I’ve been on Medicaid for a few months. I’ve been on SNAP for a few weeks. I’m waiting to be approved for Social Security benefits.
I’m not lazy. I’m not on drugs. I’m certainly not unable or unwilling to work. For most people on benefits, me included, those are hurtful stereotypes promoted by those wanting to justify their selfish desire to have a tax cut they truly don’t need.
If one person reads this and realizes cutting taxes on millionaires and billionaires at the expense of people who aren’t really sure where their meals will come from next week is immoral, I’ll be glad I shared. If one person struggling gets something positive from reading my story, I’ll be happy I shared.
For over a year now, I’ve been applying for jobs. First, I looked at paralegal jobs. Sure, they were beneath my level of education, but I knew I needed to prove myself.
When that wasn’t working, I asked the Commission for the Blind for assistance and got a job coach. She thought finding work for someone with a law degree would be kind of easy.
Then, I decided to go into business for myself. I was going to open a solo firm specializing in Social Security law. I took a training course on Social Security law. I contacted every local firm I found that does Social Security law and asked for an unpaid internship. I also contacted an email list for local Social Security representatives and another that covers the entire country. Finally, I heard from a local firm about an unpaid internship. At their office, I discovered the software they use to handle cases isn’t accessible with screen readers.
While that was going on, I contacted a membership organization of people helping those on benefits return to work. I reached out to the local organizations helping people on benefits return to work. At the time, I wasn’t on benefits. I wanted a job.
I have attended two local job fairs and an online job fair.
In some ways, writing this post sucked. I hate having to admit I’m not sure I’ll be able to make my next student loan payment. I can’t believe I’m admitting I’m down to eating once a day, because I’m afraid of running out of food.
In other ways, I’m glad to be writing this post. I want others to know they aren’t alone. I hope some will read this and realize the magnitude of the discussions so many are having around health care, taxes, and government benefits.
I was proud of myself when I helped Aunt Gabby get the health care she truly needed. I was glad to help an uncle of mine navigate the system and piece together a better life than he has ever had. I’ve enjoyed answering people’s questions about different government programs. Getting my mom on SSDI is one of the things I’m most proud of having done. I never imagined I’d be waiting for the letter telling me I was getting benefits I need to survive.
I applied for two more jobs on Friday. This website may someday make money. Somehow, I will land on my feet. When I do, the time I spent surviving on benefits will have helped me become a better, more compassionate person. I’m no longer talking about politics because I can sympathize with those struggling in a country that often demeans and wants to forget them. Now, I’m one of the millions of Americans trying to survive until we get the break we need to make the difference we can.