Invisible Kansans Tell Their Stories

It’s one of the toughest issues for advocates of limited government to address — the plight of those who truly aren’t in a position to help themselves. The website InvisibleKansans.org tells some stories of people in these situations.

But is the solution for these people more government? As it is, these people are — at least according to this website — not receiving all the services they need. So government isn’t providing them with what they need to lead full lives.

The problem with relying on government in these situations is that at its core, government is based on coercion. The only way government can acquire resources to help these people is to take from someone else. It would be better for everyone — both giver and recipient — if help was provided voluntarily. But with government in the way, and with government consuming so much already, many people have the attitude of “I already gave — to the tax collector.”

31 Comments

  • As noted by various news media, Repubublicans generally give more personally than Demorats when it comes to charity. Perhaps that is why Democrats are more generous when it comes to government programs. They figure since they don’t give at home they might as well give for everyone at the office….as long as it’s equal of course.

  • MDinKansas -

    It is important to remember that not all of the people who are in the “waiting lists” for government services are eligible for the services. Many people waiting for government services for years is because they are not eligible not because lack of funds. The media and the advocates will never tell you that.

  • These ads hurt my ears and make me more cynical. I have heard these ads on the radio and tv and they are droning me to deafness to where I cannot stand another three-legged dog story. These ads say ” please whine with us. We will share with you our entitlement to whine-call your legislator.” I must admit I miss the days when misery was not so romanticized and was more dignified.

    The money has to come from somewhere. These nice people have access to people with budgets to pay for the ads. It gets expensive to pay for the ads to make people sad. Who pays for the ads that asks the nice folks to have the government take the money from the other folks? Aren’t there more productive ways to make invisible people become visible that doesn’t involve lawyers and propagandists?

  • How much money is being spent on these ads and how many more “clients” can be helped with that money? When the state closed down several institutions including the Windfield facility SRS was paying up to $300 a day to “community base” some of these clients coming out of the institutions and placed back into their community. Most family members and guardians do not want to care for them.

  • Concerned citizen -

    It is hard for invisible people to get donations, especially when their families typically work a couple of jobs to pay for their care.
    As a society we have some responsibility for the most vulnerable. I’m all for tax cuts and keeping government small but I’m also smart enough to know when government should play a role – just as we can’t risk waiting for donations to make sure police, education and fire fighters are well funded.

  • Direct care worker -

    I would invite all that believe the funding for the invisible Kansans is adequate to come work in the field and see how it REALLY is before commenting.

  • Wow, calling disabled people “three legged dogs”. I ask you, what is the answer to serve those in need? And, how many of you will collect Medicare and/or Medicaid and/or social security benefits? And to think that I had my money “taken” from me for that?

  • Mark Newbold -

    Besides the pointed invitation by the Direct care worker which I can only echo. The MDin Kansas’s remarks are askew, eligibility is the reason they’re on the waiting list, the inability to move them from the waiting list to service is lack of funding.
    Conservatives amaze me, the mantra of cutting taxes is so appealing due to its populist appeal. Yet when the infrastructure social net vanishes for those most vulnerable in society due to tax cuts then neocons adopt the Alfred E. Newman motto, “What, me worry?”

    Kansans are still suffering from the draconian cuts made during Gov. Graves regime.

