What we found when we applied for disability benefits for Harena's profoundly autistic son Josh:
The disability benefits program has a problem in that one of the requirements for receiving any assistance is that (essentially) you must have less than $2000 in liquid assets (what they call "resources"), and debt is not counted against this total. This means that if you have $50,000 in debt (credit cards, mortgage, whatever) and $10,000 set aside for emergencies, for a net total of negative $40,000 in "resources", you still do not qualify; you have to get rid of at least $8000 first.
Sinking your "excess" assets into credit card payments is one obvious solution, but this essentially forces people to put all their eggs in one basket as part of the process of "helping" them, which seems unwise; the rules thus effectively punish people for having any significant quantity of emergency funds – regardless of source, regardless of demonstrable need, and regardless of net income (gross income less basic expenses – gross income is taken into account, but not expenses).
The rules don't care if you eventually end up costing the system more, they just want to make sure you are completely on your knees before they will start to help you up.
There are probably much more egregious injustices in this system, but this is one with which I recently had personal experience. --Woozle 19:02, 25 January 2007 (EST)