since that wage post is going around again here’s a reminder that it’s still legal in the US to pay disabled people 22 CENTS AN HOUR
Goodwill got shit for this for like five minutes but there’s a poster in the back room at my job that says the employer can literally decide how much a disabled worker makes if they want to.
Like, it’s just up tothem. Theres no guaranteed minimum wage for disabled people.
Why the fuck does nobody know or care that this is a thing?
okay, well — first of all, there’s a reason this happens, and the theory is a good one, but the reality is what makes it Actual Trash.
in the usa, to qualify for government assisted disability benefits, you have to meet certain qualifications, which essentially come down to being physically and mentally unable to work for six hours a day, four to five days a week. it’s a shitty, disgusting process that can take more than three years to get through, and you really CANNOT work at all, even if you’re pretty much on the brink of homelessness if you want to qualify.
once you DO qualify, the monthly amount you receive is gauged from past earnings. the more you used to make, the more taxes you paid into the system, the more the government is willing to dish back out. sounds decent, except if you’ve had a disability that kept you from working your entire life.
the usa judges the value of an individual on their ability to do labour. you can’t work, your value is essentially nil. if you’ve never worked, the maximum amount you can receive is around $750/m, which is under the living wage for PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE, much less someone who needs significant medical assistance. you do get the benefit of medicaid but — well, that’s a joke on its own. but the thing is, that $750/m only applies to single disabled persons. if you’re married, or living with a relative, that person’s income affects how much you’ll get.
a lot of disabled people are forced to try and seek additional employment, despite receiving financial assistance. they have to. it’s that, or homelessness. that’s where goodwill and the dept of labour law regarding disabled persons steps in. if you’re receiving gov’t assistance, you can’t engage in what’s considered “substantial gainful employment”. aka, every additional penny you earn has to be submitted to the gov’t for review, so they can adjust your monthly payment accordingly. basically, they don’t give a shit if you don’t have enough money to live on.
goodwill and similar companies that have disability employment programmes offer jobs that are kiiiiiind of protective to disabled individuals. because you’re earning under the minimum wage, and because it’s a job specifically selected for someone who has a disability, it’s given less of a stink eye when your disability claim comes up for review. you’re not doing the labour of an able individual, and you’re not making substantial gainful employment, so IN THEORY it’s good for everyone.
but the reality is that it fucking BLOWS, though arguably not because goodwill are cheapskates. i mean, they are — for a lot of reasons. but the real issue is how the usa views a person’s individual value, and the subsequent opportunities for people who don’t fit that criteria. there are *no* options for disabled workers. disabled people are *not* provided for in any way. the fact that it’s actually legal to pay someone less than minimum wage because of a disability is nasty as shit, but the rot goes so much deeper than that, and people should absolutely be aware of it.