  • Mr. MD, for a doctor, your statement is REALLY uninformed. (We nurses expect that). Most of the people on the waiting list ARE eligible for funding, but the money is not there. Without funding, these people sit at their parents houses soiling themselves until their skin breaks down and infection sets in to their skin ulcers. Is that a life you want for your disabled child? (I can tell you don’t have one, and probably choose in your practice not to accept Medicaid). If they are not eligible, they are weeded out quickly, and never receive a dime.
    Sure, it would be better if everyone would “volunteer,” so do you all want to come in to our world, and get spit at, kicked, change crappy adult diapers, and generally get abused 50 plus hours a week for the 9 bucks an hour the average direct care staff gets paid? Please, come join us. We have 30 open positions we can’t fill with PAID employees, let alone volunteers (though that will change as we cut needed positions for lack of funding) .
    I suppose we can re-open all the state institutions, and your child can sit drugged into a stupor behind a fence like an animal and just watch the world go by. This seems to be Cybex’s solution. I DO hope it’s your daughter’s child that has this fate bestowed on them. But I’m sure you are willing and able to pay for the necessary services.
    And please note, the ads only ran for a week..because the advocacy orgs only had a limited (donated) budget. So if it was “droning in your ears,” you are watching far too much TV. Go volunteer somewhere. It is sad that we need advocacy orgs, but with people out there like MD and Bob, SOMETHING has to be done to get the word out. Right on, Interhab!!
    Agencies that serve disabled individuals and the mentally ill are doing more and more with less and less…. soon we will do everything with nothing. The state tells us we HAVE to serve everyone they throw at us, but we are going broke at a rapid rate as they mandate, but don’t provide funding. Many are going out of business.
    So- if you repubs are SO giving, I will expect a check from you next week, because the 300 dollars a day era is LONG gone… That in itself shows how out of touch with funding you REALLY are.

    And to Direct Care Worker… “Way to Say it!!”

  • Direct Care Worker II -

    “It would be better for everyone — both giver and recipient — if help was provided voluntarily.” I would ask the writer, how many hours have you personally donated to working with individuals with disabilities? In what capacity was that donation, money, a few minutes of your time? This is not the industry for you, if you are queasy, unable to care for medical needs such as feeding tubes and depend undergarments or budget $35 a week for groceries. I invite you to come “volunteer” for even one day. Maybe our legislators should volunteer to do their important work. Maybe you should volunteer to do your job. If we had more volunteers to do any kind of social services, maybe we wouldn’t need social services at all. This is not a humane society type business, where you can clean out a dog kennell and go home. Providing care to individuals require more than health, it is a friend, a confidant, and sometimes a family member when no other family member cares or remembers they are alive.

  • DD Nurse 2 -

    These are hard times in which we are living in, but we have made them that way. We as Americans are a greedy, selfish nation. Should funding be cut to the people who really need it due to our short comings? What have they done to deserve less funding. The parents of these individuals did not choose to have a child with disabilities, but most have cared for them on their own until they have reached adulthood. What happens to these individuals when the parents are too old to care for them or are themselves trying to live on social security?? We happen to them!! Many of us make alot less money than we would working in another field, but we see a need and we care. DO YOU? We are suppose to help those who cannot help themselves. The individuals we serve love to feel important and have jobs. When they are able to, they work and earn every penny they make, which decreases the amount needed in financial support. Alot of these individuals cannot work though, so what would you like to do with them?? I would really like to hear your answers!! If you want to cut funding, cut it on the people who are able to help themselves and choose not too. Leave our disabled, elderly and children ALONE!!!

  • In the Business of People -

    Well-hard times are upon us and we all react in our own ways. Lets not adopt the old ‘dog eat dog’ philosophy- we are ALL afraid. When it is your family, friends, and/or loved ones who are -being laid off, having their services cut, or waiting for a service that may not ever come-it is highly emotional. I, for one, pray for ALL of us-those challenged by sickness, disability, and/or finances. Hopefully, as a society we will come through this together-all of us. But for today, we must ALL make compromises and hope for a brighter future.

