‘If I Can’t See It, I Don’t Have to Pay for It’: Towards a Theory of Disability Blindness


Here I would like to present two potentially useful insights into the general problem of so-called “invisible” disabilities, by which I mean any number of potentially disabling conditions all of which have the common characteristic of being more or less difficult to see, understand, and accept as legitimate by anyone lacking the often specialized and/or up-to-date training required to diagnose them directly. Depending on the disability, this can include not just family members, friends, and co-workers, but even medical health professionals, including doctors whose experience and expertise lay in domains that aren’t directly relevant to the disability in question.

Such disabling conditions may include,

“…debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive dysfunctions, brain injuries, learning differences and mental health disorders, as well as hearing and vision impairments. These are not always obvious to the onlooker, but can sometimes or always limit daily activities, range from mild challenges to severe limitations, and vary from person to person.” (The Invisible Disabilities AssociationHow Do You Define Invisible Disability?)

Me and My “Invisible” Autism

For an example from my own life, since childhood I have struggled chronically for rational control over my own attention, striven excessively to organize my entire life around strict rituals and routines, and more or less botched up every interpersonal relationship I’ve ever had at home, school, or work. But it wasn’t until November 2016, just after my 53rd birthday, that I was properly diagnosed with the Autism Spectrum Disorder that best explains this particular triad of symptoms.

Now, one would think that such a diagnosis could only be a good thing, and I sincerely believe that in the long run it will turn out to be. The short run, however, has been a mixed bag. On the upside I finally have proper medical and therapeutic support, and at least the most important members of my family have come to embrace my diagnosis as a fulfilling source of answers to questions like “Whoa, what is up with him?” and “Why the Hell did he do that?

But I regret to say that the reaction of many has been less than sympathetic. Although much of this unsympathetic feedback is unspoken and revealed passively aggressively, at least a few hardy free-thinkers have been bluntly honest and highly articulate in their antipathy towards me. For example, consider these highly critical comments from one reader:

“…You’re not disabled. You’re just obsessed and angry…You’re a complete fraud. It’s my opinion whether you like it or not…someone with your intellect can easily research a psychological condition, go to a doctor, tell them what they want to hear listen to your tall tales of misfortune and assign you a diagnosis….”[1]

Or this one:

“You’re a sad little man playing the victim card while continually breaking rules you don’t like. Seriously, grow up.”[2]

Or this blurb (note the sadism of the final line):

“This blog is a testimony to someone who’s only ailments are selfcenterness, selfishness and greed. With the amount of energy and time you have put into this thing you could have already had another job for months. If you really have autism why don’t you blog about your search for a new job with your supposed ailment. I doubt you will though because that would be constructive and helpful to people with autism. Unfortunately the only thing readers have to look forward to is an awkward 3 month break in posts followed by a new entry about how your butthole hurts because you got your $hit puuuuussshed Innnn while in Prison….”[3]

But perhaps the most spectacular manifestation of this brand of hostility can be seen in the relentless and ongoing attempts by roughly a dozen individuals — mostly MetLife employees — to punish me for (what they must imagine to be my) pretending to have a disability and attempting to exploit public sympathy for my own selfish gain.[4]

Not that any of my former colleagues has accused me out loud of such fraudulent behavior, but at this point I think that is the hypothesis most likely to explain their collective and vindictive behavior toward me. These people can’t all be sociopaths, and if they sincerely believed me to have a legitimate disability I’m sure their behavior would have been very different. No, the most likely reason for their numerous and ongoing attempts to punish me is that they think I’m only faking my disability and that therefore I deserve to be punished.

Two Main Insights

I have thought a great deal about this whole situation and written quite a bit about it on this blog already, but here I wish to summarize my two main insights into the general problem. The first one is that these very angry but surely otherwise good people simply lack the training they would need in order to see, understand, and accept for themselves my Autism Spectrum Disorder as a legitimate disability. Because they lack this training, it really appears to them that I don’t have any disability at all, and so the obvious conclusion for them is that I must be faking it.

Although in such situations it is popular to reference the idea of an “invisible” disability, I believe this approach unfairly lays the burden of proof on the person with the so-called “invisible” disability, while lending an unearned legitimacy to anyone, e.g. a Disability Insurance company, who stands to profit or otherwise benefit from not seeing the given disability.

