Before you sit down and get comfortable, grab your preferred beverage and maybe a snack.We might be here for a little longer than expected. I am the wife and caregiver of a Quadriplegic man. When I met him he was already Disabled so I was not around to fight for his basic rights and needs. I have been in his wife since 2014 and have to always make sure he doesn’t get overlooked or swept under the carpet. Last year I sent emails to Senator McCain’s office located in Tucson,Az. I wanted them to hear me and hopefully help me with my husband’s SSI Benefits. Or at least give me answers or options. Initially I did receive a response. “We need a signed Authorization Form to have access to your SSI file” His office stated in a returned letter. I sent the form back to them almost immediately. Unfortunately I had to send it again because the first one we signed Digitally and they needed actual signatures. I waited patiently for a response but still never heard anything. I thought to myself, well, it’s near Election time, so the office is probably pretty busy. I’ll wait a little longer. By the new year I still hadn’t heard from them so I sent another email inquiring about my original emails. Again I receive the request for authorization. I explained to the person who was emailing me that I had already sent the form. I remember sending it because I complained to my husband that the Senator’s office couldn’t even bother to send a SAE. Shortly after this last email we did receive a letter stating that they had contacted our local SSI office and as soon as they heard from them they would contact us. So now here it is the middle of May and I still have no response. The reason i’m writing this in a blog is so that I may get a wider reach and hopefully force a response from my local Government.
Before I begin telling you the basics of what I wrote in my email, let me explain to you that I am well aware of the basic Parameters and Laws of SSI. I do understand that these Parameters are in place to be “fair” but also to avoid any form of abuse or fraud. However, I do believe in some situations that certain individuals should be given a more thorough look see. My husband is on SSI Disability Insurance due to a car accident that he was in. He was not the driver nor did he cause the accident. My husband was twenty-nine at the time of this accident. Still pretty young don’t you think? Let me ask you a question, how many of you reading this can say that you had your life all figured out by twenty-nine? Probably not too many of you did. Prior to the accident my husband worked a lot of side jobs such as construction and basic maintenance. A lot of young men take these jobs because they pay cash in hand for a hard day of work, No waiting for a paycheck or a Bank. Pretty appealing situation if you don’t mind manual labor in the Arizona heat. Most people at twenty-nine are not thinking about the future or the “what ifs.” I bring all this up because it’s a major factor in my husband’s SSI allotment amount. See, he paid very little into taxes back then so his SSI amount is pretty low. I understand you get paid what you pay in. I guess he should have planned the car accident better. I’ve tried several times to get my husband on the basic SSI but I keep being told he doesn’t qualify. Someone had even told me that he could draw off of his parents SSI if approved. I guess he should have planned the car accident better. He would have had to become disabled before the age of twenty-one in order to do this. He should have planned it early enough in his life or made sure he paid a butt load into his taxes if he wanted to receive a decent allotment. Remember, he was the passenger and not the driver. My next issue involves me personally. I feel like I should have the right to marry the person that I love and want to spend my life with. However, if I had known how much our marriage would impact his SSI benefits, we probably would not have gotten married. So now two years into our marriage we have had to talk about the “what ifs.” What if we just get divorced? What if we move to a different state? Why is this something we should have to think about? My income affects his SSI Disability amount. I make the basic minimum wage in Arizona. Ten dollars and hour at thirty-seven hours a week. I can not make any more or any less. I get no vacations or days off and obviously no overtime. The other reason for my husbands SSI amount is that SSI feels whatever the husband doesn’t make the wife can make up for. Which is understandable for the most part. However, my husband is a Quadriplegic and is 100% dependant on me for his care. If I was able to leave him for six to eight hours I would consider working a second job to make up for his very small amount of SSI. I’m not afraid of hard work, and I would do anything to improve my situation if I was able. So let’s review the situation real quick. He should have worked a lot harder because he was planning to be in a car accident at age twenty-nine. However he should have planned the accident prior to turning age twenty-one. Once he became a Quadriplegic, he should have never dreamed of getting married. Once he was married, he should have expected his wife to work herself to death in order to afford their basic needs. I think that sums it up pretty well. So what options do we really have at this point? Get divorced? Move out of the State? Or would our Government prefer me to neglect my husband’s basic care so I can get a second job. That would mean he would sit alone in a house for hours with very little water and no food since he is incapable of getting his own. I’m no slouch, I rack my brain for hours, day after day, trying to figure out ways to bring in extra cash income. I’ve looked for discounts and services that might help us afford the basics. We do actually qualify for sixteen dollars in food stamps because we’re just poor enough. I think the whole system is a mess and people like my husband get lost in a big pile of crappy papers on someone’s desk. I know it happens to many more people than just my husband and I. I also know that our pleas fall on deaf ears. I have asked for help and now i’ve resorted to “begging” online just so that I can hopefully afford to get a ramp installed into our van. If I am forced to just barely get by, i’d like to have the ability to get outside with my husband. That way we can watch the sunset while we are getting screwed. Even if nothing ever changes for us, at least I can make myself heard. So many people in our government are living a life that people like us could never even imagine. And by that I mean, the ability to pay bills on time and the ability to afford basic necessities.The ability to live without wanting to break down and cry everyday.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I’d like to hear your opinion, and if you have a similar story, please share it with me.
Kelly Blake 5/2017