Being made Disabled
Home Up Being made Disabled Denial after Denial Yes, it's me more frustration The Never-ending Journey Beginnings Part II


Being made disabled by a system that may place more value on Normalcy than on qualifications.


In 1968, Bruce realized part of his dream. A university in another state accepted him. Four years later he would graduate with a BS degree in political science and history. He wanted to go to Graduate School but he could not score high enough on the GRE because he never received the proper foundation in either from elementary to secondary school. Even if he could have overcome this he had another problem finding funding. Again the state agency that had denied him helps in 1965 still refused to help.

With efforts to continue his education thwarted, Bruce entered the job market. This proved futile because most employers would shy away once they discovered that he might be a risk to them. Even if he were lucky enough to gain employment he appeared to lose it once that employer found out about his possible risk factor. These roadblocks to employment made Bruce realize that he might never be considered Normal. Instead, he would always be considered disabled simply because he possessed a residual limitation called Epilepsy. He later discovered that this condition caused employers to look upon him as a liability to the workplace instead of an asset to them. These problems may have been caused by the application itself. Originally he had to declare his draft classification, which was 4F. Immediately all employers, state, federal, and private asked why. He told the truth. He possessed a controlled seizure disorder. The word controlled fell on deaf ears and these prospective employers were never heard from. The word Epilepsy apparently raised insurance fears on all employers even with the advancements in treatment that have been made over the years.

Job applications became more of a problem after the draft was abolished. Employers now asked a barrage of medical questions. An affirmative answer to any could spell death to your employment hopes. One such question was Have you had or do you now have Epilepsy? Again Bruce told the truth even though he knew that he had automatically disqualified himself.

Disqualification, because of this question was also true for federal employment. An instance of federal disqualification came in 1971. Bruce desired to enter the Diplomatic Corps. He was informed that he could not even test because of his condition. Another instance came in 1976 when he applied for the Armed Services on the advice of his Neuro-surgeon. This ex military man told him that there was now no reason why he could not enter the Armed Services. Hearing this, Bruce went straight to a recruiter who accepted his application and arranged for testing. He tested well and was asked about officer's candidate school. Everything proceeded normally until the physical where he had to state that he was on medication for a particular disorder. He was immediately terminated and informed that he could come back only if he were medication free for a year.

In 1978 federal fear of Epilepsy would once reared its head. This time it would deny him entrance into VISTA- the American branch of the Peace Corps. This attempt, like the others, met with failure. Everything proceeded normally until they requested a medical and learned of his disorder. Once this negative evidence came to the fore all job opportunities dried up. It appears that ever attempt to serve his country has been for naught since he is ruled to be a risk. If he is a risk to his government then how does it expect him not to be a risk to other employers? These may stem from faulty assumptions forced on employers by the insurers as well as the government refusal to hire the disabled. Yet his government seems bound and determined to hurt the disabled by ignoring their employment problems or by denying them their civil rights.

In 1980 Bruce obtained a Job with the State Department of Labor. He became a social worker in the migrant and farm division. This was CETA employment and he was RIFTED when the Department of Labor lost its contract. He tried repeatedly to get back on with the State but was given no help although his disability was well documented.

In 1983, Bruce returned to school. This time he went to the National Center for Paralegal training located in Atlanta Georgia. Here he majored In Litigation and Legal Research. Since 1983, he has tried to find employment in this field but has had no success. Most probably this is because all attorneys are well versed in Workers Comp laws. If he is considered to be a risk by his government as well as his state then what attorney will hire him even though he possesses the right credentials?