Disabled and stuck in a rut....

Back on March 2, I blogged on the subject of disability. There have been numerous occasions when working at home where a prospect had really loved the AmeriPlan opportunity, but because of income guidelines, they are unable to better their lives. Many are left feeling " Stuck in a rut."

If a person on disabilty makes a substantial income, they risk losing their medical benefits. In some cases, the medical benefits are more important than the measly check received each month , which is supposed to cover living expenses.

I could not believe some of the stories I had been hearing. I put the word out on the Internet, asking for a first hand account. A lovely woman, Pam stepped forward. She gave me a call, I told her what I wanted to know, and she was kind enough to share her story. When you finish the story, check out her sites- they are very cool.

And so, here's Pam's story:

I have been on disability for around 5 years. On Dec 23 2002 I was involved in a horrendous car accident that changed my life forever. My neighbor was killed that day. I am lucky to be alive.

I was in a coma for 3 months. I suffered a head injury and almost lost my right leg. I have had several surgeries including 2 knee replacements a year apart from each other. I broke my sternum and almost every rib, and hurt my back badly. I will need surgery there also, but I am trying to hold off. I also now suffer from panic and anxiety disorders which I need medication for daily.

Before the accident, I was a very successful customer service rep at a large trucking company handling many accounts. I could multi task and do what ever was asked of me. I made a great living and was married. Since the accident, life has never been the same. I got divorced after 23 years of marriage because HE couldn't handle it. And of course, I am no longer at my job.
Getting on disability was a lengthy process. I went a year without any income. I had to move back in with my parents at 40 years of age. I did finally receive a settlement. I paid all the bills and got into a house. That money was gone.

I made $16.00 an hour before the accident - now I live on $832.00 a month!

I have come a long way, but because of my injuries and fear of driving working from my home is my only option. I would love to work from home but there are so many legal issues. I can only have a $1,000.00 in the bank and make less than $6000.00 a year while on disability. If I do work anywhere (including my home) they will try to take my disability away. To work outside of the home again, I would have to have a driver to bring me wherever I go, as I am afraid to drive due to panic attacks. And I still have to worry about how much I make.

I would love to get back into the work force but who is going to hire a woman who hasn't worked for 6 years, especially one with all of my medical issues? What job is going to give me good pay and the full medical coverage I need? The government makes it impossible for you to go back to work. I would love to. I have come so far but if I were to do anything (including working out of my home) they could take my disability away. Their thinking would be “Look, she can work”, when I really can't because of the limitations I have. It is so frustrating.

Life for the disabled is so hard. I know there are those that “play the system” choosing the option to work “under the table.” Not only is it not ethically right, but also if you get caught you may never receive disability. Then there are those of us that would do anything to get better and make a decent living. Honestly.

But what if I did try something and it didn’t work out? I would lose my disability- then what? I couldn’t afford my medications or any surgeries. I don’t want to be a charity case but that is how I feel.

Disability is a joke. Things need to change. I didn't ask for this life. I would love to go back to the way my life was before. I had such high hopes back then. It its sickening what you go through going to family services to get food stamps so that you can eat. Then the disability money can be used for the rest of the bills. Think about it- my disability is only $832.00 a month. Can YOU live on that?

The government needs to step in and help those of us that are on disability, but I don’t see it happening. I pray and hope I have enough to get by every month.

Obviously, something needs to change. Many people (myself included) would love to get back on the road to a good job that provides benefits.

Its hard enough to find a doctor who will take care of you when you have all these problems, let alone find a job that will accept your limitations and provide still medical benefits. Not to mention, the insurance company wouldn’t touch me because of my medical issues. Life is hard, but I try to make the best of it everyday.

Thanks for reading my story.



Elaine Garrett said...

Our daughter has applied for disability. We understand it could take years for her to qualify.

Like Pam, even if she does qualify, she will not have enough to cover her current bills.

There is something very wrong with a system that almost invariably turns disability requests down and forces people to go to court.

Cindy Shepard said...

I know from some family experiences how ridiculous the system can seem...the honestly needy often do not receive what the scammers are able to.

Carin said...