In order to solve these problems, elsewhere I have suggested the idea of Disability Blindness, which explicitly  acknowledges the objective possibility that, for example, a failure by Jones to see Smith’s disability might very well result from the fact that Jones simply lacks the training he would require to see it. This perspective at once shifts the burden of proof off of Smith and onto Jones, while demanding that Jones earn his legitimacy by acquiring the proper training. For a demonstration of how I have used this strategy to respond to one of my own harshest critics, please see the following 3-part series of blog posts:

  1. 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 1
  2. 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 2
  3. 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

The second main insight is that such Disability Blindness can actually be quite beneficial for some people, even profitable, and that for anyone who stands to profit or benefit in some way from being unable to see certain kinds of disabilities, such a person will tend to stubbornly resist the training he or she needs in order to see, understand and accept them them as legitimate. He or she will resist the training so as not to lose the profit/benefit.

This second insight can actually be expressed as a psychological law:

A Fundamental Law of Disability-Blindness

Given some disability that cannot be easily seen, understood, and accepted as legitimate without adequate training (e.g. psychiatric disabilities, chronic pain, etc.), a given layperson (one lacking such training) will nonetheless be able to see, understand, and accept the disability as legitimate to the extent that the disability doesn’t threaten to burden or inconvenience the layperson in any significant way.

Also, to the extent that the layperson perceives that he or she may be burdened or inconvenienced in some way by the disability in question, said layperson will resist the training and continue to find it difficult to see, understand, and accept the disability as legitimate, and this so as to escape the perceived burden or inconvenience.


All disabilities pose challenges to those who have them, but when a given disability can only be detected by people with specialized training, everyone else may succumb to the illusion that the disability is non-existent and conclude that the person with the disability is faking and attempting to exploit public sympathy for private gain. This illusion of cheating can give rise to hostility that may be expressed either covertly or overtly toward the person with the disability, thus greatly exacerbating the basic challenges associated with the disability.

In such situations, it becomes essential to understand the underlying psychological forces that are driving this hostility in order to find positive and constructive ways to cope with it. The insight, first, that the alleged “invisibility” of the disability may be due entirely to a correctable lack of training on the part of the layperson, and second, that the layperson may stand to lose profit or other benefit by acquiring such training can go a long way toward creating that essential understanding.

Of course, the above is not offered as any sort of exhaustive theory of Disability Blindness, but I’m hoping it’s a useful contribution to such a theory. I invite you to offer any thoughts, ideas, or feedback which may help to elaborate and complete the theory in a comment below.

Thanks for reading!

[1] For background and context see Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 1.

[2]For background and context see Anonymous Guest-Blogger or Annoying Troll, Part 1: Who Is ‘Sulla Felix’?

[3]This bit of sadistic nonsense was left by an anonymous reader on my post Warning: This Blog Just Might Scare The Shit out of You.

[4]To summarize briefly: first these individuals unlawfully resisted my requests for reasonable accommodation of my disability, taking 7 months to revise a 1 page document granting my request (which was still wrong); then they fired me unlawfully because I filed a first complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for resisting my requests for reasonable accommodation; then they lied to the EEOC about why they fired me, giving the EEOC an excuse to drop the investigation of my second complaint against the company; then they tried to buy my permission to use their psychologically brutal tactics on others (I call the ensemble of these tactics The MetLife Meat Grinder); and now they’re fixing to send me to jail because I staged a one-man, totally non-violent, civilly disobedient protest at their campus in Cary, NC in order (among other things) to raise public awareness of The MetLife Meat Grinder.

For a more complete understanding, see, for example:

  1. The MetLife Meat Grinder: A Significant Public Health Concern
  2. The Morally Mature, Civic-Minded, Grown-Up Thing to Do: Yet, Another Open Letter to the Mysterious Mr. Phicks
  3. Is MetLife’s Code of Conduct Recklessly Incoherent Bullshit? — An Open Letter to MetLife CEO Steven A. Kandarian
  4. An Open Letter to A Certain EEOC Deputy District Director.
  5. I Was Gang-Raped by MetLife Employees: Another Open Letter to the People of Earth.


Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 7: My Line by Line Response, Concluded (Finally!)

[Note: the following is continued from Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 6: My (Seemingly Endless) Line by Line Response.]

DCI: I mentioned to your psychiatrist that I’m fearful of your ability to travel to NJ or PA. I mentioned your comments about Adam Lanza, how you identify with Adam Lanza. I said I dont feel safe that you’re not incarcerated or that you have yet to voluntarily admit yourself to a mental illness treatment facility…Your behaviors, your comments, your violations of people’s boundaries are a danger to the public…Please voluntarily admit yourself to a mental illness treatment facility so that we may not live in fear that you may harm yourself or others…If you do not do so I will call the Cary PD again and request that you be involuntarily committed. It’s your choice Dan.

