Part VI- Denial after denial forces Bruce seek Government help:
Because this agency had again denied him help, Bruce did something that he never wanted to do. He applied for disability. He filled out all the necessary forms and submitted them. Little did he know that the disability determination division was run by the same agency that had initially refused him help in 1955 and then again 1965.
His application for government assistance was again turned down by a state agency mandated to help the disabled. Their denial had nothing to do with his disability-Traumatic Brain Injury. Instead he was too young. Bruce appealed but now was represented by an attorney. This appeal failed. His attorney appealed to an administrative law Judge. This appeal failed also. The Judges decision, like that of the state agency, appeared to be based upon criteria unrelated to TBI. His attorney appealed to the Appeals Court. Like the other appeals this one also failed but Bruce's attorney persevered and appealed to the District Court. He won this appeal. This was in 1992 some five years after the original application. Finally Bruce was eligible for government assistance because he had been declared disabled. Help finally came but it was 37 years post TBI.
The last thing that Bruce wanted was to be declared disabled. That one word signified that all his achievements had been for nothing. How many people who have not received a Traumatic Brain Injury have done what he has? He is a college graduate, a certified teacher and a certified paralegal. There is one great difference. These people don't have a disorder that may cause an employer to view them to be risks to the workplace or to their insurance plan and Bruce does.
Before he was judicially declared disabled, Bruce was asked to present a speech before a committee that dealt with problems faced by the disabled of his state. He gave his speech and continued to do so for seven years. Today he would still be giving speeches before it if it were still alive and functioning.
Every time he spoke Bruce's message was always been the same. His country and state and must do more to insure that qualified people with disabilities are not kept out of the work force because of questionable practices that may prove to be unconstitutional.
A week after giving his first speech, Bruce was given the opportunity to speak before the E.E.O.C. in Charlotte, North Carolina. His speech was on a pending law that has become known as the American's With Disabilities Act. He spoke to Title V.
This Title says that an individual may be written up as an insurance risk for private Insurance. How can one be considered to be a risk for Private insurance and then expect an employer to hire them?
Bruce pointed this out and the EEOC head attorney agreed with him. This person further stated that the writers of ADA made a mistake when they incorporated insurance language into it. All of this was captured on videotape and has since been sent to Washington. Unfortunately no Senator or Congressman has attempted to amend or delete Title V.
In 1989 Congress did nothing to change Title V and now it appears hostile toward all of ADA. In fact it may let the entire act be declared to be unconstitutional under the guise of states rights.
Why is this happening to a law that has the potential for helping many disabled? The reasons is simple ADA does nothing to change the status quo.
ADA writers failed to allow the employer to look upon the disabled as assets. Instead they still allowed us to be viewed to be liabilities under such laws as Workers Compensation. What employer will hire anyone whom they view to be a liability to their business?
Since 1989, Bruce has been trying to change this faulty belief by changing laws that cause the disabled to be viewed as liabilities. His first attempt was to get Title V removed but now it will have to be to get Insurance laws changed. These very laws may be the reason why so many disabled are considered to be liabilities to prospective employers. These same laws may also be why the disabled unemployment rate remains around 70 to 75%.
Insurance regulation is a state regulatory issue, therefore state legislators should be aware of the monetary benefit of insuring that no qualified disabled person can denied employment opportunities because of questionable insurance practices. He has proposed the creation of an insurance classification for citizens who possess medically controlled disorders or medically cured diseases. In line with this insurance classification he has shown how it could enable Seventeen groups to become employed without first having to overcome the artificial barrier called -Liability.