Sullivan's description of her horrors sounds a lot like Shania Twains, from her autobiography. Another person who grew up in abject poverty with an abusive upbringing and went on to realize an incredible potential.
Will we ever put an end to the bad things that happen, I don't think so. We have to have negative to have positive in this world. Sullivan, Lincoln, and Twain in my opinion exemplify that.
With that said, would I have a desire to help the disabled if there were no government assistance? Yes. The difference between me helping and the government is that I'm giving a heartfelt, personal gift to them and they're often receiving it with humility and gratefulness and a desire to do as much on their own as they can. A government entitlement is a nameless check...not a gift, but something one should expect. Some do receive it with humility, buy many don't. After all, why...we're entitled to it.