Dis-Abled

Well, I canceled my internet and my HBO NOW (no!!) and I paid up my Con Ed and my prepaid phone.  I’m all paid up and I’m about to have even less money than I’ve been living on.

And, yes, I will talk candidly about money and not having enough.  Most people don’t have enough and why don’t we just talk about it in exact numbers?

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Well, I got approved for Disability and my income is just enough to pay my rent with a jolly $15 left over.  I sobbed and slammed doors and screamed and panicked when I got the income notice from Social Security.

Now I have to take steps.  I have to go to this office and that office.  I have to apply for extra income.  I have to wait and panic and be even hungrier for at least a few months.  The steps aren’t even clear.  Do I know that I’ll get extra income the first time I apply?  Will I have to appeal that decision too?

I first applied for Social Security Disability Income in May of 2014.  I was turned down in July.  I was in the shelter then.  My case manager, who kicked ass, appealed online (marvel that I didn’t have to go to the Social Security office!).  I got my appeals hearing in November, 2015.  Nightmare. Nightmare. I got the judge’s decision in late January.  I got the award notice in the fourth week of February.  Got all that?

My lawyer insists I’m entitled to retroactive Disability pay.  Social Security awarded me none.  I had my heart set on buying a used diesel pickup and moving out to a country road upstate.  I need quiet.  Now.  I need it now.  I could afford the rent in the middle of nowhere.  The truck could be converted to biodiesel.  I could live within driving distance of a train or bus to commute to the city twice a week for therapy.

I begged for more anxiety meds from my psychiatrist.  Thank god for him.  He’s my fourth psychiatrist within the past three years – all at the same clinic.  Psychiatrists and therapists can really suck, but, at last, not mine. I have the Dream Team now, bitch.

I dearly wish I could work.  It’s just all the panic attacks, all the PTSD symptoms.  Sometimes it seems like everything triggers me.  Nothing doesn’t set me off.  Fuck, I’m embarrassed by my intense reactions to odors and people’s conversations; to sounds; to someone standing behind me. I’m surprised by triggers that I didn’t know I had. I. Can’t. Work. Yet I’m dying to. I’m dying to go back to school. School? I can’t even concentrate on reading a short story. Let’s get healed. Let me heal, please, please. Please let me heal so that I can read a book and go back to school. I’ll figure the student loans out. I promise. Just…please.

Fuck, I had all these plans, and they have to wait. I have to adjust my expectations and my goals. My social worker here at my housing told me that student loans are forgiven once you get Disability (they’re not…or only in some cases, and it’s a complicated rubric). Thanks, dum-dum, for getting my hopes up. [My long-defaulted loans have totally fucked my credit, and I’ve never made enough income to turn it around].

There are all kinds of magical rumors about Disability floating around. I have come to believe that Social Security Administration workers are kept in the dark about a lot of this stuff. They sure as hell don’t have the answers you need. There’s really a different answer for each person for every damn little or big thing.

And humiliation is built into every layer of the system. Oh dammit, I can’t do any more today. I’m exhausted and I had so much coffee. Ttfn. XOXO

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