Protection for the challenged

Protection for the challenged – (PIP #35)

By Louise Peloquin

      “Invalid” is no longer appropriate to designate the physically-challenged. However, fifty-seven years ago, it was not deemed offensive, insulting or derogatory.

The June 4th peek into the past – “Voilà my solution” – dealt with work. This week’s provides information on workers’ rights.

 L’Etoile was founded to cater to Lowell’s hard-working community and always manifested concern for its readership as the following piece shows.

The news items below appeared in L’Etoile on April 2, 1957

Protection for invalid workers

      People who have become incapable of working because of serious long-term invalidity have a new type of protection according to Social Security law. The old age and survivors insurance office administers the new clauses. Many workers are presently claiming their due.

      Those who do not go to their Social Security office before the end of June to file their request will lose their invalidity protection and, in certain cases, will also lose their old age insurance benefits as well as their family’s. It is therefore essential to look into this and to file a request. If a worker dies without having requested the Social Security rights to invalidity protection, the benefits paid to the family could be greatly reduced, according to Social Security law.

      The Office says that approximately 700,000 seriously invalid men and women in the country have worked long enough to be eligible to have their Social Security dossier frozen per a 1954 clause in the law. In the event of a dossier freeze, the years when one was incapable of working will not count against them. Of 700,000, about 400,000 people between the ages of 50 and 65 will be eligible for monthly invalidity insurance benefits as of July.

      Regional Social Security offices have been accepting requests since January 1, 1955 and the local office reports that many eligible individuals have not yet filed their requests. According to the law, workers who are already invalid had two and a half years to file their request for Social Security protection rights.

      A worker must have work experience to his credit at the beginning of his official “invalidity period.” He must have at least five out of ten years of Social Security credit before his invalidity and at least one year and a half of credit earned in the three years immediately preceding his official “invalidity period.”

      If the “invalidity freeze” is not effectuated before June 30, 1957, many workers will no longer meet the requirements for the beginning of their very first “invalidity period” to be entered into their Social Security dossier. Furthermore, they would not be eligible to receive monthly invalidity insurance benefits at the age of 50. These workers will have to wait until regular retirement age to receive Social Security benefits and these will decrease because the years during which they were not able to work would reduce the average revenues on which the Social Security benefits are based. For certain younger workers, not meeting the deadline for filing the request can also mean a complete loss of their Social Security benefits.

      Workers who believe they are eligible for these invalidity clauses should contact the Social Security office at 10 Kearney Place, Lowell, Mass. 


In the same issue is a brief about a new medical device, a forerunner of today’s state-of-the-art equipment.

The blind shall see

     EAST ORANGE, N.-J., – Neurologist Dr. John C. Button, Jr. claims to have invented a device to restore sight to individuals suffering from total blindness. The device, says Dr. Button, will be perfected within the next five years.

      It will be attached to the back of the brain by electric magnets which activate thin wires implanted within the patient’s head. The device, specifies the neurologist, resembles a miniature television.


Laughter is always good medicine so let’s close with a smile.

An animal tamer is speaking about his career and a woman questions him:

    “You’ve never been frightened when entering into wild animal cages?” she asked.

     “Yes, of course” he responded. “I’m always a little scared.”

      “Ah!” she exclaimed.

      “I admit it” he added. “Because understand, you’ve got fleas inside there.” (1)


1) Translations by Louise Peloquin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *