Disability backlog tops 1 million; thousands die on wait list (H/T = @scottsantens & @AP_Politics)

NC Disability Department

I can vouch for this as my application process took about 3 years to finally get my benefits. I truly believe this is done on purpose because they know if it’s finally accepted, they would have to go back to the beginning to pay all of the back awards. Universal Basic Income solves this problem nicely.

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 1 million Americans await a hearing to see whether they qualify for disability benefits from Social Security, with the average wait nearly two years — longer than some of them will live.

All have been denied benefits at least once, as most applications are initially rejected. But in a system where the outcome of a case often depends on who decides it, most people who complete the appeals process will eventually win benefits. The numbers come from data compiled by the Social Security Administration.

About 10.5 million people get disability benefits from Social Security. An additional 8 million get disability benefits from Supplemental Security Income, the disability program for poor people who don’t qualify for Social Security. The disability programs are much smaller than Social Security’s giant retirement program. Still, the agency paid out $197 billion in disability payments last year.

Recipients won’t get rich as the average benefit is $1,037 a month — too small to lift a family of two out of poverty.

Source: Disability backlog tops 1 million; thousands die on wait list (H/T = @scottsantens & @AP_Politics)

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Mayoral candidate Ingrid Lafleur proposes a universal basic income for Detroit – The Michigan Chronicle

Ingrid LaFleur –PHOTO CREDIT: Justin Millhouse

H/T Scott Santens via Twitter.

I really like the idea of a citywide Universal Basic Income. Half regular money $1000 and half cryptocurrency $1000.

A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of new units. Cryptocurrencies are a subset of alternative currencies, or specifically of digital currencies. Bitcoin became the first decentralized cryptocurrency in 2009. Since then, numerous cryptocurrencies have been created.

WikiPedia

The current Federal Poverty Level is $1,005 monthly per person and $348.33 additional person. This means that the FPL will be covered, and the D-Coin concept takes care of city services and businesses as it is basically the modern version of scrip. This past weekend, I spent quality time with family members who live in and around Detroit at a family function; The direct topic did not arise, but attempting to catch up with Mom’s side of the family, Detroit’s renaissance was a topic. Doubts about the veracity of it were communicated, but we shall see where it lands.

via Ingrid Lafleur proposes a universal basic income for Detroit | The Michigan Chronicle

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Microsoft tackles employment…

Microsoft tackles employment…

The linked article is a great start and needs to be expanded at a rapidly growing pace, but here is where I differ with the outcome. The effort is a noble one as older industry jobs are subject to reduction and automation, my take is that even with this and other efforts, there will still not be enough work to go around, and then what? Some people are more special than others? more worthy of successful lives? part of the politically correct club or outfit? I could go on and on; my counterargument is the dollars that are spent this way can be better served by taking the same set of workers and provide them with a Universal Basic Income as a floor. An excellent primer for this concept and the freedom it can provide is found here.

The highlighted image/screengrab I created below does lay out a good quote for the project, even if it is “corporate speak”.

 

microsoftquote.png

Brad Smith of Microsoft (Arif Bacchus, 2017)

Having said that, there are not enough companies that are willing to go this far to help retrain displaced workers and do it without the prodding of governments or to fulfill political objectives from one tribe or another. I must disclose that I am a HUGE fan of Microsoft and their products, but I would also welcome this from Amazon, Google, Facebook, heck even Apple.

 

 

via The Markle Foundation will team with Microsoft to expand skillful employment | On MSFT


Arif Bacchus. (2017, June 28). The Markle Foundation will team with Microsoft to expand skillful employment [WordPress 4.8]. Retrieved June 29, 2017, from https://www.onmsft.com/news/the-markle-foundation-will-team-with-microsoft-to-expand-skillful-employment

Basic Income and Choices

Most recent Duke Energy payment

Notice the key to the image on the left, this account has a remaining balance. I, like so many others, have to make this kind of choice every month; do I have groceries, OTC medicines, and dog basics, or do I keep the lights on? With Universal Basic Income, this would not be a choice, as there would be enough money to keep the lights on, and have an cash payout that would replace SNAP and not penalize a North Carolina resident for being, well poor, unlike what happens now. This is not unique to NC, of course, but with political aspirations of being the “new Alabama”, this is what sanity is up against.

Since I can not get an answer from the state level, maybe someone that reads this can explain this to me.

How does a person, who borrows money for graduate school and thus have “no income” gets the full SNAP benefit while in school (less BS deductions done at NC level because they could) but becomes disabled and has “income” that is about 1/3 less has to beg for a few crumbs in SNAP?

I have had at least 5 conversation attempts from my end about this discrepancy and drama just this year, and none of them have even come close to resolving this. If I/we had Basic Income, none of this would have mattered as SNAP and the people that administer it would have to do something else for a living and not exist only to provide drama, but could actually do something worthwhile with their social service “skills”. Consider me naive, but isn’t the point of digital government services is effective and efficient communication to the constituency?

