I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you tax paying citizens. Your hard work is my gain. Because of you going out there everyday, working a job you quite possibly hate, I am able to be as lazy as I want. I can lay around all day watching TV, play video games and sleep as much as I want and still collect my Social Security Disability check each month. It is quite the easy life.
Obviously this is not how I think, nor act. However, during this past tax season it was evident that this is how society views me. Every day for the past 4 months my social media feed was filled with memes & posts telling me how lazy and despicable I am for accepting government assistance. At first it made me angry, of course anger is usually my initial response anyway. Though my anger quickly dissolved into embarrassment, depression and my always favorite; worthlessness. Intellectually I understand that these memes and the like were not created with me specifically in mind. However, I am a benefactor of the programs being criticized so I do take it personally. Although there is no question that I am disabled, and one of the genuinely eligible recipients of Social Security Disability, it isn’t easy to receive it and at times I am filled with guilt. I would trade my disabled body in for one that could work the crappiest, low paying job in a heartbeat. I want to work and although my body does everything it can to stop me, I still try.
According to Utah Disability law, I can work up to 20 hours a week without risking my benefits. (There is also a maximum amount you can make as well) For the past few years I have used this opportunity to substitute teach. This has been an ideal position for me because of my love for children and education. Typically I will sub once to twice a week equating to 12 hours tops. At the end of school last year I got this crazy idea that I could do more and went to find out more about Ticket to Work. Ticket to Work is a program that assists disabled people get back into the workforce. It is a really amazing program. They help you with everything from writing resumes to advocating for you to your employer about any accommodations you may need. In order to get into this program I went to a place called Ability 1st that offers not only support with Ticket to Work but so much more. They made it easy for me to get started. I was able to get signed up and on my way in no time. I was so excited and looking forward to working again. I felt like a real person again. The goal is to help you become more and more self reliant and in the best cases get off Social Security Disability altogether. That was exactly what I wanted, to make my own money. But like everything else in my life, I failed. I was not able to work the required amount and I was dropped from the program.
No matter how many times reality hits me about my disability I never get used to it. In my mind I am an able bodied woman, that can do anything for herself. While last school year I felt good enough to sub a little, volunteer and live my limited life, this year has been different. This year I struggle subbing more than once a week. I hurt too much. I have no energy. My health is declining with each day. I have had to choose if I want to see my family or work for a couple hours. I go entire weekends without getting out of bed, sleeping the majority of that time. Is working and making the meager earnings I do worth it? I am not sure if my family thinks it is but it is something I have to do. With the school almost over for the year I have thought about finding a job that is easier on my body. I would love to be able to do something like Data Entry or anything really I can sit, and not have to use my body too much. I know the chances of me getting a job like that are slim but I am used to setting myself up to fail. I am really good at it. Maybe I could get a job doing that?