The Michigan Daily-Saturday, April 9, 1983-page 7
Senator urges Social Security
to provide benefits for mentally ill
* WASHINGTON - Sen. John Heinz
urged the administration yesterday to
stop taking the mentally ill of f
disability rolls until promised reforms
are made, saying a Social Security
crackdown is "driving people literally
to the brink of death."
"People who are just clearly unable
to function, let alone unable to hold a
job, are being plut into the meat grinder
of this process," the Pennsylvania
Republican told a hearing of his Special
Committee on Aging.
"PEOPLE WHO are jsut clearly
unable to functioin, let alone hold a job,
are being put into the meat grinder of
this process," charged Heinz.
The Social Security deputy com-
missioner, Paul Simmons, insisted "the
vast majority" of those dropped from
the rolls did not belong there.
But he conceded the program has
become "inhuman,' and said the
government plans a major overhaul.
"WE ARE trying to humanize the
system, and I can't emphasize enough
how inhuman it had grown to be," he
Simmons was the only witness at
yesterday's session. The testimony en-
ded two days of hearings on charges the
government is stopping checks to
deserving people under a crackdown
ordered by Congress to cut waste in the
$22 billion program that pays benefits
to 6 million workers and dependents.
Since stepped-up eligibility reviews
began two years ago, 341,000 people
hhve been ordered off the rolls - 45 per-
cent of those called in. Critics say the
mentally ill are being singled out.
HEINZ SAID he will propose
legislation to halt disability cutoffs to
the mentall ill until the Social Security
Administration puts promised reforms
into effect. He said later he expects a
"good deal of support" in Congress.
1 don't think we need a
moratorium," Simmons said. "I think
we need to do a better job."
Heinz told Simmons the campaign to
pare the rolls is "driving people
literally to the brink of death." Some
sucicides have been reported after
people lost benefits, but Heinz said he
could not blame them on Social
SIMMONS SAID some reforms have
beenmade and promised Heinz "sub-
stantial revisions" to the definition of
mental disability "within a matter of
"We're moving as fast as we can," he
He said he would "seriously con-
sider" slowing the number of mentally
ill cases called up for review, and
agreed with three of four recommen-
dations for changes made by Congress'
General Accounting Office.
The GAO urged hiring more
psychiatrists to meet shortages in 36
states, a relaxed definition of mental
disability and more consideration for
whether a person can actually hold a
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Daily Photo by WENDY GOULD
My bike's better than yours .. .
This motorcyclist wasn't lucky enough to avoid being pulled over by a fellow biker who works for the city.
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By MARTHA RUBIN
Students with last-minute questions
about their fall-winter financial aid
forms face a hefty barrier to getting
answers - the notoriously long lines at
the financial aid office.
But they can meet the upcoming
April 15 deadline without having to
stand in line by contacting a financial
aid peer advisor at several locations
around the University.
PEER ADVISING provides . infor-
mation concerning financial aid ap-
plications without forcing students to go
to the crowded office. The eight ad-
visors are all University students who
have been trained in financial aid
procedures and who can answer some
of the more basic questions students
have about financial aid.
In addition to answering student
questions and alleviating the
congestion in the financial aid office,
the advisors may be less intimidating to
some students than the full-time finan-
cial aid counselors, according to
Assistant Financial Aid Director Lynn
Borset, the program's coordinator.
Students are more likely to talk with
peer advisors because they are more
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comfortable with other students, she
said. "The peer advisors don't slide into
the professional jargon," Borset said.
ANYONE CAN apply to be a peer ad-
visor, although Borset said preference
will be given to students who are not
graduating in the near future. Selected
applicants then compute an extensive
training program in financial aid
procedures, which advisor Derick
Coley compares to "taking a three-
credit course." -
Following their training, the peer ad-
visors are paid to work eight to nine
hours per week.
While the advisors are trained to
handle some fairly complicated
problems, most students who come to
them need answers to basic questions
- how to fill out financial aid forms,
what the ever-changing requirements
are for Guaranteed Student Loans, or
what it takes to declare oneself finan-
cially independent from parents.
"IF YOU JUST have a quick question
or a general question, we can help out,"
said LSA senior Kelly Soden, who has
been with the program for two years.
"We get a lot of students who think
that their problems aren't big enough to
see a financial aid counselor, so that's
where we come in," she said.
The peer advisors may be ready for
almost anything, but most students do
not know the service is available. Ad-
visors may spend an entire evening at a
dorm without any visitors.
KATHY 'Sullivan, a business school
senior, said peer advisors are also
hampered by being located in areas
where students cannot find them easily.
"Our biggest problem is finding a good
location,'" she said.
Borset agreed that "we've had
trouble making students aware of (the
program's) existence," but she added
that "traffic has been picking up."
THE OFFICE does not keep official
figures on how many students visit the
peer advisors, but one East Quad ad-
visor estimated that she helped five
people for every three- to four-hour
shift she worked.
Financial aid officials are so satisfied
with the four-year-old program that
they want to expand it. "I'd like to see it
expanded by about a third of its current
level," said Financial Aid Director
Sullivan said she has enjoyed her exa
periences as a peer advisor and feels
the program has helped her, too. "I've
enjoyed being able to meet a lot of dif-
ferent people and experience their
values," she said.
Advisors will bp fielding questions at
Bursley, East Quad, and the Under-
graduate Library all next week.
419 East Liberty
2 blocks off State Street
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SUMMER STORAGE: Clean, private units, from
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BEAUTIFUL HOUSE, SOUTH UNIVERSITY. TWO
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SUBLET! May-August, three bedroom furnished
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Daily Photo by TO'D WOOLF
Greg Hausman smashes an old University computer during Alpha Pi Mu's
Computer Bash. The bash was to raise money and, of course, have a good
Call for a personal demonstration
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