1-in-10 Michigan workers now collecting disability

About half the 310,000 Michigan residents who left the labor force in the past decade may have landed in a federal assistance program for disabled adults — meaning many are unlikely to return to work even if the economy continues to improve.

Just under 514,000 people — one of every 12 adults aged 18-64 statewide, and one of every 10 people in Michigan's current labor force — collects either Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income or both, according to the most recent data from the Social Security Administration.

In fact, Michigan has the seventh-largest population of such beneficiaries and had the fifth-largest increase in recipients for the 10-year period ending December 2013. And that's even though it's only the 10th most populous state — and the only state whose total population fell during that period.

RELATED: Expanding benefit rolls drains federal trust fund reserves

Experts say much of the uptick in benefit claims is attributable to the state's demographics. Manufacturing and construction employees have more physical work demands and are more vulnerable in recessions, which is also when benefit applications tend to climb. But critics of the program say some growth is fueled by lenient administrative law judges, outdated or expansive government criteria, claims due to fraud — and a growth industry of attorneys handling claim appeals.

Data show that states with a more native-born workforce and a smaller immigrant population tend to create more disability claims — simply due to the work history requirements under the federal program. About 77 percent of Michigan residents in 2012, or 7.5 million people, were born in the state, more than any other state but Louisiana, according to U.S. Census Bureau microdata compiled by the University of Minnesota Population Center.

But whatever the reasons individual workers qualify for benefits, the program tends to become a permanent exit from the workforce. Disability insurance recipients are almost 15 times as likely to leave the program by reaching retirement age, and shifting into another benefit program, than by finding gainful new employment, according to Social Security data.

The trends may be hastening a bleak result. A new trustees report released last week shows that, without corrective action, the federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund will run out of assets in late 2016.

Disability Insurance Trust Fund (performance history, in millions of dollars)

Calendar year Total receipts Total expenses Net change Year-end assets
2003 88,074 73,108 14,966 175,434
2004 91,380 80,597 10,783 186,217
2005 97,423 88,018 9,405 195,623
2006 102,641 94,456 8,185 203,808
2007 109,854 98,778 11,076 214,884
2008 109,840 108,951 889 215,773
2009 109,283 121,506 -12,223 203,550
2010 104,017 127,660 -23,643 179,907
2011 106,276 132,332 -26,056 153,850
2012 109,115 140,299 -31,184 122,666
2013 111,228 143,450 -32,221 90,445
2014 114,858 145,060 -30,201 60,244

Outdated standards?

Mark Warshawsky, visiting scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and co-author of an April paper on the disability crisis, said the program faces administrative problems as much as demographic ones.

Warshawsky contends federal criteria in recent years give too much weight to age, English language proficiency, education and other nonmedical criteria. Even its medical criteria for disability are not updated enough to account for improved medical technology or labor force trends, he said.

"When some of these criteria were created years ago, there was a level of rigidity in the workforce then, little fluidity between jobs. And not speaking English well could create a huge disadvantage," he said.

"Everything has changed in those years, people are working later in life, more languages are spoken, and there is not the same rigidity. If we had the money in the program, maybe we could weather the effects of these changes. But we don't."

But other experts say the peculiarities of Michigan's work-age population make for more claims.

"There is a good deal of research that suggests once you get onto those benefit programs, very few get off," said Donald Grimes, senior research associate at the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy, which tracks economic and employment data.

"But another big factor here was the big population of baby boomers in their 50s and 60s — that's the prime age cohort that applies for disability. You also have a tremendous decline in the labor participation rate by 16-24 year-olds, and brain drain among young workers," which skews workforce percentages toward more disability-prone older people, he said.

Ages and ailments

The benefits surge has been a long time coming, experts said. It may be a combination of recent changes both in workforce demographics, and in how benefits get awarded.

Paul Morris, 59, of Pontiac, has been collecting disability for over a year after losing a mailroom job at The Palace of Auburn Hills over two years ago. Morris said he suffers hypertension and heart problems as well as sleep apnea.

"I had a CPAP machine for my apnea that was covered by my wife's insurance, but when she passed they wouldn't cover it anymore," he said. "She left a nice life insurance policy, and that helped me get through her funeral, but after that is when the stress started."

Morris said that on the advice of a doctor he started working with an advocate's help in late 2013 and it took only about seven months to get his benefits approved. Since early 2014, he has received both a $1,073 monthly benefit, along with a $173 widower's benefit for his wife, Regina, who died in 2009.

