Figures. Whenever you hear these horrific stories from conservatives that make you want to abandon liberalism altogether, it’s almost always some sort of a lie. That’s why I banned a lot of rightwing commenters on here. For one thing, conservatives are bizarre. I can’t imagine a liberal going to a conservative forum just to fight the wingnuts. Most of think think that would be like taking a swim in a sewer, and that’s pretty much what it would in fact be.
However, conservatives are just weird. They love to fight, and they love to fight their liberal enemies. Now why this is I am not sure, but I can guess. I get why they like to fight. Authoritarian types love conflict and hate peace. But why do they fight us? Well, they think they are Good and we are Evil. They actually believe that liberalism is pure 100% Evil. So when they fight us, they are just fighting Evil.
Conservatives also love to proselytize, while most liberals don’t bother as we consider most conservatives too hopeless to convert, and we don’t like fighting anyway. I get the impression that conservatives simply cannot fathom how any sane human being could ever believe in liberalism. Many conservatives have told me that conservatism is rational, logical, and reasonable: it’s just common sense. Many others say that conservative positions are actually empirically proven to be correct.
Never mind that hardly any politics can ever be empirically proven to be correct – how will you do it? Test it out in a lab under controlled double blind conditions and then run multivariate analysis on it?
Anyway, they think conservatism is commonsensical scientifically provable fact, like saying the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. To conservatives, liberals are like folks who are argue that black is white and 2+2 = 5. They simply cannot fathom how any sane person, given the proper facts, would not be a conservative. In other words, we baffle them.
Really there is no such thing as empirical politics.
Rightwinger: After the 1995 changes to welfare (and many of those changes were good, though not all), the number of people on welfare dropped–and the number of people receiving disability payments went up, up, up.
Leftwinger: Welfare rolls plunged, and poverty soared. They plunged because welfare was no longer an entitlement. Since it was no longer an entitlement, one might or might not be able to get any help, regardless of how great that person’s need, and counties put limits on caseloads. If, say, the their caseload limit was 100, and you were the 101th person to apply, you could not get aid. Strict time limits were imposed, regardless of circumstances. Desperately poor people are, indeed, simply dumped off on the streets. Caseloads fell because cases were closed and new cases were denied.
Poverty grew. What we always called welfare is gone. There is no general assistance or AFDC. TANF is a marginally subsidized, time limited work program (only for those with minor children).
Now, on disability: This is fairly complex (much info and links at ssa.gov). When one applies for disability, it takes a minimum of a year, as long as 3 years, between the day you submit your application and the day your case is decided. Before you can even submit your application, you must obtain your medical records dating back many years, and official medical documentation confirming not simply that you have a disability (having a disability in itself does not make you eligible for disability aid), but that the disability is so severe that gainful employment impossible.
Only a doctor (not the SSA) can make that decision. All of this said: Many on welfare were the seriously ill and disabled who were not able to manage the (extremely complex, difficult) disability application process. They survived on GA welfare. (The bottom line was that it was simply cheaper to keep them on GA.) When welfare was ended, county agencies had to scramble to find a way to keep the truly disabled/seriously ill from being dumped out on the streets.
This resulted in a temporary surge of of cases being transferred from welfare offices to the SSA. (Nope. No fraud was involved — just saving lives.) One must have a medical (psychiatric) diagnosis of suffering from legitimate mental illness that is so severe as to make it impossible to maintain gainful employment.