SSI - Surely Sacrificing Initiative
by Dennis Jones
Nameless Deaf Person (AKA "Coward") has missed the good Mr. Drolsbaugh's point.
There ARE people out there, deaf and hearing, who need a helping hand. This is not the issue.
The issue is those who would and do take advantage of a system that was never designed to be a long-term means of support. This defeats the original purpose of said system and makes it harder for the LEGITIMATELY needy to receive help.
I have stories of SSI fraud I've witnessed and heard about. I've had people tell me they're using their SSI checks to buy new cars and fund fancy vacations. I've known educated deaf individuals with advanced degrees who've purposely taken low-paying jobs so as to keep the SSI money rolling in.
I've even seen the argument SSI is "something deaf people do" and perhaps it should be considered "part of deaf culture."
These same people are the ones who castigate others for not following "pure" deaf culture or for having cochlear implants or using their voice or etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
SSI itself is not the problem. The abusers are. These folks are a far greater danger to the continued vitality and existence of deaf culture than cochlear implants or pidgin sign systems will ever be.
Check out the Aborigines of Australia or the Native Americans. Both of these groups have strong, vibrant cultures. Then the government decided to offer them SSI-like assistance.
The result? Both groups suffer from rampant drug use and alcoholism. Check out the drug abuse and alcoholism rates for deaf folks and there are some scary parallels.
Is SSI SOLELY to blame? No, but it isn't helping.