Mecklenburg DSS response

This is the official policy of at least NC, and possibly the whole US that receiving SSA Disability is different money than Student Loan/Stipend money. I guess the Student Loan lobby is much more powerful because I thought dollars were dollars and didn’t distinguish between entities since it all spends the same. Elections have consequences, and the lack of voting allows representatives to condone this type of policy. Basic Income is paid to everyone independent of Disability, Social Security, retirement, employment, or even dividends. Basic Income does not place value judgments on cash, it just straightforward.

As this post was being edited and put to virtual paper while thoughts emanating from my head, I did hear back from NCDHHS in my county, while not answering the question above, did state that being a student had no effect on SNAP benefits while being Disabled.

The non-food portion of the EBT/SNAP side is a Federal-State program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Since states administer it, the name and benefits vary based on locale. In North Carolina, where I live, it’s called Work First. The goal, at least to TPTB here is to encourage work for families so the “temporary” part of the program is emphasized.

Highlighted search field {without children} is key

Leave it to the US Government to define a family as having children. This is not to diminish the importance of child raising, but to those of us that do not have any, we are left out. So much for American choice!

A Basic Income replaces these programs with cash upon which there are no restrictions on how it is spent. With this also comes responsibility, in case a person does not spend the money to live on, finds themselves homeless or worse, and then expects the Government to bail them out. This is not to penalize a person who plays by the rules and S__t/Life happens, but to discourage reckless behavior.

…and with Universal Basic Income, it may not be in most months.

How much does UBI cost? | Basic Income News

source: Healthcare.Gov

As I have been saying for a while now, here, and here, it is not a condition of IF we can afford to do this, it is a question of WHY NOT. With the CEO of Facebook calling for it and other tech personnel as well; it really is a time which has come. This is just as important as the fight for $15 and not mutually exclusive, despite what some may opine.

I just completed some simple, “back-of-the-envelope” estimates the net cost of a UBI set at about the official poverty line: $12,000 per adult and $6,000 per child with a 50% “marginal tax rate.” They are in a paper entitled, “the Cost of Basic Income: Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations.” It’s currently under peer-review at an academic journal and available in un-reviewed form on my website.

Here are some of its most important findings:

The net cost — the real cost — of a roughly poverty-level UBI is $539 billion per year, less than 16% of its often-mentioned but not-very-meaningful gross cost ($4.15 trillion), less than 25% of the cost of current U.S. entitlement spending, less than 15% of overall federal spending, and about 2.95% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

This $539 billion UBI would drop the official poverty rate from 13.5% to 0%, lifting 43.1 million people (including about 14.5 million children) out of poverty.

This UBI will be a net financial benefit to most families with incomes up to $55,000, making it an effective wage subsidy (or tax cut) for tens of millions of working families.

The average net beneficiary of this UBI is a family of about two people making about $27,000 per year. The family’s net benefit from the UBI would be nearly $9,000 raising their income to almost $36,000.

Lowering the marginal tax rate to 35% would spread the benefits of the UBI program to more of the middle class while increasing the cost to $901 billion.

The cost of a UBI of $20,000 per adult and $10,000 per child is $1.816 trillion per year, less than 85% of total entitlement spending, less than 45% of total federal spending, and less than 10% of GDP.


-Karl Widerquist, Begun in New Orleans, completed at Cru Coffee House, Beaufort, North Carolina, May 21, 2017


Originally published at basicincome.org on May 26, 2017.

ER ‘superusers’, a thing

SU_fimgThis story is about a hospital system that decided to make an investment to save costs and improve lives of those who uses their facilities the most; termed “superusers” in this piece. When I first read the story, a thought came to mind that since there is not Universal Healthcare, ACA notwithstanding; uniquely American phenomena would exist because people will get healthcare by most means necessary. That involves the level of care that is mandated by law at Emergency Rooms. Our neighbors to the North, Canada, have some of the same issues, and most everyone is covered by birthright. In both cases, a holistic multidisciplinary approach is taken to address the root causes while finding solutions that are humane and cost effective.

Any part of the universal basic income movement must include proactive and preventive healthcare in order to let Emergency Rooms be for emergencies, not primary care. With Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants who can be placed in these societies or accessible in telehealth, the costs of addressing a problem before it comes serious enough for acute care are worth the investment. Politically, however, any vote to spend money at a Governmental level is a non-starter for enough of the population to ensure DOA legislation and initiatives. Housing, income, nutrition, and education addressed together to have a greater chance of success and can no longer be looked at in a vacuum,

emergency_0Illinois hospital offers housing to curb ER superusers | FierceHealthcare

‘Super users’ of health care system the target of reforms

California Gov Candidate: Develop the Coastline to Fund Income for Everyone

TriplePundit.Com

Zoltan-Istvan-is-running-as-a-Libertarian-for-Governor-of-California-next-year

Image Credit: Zoltan Isrvan

When one of the handles I follow on Twitter retweeted this link, a compelling reason to explore it further is due to having a keen interest in the subject, having written about it previously. Since the politician profiled is not part of either dominant political party, his chances of being co-opted immediately are slim and none. However, part of his argument on selling some public lands does make sense and could fly in a limited way. The plan he proposes for the funds raised would only work in a limited number of states which does not include the Carolinas.

Read story via California Gov Candidate: Develop the Coastline to Fund Income for Everyone.