The benefits have covered most monthly expenses, he said, although he has a steep co-payment on a Medicaid HMO plan and recently had to leave a home he was renting with two roommates who were no longer there to split the payment with him.

Morris' short turnaround time for getting benefits isn't typical, but nearly 235,000 people, or nearly 27 percent of all new disability insurance beneficiaries, were in his age range, 55-59.

A decade of data reveals that Social Security Disability Insurance, the monthly benefit program for the long-term disabled who were once gainfully employed, added more than 135,000 adults in Michigan between December 2003 and December 2013.

That's not to be confused with Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, which uses similar medical criteria but is based on economic status, not employment history.

Experts said many people will continue to work even after developing an illness or injury that makes them eligible for disability, but later fall victim to layoffs and then have difficulty re-entering the workforce with their impairments.

"People have different tolerances for the injuries they receive," said Scott Imberman, associate professor of economics at Michigan State University and co-author of a recent report on the disability program.

"If they have a good job, they may try to stay on and work through it. But once they lose that job in a downturn, then they might decide whether their chances are better at applying for disability versus retraining or getting hired somewhere else."

Top 10 states (total disability recipient population growth, 2003-2013)

State Population ages 18-64 2013 Recipients Dec. 2013 Perct. Population ages 18-64 2003 Recipients Dec. 2003 Perct. Change % increase
Texas 16,440,040 859,801 5.2 13,703,091 532,613 3.9 327,188 61.43
California 24,365,913 1,192,546 4.9 22,299,613 955,734 4.3 236,812 24.78
Florida 11,878,569 760,008 6.4 10,197,562 532,681 5.2 227,327 42.68
Pennsylvania 7,966,826 611,208 7.7 7,632,997 443,342 5.8 167,866 37.86
Michigan 6,162,828 513,837 8.3 6,304,564 354,342 5.6 159,495 45.01
Ohio 7,168,681 535,975 7.5 7,103,738 379,853 5.3 156,122 41.1
New York 12,578,670 819,942 6.5 12,168,408 675,476 5.6 144,466 21.39
Georgia 6,306,503 410,187 6.5 5,561,450 281,637 5.1 128,550 45.64
North Carolina 6,155,356 447,171 7.3 5,303,591 319,858 6 127,313 39.8
Tennessee 4,052,025 353,365 8.7 3,720,586 254,098 6.8 99,267 39.07

How bad is it?

Disability insurance grew by 538,000 beneficiaries in 2010, the biggest single year-over-year growth in the program. Considering the average wait time to get a benefit decision from an administrative law judge was nearly two years, most of those new recipients likely applied during the last recession.

Some experts said the role of recessions can be overstated, though. Clifford Weisberg, president of Southfield-based Weisberg & Walkon PC who has practiced SSI and disability law for more than 30 years, said the aging workforce and several economic and demographic trends have all been converging. "It's a tsunami of all these things happening at one time," he said. "The baby boomers thing alone is just a part of it. You also have diabetes and obesity, where Michigan ranks as one of the worse among states. That goes to hypertension, cardiovascular disease and other things that qualify you."

Weisberg also said he is not convinced the rate of cash burn from new benefits is a real threat to the disability trust fund.

"Due to the economy, at times the disability insurance fund is short, and routinely (federal officials) will borrow from one fund to adjust the other fund. ... It's actually pretty routine — only in this Congress nothing is routine anymore."

Said Gerald Freedman, one of the administrative law judges handling claims in Michigan: "Historically, you'll see if Congress is packed with Republicans there's an effort to do away with overly generous entitlements and have accountability.

"Then, when the other side is in power, then there's an outcry about long delays in getting decisions, applicants dying before their cases get heard and the country not paying attention to the disabled," he said. "The truth about what should be done is probably in the middle."

Tackling fraud

Both sides of the debate over disability agree the system has abuses. Michigan already has saved $1 million during six months of ramped-up scrutiny of disability and related safety net programs, as one of the newcomers to a joint state-federal initiative to crack down on disability fraud.

Social Security's federal Office of Inspector General and the Michigan Department of Human Services last fall launched a Cooperative Disability Investigations unit in Detroit to investigate suspicious claims in Michigan. The Detroit unit was the 26th of 28 such offices launched in 24 states and Puerto Rico, since the program's inception in 1997.

"We are getting plenty of tips, because the state is a great partner and we get plenty of referrals," said Brad Martin, special agent for OIG and team leader of the new unit. "So even though we're new, we have no lack of work."