Me: I wholeheartedly agree that my identification with Adam Lanza is alarming. I too found it alarming, at least at first, which is why I thought it best to tell people about it. Following the trauma of the Civil Rights violations I endured last year, I found myself exploring some dark corners of my own imagination, and what I found there frightened me. Was I losing my mind? Was I doomed to become some sort of monster?

But then I thought it through critically. I remembered such very important and publicly observable facts as that I have no history of violence, and especially that I own no guns nor weaponry of any kind. My total lack of guns, bombs, etc. is hugely important here. All of the real monsters have guns and other kinds of weapons, usually a lot of them. The fact that I don’t is powerful evidence against the hypothesis that I’m in danger of becoming some sort of monster. I also found it reassuring that I was willing to tell people about my fears, to reach out for help with them, and to accept the help I received in response. Does any of that sound like a real monster? I don’t think so. Clearly I was deeply troubled and needed help, but I was a victim of a crime, not a perpetrator of one.

To my view, the only thing monstrous about any of this, really, is that in addition to receiving the help I asked for, I have also been harshly punished because I asked for that help. First I was fired by MetLife, then the EEOC dismissed my complaint against the company for the flimsiest of reasons, then I lost another great job because I was still hung up on what happened at MetLife, and now I’m facing the threat of a criminal record, fines, and possible jail time — all because I refuse to be silent about the Civil Rights crime that these 12 or so MetLife employees committed against me last year.

DCI: You’re in full denial. 

Me: If you mean that I fully deny that your misunderstanding of me is actually me, then yes, I’m in full denial of that. Get your facts about me straight, and you’ll find me much more inclined to agree with you.

DCI: I understand [your sister] is taking steps to ensure you check yourself in for treatment. I’ll let her take over at this point.

Me: I have been interviewed at length by my psychiatrist and by the police, and none of them sees any value in hospitalization. I’m not a danger to anyone. Really.

DCI: I would also suggest a polygraph analysis to get to the root cause of your lies / fraud.

Me: I’d be happy to participate in such an analysis, but you’ve stated twice that nothing I could say or do would change your opinion of me. If such an analysis were to confirm my honesty, would that change your opinion? Or would you just shrug it off as a false test result?

[Note: in response to a question about what kind of evidence might change his opinion of me, he wrote:]

DCI: I’d need to review the rationale for your disability denial. 20 appeal analysts in disability claims, most of us with 20 years of claims experience, masters degrees and not one of us has ever seen a disability appeal for autism. There was ONE. But it wasn’t approved for autism it was approved for depression. And it probably got paid to avoid litigation costs 

Me: Once again, that may be evidence of discrimination against autistic people. At the very least it’s evidence that you and your colleagues have no experience whatsoever with autism and therefore no business having an opinion on the subject, one way or another — certainly not as to whether I may be pretending to be autistic. When you accuse me of fraud, you are simply guessing in the darkness of your own ignorance and pretending to be certain about your guess.

[Note: Part of DCI’s anger at me was due to his perception that I had betrayed his trust, and when I asked whether deleting his comments from my blog would make us even, he wrote:]

DCI: You dont owe me anything. I simply didn’t want to get involved with something like this. You called me for advice. I had no idea (because you didn’t tell me everything) that all of these other things were going on. It would have been important for me to have a full understanding of your legal situation before giving an opinion. As a disability claim manager I look at the entire picture, not just the medical picture but the potential to use disability for secondary gain.

Me: If it is true that I didn’t tell you enough about the context, then it’s at least partly because you didn’t ask, which is at least as much your own fault as my own. I didn’t betray you. We had an honest misunderstanding.

[Note: this concludes my line-by-line response to DCI’s hostile commentary. I know this was a very long series of posts, but I felt it necessary to write it. I thank you for reading it, even if you couldn’t read the whole thing, and would love to know what you think!]

Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 6: My (Seemingly Endless) Line by Line Response

[Note: the following is continued from Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 5: My Line by Line Response (Yup, We’re Still Doing This).]

DCI: Autism does not worsen with time.

Me: I’m not sure what to say about that. In any case, I have not observed a worsening of my own symptoms, and neither have you, so I’m not sure why you’re mentioning it. On the other hand, what has increased dramatically since the birth of my children is the ratio of my responsibilities to my disability. However well I may have managed or not prior to having kids, now that I have them I find it much more difficult to function in general.

