They called it the "drunk check."
Disability Lifeline-Unemployable, a decades-old program that provides cash grants to the injured or mentally ill, has long been derided as free money for freeloading addicts.
Last month, in their quest to balance the $5.1 billion budget shortfall, state legislators did away with Disability Lifeline.
"We don't know what people are doing with the money," Sen. Joe Zarelli (R-Ridgefield) told the state's cable TV channel, "so we eliminated that [and] save the taxpayers a lot of money."
Advocates for the poor see it another way. They say budget troubles provided a handy pretext for Republicans to end a program they've always despised, or at least, misunderstood.
As long as Disability Lifeline-Unemployable, known as DL-U, has been around, its recipients -- which now number 20,136 -- have been reduced to stereotypes, said Robin Zukoski, an attorney with Columbia Legal Services.
On April 6, in a news conference, House Republican Minority Leader Richard DeBolt said working citizens shouldn't have to support "drug dealers."