Social Security Disability is a total Disability program. Benefits are given when the “condition” is 100% disabling. Social Security Disability isn’t given on the basis of a condition that is temporarily disabling.
Disability Definition- an individual must have a severe impairment that has lasted or is expected to last for a minimum of one year.
Where does the money come from? Social Security Disability is funded by taxes. Employees are taxed 6.2% of their Income.
Proving Disability- Proving Disability isn’t as easy as people think it is. Once upon a time that may have been the case. There’s no dispute that some people took advantage of the system. Improvements have been made, I’m not sure if they were positive or not. I can only go by my own experience.
Stigma of Disability- For some strange reason, people think I sit on my couch all day eating Bon Bons, drinking Champagne, and watching Soap Operas. That I’m the happiest person ever, I’m free from the bonds of working. There is resentment. Little comments are made. “Of course you can do that, you don’t work”. That’s a nicer comment.
Every time I talked to my best friend on the phone somehow the subject of “people who don’t work and take advantage of the system” would come up. She works for the Post Office. I can’t really blame her. They are forced to work overtime and hardly ever have 2 days in a row off. She also spent years delivering mail to low income housing and would see so much that angered her. Child neglect, young girls having more children when they couldn’t afford the three they had, guys on Disability doing manual labor they shouldn’t have been able to do, all of this got to her.
When she complained about it she would always add at the end “You know I don’t mean you, you need it”. After awhile it was harder to believe she didn’t mean me.
She called me for the first time in a long time on Sunday. We talked for 2 hours. When the conversation came around to “people who don’t work” I let her rant. When she was done as calmly as I could I said “From the age of 14 I started paying into Disability. When I was managing Blockbuster for years there were times I made up to $45,000. I didn’t tell anyone because I was ashamed I made that much and had nothing to show for it. I drank it away, I spent it on clothes, make up, hair products, salons, perfume that was $200 a bottle, I took my parents to Vegas, I paid for little getaways for me and my sister just so she would spend time with me, I bribed my own family with gifts, but I still paid into my share into Disability”. I also told her “If I had known what I would have to go through just to get Disability, I’m not sure I would’ve done it. Between being mocked and humiliated by DHS and going before a Judge that was so rude I had to watch my father hold himself back with tears in his eyes at the time it didn’t seem worth it.”
She had forgotten about the woman at DHS who pulled a Donald Trump and mimicked my stutter. I was upset to the point that my father took the phone from me. When he heard what she was doing I thought I would mess my pants. My father’s mad voice is like Darth Vader only worse. He never uses curse words. That day he did.
While going for Disability I had to sit in front of a Judge and answer questions. The Conversion Disorder was at an all time high, I had just been diagnosed with it. (Some people get better with a diagnosis and some worse) My lawyer had spoken on the Senate Floor about Disorders like Conversion Disorder and was extremely knowledgeable. Very rare.
When the Judge asked his first question I was trying so hard to talk clearly that I made my stutter worse. The Judge said “What? Didn’t you take your meds today?” The way he said it was almost with a snarl. I could see my dad out of the corner of my eye. My heart broke for the hundredth time. I tried again to speak but it was worse. The Judge was becoming irritated. I didn’t know my lawyer was giving him enough rope to hang himself. After a few more insulting comments my lawyer finally stood up and said “Your Honor did you read what my client is diagnosed with?”. Judge “Yes”. Lawyer “Then you know she has Conversion Disorder which causes her to stutter under stress? Because I just did an entire presentation on the subject on The Senate Floor because it is a Disability.” At this point the Judge looked upset. He stood up suddenly and said “Give it to her” and left the room in a hurry. I sat there and cried.
I’ve paid my dues. Monetarily, physically, and mentally. I’m tired of trying to make people understand or worrying what other people think.