CAN SECURITY BE GUARANTEED?
(Continued horn page 14)
abuse-proof. Moreover, it has been extremely difficult to define total disability. For example, a person may be
physically disabled, but still capable
of making economic contributions, as
well as social ones. Too, he may be
disabled in one capacity, but not disabled in another — for instance, disabled as a machinist, but not disabled
as a watchman. Disability, then, is a
Again, a person may be a clever
malingerer — dedicated to exploiting
the government. There is much evidence to the effect that disability rises
anel falls with the prosperity cycle. In
times of recession disability figures run
Also, who would attempt to define
the disability status of a married woman, disabled for outside employment,
but perfectly capable of doing housework at home?"
Senator Byrd stated that eminent
physicians and surgeons have appeared before* the Senate Finance
Committee in regard to Social Security. Doctor F. J. L. Blasingname, representing the American Medical Association, testified that the medical profession was concerned because they
may lie placed in the roles of policemen, stating that the majority of his
profession felt that the determination
of disability would be both hazardous
ancl difficult. For example, there will
be the individual, faced with the- prospect of either receiving or not receiving a disability benefit — depending
on the doctor's "verdict" — who may
develop a neurosis as completely disabling as an actual pathological condition.9
Doctor Elmer Hess, President eif the
American Medical Association, in a
letter to Senator Byrd on May 25,
1956. told of the growing concern of
doctors everywhere over the new
legislation. Doctor Hess wrote that the
Senate Finance Committee had, after
two months of careful hearings, listened to over 100 witnesses, which included main- well-qualified persons,
anel that those- people- testified against
the- disability factor in the Social Security bill.
Under the definition in H. B. 7225,
a program of disability benefits will be
all but impossible to administer,
averred Doctor Hess. He wrote:
. . . The problem of determining
whether anel to what E-\ts-iit .s person is
disabled involves not only physical ailments and handicaps, but also insula] and
emotional factors, including such intangibles as character, will power, and personal motivation. Many persons with
severe handicaps, including paraplegics,
multiple amputees, and the blind, are making their wav ees self-sufficient individuals.
On the other hand many persons with far
le-ss serious impairments, hut without the
will tE> work, would welcome early pensions
at the expense of the taxpayers.'"
It has been proposed that the positive approach to disability is rehabilitation rather than cash benefits, for
Alex Alazraki, with more than a dozen men in
his charge at Abilities, Inc., was born with only
holt arms and hall legs. Married qnd self-sufficient-, Alex drives his own car with controls he
anything less than rehabilitation is in
reality not humanitarian. The disabled
person really needs the incentive and
dignity of a productive occupation, not
pension ancl pity. Not only will a dole
retard a rehabilitation program, but it
will have an adverse effect psychologically."
It is a matter of record that the
country is presently making great
progress in rehabilitating the disabled
through programs already in effect.
Such programs are federal anel state
aid under 1950 amendments to the
Social Security Act, workmen's compensation, Vocational Rehabilitation
Act, private insurance plans, Veterans'
Administration rehabilitation services,
etc. It is generally conceded, among
foes of the Social Security revision,
that it would be feasible- to follow ancl
subsequently improve pre-existing
programs rather than to inaugurate a
new venture which might prove
Doctor Hess, in his letter to Senator Byrd, pointed out that if a disability benefit became a statutory rigns
pressures for further liberalization ol
Social Security might prove irn-sist-
ible. He wrote that many supporters ot
II. B. 7225 had made clear that their
aim was to have disability benefits ;"
any age. Using this as a precedent. tW
door would be open for a rash of welfare proposals which might change the
entire philosophy of the Act.12
Informed persons state that in I'-j
actuarial sense there is no reliable- and
factual information on the main proW
lems of rehabilitation ancl disability
Therefore, it necessarily follows th»'
it would be all but impossible to ;""
rive at a cost for such a program. Pr°'
viding benefits to cover every possiW
need might necessitate such a tax bur'
ele-n that the structure of the entire
Social Security system could be e"'
One aspect of the amendment is Unit may do much to discourage rchabi'1'
tation of disabled citizens. One HenD
Viscardi. testifying before the Senate
Finance Committee, was especial'!
impressive in this respect. Mr. *'s
careli is president of a remarkable C°»
ecru. Abilities, Inc., of Long Island-
New York. This organization
established and is being run by Pe''
sons considered permanently a°j
totally disabled.18 Mr. Viscardi's o**j
sensitive description of his disabil' -
is as follows:
I was born a crippled child, horrib'l
deformed, with no lower limbs, and I sps'"
the first se-se-ii years of my life, consecutn71
scars, in oiie- hospital.
And when I was a child, I reiiH-iol'1'
asking my mother, "Why, ine?" And sli
told me that it was time for anotb*
crippled boy to he lierrn into the worK*1
tlis- Lord and his counselors liE-ld a me-''.
ing to decide wlu-re he should hs- ss-nt, n'1'
the Lord saiel, "I think that the Vise.a'1'j
would be a good family for a cripi"'
Mr. Viscardi, testifying be-fore '''
committee, stated that he was apP*j
(Continued on page *
•Md., p. 11863.
Facts Fohum News, October.
I do ni