Disability in the USA

Disability in the USAMy husband is 48 years old. He started working when he was 19 years old after leaving college. In the 29 years that he has worked full time, he has only had 1 year out of work in 1982. This was after the sudden death of his father.

In May of 1999, my husband started getting pain in his hips, and over the years that followed the pain grew worse. In 2004, he started to get a limp. Worried, he went to see his MD, who referred him to a specialist. After X-rays were taken, he was told he had a severe condition called A Vascular necroses.
Over the next year his condition grew much worse, resulting in a bad fall in December 2006. After the fall, my husband could not walk unaided; he uses a walker at all time. While all this was going on, he was still working full time up to 60 hours a week.

In May, my husband came home from work in extreme pain. I’d never seen my husband cry, but on this day, I did. I knew something was very wrong. I took him to the hospital only to find both his hips were dislocated. His condition had become so bad that there was no way to put his hip joints back in their sockets. They gave him pain killers and told him he must have surgery. I took him back to the specialist he had seen in 2004 for a second opinion. After more X-rays and a MRI, the specialist agreed that my husband needed a double hip replacement. The doctor will replace his right hip on the the 27th of August (2007). He will need to recover for five months, and at that point his left hip will be replaced. He will be out of work for about a year.

Now this is where the fun started: applying for social security disability and welfare, including food stamps and Medicaid. To make a very long story short, my husband, our son, and my daughter were all accepted for food stamps and Medicaid. (I was refused everything). We also applied for a c-r-i-s-e check (money for family’s with no income). My husband and son were accepted. My daughter and I were not, due not being US citizens. He was qualified for $334 a month. Unfortunately, in return he has to work in what I can only describe as a sweat house. He toils 30 hours a week assembling toys and such for stores to sell. Do the math: 120 hours per month @ $334 per month = $2.78 per hour. Who do you know that would work for that? It’s slave labor.

Beware if you become disabled. Doctors have to fill out this paperwork, and some don’t realize that welfare’s idea of class work is this. Most think it’s a few hours per week sitting in a classroom doing class work. My husband is lucky that he only has two more weeks left. That is only because he is due to have the surgery soon. Doing this so-called class work has given him more pain. Sitting for 6 hours a day on a hard stool with two dislocated hips is really not healthy.

As for social security disability? After filling out piles of paperwork, my husband has to wait four months for a decision. We doubt he will get it as 75% of cases are turned down. For now we’re living off food stamps and a welfare check for $334 a month. All our savings are going fast. Soon we will have nothing left. When that happens we will lose our home. As you can see, the government isn’t helping much.

Do I think I deserve anything from this country? No. But my husband has worked his whole life paying in to Social Security–for what? A big fat nothing. Here’s my advice to everyone: you don’t know what the future will bring. Look now for disability insurance from your job or from a private company. You never know; you could lose everything because you didn’t pay a few dollars a week. Don’t rely on the government to take care of you if you become disabled; you may be on your own.