As of February, six months after it was formed, the Detroit office had opened 26 new investigations and saved about $370,000 to Social Security in disability program payments, denying or ending benefits in nine of the 10 cases it had closed, according to an OIG report. The same investigations yielded another $640,000 in savings to Medicaid, since SSI claimants are also Medicaid-eligible.

Martin, a 15-year OIG veteran before the team leader appointment last summer, said the investigations unit typically gets requests from examiners within the Disability Determination Services in the state's Human Services department, for individual claims that seem suspicious.

But the team is also focusing on third-party representatives like doctors, attorneys or claims representatives for possible attempts to manufacture documents supporting claims. Whether offenders will be criminally prosecuted in Michigan, as some have in other states, may come down to scale and cost. Martin said may investigations conclude with denying or canceling benefits.

Judicial priorities

Initially, Social Security refers claims for disability or SSI income to the state Disability Determination Services office, or other states' equivalent agencies, for an examiner to collect records and make an initial determination of eligibility.

In recent years, only about 35 percent of those decisions nationwide were in the applicant's favor (in Michigan it's averaged around 32 percent, according to the Social Security OIG) — but applicants can fare much better if they appeal.

Once claims reached an administrative law judge, according to Social Security data, about 64 percent of decisions nationwide favored the claimant.

For Southeast Michigan, some 59.9 percent of the nearly 79,000 decisions reached by about 40 judges in Detroit, Oak Park or Livonia since late 2009 were either partially or fully favorable.
But results vary dramatically by judge, with individual award rates ranging from under 30 percent to more than 80 percent.

"I would probably classify myself as more liberal in my interpretation of the (disability criteria) among my colleagues," said Freedman, who had the highest payment approval rate of any judge in Metro Detroit, at more than 85 percent between 2010 and his retirement last August.

"Some of my dearest friends who heard cases at the same offices had a payment rate closer to 30 percent. It was sometimes a matter of personal philosophy, although there are a lot of other factors too."

Those include speed or the rate at which judges hear and decide cases each month, he said, or how heavily a judge relies upon medical documentation.

Generating medical records often requires insurance to cover the repeated medical visits necessary to diagnose some conditions — so better educated and better insured applicants have a better chance of getting benefits, even if they are likely to be less dependent on them.

Judicial discretion

Among the bench of administrative law judges, 20 of the 30 who carried a statistically meaningful number of cases in Southeast Michigan had an approval or claim payment rate within 10 percentage points of the regional average of 60 percent.

But Judges Dennis Matulewicz and Mary Connolly in the Livonia office both consistently averaged around 80 percent approval of their cases since fiscal 2010, while fellow judges Ethel Revels and Oksana Xenos in Detroit averaged 36 percent and 28 percent approval, respectively.

"It's function of personality, somewhat," said Stuart Johnson, partner at Ball Johnson PC doing business as Disability Attorneys of Michigan in Warren. "You might get an administrative law judge who has a sister with a mental illness and identifies with a certain condition very personally — or someone else with no family history and no empathy."

Xenos, Connolly, and Matulewicz did not respond to voicemail or email messages seeking comment. A report in November from the Social Security OIG to the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform indicated that 44 judges nationwide were "outliers" who reached more than 700 case decisions per year and allowed claims in 85 percent or more of them for two fiscal years since 2007.

Collectively, the report indicates, those judges likely awarded an estimated 24,900 claims improperly, creating "questionable costs" of $2 billion over the period, based on a sampling of cases the OIG reviewed.

"About 500 cases a year (reaching a decision) is the most can we expect of a judge to do a good job, and be fair to the workload climate," Warshawsky said.

Warshawsky said term limits for administrative law judges, who get lifetime appointments, might also help curb the disability cash burn.

"It does seem from some research that the longer a judge is in office, the more lenient they tend to get, and that can be addressed with a time limit in office," he said.

The OIG report doesn't identify the outlier judges, but none appear to be in Southeast Michigan. Only two judges here even occasionally approached the 700-ruling benchmark, since 2010. Freedman, the only judge who regularly exceeded 85 percent allowances, never exceeded 490 decisions per year.

Longevity risk

Of course, the longer people remain employed, before they retire, the greater chance they have of encountering an illness or injury that makes them disability eligible.

Total new awards to disabled workers nationwide has declined each year since a peak of just over 1 million in 2010, but the percentage of those awards to beneficiaries 55 and older has increased over that period as well, according to Social Security data.

