with no physical existence. No one has ever seen the number “one.” We only see a mark [“1”] that represents the number one. Likewise, no one has ever seen a dollar. We only see things that represent a dollar, such as symbols on our bank statement, or a piece of paper that we call a dollar. In fact, no one has ever seen his own bank account. We only see things that represent our bank account. Our account itself is a strictly mental entity that exists by social agreement.

    Since money, points, and numbers have no physical existence, they have no shortage in supply. They are infinite. They can never run out. Can a scoreboard “run out” of points? Can we “run out” of the number five?

    The U.S. government spends about $4 trillion per year. That money in hundred-dollar bills would weigh 44,000 tons. Yes, TONS. The government does not ship out 44,000 tons of money each year. (Money has no physical existence). The government creates that money by crediting bank accounts. That is, the U.S. government directs banks to change the numbers in the bank customers’ accounts. The $4 trillion is purely digital. The U.S. government can create infinite digital money out of thin air by crediting bank accounts. The only practical limit to this would be the potential for inflation.

    Federal taxation is a reverse process. When you pay a federal tax, the federal government directs your bank to debit your account (i.e. change the numbers in your account) by the amount of the tax. Nothing physical moves from one place to another, since money is not physical. In fact the U.S. government has no need or use for tax revenue (unlike state, county, and municipal governments, who actually do need tax revenue, since they cannot create money out of thin air).

    The U.S. government does not borrow one penny of its spending money from anyone. Instead, the U.S. government creates its spending money out of thin air, by crediting bank accounts. The so-called “national debt” is simply money that people have deposited in Federal Reserve savings accounts. A Fed savings account is opened for you when you buy a Treasury security. The $20 trillion “national debt” has nothing to do with U.S. government spending. It is $20 trillion in national assets. You will never have to pay a single penny on this “national debt.” (However private debt, such as student loans, is a catastrophe.)

    The financial lords and their puppet politicians don’t want you to know any of this.


    The financial lords and their puppet politicians don’t want you to know any of this.

    They want you to think that money is physical and limited. They want you to grovel for every one of those infinite dollars.

    It’s like we all live in a village whose only source of water is a well that is owned by the masters of the village. The well is bottomless, and can never run dry, but its owners tell you it is dry so that you grovel to them for every last drop. They have programmed you to believe their lies so deeply that if anyone exposes their lies, and reveals that the well is bottomless, you call them crazy. And your masters smile at your stupidity.

    Thus, when we ask for something like Single Payer Health Care, everyone shouts, “How will you pay for it?” But no one asks this when Wall Street collects trillions in bailouts, and weapons makers collect trillions for weapons. Why? Because the U.S. government creates infinite money out of thin air. During the 1930s depression, the U.S. government never had a shortage of money. No department had to shut down.

    Money is not physical.

    THEREFORE the U.S. government can never run out of money, or become “insolvent,” or have a “debt crisis.” Nor can any government program such as Medicare and Social Security ever become “insolvent” unless politicians cut its funding. It’s all about them having power over you.

    Quite literally, the money masters are not happy unless you are suffering, since the sensation of “wealth” is entirely relative. If everyone has a million dollars, then no one is “special” or “superior.” But if I have a million, and everyone else has nothing, then I am a god.

    In other words the sensation of wealth is based not on how much money I have, but on how much MORE money I have than YOU have. Therefore, by making you suffer, I widen the gap between you and me. This makes me feel wealthier. A gigantic house is just a building, but when we compare it to a cardboard shack, the building becomes a “fabulous mansion.”

    I have much more to reveal about all this, but I shall cut myself off.

    However I shall respond if anyone has doubts or questions.

    BOTTOM LINE: Regarding the source, function, and distribution of money, we have all been lied to from the day of our birth. Rich people, top bankers, and most politicians know this. They are deadly parasites that have programmed you to think you will die without them.

    • I’ve covered fiat currency and fractional reserve banking and the racket that is capitalism myself many times. I don’t have any issues with what you wrote.

      • No? Then you are extremely rare. Most people smugly dismiss the truth about money, and call me an idiot as they put their heads in the hangman’s noose.

        Incidentally I speak Spanish, and I often talk to newly arrived immigrants. When I explain to them the truth about money, they understand it right away, and effortlessly. By contrast, the average American is so brainwashed that he rejects the truth by smugly dismissing me as a moron.

        By the way, fractional reserve banking is a myth. Banks create loan money out of thin air the same way that monetarily sovereign governments do: by crediting bank accounts. That is, by simply changing the numbers in accounts.

        Many people falsely think that ALL money is created by banks as loans. They falsely think there is no such thing as government spending; only government borrowing.

        They are Kool-Aid addicts.

        If you receive a Social Security Disability benefit, the U.S. government instructs your bank to credit your account by the amount of the benefit. Your bank simply changes the numbers in your account, thereby creating money out of thin air, just as we create scoreboard points out of thin air by changing the scoreboard numbers.

        The government did not borrow that benefit money from anyone, nor did the government lend the benefit money to you (although the government can tax it back you). That money was created without any lending being involved.

