Disabled, or just desperate? Rural Americans turn to disability as jobs dry up

Disabled, or just desperate? Rural Americans turn to disability as jobs dry up

In rural Alabama, a man faced a difficult choice: Keep looking for work, or apply for disability? The lobby at the pain-management clinic had become crowded with patients, so relatives had gone outside to their trucks to wait, and here, too, sat Desmond Spencer, smoking a 9 a.m. cigarette and watching the door. He tried stretching out his right leg, knowing these waits can take hours, and winced. He couldn’t sit easily for long, not anymore, and so he took a sip of soda and again thought about what he should do.

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