OPINION | Stories of three Minnesotans

Freddy* worked all of his adult life, primarily in factory jobs – until he developed glaucoma.  He has lost 35% of his eyesight, is unable to work and must turn to the state’s General Assistance program for $203 a month, while the two-year process of determining his eligibility for federal disability support moves through the system. Angie* has gone through intensive therapy for disabilities caused by anti-psychotic medication used to treat her mother before doctors realized she was pregnant.  Angie is an adult now and able to walk and talk, but still suffers seizures and developmental delays.  She is also the mother of three-year old twins, whom she is raising thanks to support services.  Angie and her children live on a combination of her disability income and their state assistance that totals less than $14,000 a year.  Gregg* is the CEO of a major Minnesota corporation. He earned $25.2 million last year. Guess who the Minnesota Legislature thinks should solve our state’s $5 billion deficit?: Freddy and Angie, and others in similar situations – the poorest and the sickest. They are the ones to solve a shortfall caused by the economic downturn that has left the state short of revenue. The legislature proposes eliminating General Assistance for adults who are unemployable because of disability or incapacitating illness. Instead counties would be left to decide whether to provide any assistance to these adults with block grants that total $20 million less than the state currently invests. Continue Reading