Brian Grubb you are one of my heroes. One of my friends, who I will not name out of respect for his privacy, was in your shoes, so to speak, and worked until his body gave out on him. He did disability cases and you had to be pretty bad off to go into a Social Security hearing with an advocate on two crutches and leg braces. He also had a wicked sense of humor and a whip smart way of understanding medical records. He had experience.
As for you: thank you for ruining the notion that all disabled people just hang out in nursing homes gorked out on whatever. The numbers are that most disabled people work. I also want to thank you for giving others a glimpse into the world of living with a chronic condition that means you have to make decision about things other people don’t even think about like, I need a shower. (When is the aide here to help me ?)
You were able (probably because of your law degree) to negotiate the hurdles and roadblocks that serve as insane barriers to people who want to work but run-up against financial boundaries that make no sense (if you think about the real costs.) Unfortunately too many of the able-bodied (who often will not be if they wait long enough), just don’t get a $600 “share of cost”, per month is a $600 deductible that means you have to pay for that $150.00 nerve pain medication of pocket on your $1500 per month disability benefit along with your $700 rent and $250 utility payment. Makes that $50 in Food Stamp benefits seem so helpful.
Final point: you might want to check out Social Security’s Ticket to Work program. I would also encourage you to look into working for your state’s Disability Rights Advocacy program. Nothing makes an impression on someone who has discriminated against or wronged someone in a wheelchair as when the attorney for that person comes in the courtroom in his wheelchair. Talk about the wheels of justice.