Um…Yeah…this isn’t really a ballad, cuz I’m not in the mood to write poetry –
For decades I’ve heard about all those “Lazy, Decadent Saps’ who milk the welfare system and deprive hard-working Americans of their hard-earned wages.
Because I’ve been in the ranks of those lazy, good-for-nothings for 2 years now, I thought I would report…
Right after my son died of bacterial meningitis, I was pretty shocked by how many people in our ‘sphere of influence’ asked if I sued the doctors and if so, how much did I get?
(Really? Upon learning of my son’s demise, your first thought about what to say to me was to find out how much profit I gleaned from it?)
After my stroke, I learned (second hand, because I wasn’t talking to anyone) how many folks asked if I had applied for Disability.
I didn’t apply after my stroke. The doctors said I had received treatment in time and I should make a full recovery and every month, at my check-up, I was assured to give it time, 6-9 months was normal for recovery, though no one could say for sure.
Now I’m sure this is indoctrination, because upon filing a disability claim, you must have doctor reports claiming you’ll be disabled for a year or more – – interesting, eh?
My 3 month brain scans indicated my brain was “Normal”, with “no visible damage”.
I have to laugh – who the hell in the entire world has a Normal Brain?!? And if there’s no damage, why do I still talk like Porky Pig?
Around my one year anniversary of the stroke, I was somewhat depressed and pissed at my healthcare providers (primary, neurologist, acupuncturist, chiropractor)- I did what you told me to – I came for treatments twice a week – I’m still not well enough to work – WTF?!?
I adjusted and changed healthcare providers.
I pushed myself.
I tried harder.
Around June of last year, I had pretty much run through my little ‘nest egg’ divorce settlement.
I needed paying work.
I still didn’t apply for Disability – confident I could cobble together enough work to keep us going.
September came and I finally seriously looked at applying for Disability and any other help I could get, because things were getting bad. A lawyer, who is a professional friend-of-a-friend tells me he will take my case pro bono – but I have to be denied benefits first by Social Security, and he assures me I will be denied:
“They do not care that no employer in the world wants to hire you with the caveat that you can only work 2-4 hours a day and must rest every 1-1 1/2 hours. As long as you can work, that’s all they care about. But go ahead and apply. Get Denied and then come see me. I’m telling you right now, from what you tell me, yours is going to be a hard case. You need to start keeping a journal notating every day what your symptoms/capabilities are and you’ll need at least 3 doctors to back up what you’re saying….blah, blah, blah”
Okay, I have a journal – I’ve kept one for years – it’s all there. I keep it because the variables affecting your state of health are numerous and you can only learn what to do to get better if you take notice of every stinking thing you are or are not doing. Didn’t keep me from having a stroke, but that is beside the point…
3 Doctors agreeing and putting in writing something that will actually benefit me – hmmm….problem …. I tend to go to healthcare providers that have some hope of my wellness – whether for continued insurance billing or from a sincere desire to help their fellow man.
I’ve yet to visit a healthcare provider that says, “Yup! You’re hopeless and there’s not a damn thing we can do to help you.”
Okay – so scratch Social Security, Disability, a system I’ve paid into every year but 3 since 1984, off the list.
TANF – Colorado’s Back To Work Program seemed like a viable option – maybe if I’m part of a ‘back to work’ program, I can have limited hours until my health gets better, or at least, not get fired for having frequent rest periods during manual labor – –
You can’t qualify if you have any income that totals more than $248/month.
Who the fuck lives in anything other than a cardboard box under a bridge for less than $248/month? Homesteaders? Constitutionalists that inherited property and don’t pay property taxes, utility bills or insurance?
Understand, my insurance purchases are either mandated by law (vehicle) or purchased in a sincere attempt to keep my family from going bankrupt in case zealous paramedics and ER personnel choose to ignore my DNR orders.
Sorry – maybe you are a wonderful person who manages to live off less than $248 a month in either cash or bartered trade – I’m not there yet and even if I sponged off my relatives, but contributed to grocery fund and paid my own insurance, I can’t do it for $248/month- – So I do not understand this program and figure no one but those already living on the streets qualify for it.
On one hand, this is good, a program to help the homeless – on the other hand, do you have anything that prevents people from becoming homeless in the first place?
Full disclosure – If I became penniless tomorrow, neither I nor my son would be homeless and starve – I still have a mother & brother who would like to see me well and self-sufficient, but who couldn’t live with themselves if I were housing in Frigidaire Cardboard – and I have in-laws who wouldn’t let their grandson live in such filth and squalor – so yes, I’m lucky.
Scratch the back to work program.
If I get any work at all each month, I’m close to not qualifying for Food Stamps.
Since I try to get work of some sort each month, why even bother applying?
In 1990, I became a single parent at age 21. I worked 60-70 hours per week, but sometimes, my babysitting bills overwhelmed me. The first time, I asked for help from the agencies my tax dollars helped to fund – it was not forthcoming –
A car repair bill left me short on formula for the baby – I needed one can to get by till payday -I called the local WIC officials and asked for a can of formula which would promptly be replaced on payday – They told me to come in next Tuesday (5 days past when I was going to run out of formula) so they could determine if the baby was “nutritionally needy” or not….
I informed them that hell yes, he’d be nutritionally needy by then and to forget it, I thought it would be easier to sell my body for a can of formula….
I’ve come to the conclusion that Yes, there are those who milk the system, but I do not believe their numbers to be as high as the experts would have you believe.
There are those who get ‘milked’ by those who live without any pretense of trying to contribute and here’s the list of those who help their fellow man, and get milked by the “Lazy Poor”:
Local community bankers who, when you tearfully ask for a loan til payday say:
“You write a check for whatever that baby needs. Call me and if it shows up before your paycheck does, I’ll cover it myself.”
Friends and Neighbors who say:
“Hey, I got 10 jugs of the 10-for-a-dollar juice – can I give you a couple?”
Farmers and Ranchers who say:
“Yup, you can pay for your yearly purchase on payment plan – no interest – and if you need that money for the doctor, I’m not going to sweat it – I’d rather see you healthy than get that $100 and if you never pay it back, I’m not going to hold it against you.”
Local Food Banks who say:
“Thanks for coming and helping out – whatever is over there, take as much as you want. Something in the box we fixed for you not work? Let us know, we’ll change it out for you.”
Doctors who say:
“Oh – you won’t be insured come Jan. 1st? Okay – here’s a cash discount rate – and if you need to, come in, we’ll work it out. Don’t worry about it.”
Business Owners who say:
“We’re interested in what you have to offer for our company. We do not expect you to work yourself to death for us. Tell us what you feel you can commit to.”
Social Justice, I’ve come to believe, will never be meted out by government programs financed by taxes – it comes from the same place it has for millenia – from those in your community who are dedicated to achieving those principals set out by our Founding Fathers.
At the end of my attempt to get help from systems I’ve spent many years paying into – I decided, it’s easier, quicker and less heartache to sign up to dig ditches and drop dead while working for $4/hour, 14 hours a day, with no break, than it is to get any help from any tax-payer funded program.
Happily, I’ve slowly cobbled together part-time work each month – the total of this income, in the best month for the year to come, is $947/month.
Which renders me unqualified for most social aide programs and you know what?
I’m so happy I could jump to the moon….