Paying People to Stay Home

Paying People to Stay Home

I don’t appear very sick and I hear many complain about paying people to stay home. I believe these people don’t understand the big picture.  They must believe  the $1037.00 I receive in disability benefits for Social Security is a culmination a dream of mine since I was 15, when I got my first paycheck from Taco Bell and saw my deduction for Medicare and disability benefits. Yes, this girl from Westminster, California is living the dream!  And of course, I receive Veteran’s Benefits, which is really just icing on the cake.  Since I was a little girl I dreamed of living the high life with no goals or aspirations ever, right?  Wrong.

Imagine having nothing to do but go to frequent doctors appointment; routine invasive procedures – I “LOVE” having a camera shoved down my throat annually and on March 2nd, 2011 I finally got implants. Yes, I have a port implanted above my right breast with a tube in  my vein that goes directly to my heart. It’s done wonders for my cleavage. Now when I get my blood drawn or chemo treatments, instead of four or five sticks with an exploratory needle, it’s like girls gone wild. I just pull back my shirt and BAM! I’ve got an IV in seconds.

When I received my first chemo infusion with it, had the oncology floor been a bar and port o-caths were drinks, I would’ve bought a round for everyone. I never thought I would see the day I would be attached to an IV without feeling ecruciating pain. HEAVEN!

Many people with Scleroderma,  Sarcoidosis, Lupus and other autoimmune diseases have trouble getting disability benefits. These benefits are  gigantic pay cut after years of hard work.  One reason I had difficulty getting my benefits was my inability to say no. Yes, some of us are work sluts. When someone asks us, we say that we can work a full 8 to 10 hour day. But what happens at the end of the day? Let’s see….we pick up the kids from daycare, help them with their home work, feed and bathe them. That is a long day even when our feet are so swollen that we shouldn’t walk but stay on our feet despite the pain. It takes a toll on our health and psyche. Then there’s the swelling.  Possibly caused by our hearts working too hard to move faster than our bodies are capable, slowing us down as we move from point A to point B. An immune system already compromised by chemo to keep us alive, makes us more susceptible to the germs our kids bring home with them. My pulmonologist refers to my 7 year old as a cesspool for a reason. We bathe our little nose miners to wash off the day’s accumulation of God knows what.

We don’t do all of these things and more because we like to complain. We do these things because we want to live a full life. With or without children, as caregivers, lovers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends; we battle each and every day and some of us end up working ourselves into an early grave. Should we dare to be so bold as to request benefits we have paid into for decades so that we may remain on this planet just a little longer? I know, I sound like a nut. But what’s so nuts about putting our families and lives first and not our livelihoods? A job is important, but it should be last on our list of priorities, not first. I’m not saying we all need to be slackers, I’m saying this “walk it off-shake it out-cowboy-up-and-deal-with-it” way of life is going to kill most of us before our time.

Kudos to those who can maintain their health and work. I envy you. Had I followed my intended career path, I would be a registered nurse, probably with a surgical specialty. But not everyone gets what they want, that’s life. It would be a dream if I could keep a job without having to take time off for flare ups or unexpected ER visits. And honestly, that puts a larger burden on co-workers.
I don’t say these things lightly. I almost worked myself to death and I am grateful I was finally able to say no to my Social Security interviewer when she asked if I could work a full day.  When asked if I can work, it is almost reflexive to say yes without considering what happens before and after work. A full day is from the time you get up in the morning, until you go to bed.

I hear constant criticism from even close family members that we shouldn’t, “Pay people to stay home.” Good news everyone, you don’t. Those who have been working have been paying into a system for years, so that burden is not yours. And for those who have never worked and are using SS or disability benefits, I say, kudos. They are taking care of themselves so they may take care of their own families. People who take care of themselves can take care of their children or elderly parents and are doing society as a whole a great service.

Now, with every program, there is always room for abuse. People who take advantage of the system are a minority. So just get over it, PLEASE! It’s just a fact of life, like sand in your PB&J at the beach. It’s like avoiding the beach because you don’t want to get sand in your lunch. Then one can say, “Just don’t eat at the beach”, but you are still going to get sand in your shoes.

Well, I think I’ve covered everything. So those of you worrying about us free-loaders, you are off the hook. You are not paying anyone to stay home. Please, you don’t need to thank me for that good night’s sleep you will get tonight.

Here is one way to look at it; when on an airplane and experiencing a drop of pressure, you put the mask on yourself first, then so you are able to help the person who needs help sitting next to you.  If you need that explained, file that away so that when you are diagnosed with something and have trouble working, then you will get it.

 

4 Comments

  1. Comment by Nadine:

    This article truly cuts to the heart of the matter. Those of us with autoimmune diseases that aren’t visible have a different kind of burden. It took 2 years for me to gain SSDI for my fibromyalgia and I can tell you for sure that I’m living the high life here. Let’s just say I don’t have accounts in the Caymans– I don’t even have use of my own car. My roommate needs it for work. Isolation is a huge issue. I was a reference librarian. I miss it every single day.

  2. Comment by Chris Dean:

    Thank you for reposting this! Hubby has been nagging at me to apply for several months now. I’ve been dragging my feet because, well…pride is a bitch.
    The truth is, we could probably eek by with me not working, except what has happened is our money coing in has been cut in half, while our money going out (thank you med bills and gas to get to appointments and meds) has doubled!
    The math doesn’t add up…*sigh*
    Thanks for giving my pride the dose of common sense it needed!

  3. Comment by Kathy:

    Very well said!! I am glad you posted this again!

  4. Comment by Karen:

    Thank you for posting such an honest article about your experience. Math is filled with facts I hate facing every day; from blood work results to my checking account. I hate that you are in the similar situation, but you are not alone. Love you! And may the water company only visit to check your meter!