        • Yes, money is create out of thin air but rules of accounting must apply. The fact that the gov or bank can create in theory a quadrillion of trillions of dollars does not me that we would want them to do it.

          • “The fact that the gov or bank can create in theory a quadrillion of trillions of dollars does not mean that we would want them to do it.”

            No, but neither does it mean that “there is no money” for things like free college, Single Payer Health Care, national infrastructure repair, and so on. There is more than enough money to do whatever we want to do.

            The point is that the U.S. government can never become “bankrupt,” or have a “debt crisis.” Nor can Medicare or Social Security or any other federal program ever become “insolvent” — unless politicians arbitrarily decide to cut funding in order to promote privatization.

            The masses are so brainwashed that they shrug their shoulders when endless trillions are given to Wall Street for bailouts. But when someone suggests that we should have Universal Social Security, everyone screams, “Zimbabwe! Weimar Republic! It would be the end of the world!”

            • Actually, a government can theoretically become suddenly bankrupt or have a debt crisis. But this has nothing to do with money. It can happen if another country or alliance of countries develops and exerts sufficient military or strategic power to either destroy or undermine said government. The US is, and has been for quite some time, on the aggressor side of this and has bankrupt many a small nation. However, in theory, the tide could turn some day. Nevertheless, money has nothing to do with it. Just the power to inflict one’s will on others.

    • elizabethharris001,

      The government doesn’t create money out of thin air.

      You have the general concept, but you are severely misinformed.

      A private corporation named The Federal Reserve (not federal and nothing in reserve) prints money out of thin air and loans it to the government at interest!

      And how does the government pay the interest? By taking another loan that is printed out of thin air AT MORE INTEREST!

      It’s a never ending cycle of debt. If the Federal reserve refuses to issue money the government will defualt on it’s loans that were printed out of thin air lol.

      If you think about how this works it is easy to understand why there is infaltion. A debt based monetary supply is inflationary by defualt.

  7. WordPress ate my Comment Part Two

  8. Back to the main point: you must appeal! Can’t speak to your state though in others the appeal is where you win when the first-level actions result in denials. Attorneys in at least some states take SS appeals on contingency (it may even be part of the law somewhere) and get a portion of your back benefits only if you eventually get paid. Obviously less than ideal, though, so you should get educated ASAP on your appeal rights and, attorney or not, make your appeal properly and on time.

  9. I’ve been reading you almost from the beginning.

    I hope you can get the help you need somehow, but I believe if Clinton gets the nod it’ll be more of the same, times ten

  10. Dear Scott,
    Thanks for sharing your story. My heart aches for you and others in your shoes. Wish I would win Lotto and I’d hire you to be an investigative journalist.
    Stay in touch and I hope that your story brings some opportunities to correct the decision.

  11. I am very sorry that you are going through so many health issues, Scott, and that the help you need is so hard to get. Everyone reading your column knows and admires your strong work but what keeps us coming back with interest is your human voice. I know you are a good guy and don’t deserve this kind of treatment. I hope the pool of readers with legal experience here can point you in the right direction. Once again, the name of the place “American Everyman” is appropriate because all of us reading of your difficulties and the hoops you have to jump, through must realize that the day is very likely that we are, we have been, or will be in this situation. It comes with just one crisis, a job loss, some disaster, getting sick, or getting old. I pray for your health, Scott and for anyone who is going through this unnecessary mistreatment by “people” who are not so decent.

  12. Forgive me that this is long, but I am so angry about what’s happened to Scott, and all of us, it’s making me crazy. There is something we all can do about this. First, we need to know as much as we can about the kleptocracy that disguises itself as healthcare in America and share and exchange ideas and information with each other. We have to protect all of our institutions as well. The more of a knowledge base we get, interpersonally and online, the more we become literate in the language being used against us. Talk it up with each other and double fact-check everything (most of us use critical thinking, that’s why we come here to AE). Where I live, most people just repeat the simple minded yak-yak from TV news and….lights out. Any deeper discussion and they look like you’re bumming them out. Women are far more aware….but guys flutter and palpitate, “Ooooh, I don’t wanna talk about that stuff.” Of course, if you talk sports, its feeding time at the gorilla house. I admit this depressing, but it’s going to be a lot more so, if we don’t stop this high powered crimewave. I admit this stuff hurts the head…the heart, too.

    That corporate “in-speak” is deliberately confusing and frustrating, but with dilligence, everything we learn will be from each of us having a piece of the puzzle, and that’s where knowledge comes from….and knowledge is power….collective consciousness is a monster. Those frustrating concepts they use are how bureaucratic rats line their nests, but through social networking we can find clarity. Today, the internet is the library of all libraries. Go online and find effective ways to write letters to politicians. I know, you’re thinking it doesn’t work. It does. I can attest to that. With the storm of letters to Congress, we stopped the first US bombing campaign in Syria that was meant to be Shock and Awe II, and we forced them to switch gears and expose their real agenda. Trust me, these little congress shits don’t want to be confronted when they ferret through the supermarket off-hours, so as not to be seen by people like me. There is so much we can do to stop this plunder by Death-heads on high horses in our country. Look at England….and I swear, if we don’t we’re next for the wholesale looting of ours and future generations’ hopes and dreams. They are doing this number already in Scott’s case….it has already started here….Detroit, Baltimore, New Orleans, and on and on. Forget the frustrating concepts. It comes right back to Cicero, “Cui bono?” Where’s the money, honey?