  • Kenmore Mom -

    I am the parent of an adult invisible Kansan. She’s 25 years old, she lives at home with me and I provide 24/7 care of her. She has absolutely no cause/effect reasoning, she is verbal enough to express needs, wants, but she’s a tier one. We waited over 5 years for our DD/MR HCBS Waiver slot. We dropped 173% BELOW federal poverty levels at one point. She exceeds her $7,644 total annual income on SSI by at least $4,500 in just daily living expenses and who makes up for that? I DO! Can ANY of you live on $674/month any where in this state and have any quality of life?! I do NOT think so! I don’t expect the state to provide her care, but I do expect there to be some supports available to her. I pay taxes on every penny that I make of the $14,985 direct care that I prove, and no, nobody gets funded for 24/7 care, but it does help me to replace/repair the things she breaks around here. My child was placed on this earth with her autism and her mental retardation to give the rest of you the opportunity to learn COMPASSION, and it seems like very few of you are learning that here. I have been called a refrigerator mother, you can call me Kenmore for short, because I take a daily beating and I get up every single morning after my average of 4 hours of sleep and do it again. Bettleheim is DEAD, he blew his brains out. So, ultimately this state and this country will be judged upon it’s greed, corruption, and how it did or did not learn “compassion” for it’s weakest members. Shame on everyone that fails that lesson.

  • DD Nurse 2 -

    God bless you Kenmore!! Your daughter is lucky to have you and we are lucky to have people like you.

  • Supporter of Invisible Kansans -

    I would like to respond to the person who sent the e-mail to Interhab, regarding funding for Developmentally Disabled Americans, (Invisible Kansans to be exact). First of all you‘re not a Scrooge, you are much worse. I am, impressed however; that you and your family give more than 10% of your income to CHARITY, does that make you feel better about yourself? Second do you even know the meaning of the word charity? Apparently not! Because if you did, you would not have used it in the same paragraph with words like SEIZE MY MONEY or PET PROJECTS. These people as you so eloquently put it are human beings with more love and compassion then you will know. I assume that you do not have a family member that has a disability or even knows anyone that does. I assume that you, your self are near perfect, and are the only person in American who works hard for YOUR money. And I assume that you got all the facts about funding and waiting list for disabled people, before you started spouting BS about the government seizing your money for OUR PET PROJECTS. It seems like I am assuming a lot about someone I have never met. But you have assumed that just because someone has a disability that they don’t deserve a chance at a happy, healthy life. The people of Kansas who just happen to have a Developmental Disability are just as deserving of fair treatment and FUNDING, as any one else in this State/Country. God forbid if any thing disabling, should happen to any one of us who is not on a waiting list. I for one would have to have help taking care of myself and my children, as I am a single mom with one income. Just like thousands of parents out there who have a child/children with MR/DD and are trying to support them alone. So before you start passing judgment on someone with a disability, I suggest you go to a local Service Provider in your area, and volunteer to work for FREE, and then maybe you will see why the need for funding and support is so great.

  • Anonymous -

    I would like to address Bob 1/26. I would much prefer to be a “three legged dog” than a two legged jackass!

  • In civilized societies, people find a way to take care of those who are less fortunate. In some countries, the disabled can be found begging on sidewalks, are spit on and shunned. The lack of compassion is heartbreaking to read in some of the responses above. I also see ignorance and people making generalizations that are simply not true. We should be helping the least of our brothers or we are nothing at all.

  • DD Targeted Case Manager -

    I would like to respond to Ken and state that Republicans reportedly give more to charity than Democrats – this is simply because Republicans have to be ‘recognized’ and rewarded by society for their ‘good’ deeds. Democrats do not feel the need to publicize their good deeds – they simply do it for the sake of doing it and no recognition is required. To Cybex – I am a case manager for DD services – I am not sure where you came up with $300/day for services for clients – that is double the average daily reimbursement for services. But lets say that that is accurate – take one client and provide the care that they need and divide it by 24; that breaks down to $12.50/hour. Instead of asking service providers what they are receiving in reimbursement, why not turn it around and ask what the state is paying for each person that is still in state institutions? I can promise that the average is at least double of what your estimate is for service providers. Service providers are doing more and more with less and less. It’s the client that suffers – changes in staff regularly. Many have said to take some time and volunteer at a local service provider – it will definitely open your eyes. (And hopefully your hearts, also.)

  • Irritated with Ignorance -

    I’m am outraged by the selfish idiots who have no clue about what people with disabilities must go through and could care less. This world is so depleted of compassion for the less fortunate.

