September 22nd, 2013

jay-China-avatar

[links] Link salad knows that all things come to the patient man

16 OED Words That Became Obscure (Including Bransle, the Twerk of 1662) — (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Weight bias in cancer care? Obese cancer patients often shorted on chemo, hurting survival — Interesting. (Via [info]danjite.)

“Kinetic sand” is a mind-meltingly intriguing toy — (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Not funny: Creepy clown lingers on streets of Northampton in middle of the night — Because clowns! (Thanks, I think to Mike Brotherton.)

This is Your Brain on Maps — Mmm, maps.

Antares Rocket Launch — This is a fantastic image.

Ghosts of Planets Past: An Interview with Ron Blakey

Proof of alien life? You need a lot more evidence than thisLife-like debris in the stratosphere isn't enough to leap to life in space.

What's Really Going On With Arctic Sea Ice?

Are atheists smarter than believers? Not exactly.Rather, Zuckerman and co-authors Jordan Silberman and Judith Hall write that more intelligent people may find certain basic needs — “functions” in psychology-speak — fulfilled outside of religion. These functions include self-esteem, a sense of community and a sense of purpose, among others. “We say it is possible that having a high level of intelligence provides similar functions to what religion provides” for people who adhere to a religion, Zuckerman said. Interesting. (Via David Goldman.)

Slavery, segregation and biblical literalism (cont’d.) — Defense of slavery and segregation was no different from the wholesale Christianist hatefest going on in our country today in a life-or-death attempt to deny civil and human rights to LGBTQ citizens. Jesus must be so proud of his followers.

GOP Rep. Quotes Bible On Food Stamps: 'If Anyone Is Not Willing To Work, Let Him Not Eat' — Yeah, because Jesus was all about punishing the poor and letting them starve. Well, Republican Jesus was. No one in the GOP knows anything about that other pinko who's actually in the Bible.

I lived to See the Day when the Pope and the President of Iran are more doctrinally Flexible than the GOP

?otD: When they come too late, does anybody understand?




9/22/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (away from home)
Weight: n/a (away from home)
Number of FEMA troops on my block violating religious freedom by treating LGBTQ people like human beings: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

jay-China-avatar

[cancer] Disability insurance blues

The disability process rolls along in fairly good order. A combination of foresight, luck and social privilege on my part means I will neither starve nor go bankrupt in the process of dying of cancer (assuming nothing really weird happens to my healthcare coverage along the way). I continue to not discuss it in detail for confidentiality reasons. However, a number of issues go on bubbling below the surface, per the comments below. And yes, I am receiving advice from competent counsel as well as a financial planner and a CPA. So I'm not at sea on all this. I'm just frustrated. Meanwhile…

[info]snippy responded to my recent post about the frustrations of not working [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] with the following comment:
It's not right. But neither is giving a portion of the available support to people who are defrauding the system, because that portion is then unavailable to people who really need it.

Hard cases make bad laws, and one bad apple spoils the whole barrel. This is why, even though I believe it is unethical, I think we should move to a guaranteed minimum income for everyone with higher taxes on incomes over $100,000 to pay for it. No income limit on SS taxes either. (I believe it is unethical because of the negative effects on some people's characters, but the practicality overcomes those objections-no bureaucracy, no verification requirements, those things save money that then goes into the fund for minimum income distribution.)


To which I made a further response which I wanted to kick up to its own blog post here.
Except in my case, I'm not defrauding.

My private LTD policy was an employer sponsored benefit for which I paid the premiums out of my own pocket post tax. Its entire purpose was to provide partial income replacement should I become disabled working that job. Assuming the policy is actuarially sound (which isn't my problem either way), the premiums I paid fully offset the cost of the benefit I am now claiming.

However, if I receive any other disability income (such as SSDI), my LTD carrier deducts value of those payments from my benefit.

This is exactly the same as if I paid for a $20,000 life insurance policy and a $10,000 life insurance policy, but the carrier for the $20,000 policy only paid me $10,000 because I had the other policy also in place. How is this not flatly stealing from me? (Well, I know how, because this is how disability law is written. But it's written to flatly steal from people in my position.)

Furthermore, the LTD benefit is tax-free to me because of the way my premiums are structured. The SSDI benefit is taxable. I have just replaced a goodly portion of the LTD benefit with my SSDI benefit, and that dollar-for-dollar replacement is now subject to tax. Again, I flatly lose. Why?

Finally, the LTD benefit is specifically built around my statutory employment, designed to replace that income, again in a presumably actuarially sound manner. How is it relevant that I might have other income such as royalties from writing reprints, given I paid premiums for partial replacement of that specific income stream, into a policy designed for that purpose?

A similar set of issues pertains to the SSDI award itself, including the question of whether royalty income from work performed prior to the date of disability is considered offsetting income. One portion of the SSA rules says this is not, another portion says it is. They are flatly contradictory on the letter of the rule. What the heck am I supposed to do with this? Any fraud examiner looking at my case could choose either interpretation as it pleased them. I'm pretty sure SSA will always choose the interpretation that allows them a clawback.

I'm not defrauding anyone. I'm in a complex situation where even asking the questions could trigger a fraud audit, costing me a great deal of time and money to defend myself. It's very, very frustrating.