Thursday, April 30, 2009


I've been on SSDI, federal long term disability income, since late November, 2008.

Applying was easy. Waiting for a decision was tedious, but I had been warned. Being approved without having to appeal was a very pleasant surprise. The shenanigans that followed were frustrating and meltdown-inducing. Now we seem to have corrected the problem and I am receiving regular checks. Very small, regular checks. I hate to complain, because I am getting "free money" from the government, but it's close to impossible to live on what they give me. I'm lucky my resourceful boyfriend is able to make enough to cover us both.

Being on disability gets me some raised eyebrows and funny looks. I look too healthy to be not working. I have all of my limbs, no visible scars or malformations. I can speak clearly most days. I don't appreciate feeling like I need to defend my disability. So, I don't. If someone doubts me, I let them. Because I have a headache and I just don't have the physical resources to argue. The government thinks I'm disabled. And that's good enough for me.

I have been trying to come up with some comebacks, so I can respond with more than a grunt if the occasion calls for it. A few works in progress: "Not all disabilities are obvious, jerkface!" or maybe just a "No comment" or "You don't KNOW me." (optional head waggle) Or I could get angry: "I don't look disabled? Interesting, because you don't look like an ignorant asshole and yet here we are." I don't, however, want to get my ass kicked, so maybe I'll lay off the name-calling.

I plan on applying for a parking placard. I know I'll get some looks on that one. But, driving is bad, ok? I can make it out and home and then I'm pretty much done for the day. If I can save myself any stress or energy (ie: searching for parking) I'm going to take it.

I've considered having somebody come out and help me at home, with cleaning or whatever. My pride has not yet allowed me to look far enough into it to see if I would even qualify. If the frequency and severity of my symptoms get worse, though, we'll have no choice. There are standards of living.

I am starting to realize that asking for help may not be the worst thing in the world. It's still in the top ten, though.


nancy said...

I love your comments about Cindy McCain - let's hope she is the spotlight we are looking for.