DCI: Depression comes and goes. At the most you are having depressive symptoms. This is not a permanently disabling medical condition. Depression is treated with medication and psychotherapy. Once the medication has been adjusted and your symptoms are controlled, you are no longer disabled.

Me: There you go again, pretending to be a psychiatrist. Silly.

DCI: Leave me out of your fraud scams…

Me: We’ve covered this ad nauseum. Your belief that I have committed or am committing some sort of fraud is a consequence of your own Disability Blindness.

[Note: the following was offered by email as a response to the implied question, “I’m not sure what you’re hoping to accomplish (by offering me all of these hostile comments)”.]

DCI: Here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish you dick!.. you dragged me into this mess you created. I wanted nothing to do with EEOC complaints, lawsuits, pending court appearances and whatever other nonsense you’ve created. I wanted to simply help you with your appeal for temporary disability benefits because I thought for once I’d give a try and put a good foot forward because you’ve always creeped me. But NO. You turn around and fucked me over with your petty bullshit, your arrogance, your self entitled attitude about your so called autism.

Me: You’ve helped me more than you may know, and I’m grateful for that. I’m sorry you regret having helped me, but I’m quite sure that your regret is unnecessary and grounded entirely in your own temporary Disability Blindness. If ever you can correct this impairment of yours by learning to see, understand, and accept Autism Spectrum Disorder as a  legitimate disability, I’m sure doing so will transform that regret you feel into something like relief, possibly pride. You’ve done a good thing here, my friend. I know you did it accidentally and out of ignorance and recklessness, but you did it, and that’s ultimately what matters most.

DCI: In 20 years of disability claims there’s not a single person on my entire appeals team who has ever evaluated a claim for autism. That speaks volumes that your claims are misdirected and politically motivated.

Me: It may also be evidence of discrimination against autistic people by your employer.

DCI: You can’t fool me Dan. I’ve seen everything you post. Your just an angry activist type of person with a vendetta against your employer. You’re not disabled. There’s nothing you can say or do to change my mind so dont try….

Me: Thanks for reading my blog!

DCI: …You have the nerve to claim disability and flaunt your arrogance which is highly annoying and false. There are zero disability claims for autism here. None. Get over your anger and get on with being a responsible person. Further emails will be addressed in the same manner. There’s nothing you can say or do to change my opinion

Me: But I already have said things that changed your opinion. At first you had the opinion that attacking me on my blog and by text and email was a good idea. Now you regret your attacks and want me to keep them private. I call that real progress!

DCI: I dont even know what you stand for. Anger? Hate? Fraud? Terrorism?

Me: No, no, no, and no, again. If you’re truly curious about what I stand for, you should begin by learning to see, understand, and accept Autism as a legitimate disability.

DCI: You’re bizarre. 

Me: Your perception that I’m “bizarre” and your earlier statement that I “always creeped” you are symptomatic of my Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

DCI: You and your father have always thumbed your nose at me for what? Because I work and dont make excuses? Go fuck yourself

Me: You don’t think that blaming me for having “dragged” you into this MetLife mess qualifies as making excuses? You didn’t make any choices? Or am I responsible for those too? Also, I think much of the “work” you’ve done for the past 18 years has involved the for-profit exploitation of people with disabilities — disabilities that you and your professional colleagues simply cannot see because of your Disability Blindness.

DCI: You mention several times in your blog of people’s ignorance of your autism. You are hypocritical in your statements in that you’re ignorant of people’s boundaries. You have no respect for people’s boundaries…

Me: What you’re calling a lack of respect for peoples’ boundaries is actually a symptom of my Autism Spectrum Disorder.

[Continue with Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 7: My Line by Line Response, Concluded (Finally!)

Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 5: My Line by Line Response (Yup, We’re Still Doing This)

[Note: the following is continued from Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 4: My Line by Line Response, Continued Again.]

DCI: People like you are a true danger to society.

Me: Again, I have no history of violence. I have no interest in violence. I don’t practice any martial arts, nor do I own any guns nor weaponry of any kind. I don’t even play violent video games. The last time I was in involved in anything like a physical altercation was almost 40 years ago. I was about 16 years old and some random guy walked up to me, punched me twice in the head, and I started to cry. Your concerns that I’m somehow a “true danger to society” are grounded in zero evidence and are nothing more than an expression of your own anxieties, which in turn are an exaggerated response to your misunderstanding of me.