In 2011 nearly 21 percent of those in civilian employment were 55 or older, compared with less than 14 percent a decade earlier, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the Conference Board.

Charles Ballard, a professor of tax policy and public economics at Michigan State University, also said cyclical recessions can give laid off disabled workers a serious choice to make for the future.

"In the aftermath of the great recession especially, disability became something like a segue into retirement. If you're 58, disabled and displaced in a recession, and someone tells you there's a demand for medical technician and health care jobs if you retrain, you might ask yourself: 'Is that really going to happen with so many other people laid off, or is there another way?'"

Law judge approvals

Approval rates of relevant, current SSA administrative law judges who have carried a statistically significant local docket for at least three years during FY 2010 to 2015 and who still preside.

Judge Office Judge's total cases Decisions Awards Denials Award rate
Matulewicz, Dennis M LIVONIA (Lans) 3419 2994 2371 623 79.19%
Connolly, Mary S LIVONIA (Det) 2639 2312 1829 483 79.11%
Contorer, Beth J OAK PARK 2842 2504 1911 593 76.32%
Hall-Keith, Jacqueline Y OAK PARK 2775 2347 1653 694 70.43%
Fernandez, Ramona L LIVONIA (Lans) 2883 2397 1646 751 68.67%
D'Amato, Donald G LIVONIA (Det) 3103 2614 1786 828 68.32%
Gramenos, James N DETROIT 1616 1255 856 399 68.21%
Herman, Ronald DETROIT (Mt Pst) 2625 2212 1503 709 67.95%
Paige, Melody OAK PARK (Ind.) 1927 1690 1116 574 66.04%
Mason, Jr., David A LIVONIA (Oak P) 2387 2020 1295 725 64.11%
Alaga-Gadigian, Janet L OAK PARK 1262 1081 686 395 63.46%
VanderHeide, Jeanne M DETROIT 2571 2109 1332 777 63.16%
Christensen, Timothy J OAK PARK 1593 1391 866 525 62.26%
Dodson, John OAK PARK 3980 3089 1902 1187 61.57%
Blair, B. L LIVONIA (Lans) 3407 2828 1684 1144 59.55%
Sasena, Richard L LIVONIA (Det) 2906 2381 1408 973 59.13%
Callahan, J. William OAK PARK 2258 1931 1120 811 58.01%
Gasparovich, Martha M LIVONIA (Det) 3134 2659 1528 1131 57.47%
Blum, Jerome B OAK PARK 4083 3594 2057 1537 57.23%
Neumann, David F DETROIT 3052 2486 1347 1139 54.18%
MacLean, Patrick J DETROIT 2320 1905 1015 890 53.28%
Perez, Jr., Henry LIVONIA (Oak P) 2962 2507 1326 1181 52.89%
Wilenkin, Michael F OAK PARK 2155 1811 957 854 52.84%
Scallen, Timothy C OAK PARK 3235 2702 1351 1351 50
Rabaut, John J DETROIT (Flint) 2896 2141 1025 1116 47.87%
Smereka, Anthony R LIVONIA 2528 2122 988 1134 46.56%
Holiday, Gregory DETROIT (Oak P) 2334 1946 769 1177 39.52%
McKay, Patricia S OAK PARK 2351 1934 699 1235 36.14%
Revels, Ethel DETROIT 1882 1490 535 955 35.91%
Xenos, Oksana DETROIT 2566 2166 616 1550 28.44%

Relevant, but not current judges (retired or moved away)

Judge Office Judge's total cases Decisions Awards Denials Award rate Explanation
Freedman, Gerald A Oak Park 2418 2137 1885 252 88.21% Retired 8/1/2014
McGovern, J. T Detroit 1918 1622 1110 512 68.43% Retired '13 (partial docket yr)
Kalt, Melvyn B Oak Park 2116 1801 1190 611 66.07% Retired '14. No '15 cases
Dunn, Michael R Detroit (Flint) 2344 1879 970 909 51.62% Docket moved to Flint in '14
Roulhac, Roy L Detroit 1879 1584 771 813 48.67% Retired '13 (partial docket yr)

