While the topic today really doesn’t involve welfare payments specifically, it does involve what are described as disability payments, as well as the need to verify the recipient is still alive to receive them. And of course, this story originates in Florida.

A Florida woman was charged earlier this month for concealing her dead mother’s body in a deep freezer so she could continue to collect her disability checks. Police in Sebastian, Florida discovered her mother’s dead body while performing a welfare check at the end of April. 

According to authorities, the woman admitted after finding her 93-year-old mother dead in a bedroom, to purchasing a deep freezer and placing her mother’s body inside. She was apparently concerned that she would no longer receive the woman’s disability benefits. 

She is also believed to have hidden a heavily soiled mattress in her backyard. Police found it in thick brush and covered by palm tree branches. The mother is said to have died from natural causes. She was dead for about two weeks before being placed in the freezer.

It is so tough to get fast appliance delivery these days. Personally, I am amazed she could get a freezer delivered in just two weeks. My wife and I remodeled our kitchen in 2020 and waited almost two months for our new appliances. But I digress. And while I am digressing…

Many of you will simply chalk this story up to the “Florida Man,” or in this case, the “Florida Woman” phenomenon. According to the Urban Dictionary, “Florida Man” is:

A key word used a lot to describe all the weird news stories about random Floridians committing weird and dumb crimes, due to the state law regarding freedom of press about the fact that every police or court case must be public. Most of these weird stories, however, are related to white Florida men, the police and drugs. Due to this, this is why people outside Florida hate Florida. Can also be used as Florida Woman.

Honestly, that description made no sense to me. Not only is it poorly constructed in a grammatical sense, but Florida isn’t the only state in the nation that allows “freedom of the press.” I’m going out on a limb here, but I think that freedom is afforded press in every state. Well, every state with the possible exception of Oregon.

So, for clarification, I turned to the preeminent verification source, that paragon of reliability, Wikipedia. Regarding Florida Man, they said:

Florida Man is an Internet meme popularized in 2013, and then re-popularized in 2020. “Florida Man” refers to an alleged prevalence of male persons performing irrational or absurd actions in the US state of Florida. Internet users typically submit links to news stories and articles about unusual or strange crimes and other events occurring in Florida, with the headlines often literally having “Florida Man…” mentioned in the titles or subtitles of such news reports.[1]

The Miami New Times claimed that freedom of information laws in Florida make it easier for journalists to obtain information about arrests from the police than in other states and that this is responsible for the large number of news articles.[2] A CNN article on the meme also suggested that the breadth of reports of bizarre activities is due to a confluence of factors, including public records laws giving journalists fast and easy access to police reports, the relatively high and diverse population of the state, its highly variable weather, and gaps in mental health funding.[3]

So, it is not just freedom of the press, but our “freedom of information laws” that have created the impression that everyone in Florida is a drug-addled imbecile. 

As a 38-year resident of this state, I feel compelled to defend my home turf. While I am certainly proud to live in the “Free State of Florida,” I can assure you that the freedoms we so notably enjoy here are not the reason “Florida Man” exists. No, the truth is that “Florida Man” is usually a transplant.

And he’s most often from Ohio. That is where they are awarded disability before moving to the Sunshine State to do stupid crap and wind up on Instagram. 

Glad we could clear that up. Ok. Where was I? Oh, yes, a woman had stuffed her dead 93-year-old mother in a freezer in order to conceal her death and continue receiving her disability checks.

This brings me to my original question – before I was distracted by the Florida Man thing: I am no expert on disability payment structures and duration, but what kind of disability payment would this woman be receiving at the age of 93? SSDI generally converts to retirement benefits at the age of retirement. It is not clear if the payments were from a work-related incident, in which case in some states her workers’ compensation benefits could go on forever. Or at least until someone opened that freezer. Alas, we may never know.

But we do know the 64-year-old daughter is charged with failing to report the death of her mother and tampering with evidence. She should also face fraud charges. Good thing she will soon be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits since she recently just lost her previous source of revenue. She will probably need the money, especially since that freezer won’t bring much on Facebook Marketplace.

So, the lesson today is, that if you have workers’ compensation disability recipients that are reaching the centenarian milestone, you may want to check on them. I’m sure they would love to hear from you. 

Even more so if they are actually still alive.

Leave a Reply

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