Am I Really Pretending to Be Disabled, Or Are You Just Pretending Not to See My Disability? An Open Letter to a Disability Claims Investigator, Part 3

Note: this is part 3 of a 3-part series. For background and context, please see part 1 and part 2.

Hello Mr. Claims Investigator,

…Finally, thank you for giving me another and totally independent example of what I wrote about in my post How to Malinger: Lesson from an Expert. Recall that you stated in regard to whether my autistic obsessions constitute a legitimate disability:

I’m no psychiatrist but I’m not seeing impairment here…

[emphasis added]. Precisely, Mr. Claims Investigator, you are no psychiatrist. And at least in your case I believe you might even be sincere when you say that you don’t see my impairment. After all, why would you? Would you recognize a heart murmur if you heard it through a stethoscope? Could you recognize pneumonia off a chest X-ray? Could you distinguish between Schizophrenia, say, and Autism Spectrum Disorder?

No. Absolutely not. You have no training or qualifications to perform such tasks. And the same reasoning applies to why you are “not seeing” impairment in my case. And your choice of idiom is revealing: you say you’re “not seeing” my impairment, which, presumably, you would wish to explain with the hypothesis that there may be no impairment. But there’s actually an alternative hypothesis, which is that you yourself are suffering from a kind of impairment — an inability to “see” certain kinds of impairments in others: what we might call disability blindness.

And like a colorblind driver who cannot tell the difference between a red traffic light and a green one, and whose colorblindness thereby causes accidents to other drivers, it would seem that you simply cannot tell the difference between a true disability and a fake one, which means that for 18 years (by your own count), you have almost certainly denied disability benefits to countless people with legitimate disabilities that you were simply untrained to see (unless you were actually trained to not see them). For 18 years, Mr. Claims Investigator, whether you realize it or not, you have proudly made your living in no small part by exploiting your employer’s psychiatrically disabled disability claimants, arguably among the most vulnerable people in our society.

My friend, it’s not because you don’t see a disability, or perhaps because you pretend not to see it that it somehow ceases to exist. Just because you cannot see it,  or refuse to look at it, does not mean it isn’t there.

I’m not saying that human beings never fake or exaggerate disabilities. Perhaps you are even faking your own inability to see my disability (I don’t seriously believe that, but it’s possible, and it would be quite profitable for you and your employer to do so), but I am definitely not faking the disabling nature of my autistic obsessions (or my social incompetence). I know for a fact that I’m disabled. I know it because I suffer the consequences of my disability every day of my life as I have for the last 5+ decades. Yes, yes, I know I can give the appearance of being hyper-competent with tasks that are suitably relevant to my obsessions and which historically have accomplished nothing useful for anyone — things like this blog, for example (would you, yourself, pay me to write it?) and for another online example see the independent scholarship that I did several years ago on The Good-Regulator Project (which never earned me a dime and which costs me about $200 per year to keep published on the Web) — but to answer a question you asked me: no, I have never left a job for reasons that weren’t directly related to my disability. I have never, ever been able to earn a living in any sustained or consistent capacity because I’m often too busy obsessing uncontrollably about stuff that nobody wants to pay me for.

Sooner or later I fail at everything I try, my friend, and which might earn a steady paycheck, and I do so in no small measure because of my autistic obsessions (and my social incompetence too, an analysis of which will have to be done elsewhere).

 

 

 

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