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Thu, 08/06/2015 - 10:43am
I know about 8 people collecting disability. 5 of them are cheats, 2 of those brag about it. The 5 cheats have persuaded doctors, using difficult to measure "disabilities" such as back pain, depression, chronic fatigue, and PTSD. None of the 8 ever plan to work again in any capacity, including volunteer work, and only 2 of the 3 truly could do no job at all. You and I work to pay for them to live middle class lives and not work. Disgusted and angry doesn't begin to describe my reaction.
Thu, 08/06/2015 - 11:14am
We (not only Michigan but the entire country) should take a close look at Denmark. They have very generous programs for worker retraining and worker re-location, so that those who have lost their jobs for reasons beyond their own control (globalization, automation) are not just left to rot. As pointed out in the article, not everyone can just pick up and move to South Dakota or Alaska or Texas. Not every factory worker or store clerk can afford the relevant training in computer programming or health care. But most would really prefer to work than to feel useless. The vast majority would prefer to earn their money than resort to begging or crime. Of course, worker retraining and relocation programs like those in Denmark cost money. But I would much rather pay more in taxes for such programs than to deal with all the social problems that accompany the kinds of job losses we have had and will continue to face in the foreseeable future.
Thu, 08/06/2015 - 3:12pm
There should be no surprises, over the long term people will go where the incentives lead them always have always will! And overtime you will see a snowball effect. Is it really good to have people so ready to accept that they aren't good enough to do anything but accept a government check?
Martha Toth
Thu, 08/06/2015 - 4:30pm
I'm sure you'll get a lot of horror stories about abuse of this system. A neighbor couple in their late forties were both on SS disability years ago, for example. I, of course, did not know the details of their health, but it never seemed to interfere with their rising at noon and then trailering their huge boat to Lake St. Clair. However, I have seen the other side, as well. My late husband was suddenly struck with Stage IV cancer in his fifties and never returned to work. Thanks to the "innumerable brain tumors," the once brilliant engineer was no longer home. The speed with which his claim was approved was a big clue to me that they did not expect him to live long. Disability supported our modest household during the time that he required me as a full-time caregiver, for which I am very grateful. And it cost a great deal less than the Social Security benefits he would have collected over a normal life span. I think this is the way the system is supposed to work.
Thu, 08/06/2015 - 9:28pm
A living wage would have a huge impact on this topic. 1. $15 per hour wage would result in 2 1/2 times as much income tax and Fica/Medicare tax. 2. $2500 per month would be a big incentive over living on $1100 in disability. 3. SNAP numbers would drop. 4. All wages would rise. 5. Business profits would increase with workers having money to spend. According to the census only 3% of household live on public assistance. Walmart is netting $15 billion in profits while we fork out nearly $5 billion for subsidized costs of its labor force. What? You don't want to earn what you should be making? Well you are probably tuned into the GOP Clown debates tonight. Don't vote for anyone who thinks your wages should be voluntary. Adjusted for inflation and productivity the 1968 minimum wage would be $21.50 today. And don't vote for anyone who thinks we can't ask the top 2% to pay more tax. If their taxes doubled the would still beleaving everyone else in the dust. Especially those having to live on disability.
Fri, 08/07/2015 - 10:01am
Geoffrey, Here's a badly needed lesson in basic micro economics. When a firm is forced through government action to raise it's labor costs, the firm has three places to shift this cost. First higher prices from consumers, second higher productivity, replacing less productive workers with more productive workers and replacing workers with machinery or equipment (Yes this means less labor and therefore less employees!) or third, accepting a lower gross profit. That is it! Only those choices! In the short term, yes the firm will probably take lower earnings (as you probably hope) but after this the cost will go to the other choices. How does this help?
Sun, 04/02/2017 - 3:05pm

Matt is correct. Also keep in mind what that inflation does to seniors, the disabled and the middle class. Middle class workers will not get a similar bump and so will have less buying power once prices start to creep and the former groups will be hit even harder. In 2016 my cola I think was like 20 bucks a month in my Ssdi payment but gas went down enough that even though I don't drive much, it was enough of an offset to almost be a wash. If it hadn't I would have been down about 40 dollars and that trend would have continued every time that inflation indexed minimum bumped up again. As for this theory that 2500 is a big incentive that may be true for ssi earners but I suspect most SSDI earners made that much. I know I made closer to 4. If we fixed the formula for reviewing these cases I think that we would catch more of the cheats to look for things like that - most people don't dream of taking a 75% cut in monthly income.