DCI: I know you will delete this post.

Me: Nope. Not only have I not deleted the comments you’ve posted on my blog, I’ve turned them into this multi-part blog article, and I’ve supplemented them with comments you’ve sent me via text and email messages. I consider you a “guest blogger” and I’m actually grateful that you’ve made the effort to articulate your misunderstanding of me so clearly and with such unbridled enthusiasm. I wish more would muster the gumption to do the same.

DCI: I just hope others learn from your dishonesty.

Me: Again, I am not faking my disability. The doctors who diagnosed me with an Autism Spectrum Disorder did so on the basis of a mountain of publicly observable evidence that took more than 5 decades to accumulate and would be impossible to fake. But I’m happy you brought up the general topic. I’m sure you realize that pretty much everybody lies, at least sometimes, and of course I’m no exception, but neither are you.

For example, these harsh opinions you have of me are a kind of lie. Your expressed level of confidence in these opinions is way out of proportion with the evidence you actually have to support them. At best the evidence you’ve seen supports a measure of doubt or suspicion, but you have been going all-in on your erroneous beliefs about me as though you are certain. In essence, you believe me to be bluffing, and you are hoping to bully me into some sort of confession by pretending to have more evidence than you actually have.

But I know for a fact that you cannot have such evidence, because I know for a fact that I am not faking my disability. It’s you who are bluffing here. It’s you who are being dishonest in this particular situation.

Yes, you are absolutely right to think that I am occasionally dishonest, just as you are along with every other human being old enough to have a reason to lie, good or bad. But in this particular case — as regards my Autism Spectrum Disorder — I’m not lying about that. On the contrary, you are pretending to be more confident in your beliefs than is actually warranted by the evidence.

As you put it above, I hope that others learn from your dishonesty.

DCI: You were able to work for 12 years. As I recall this was with Chubb Institute.

Me: You’re misinformed, again. That 12-years from my resume represents an accumulation of various jobs, interspersed with periods of chronic unemployment.  I have never worked anywhere longer than five years. I learned how to program computers in the early 1990’s at a trade-school called The Chubb Institute, and I subsequently worked for 11 months as a contractor at Chubb & Sons Insurance. I have worked a few places for between one and two years, and many other places for less than a year, always quitting or getting fired for reasons relating more or less directly to my Autism Spectrum Disorder. I have been unemployed for much of my adult life, a fact wholly consistent with unemployment rates of 20% and 27% recently found for autistic adults.

DCI: You’ve supposedly had undiagnosed autism your entire life. You claim your autism currently disables you.

Me: Actually, what I find most disabling is not so much my autistic neurology, per se, but rather the widespread Disability Blindness that prevents you and so many others from seeing my disability, from understanding it, and especially from accepting it as a legitimate disability.

What I find consistently in my interactions with others is that to the extent that someone can see for themselves that I am autistic, can understand this fact and accept it, then I am effectively no longer disabled by it. It’s like my disability just vanishes the moment someone actually sees it. The situation is similar to that of a person who needs corrective lenses in order to see clearly, only in my case I would need you to wear the lenses, figuratively speaking, so that you could see my disability clearly. It can be a real hazard for me to try and interact with people like you who do not yet have such corrective lenses, by which I mean the training you would need to see for yourselves, understand, and accept as legitimate my disability.

[Continue with Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 6: My (Seemingly Endless) Line by Line Response.]

Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 4: My Line by Line Response, Continued Again

[Note: the following is continued from Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 3: My Line by Line Response, Continued.]

DCI: You see Dan, someone with your intellect can easily research a psychological condition, go to a doctor, tell them what they want to hear listen to your tall tales of misfortune and assign you a diagnosis.

Me: That hypothesis would be reasonable if not for all of the publicly observable evidence that defeats it. Unfortunately, you have far too much invested in remaining ignorant of that evidence and in rejecting the defeat of this wholly unsubstantiated theory of yours.

Again, much of your own livelihood depends on your ability to hallucinate fraud where none exists. The moment you lose that ability by learning to see, understand, and accept as legitimate all of the disabilities that are currently invisible to you because of your lack of proper training is the moment you’ll feel compelled to quit your job and find some new line of work that doesn’t exploit people with disabilities.

Your cruel actions towards such people are not caused by some inherent flaw in your nature, but by your ignorance. You can learn to treat such people with kindness instead of hostility.

DCI: Doctors generally support their patients. Do you want me to prove this to you? Easily done.