    Even before his medical troubles grew worse and the legal system failed him, Scott and many of us were going on, repeatedly warning about “austerity” in Europe. England always had such a compassionate healthcare and affordable housing system that it shamed the world. Then, sure enough, it had to be made the petri dish of neoliberal privatization to incrementally collapse by neglect, bureaucratic fat, fraud, and underfunding….the system fails….then they shut down hospitals, police and fire stations, schools, housing projects in highly populated areas and auction them off. Their politicians, Cameron & Co. are selling publicly owned institutions to global billionaires, their buddies, who will strip these institutions of their humanity for profit. The punch line is that next their pals will cry for help in this tanked system. And, alacazam! They get will get subsidies and “improve” the residential districts as expensive real estate.

    From England, “The Artist Taxi Driver” (on YouTube) has been hammering on every day about this. For years, he has been talking about understaffed palliative care nurses at a children’s hospital being laid off following some corporate take-over (Richard Branson is one stakeholder of dying kid’s care). He went on for weeks lamenting how one of these laid-off nurses got cancer and now cannot work. Consequently, in this situation, the government makes people wait six months (!?!) to find out if a disability is such that one qualifies for government aid. And this test usually favors a “Yes, you can get out of bed-you can work” ruling. Another corporate Win-Win, because now someone who is disabled is most often ruled “capable” will be ordered to work at somewhere like a Walmart in order to receive benefits. And remember, this was the gold standard of public health before the austerity game. That’s the design planned for us.

    What is most shameful is that neoliberalism co-opted all the ideology of 1960’s liberal thought, but instead of fighting for civil and human rights, they made it about corporate rights, and the world is paying the dues for that perversion. We can stop this. It can be fixed if there is a will to fix it…and the collective will of an educated and determined American citizenry can be a mighty thing to join in the clean-up of these criminals. The captains of industry don’t worry about health, education, and welfare, they own it! This isn’t conspiracy theory. Not anymore, it’s a crime in progress. We’ve got to take back our democracy and own it. There is nowhere in the Constitution that says the only punishable crime in the United States is to become poor, then be kept impoverished by the same people who write the laws, who prosecute and are tough on crime, and just happen to profit from the prison industry. How about elect ourselves to rule America? As we all know by now….there is no choice.

  13. I posted something relevant to this topic but it didn’t arrive. It’s long, so I don’t want to send it again and have it come up twice. No doubt it was preaching to the choir, anyway.

  14. I can empathize with you Scott. I applied for disability at HPA’s direction after trying to get medical help for my chronic illness. After a three year process (during which I was homeless and received NO medical assistance, I was denied disability because … I hadn’t been receiving regular medical attention. Not to mention step 2 in the SSDI appeals process which is based ENTIRELY on your race, sex and education … (yes, that’s correct .. it has NOTHING to with whether you are or are not disabled!)

    Finally got medical assistance this year, and hoping against hope I can find a way to beat 3 supposedly “incurable” diseases.

    Hang in there, bud .. you’d be surprised how little money it actually takes to survive .. I haven’t had $1200 cash in any single YEAR since 2010. Thank God for SNAP though … even though $180 in food is tough to live on when you have no fridge or any way to prepare canned food.

    • hi Razz. thanks for the comment and I’m sorry about your situation. I’m hoping mine doesn’t get that bad but I know what you mean, or I’m starting to, when you suggest its all rigged against people once they start losing their footing. I am glad to hear you are getting some assistance through SNAP. You hang in there man.

  15. .

    Can you qualify for SSI? If so, then you can also get Medicaid.

    Non-citizen immigrants can qualify for SSI and other government benefits. See link below.

    MN Housing Board to Pay Monthly Rent for Migrants Traveling Back to East Africa


    • .

      Just an FYI on MN.

      Back in the 19th century, MN state officials went to Sweden to urge Swedes to immigrate to their state. That is one of the reasons why MN has a large Swedish population.

      Today, MN officials are welcoming in African immigrants. The MN governor recently told Swedish descendants if they don’t like it, they should leave the state. The irony is… Sweden is also welcoming in African immigration.


  16. Get yourself in touch directly with a local SSDI attorney. As others have mentioned, they usually work on contingency for part of the back payment. The SS dept often actually pays them directly out of your back payment. If your payment stops obviously you’ll be in pretty dismal shape, but as you know, you’ll benefit in the long run by having representation.

    Disability pay is such a pittance, and obtaining it is such a lengthy, difficult and humiliating ordeal, given that nearly all claims are initially denied and one must certainly loose everything long before they ever see a dime, all the while being unable to obtain adequate treatment, that few sane people would accept this situation if they had any alternative.

    Good luck Scott. Don’t let them have the power. When you feel down, think of those around the world who are in the literal path of destruction, rather than we who, for the time being, are merely in the metaphorical one.

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