Hi Carolee- you posted this link under our 52 weeks challenge, do you have a different link to the 52 weeks or did you forget to put your picture up? Please let me know so we can correct this. thank you.
Forever in Blue Jeans
52 Weeks Challenge

Carolee said...

Oh geez, I probably misunderstood something or forgot...

I will look at it again- sorry. I am going totally blog crazy lately. There are so many cool ones to read and neat ways to connect via each others blogs.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am in the same boat as Pam. My disability is due to health problems that were not the result of an accident. I just got sick.

I graduated from college in 1991 - 20 years after I graduated from high school. I was so proud of myself. I got a 4 year degree in 5 years! I was going through a divorce the last two years of college, raising five children on my own while doing it. I got a job and a year later, contracted a virus that damaged my heart and was told I had three years to live. At that time, I went on welfare and received $86 a month in child support. Thankfully they came out with some new meds and I got somewhat better. I was able to go back to work in public accounting. However, depression sometimes goes hand in hand with heart disease and I was not to be an exception. I had dealt with it off and on in my life previously.

Eventually, I was unable to hold a job because of the depression and personality changes that came with medication. So, I applied for disability. It took me two years to get approved. Meanwhile, my fiancee and I both ended up filing bankruptcy. He was trying his best to take care of me and help me financially. He is wonderful. Finally I was approved. It's been a long seven years of meds, med changes, therapy, hospitalizations, and lots of tears and very low self esteem, because I was not taking care of my family myself.

Slowly I began to improve,and I tried to go back to work. With disability, there is a trial work period. What I didn't realize was that I wasn't ready to return to work. So, I used up my trial work period. Now, I am afraid to go back in case I fall apart, because then I will lose my benefits immediately if I earn too much money. I live on $818 a month. I do have some self-employment income, but have to watch how much I earn, because I too cannot afford my meds without the MA and Medicare. ($500 - $600/mo) I probably average being in the hospital at least once a year. One year it was every month. My fiancee and I have been together for 9 years, but don't get married because then I will lose my health insurance or else he would have to get rid of any little retirement funds he has (couldn't have more than $2000 in assets). His insurance at work has a $10,000 deductible. And no other company would take me.

I would love to try to expand my business, but am afraid to because I can't risk losing the MA and Medicare. And what if I get sicker again? Right now, things are stable, knock on wood.

I'm not sure what the answer is.

Carolee said...

Thanks everyone for your input! I have learned alot!

Military Momz said...

That is so sad! I too, know how the situation is because my mom is disabled. My brother, (who died in a tragic accident due to someone's negligence) was able to take care of them while he was living and even after his tragic death.

Military Momz said...

Just wanted to say thank you for your T-shirt order. So very nice of you and I really appreciate it more than you will ever know!


bernthis said...

I had a friend who applied for welfare. They told her she had to sell her 7 year old Jeep or she didn't qualify, even though she was broke. They told her she had to take a bus to work.


Carolee said...

There are a lot of sad stories out there connected to this issue!I don't know how people survive. I feel truly blessed!

Pamela said...

thanks to all of you for reading my story, disability is such a hard thing to face something needs to be done, WHAT is the question, my heart goes out to everyone who knows the life I lead now its awful.

Anonymous said...

To Everyone: Disability, is FREE MONEY, FREE MONEY, Almost Everyday or at least once a month when I go to the Bank, I honestly Can Not Believe, we live in a Country, that actually pays me FREE Money, Where in the Heck Else would you get Free Income???... You guys better STOP your Complaining, because with the way the Government is in Debt, One Day, You May not Even GET WHAT YOUR GETTING.... Do You GET WHAT I'M Saying.... I get sick of people bitching about their money, Your Damn Lucky to get Anything... and Push Come To Shove, Any of us could really work, we'd be in pain, but we could work, the only one's that couldn't would be only one's InMobile/coma in I.C.U. or a Nursing Home....... Yes we might be in pain, but there's alot of people in pain, that have to work. "Enough Said". There's people that work, that have to put a Pen in their Mouth to use a computer.

Carolee / Home4ever said...

Thanks for your opinion, anonymous.

I would have to agree-to a point!

I have known several people that could work who abused the system.Ruins it for those who need it!

On the other hand, I do know people that have good days/bad days and most bosses would not put up with a person taking a couple of days a week off.