    And who is this MD talking who thinks he actually knows what he is talking about? You, buddy are the epitome of ignorant. Each person is checked and rechecked for eligibility before waiting on the list.

    People should get their facts straight before blasting negative comments for everyone to read. And I seriously hope you can’t sleep at night for being such horrible human beings. Oh yeah and aren’t republicans supposed to be so religious? Caring for less fortunate human beings is the “Christian thing to do.” So get busy and quit complaining about paying taxes. We are tired of hearing you.

  • DD Manager -

    How can you get up and look at yourself in the mirror every morning and not feel guilt for the comments you make about people who cannot help themselves? How can you honestly live day to day with all the amenities of life and still complain about having to help someone who CANNOT help themselves. In college I remember a quote from a Criminal Justice course I took that said you can look at a societies prisons and know how that society treats its citizens…at the time I thought that was a pretty stupid quote because I didn’t fully understand it. I couldn’t fathom treating someone with dignity who chose to break the law and commit the crime they were being punished for. Now as I watch the news and read the internet blogs and see that the government wants to cut funding to the the people who actually NEED it…WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT OUR SOCIETY? What does it say about us as a nation when we are willing to take money from people who do not have the ability to help themselves and give it back to people who are perfectly able to work but are just too damn greedy to say no to free handout.

  • WearyWorker -

    Blogs like this depress me. How much hate must we spew on each other? No wonder compassion is dead. It suffocated.

  • DD Manager -

    Compassion is dead, WearyWorker and Direct Care Worker II, because nobody stands up for what is right. This type of blog depresses you? You think we are spewing hate? Bringing a cause to attention is not hate. Addressing a concern for people who cannot help themselves is not depressing…people who refuse to help but feel the need to negatively comment on issues important as this are the ones spreading hate and discontent. It depresses me to even have to take a stand like this when it should be in everyone’s heart to help people who can’t do it themselves whether that be children, elderly, or those with developmental disabilities.

  • In America, the Athiast, some religions, and others say that things offend them, our Government listens to them and change laws so that those offended feel better. Ken, Bob, MDinKansas and Cybex have offended me. If I would take this to our glorious politicians they would just laugh at me. God has made us all equal and I hope I offend someone by using the G word. Those with disabilities struggle in America and when funding issues are brought up funding for those with disabilities go to the very bottom of the list. Some of the homeless are those with disabilities and we have failed to take care of them and they are on the streets without a home or shelter. This weekend I was in Herman Hill Park for the release of Trapper Hunter. I notice a lady pushing a person with Cerebral Palsy in a wheelchair trying to get through the sand. I stepped in to help the lady as no one around looked like they would help. I got the person to the side walk and offended a couple of people who were in the handicapped area when I asked them to move. I was surprised that they didn’t call the police who were in the area who would have probably written me a ticket. I work with those with disabilities and I feel that God has really blessed me with this job as I am retired and working with those with disabilities make me realize that I do not have anything to complain about, except those who offend. To those who have offended me may God Bless Them.

  • Mother of DD client -

    During the years since her ’92 high school graduation, my 35-yr-old daughter is one of the lucky ones who has received services from community-based agencies. Because of the job training and life coaching she’s received from dedicated, hardworking, underpaid staff, she is now living in an apartment in the community, rides the city bus every morning to a clerical aid job she loves, pays taxes, does her own shopping, laundry, volunteers, and is generally an asset to her community.
    My heart goes out to parents of more severely disabled ELIGIBLE children of all ages who CAN’T get services due to lack of funding. That’s criminal, especially when the Kansas constitutionmandates “adequate funding” of the community-based agencies who provide the care and training of clients turned out of state hospitals back in the ’90s. This funding problem goes back 15 years, people. It’s time to reverse the trend.
    None of us really likes paying taxes, but I’d like even less living in a state/country in which the welfare of all citizens – especially those who cannot help themselves – are forced to pay the cost in human dignity, and unrealized value for their lives because of others’ indifference .
    So, Bob, as someone else pointed out, the TV ads are no longer running due to lack of funds, but get ready, ’cause you ain’t heard nothin’ yet. We’re not invisible any more, and we damn sure ain’t gonna keep our mouths shut.
    –Mother of a DD client

  • Direct Care II -

    Good for you “Mom of DD Client”. I love the last paragraph.