Fri, 08/07/2015 - 2:59pm
all excellent points...
Sun, 08/09/2015 - 10:34am
Matt - heres a badly needed lesson in spelling. It's = It is. And your 'basic micro economics' is, well, simplistic and wrong. So 'government action' is the reason for all business problems? No. Lousy management, poor products, bad customer service, etc. is more often the cause. Think about the businesses you stopped using and why.
Sun, 08/09/2015 - 9:47pm
Rick, Not all problems are due to government, but their mindset is not to improving performance and it surely isn't to support business success. A simple test, name a regulation/rule that a government agency has developed that was not written to provide a means of enforcement [control]. I am aware of a couple of regulaitons that are about improving performance, but they were proposed by industry and there had to be a couple of significant events before the government accepted them. The government does not have the practical experience nor the inclination to help business succeed, it is all about distrust and control.
Sun, 04/02/2017 - 3:17pm

Rick I think you focused too much on grammar and on the word government in his sentence that you missed the point and totally misunderstood the economic lesson.. The point here is that when labor costs rise a business can accept decreased profits decrease the number of workers (usually via Automations) or raise prices. He never said this was the only proble a business might face or that the government is the cause of all hardships a business might endure. Reread the post as he's quite right.

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 4:24am
I'd like to weigh in on my daughter's case. She has a Learning Disability on the autism spectrum (NVLD). We were able to get her through high school with the help of a great special education department. Once she graduated, we sent her to the state run Michigan Career and Technical Institute in Plainwell, to get vocational training, through Michigan Rehab Services. After some remedial math, she was enrolled in two programs, Graphic Arts (working in a print shop), where she was found lacking in math skills (which we knew from her school years, this is part of her syndrome, very low math skills) and then moved to retail sales (which was a problem with her social diffculties in relating appropriately to people) where again she failed. We brought her home and saw her Rehab Services counselor, who was very wonderful to us, but after reviewing her case, determined that she was unemployable at this point in her life. We then applied for SSI for her, and based on 10 years of School IEP's, Doctor's Reports, and Psychologist reports, she was awarded 700.00 month for living expenses. We told her that she could not collect money that folks had paid in taxes, without giving back. She volunteers at a Senior Center in our town, as well as reads to kids in classrooms at our local school. When you write stories about the folks who "take from the taxpayer", I hope you will think about those who need the funds, but also do all they can to contribute to society.
Sun, 04/02/2017 - 3:08pm

And for Ssdi earners they are collecting insurance pat-tme ts based on their own taxes.

homeless while ...
Mon, 08/27/2018 - 12:27pm

I have worked all my life most at a fair UAW wage, paid taxes fairly, volunteered since 18 and helped conservatively over 100 people and families. At 52, I became unable to work from severe fibromyalgia, and now extremely limited even in volunteering. The sad truth is the decline in available help while waiting for disability. during my wait of 20 months and still waiting, I was told repeatedly, "when you are ON THE STREETS HOMELESS, then we can help. I tell you know, this is the fact.
In August 2018 I lost every thing I own, and everything was fully paid for, no debt at all. My mobile home, cars, 401k, and property, for the sole reason... not one government, state or federal, charity, or church, would help, because I could not work. One sole exception, Salvation Army, but Sun Homes, the mobile home park, would NOT except their help. I had too many assets, for state help, "you could donate your property to the state" from DHS Really? Churches said too many people need help to risk on unemployed. The only state help would have been IF lot rent was under $350 they could help. When asked, the State agency rep. said "you'd be hard pressed to find ONE park in lower Mi. under $350 pr month.
I went to enter the (church run) mission (nice place considering) but was told I would NOT be able to take any of my medications for pain, muscle relaxers, or anxiety medications during my stay. If you think these aren't needed, look up fibromyalgia, and realize I'm in the severe category!!! I am now left with my only option, a 1987 camper I was using for storage with no water, electric, gas, or toilet, on my last remaining asset, my last property. But now that I am truly homeless, I can collect cash assistance... in about 60 days... and be put on a wait list for housing, only after I am "verifiably" HOMELESS.
And yet we still call this Country "one nation under God"
How close are you to the tithings of 10% that God askes for?
I did, and gave so much more in volunteering.
How many cheaters does it take, to make me lose everything OK?
Yet, I still forgive you all... Could you do the same? Stats say 1 in 4, you will be disabled, so you may have the opportunity to find out.
We send money to other countries that are allowed to build shelters with whatever they may scrounge up, Yet in America, the good Christians demand the cities clean up the streets of cardboard box homes, knowing their's no where left to go.
and Here in Michigan we leave them with blankets of snow... Do you think God's not watching?