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Courageous woman works instead of taking disability, makes less money

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 10th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Not everybody who can be on benefits is on them. Some people have too much pride and too strong a work ethic to live on the dole. Nina Friday is one such person. She works five jobs and still makes less money than on disability. She will not have it any other way.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Daily Mail is sharing the story of a UK woman who works five jobs yet earns less than she would make just sitting about on disability. Still, she chooses to work.

Nina Friday, 45, is beset by rheumatoid arthritis, as condition she was first diagnosed with when she was 16. The painful affliction entitles her to disability benefits in the UK, however she has refused them. Instead of taking the money and adding to the 3.2 million people in the UK on disability, she works no less than five jobs, six days a week.

Friday could earn 300 more if she sat at home all week, but she chooses to work. She spends her time working as a cleaning lady, a school midday supervisor, a care worker at a nursing home, and a caretaker at a second school. She also runs a website.

Her work is made challenging by her painful condition. Despite the suffering however, she continues to work telling the Daily mail that she'd rather work than be bored at home. She also said, "There are hundreds of people like me who would be happy to work but don't because they'd be worse off."

All this work, according to the Daily Mail costs her 3,600 per year in income than if she accepted disability.

While Friday illustrates outstanding moral character and fortitude, not to mention the most admirable of work ethics, she also demonstrates that there is need for change in the UK system, as well as systems in the United States.

People should be incentivized to work, even when they are disabled. Excepting those who genuinely cannot work and would suffer too greatly without benefits, those who qualify should be given the opportunity to do what work they can without exacerbating their injury. Those who choose to work could then have any discrepancy between pay and benefits made up by disability payments.

This would be less expensive, and more uplifting than paying out full benefits to someone who would prefer to work but is dissuaded because they would have less money to pay expenses. This is because of the obvious fact that some, if not most, of their income would come from employment.

In fact, the savings might be so great that an incentive payment could even be awarded to those who choose to work, and the disability program would still be better off financially than if they paid workers to remain unemployed.

In a time of fiscal austerity both in the U.S. and UK, such a plan might make sense if it could be implemented. However, finding the political courage to propose and implement such a plan is another matter.

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