Me: No need for a proof; I already believe it. Doctors are supposed to support their patients, and in fact take an oath to do it. What would you have them do? Remain indifferent? Actively attempt to undermine their patients’ well-being?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doctors supporting their patients, unless one has a vested interest in undermining that support, which is true for you and your colleagues in the Insurance industry.  In fact, the only time I’ve ever seen a doctor not be supportive of me was when I needed his support on a disability insurance claim. I have to assume this is due to the doctors’ fear of being accused falsely of committing fraud by Insurance companies. Based on my direct experience with the Disability Claims team at MetLife and now you, I can see why they might feel this fear. Not because they’re guilty of anything, but because people in your line of work are relentless in your unsubstantiated accusations.

DCI: As I recall several years ago, you learned how to count cards and you were ejected from a casino for this. Or is this another fabrication on my part?

Me: Well, it’s not a total fabrication. You are correct that I once had an autistic obsession with casino Blackjack and spent many hours learning to count cards in order to gain a statistical edge in the game. And although I did lose several thousand dollars in a failed attempt to play the game professionally, I have never been ejected from a casino for doing so.

DCI: You’re a high level functioning individual and also a person with no respect for others.

Me: I agree that I can function quite well on tasks that are suitably relevant to my autistic obsessions, but I usually do quite badly on tasks that fail to meet that criteria. One of the most dramatic and easily confirmed examples of this can be seen in my relationship to mathematics. Prior to about halfway through my 19th year of age I had a very difficult time with anything relating to mathematics, and then about 6 months prior to my 19th birthday I developed an autistic obsession with mathematics at which point it became quite easy for me and within a year after that I was Aceing college-level calculus courses. This dramatic shift in performance is documented in my academic records which show my math-related grade averages jumping from C’s and D’s before college up to A’s and A+’s throughout college.

Regarding your claim that I have “no respect for others”, on the one hand I know I set high-standards for myself in terms of showing respect to other human beings, but on the other hand I know I occasionally fail to meet those standards. When that happens, and to the extent that I realize it, I feel guilty and I try to make amends. I don’t think it’s fair or accurate to say that I have “no respect for others”.

DCI: You crossed the line when you entered met life illegally. You disrespected people’s safety for your own selfishness.

MetLife-meat-grinderMe: It remains to be determined by our Criminal Justice System whether I am guilty of any crime, but as I have already explained, one of my main objectives for my visit to MetLife on June 14 was to help raise awareness of and draw attention to a significant public health concern that I refer to as The MetLife Meat Grinder. Once again, this is a collusive internal process that MetLife systematically uses to shirk its responsibilities as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and to fire illegally but with impunity otherwise qualified employees who struggle with certain kinds of disabling conditions. It is cruel and psychologically damaging to its victims, and my family and I have personally witnessed its cold-hearted effectiveness.

Before I undertook my physically harmless visit to the MetLife Campus on June 14, I had spent over a year exhausting all of my other options. In addition to dedicating much of this blog to publicizing what had happened, I also filed two complaints with the EEOC, both of which were effectively dismissed without anything like a serious investigation. I had also tried several times to report the events in question to the FBI, leaving numerous tips by phone and electronic submission, but I never heard anything back from them. After the failure of the EEOC and the FBI to do anything about the problem, I spoke with numerous lawyers and even hired one of them who utterly failed to negotiate a settlement that didn’t simply give MetLife Carte Blanche to abuse others as they’d done to me and my family.

It was only after I had completely exhausted all of the usual channels for coping with the problem that I finally made the decision to explore the unusual ones — those involving Civil Disobedience. In the end, the reason I undertook my physically harmless visit to the MetLife Campus on June 14 was because it was the morally mature, civic-minded grown-up thing to do. Not doing it would leave MetLife free to go off and subject others to the psychological cruelty of The MetLife Meat Grinder.

[Continue with Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 5: My Line by Line Response (Yup, We’re Still Doing This).]

Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 3: My Line by Line Response, Continued

[Note: This post is the continuation of Hate Mail from that Disability Claims Investigator, Part 2.]

DCI: You’re a complete fraud. It’s my opinion whether you like it or not.

