How the “Adult Baby” Might Impact North Carolina Social Security Disability

May 31, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

On May 20th, The Atlantic ran a web story that’s frivolous in tone but that may have ultimately a pretty interesting impact on North Carolina Social Security Disability.

“The Adult Baby Is Our Best Hope to Fix Social Security,” written by Associate Editor Derek Thompson, discusses the hilarious and sad case of 30-year old Stanley Thornton, Jr., an adult man who dresses and acts like a baby for fun.

Mr. Thornton, Jr. was recently featured on the A&E show Taboo. After his appearance on the show, investigators realized that the man had been collecting Social Security Disability insurance, even though, in Thompson’s words “Stanley can determine appropriate behavior in public, drive himself around, start a website for other adult babies, and ‘custom make baby furniture to support a 350 pound adult.’” Republicans – Senator Tom Coburn in particular — lashed into Thornton, Jr. for collecting disability when he is clearly an able-bodied man.

If you are someone who really needs North Carolina Social Security Disability to survive, you might feel miffed by a comparison to Mr. Thornton, Jr. It’s clear that the debate over SSD reform is only beginning to heat up. One of the most affecting moments in Mr. Thompson’s piece in the Atlantic is a graph called “All Social Security Disable Beneficiaries and Current Payment Status, December 1970 through 2009.” This graph shows a really disturbing spike in the rates of disabled workers, widows, and adult children. Starting essentially in between 1985 and 1988, the rates sloped upwards and upwards. In 2009, the total number of disabled beneficiaries had more than quadrupled from 1970.

What can explain this massive rise in disabled workers?

Well, clearly something in our environment has changed. Many people blame cultural shifts – for instance, maybe we have been just getting lazier and more indulgent collectively. But that’s a really kind of dissatisfying answer, isn’t it? Are we really that much different, emotionally, socially, and otherwise than we were back in just 1970? It seems far more likely that there is some other prominent environmental factor that’s causing this.

One controversial, but possibly likely explanation is that we’ve radically altered our diets, and our shift towards a low fat, high carbohydrate and high sugar diet — as enshrined in the USDA Food Guide Pyramid — precipitated not only an obesity and diabetes epidemic, but also an epidemic of workers who are sick and injured because they are not getting appropriate nutrition. Hence the SSD and SSI crisis! This obviously is a radical and controversial point of view, but it boasts a surprisingly significant amount of objective evidential support, as science journalist Gary Taubes describes in great detail in his 500 page book, Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Do you need help with a benefits issue? If so, connect with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm to discuss your possible options.

More Web Resources:

The Adult Baby Is Our Best Hope to Fix Social Security

Gary Taubes


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