Three years ago, August 31, 2006, my husband had an episode. The results of which (after thousands of dollars I spent after insurance) were they didn’t know what happened. He would pass out. He couldn’t move without becoming dizzy. His blood pressure plummeted and stayed low normal, even though he had high blood pressure and had been taking medication for years. He was unable to work. He developed crippling anxiety and paranoia. He became so depressed, we actually became afraid we would lose him. His knees were shot. After the one year of state disability was exhausted the only improvement was in his depression. The rest, most especially his knees became worse. He had several surgeries which were not helpful or successful. We applied for long term disability.
In the last three years we have been denied SSDI three times. We began our final appeal (a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge) one year ago. We tried to hire lawyers three times. One finally agreed to look at our case in January, but has not done a single thing for us. Just before this lawyer took our case, we had our first hearing with the judge, which she postponed so we could find a lawyer to take our case. The postponement was supposed to be a month or two. We finally were re-scheduled for a hearing today, nine months later.
Today it will finally end. One way or the other. My mom says even if we don’t get it, we aren’t any worse off than we are now, but I don’t believe that is true. It is true that my husband’s income was 60% of our household income and doing without it for the last years has been extremely difficult. There was an entire year when I worked two full time jobs, before I become so exhausted I couldn’t handle it. We had to give up our home of 10 years. We lived in an RV. We have been evicted, turned out for collections, had liens placed against us, owe thousands of dollars, been on food stamps, and are on MediCal. I have had to beg for money to eat. Not exactly the future we had worked hard for the last nearly 30 years. But, as mom says, we are already at the bottom.
The problem is, if he is denied, we lose hope. For all these years, we had hope. Hope that he would have some small amount of income from SSDI. Hope that it would be enough for us to sustain a bare minimum existence. Hope that he wouldn’t have to feel like he couldn’t contribute anymore. Hope we could pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and climb back up.
A stranger, a judge, holds our hope in her hands today. I can’t say I have much faith in the system anymore. I want to, but I just can’t anymore.
Here goes nothing and everything.