Me: Of course you have that opinion. You’re paid quite well to form opinions just like it. As explained in Part 2, your belief that I’m only pretending to have a disability is a direct consequence of your own Disability Blindness, which is to say your inability to see my disability because you lack the training you would need in order to recognize my symptoms (e.g. obsessions, lack of boundaries, etc.) as textbook manifestations of an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

In your case, however, what complicates matters is that your Disability Blindness makes you a profitable asset for your employer, a company that sells Disability Insurance, a product which simply wouldn’t be profitable if your employer didn’t employ disability-blind people such as yourself to analyze and investigate Disability Insurance claims. To use your own professional jargon, you and your employer accrue powerful “secondary gains” from this impairment of yours, which in turn makes it important for you to reject the very training that might correct it. The reason you believe erroneously that I’m a fraud is because if you didn’t you’d have to find yourself a new line of work.

DCI: Not only are you a complete and utter fraud, you have a great deal of hate and disrespect for people. Its dangerous and I dont think you’re safe to be around.

Me: I have already addressed these concerns, above and in part 2.

DCI: Therefore I will reiterate what I said. Keep at least 5 miles distance from my residence, my family and my place of work. 

Me: That shouldn’t be a problem as I live five-hundred miles away from you, your family, etc. If that doesn’t reassure your irrational anxieties, then probably nothing will.

DCI: You’ve done a fantastic job of researching autism spectrum disorder and I applaud your thorough knowledge of the disorder. You’ve unsuccessfully used your knowledge to make false claims against your former employer. You unsuccessfully applied for disability benefits.

Me: Although I have read a few books and articles about Autism Spectrum Disorder, most of my expertise comes from having lived more than 5 decades with my own unique manifestation of autism, and this without knowing that I was autistic.

Also, the claims that I’ve made against my employer are essentially true, although I have used strong figurative language to make them, especially on this blog. For example, I have described as a form of gang rape the Civil Rights crime that was perpetrated against my person by an estimated dozen MetLife employees and others working in collusion. Although I was not literally raped or even touched by anybody, the psychological impact on me of this crime was traumatic, and my family and I are still struggling to cope with the repercussions.

DCI: No I’m not a robot, ignorant or naive.

Me: I think your harsh opinions of me are naive and grounded in your ignorance of Autism Spectrum Disorder. I think your behavior is robotic in the sense of unreflective — you haven’t really thought through the consequences of your actions. You seem to have been acting on some sort of robotic auto-pilot. I’m guessing you actually agree with me on this point, given that you’ve asked me to delete your various comments from my blog and also to keep private the contents of our emails and text messages. To me that means you regret having made your accusations against me.

But I’m actually quite happy that you made these accusations, and I don’t think your regrets are rationally grounded. You have accidentally done a great thing here, my friend — not the thing you thought you wanted to do, but you only wanted to do that because you sincerely and erroneously believed me to be a dangerous criminal. Once you come to understand me better you will be glad you committed this fortuitous gaffe.

DCI: Apparently I’m not the only person who thinks your claims of disability are bogus. Otherwise your claim would still be approved.

Me: I agree that your harsh and ignorant opinions of me are likely shared by many other disability-blind human beings, in particular your own professional colleagues. Furthermore, I seriously doubt that I’m the only disabled person you all punish with your harsh and ignorant opinions.

In fact, what I see in these opinions of yours is evidence of a kind of class conflict between, on one side, the class of people who are disability blind like you are, and on the other side the class of people like me who have disabilities that cannot be seen by people in your class, or at least not until proper training has corrected your Disability Blindness.

By the way, you’re clearly missing some key facts. In the months prior to my illegal termination from MetLife in May 2017, I took two doctor recommended FMLA medical leaves and submitted two Short-term Disability Claims to cover my salary during those leaves. Both disability claims were initially rejected, and only the first claim was finally approved on appeal. The second claim was rejected on appeal.

DCI: You asked for my advice without giving full context of your situation with your employer. Had I known in advance I would have blocked your calls.

Me: You feel I betrayed you because you don’t remember me telling you about the EEOC claim I had made on January 4, 2017, several weeks prior to our own original conversation about my appeal for my second disability claim. To be honest, I also don’t remember telling you about the EEOC claim, but I don’t remember not telling you either. It’s entirely possible that I told you and that you simply forgot that I told you. Either way, my complaint with the EEOC was about the frustrating resistance MetLife had been showing since the previous October when I first requested reasonable accommodation for my disability. Although clearly related through the fact of my disability, the problem I was having obtaining reasonable accommodation and the rejection of my Short-term Disability claim were really two separate issues. If you are right that I didn’t tell you about the EEOC complaint it’s because I thought it wasn’t relevant. And if I did tell you and you forgot, you probably forgot because you thought it wasn’t relevant too.

