Thanks, FDR! Thanks, Obama!

I just received word that I WILL be approved for Social Security Disability, and the monthly check will be enough to pay my utilities and taxes, plus a bit extra to live on, and that is an amazing thing.

I have NO idea how long I’ll be disabled, but at this point I still can’t walk well.  I just about make it to the bathroom and back, which I do at least 20 times a day for the exercise, but stairs are insanely hard (but DOABLE!) and FORGET about getting outside to move around in all this snow.

So while I’m disabled, I know that now I will not be using up more savings.  Thank goodness.  And thank you to everyone who helped us out over the past 9 months, we’ve had no income coming in since last June, so your help has been SO appreciated!

Cancer is expensive.  Even with insurance, we’ve run through over $30K of savings so far.  And it’s not over yet (although I am in remission!)  It will be over when I can move well, walk up and down stairs, and drive again!  Those are my goals for 2019!  In the mean time, I will have scans every 6 months, and those are pricey, and doctor visits on a more frequent basis; also pricey.  Insurance covers most of it, but those copays really add up when there’s so little money coming in.

But now I am proud to share the news that I am a recipient of SSDI.  Huzzah.

Beginning in the 90’s there’s been a rather loud outcry from the right about, “Makers and Takers” – the thought being that corporate heads are “makers” for making jobs, and folks who receive any kind of benefit from the government are, “takers” because they’re sucking at the teat of big government.  The truth is, ANYONE who buys a box of cookies or a bike chain is just as much of a “maker” as any industrial giant.

I have always thought that the way a government, a country, treats those in the most difficult situations is how that country should be judged.  We fall FAR SHORT of every other industrialized nation as far as healthcare goes, but thank heaven for Social Security.

The right keeps trying to destroy it, and they HAVE weakened it, but it is so vital to our identity as a nation that cares for the ‘least among us’ (income wise, health wise) and now it’s vitally important to me, too!

If it hadn’t been for SS survivor benefits, I would never have been able to attend college.  Ironically, the same is true for Paul Ryan, who has been one of the loudest voices against this benefit.  In fact, the benefit for child survivors of a deceased parent has changed, it used to continue while the child was in college, now it just ends at 18, making college just a dream for so many kids who have lost a parent and aren’t genius enough to earn scholarships.

And, the truth is, for the benefits to our society (including a better education citizenry) the cost is so low – truly!  This is a complicated issue, and my blog is not a political one (well, not usually…) but there’s been NO cost of living raise for SS recipients in over 2 years.

I feel so relieved, so happy.  I can pay the monthly bills, and have a little bit left over for groceries.  That’s really all I need, and it makes me feel insanely happy.  I will fight like hell to get back to dyeing, designing and teaching again soon, but right now I can’t stand for 5 minutes, let alone teach a class or dye 4,000 grams of wool!

The truth is, if it weren’t for SSDI and the ACA (especially as administered by my beloved Minnesota), our family would be entirely broke by now.

My life, and my financial security, have been saved by these two government programs, and I am VERY grateful.  For years I paid into SS, happily, because I truly believe, like Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., that “taxes are what we pay for a civilized society!”

10 thoughts on “Thanks, FDR! Thanks, Obama!

  1. Amen, Annie, and Amen again! We have such a modest safety net in this country which is incomprehensible for a country with so much wealth. But the wealth is so concentrated that people who need help suffer.

    I didn’t realize that Social Security Survivors’ Benefits ended at 18 for kids. That’s so wrong!

    Be well, be strong, stay in touch. ♥

    • The age of cut off for SS recieiviing children at 18 was changed back in the 80’s by Ronald Reagan. It is not something new. My children were raised with this help but the last one had to pay for his own education with Pell Grants , earned scholarships, and financial aide.

  2. Good News, Annie. You’ve earned it. Work on getting well and back to your old self. Right now I’d love to talk with you about combination knitting because of neuropathy creeping into my fingers.

  3. So glad you will be receiving SS benefits. Thanks to survivors’ benefits — plus two scholarships (one publicly funded and also discontinued years ago), summer jobs, and my mother’s help — I graduated from college with zero debts, for which I am eternally grateful. Nowadays, only the rich, the brilliant, or the extremely lucky can hope to do the same.
    Annie, you are such a good writer, and your story is so compelling, that when you are strong enough, you should think of writing a version of this blog post for wider circulation, for HuffPost or Medium or a newspaper op-ed page.

  4. I have long said that every American is one healthcare crisis away from bankruptcy… Happy to hear that your are doing better each day, and that you will be receiving some support to relieve your mind of some of the financial worries.

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