  • Michael.SE KS -

    When looking at any issue, we all have different perceptions depending on our background, knowledge of, experience and the motives of our hearts. We then throw in the variables of our needs for ourselves and those we love, our fears and our frustrations. It is not wrong to be frustrated or angry, parents of persons with DD. It is not wrong for those who oppose us to have questions and different perceptions. I had someone I loved very much who needed help that I couldn’t seem to afford for them. It will rip your heart out every day. Some believed I shouldn’t have helped so much. But I believe the strong take care of the weak. The rich are given blessings for oppurtunity for sharing. My special person was as a gift to me, to see how far my love and sacrifice would go. I understand frustration of wasted tax money by corrupt gov’t parties and unwise choices. Please, to those who are opposing so angrily, please do not let the mistakes of our cultures greed and prosperity blindness in gov’t and in individuals harden your heart. Let us stand for those who cannot stand. Let us speak for those who cannot speak. One individual cannot always help everyone. We are not asking that you give everything. Please take time to research. Please take time to ask questions of MR/DD workers and more importantly, the individuals with disabilities and the loved ones who care for them. Let us stand up to gov’t for the wrong spending and true waste, but let us also stand up for those who need us to the left and to the right. Mr. MD. I respect doctors very much. Much education and so many work hours go into what you do. I believe in good compensation. Without the sick and disabled, where would the need for your care be. These people aren’t looking for wealthy lives…most of the time it’s just the basics and some compassion knowing that they are not worthless…furthermore to the comment of suffering with dignity. Since when has suffering ever carried dignity? And when did it become a crime to ask for help? Advocate, please continue onward. But do not resolve to anger. It will cloud your mind and drive away those who would maybe help. Keep on in compassion, boldness and truth. Do not back down. Most of all, pray. Only God can move the heart of a man. Those who oppose, I have seen the suffering. There is no dignity in it. Please pick up your zeal against the true corruptions and equally pick up your zeal to help us with the forgotten people. At least take the time to check deeply and personally into the issue. If it were your turn next to have that sibling, child or whoever you love helpless and you at the end of your strength trying to keep it together, you may just find yourself willing to step in beside us and put down your “dignity” (I call it pride), and ask a neighbor for help. Thank you so much for listening to so many words.

  • I am a case manager for the developmentally disabled, and I’d like to comment on the person stating that some are on waiting lists for years b/c they don’t qualify. No one is put on any waiting list unless they qualify for the desired services. They are on the waiting lists for years because Kansas only awarded 30 of the over 3,800 persons in the Developmentally Disabled system services last year. I do not know the figures for frail/elderly, physically disabled, autism, brain damaged, or any other waivers out there.

  • I would also like to comment on the question about how much is spent on the ads and how many persons could have been served with this money. The money spent on the advertisement comes from several areas of donation to the cause. This is a tiny amount of money in comparison to other groups’ lobbying efforts, and it would not even touch the extraordinary needs of invisible Kansans. Much of the Invisible Kansan campaign is individuals writing, e-mailing, and sending postcards to the House, Senate, and governor. If you would like to send a message to the House, Senate, and/or governor in support of this bill (HB 2094 for the House of Representatives and SB 207 for the Senate), got to the website at http://www.invisiblekansans.com or search “Invisible Kansans”. There is a form e-mail you can send. If you want it to be more personalized, you can send a postcard or letter as well. If you need information on who your legislators are in your area, e-mail me at [email protected], and I can get that information to you. Without letters, postcards, and e-mails, your legislators will not know how you feel about invisible Kansans and their rights.

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