I’m sorry you feel betrayed, but if I did withhold information from you as you claim, I did so because I didn’t realize its relevance. Perhaps the next time somebody asks you for information about how disability claims are processed, you might consider responding with something like, “I’m sorry you’re having difficulties, but for ethical reasons I cannot discuss my work with anyone I don’t work with directly.”

To be continued…

Note: When I publish part 4 I will post a link to it here.

Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 2: My Line by Line Response

Here I will attempt a line-by-line response to the fiercely critical comments that were offered to me by the Disability Claims Investigator (DCI) referred to in my recent 3 part series Am I Really Pretending to Be Disabled, Or Are You Just Pretending Not to See My Disability?…. For additional background and context, see Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 1.

DCI: You’re not disabled.


Do you struggle with Disability Blindness?

Me: There’s an alternative hypothesis which is that you simply cannot see my disability. If that’s true, then to my view you are suffering from Disability Blindness, which is an inability to see, understand, and accept as legitimate certain kinds of disabilities, such as my own. Disability Blindness can afflict anyone and appears to be mostly caused by a lack of training. In principle it can be easily corrected by providing such training, but in practice it can be nearly impossible to correct for anyone, such as yourself (and really the entire Disability Insurance Industry), who benefits or profits in some way from being disability blind.

DCI: You’re just obsessed and angry.

Me: I mostly agree, but I would remove the word just.  It suggests that my obsessions are somehow no big deal. On the contrary, my unruly tendency to obsess constantly about stuff in varying depth and intensity is a principle symptom of my Autism Spectrum Disorder (autism).

But am I angry? Sometimes, for sure, but I would say that I’m mostly frustrated by the fact that I have a disability that can only be seen, understood, and recognized as a legitimate impairment by those relatively few people who have the requisite training; along with the fact that I am both surrounded by and constantly forced to interact with people who lack such training — people, such as yourself, who suffer from Disability Blindness.

DCI: Counseling after work hours with medication adjustments as needed would be appropriate.

Me: Why are you talking like a psychiatrist? When you pretend to be a psychiatrist you appear ridiculous. I have a psychiatrist who specializes in autism spectrum disorders and who helps me with medication and counseling.

DCI: Why would you sneak into a workplace with a camera if it wasn’t for secondary gain? Sorry you got arrested.

Me: First of all, I did not “sneak”. My visit to the Cary, NC MetLife campus occurred on a sunny day during lunch hour and was observed by dozens of eye-witnesses. I simply walked into the buildings through doors that close very slowly and which had been opened in the first place by employees who freely chose to ignore MetLife’s “no tailgating” security measure which requires employees to check the badges of anybody who tries to walk into the building behind them.

Next, I wore the body camera in order to record the entire event in case I needed to prove later exactly where I went and what I did. I also wore a conspicuous hat inside the buildings which is a violation of the company’s dress code.

Finally, I actually had multiple objectives for that day, one of which was to get myself arrested. So, really, there’s no need to feel sorry for me.

DCI: You have no boundaries.

Me: That’s actually a symptom of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, my disability.

DCI: At what point does your radical ideology end? When you’ve killed someone?


Beware the MetLife Meat Grinder, a significant public health concern.

Me: A cornerstone of what you see as my “radical” ideology is actually non-violence. My visit to MetLife was an act of strictly civil disobedience. One of my objectives for the visit was to help raise awareness of and draw attention to a significant public health concern that I think of as The MetLife Meat Grinder. This is a collusive internal process that MetLife systematically uses to shirk its responsibilities as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and to fire with impunity employees who struggle with certain kinds of disabling conditions. It is cruel and psychologically damaging to its victims, and my family and I have personally witnessed its cold-hearted effectiveness.

Incidentally, to the extent that your own apparent Disability Blindness is shared by your colleagues and by your employer as an organization, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that your employer has it’s own version of The MetLife Meat Grinder.

DCI: As I’ve stated to you privately, seek immediate inpatient treatment for your anger issues.

Me: Again, you sound ridiculous when you pretend to be a psychiatrist. My own psychiatrist has examined me and sees no need for hospitalization.

DCI: Stop dragging the autistic community down your hole of irrational thought.

Me: I don’t think that’s what I’m doing, but I do appreciate that you’re being so honest with me. I assume you want me to return the favor. 🙂

[Continue with Hate Mail from That Disability Claims Investigator, Part 3: My Line by Line Response, Continued]