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Thread: How do you get by financially?

  1. #1

    How do you get by financially?

    I don't know where to start. Don't know if this is even the right board but here goes. My husband is a high level quad with no hand function, and limited arm function. He does not drive and relies on others for all transfers and transportation. He was injured a month after his 15th b-day so no employment history. Now at the age of 25, he still hasn't had any successful job searches.

    We were just married in August and at that time his SSI went down from $494 to just over $150/month. I'm a secretary (which doesn't pay great) and we are living with his grandmother so we can make ends meet. (We pay half of the utilities, buy our groceries, etc.) By the end of the month though there is nothing left.

    So what might be out there that we could be eligible for? We're in Tennessee if that helps. He has told me that he was denied disability before because there was no work history. Yet he can't get a job because he is so limited as far as what he can do.

    We are both really discouraged right now. Between my small check and his $150/month we just don't see how we can ever have a place of our own.

    I know money definitely isn't everything. And aside from money, we are completely happy. So how do you guys & gals who were injured before you were old enough to work get by these days if you are unable to work now?

    We'll check into ANYTHING at this point. Can anyone please give us some hope that this will get better?

    Thanks for letting me vent. These boards are a great resource. I lurk more than I post, but I am glad that you all are here.

  2. #2
    That's why my boyfriend and I will never get married. Has he ever gone to college? He might want to look into going to college for something like computers or something he could use a computer for. Have you gone to college? You might want to look into it, as well.

  3. #3
    Senior Member chiappa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Toms River, NJ, USA
    Have you tried the Vocational Rehab in your state? They are charged with the responsibility of finding work for the disabled

  4. #4
    Senior Member Clipper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Portland, Oregon
    College and voc rehab, as others have said.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the responses.

    I have a B.S. in Business Management- General Management (A.S. in Criminal Justice). Since I graduated in Dec. 2002, there hasn't been many opportunities for a better job. I've applied to tons of places in the area but to no avail (so far, fingers crossed though).

    He attended a university for a couple years that was about 2 hours from home where he knew no one going in. He made some great friends, but didn't have the support there that he needed with daily life.

    Basically, my impression of Voc rehab here is that it isn't impressive at all. They'll call him once every 5-6 months and send him on wild goose chases (that's where most of his interviews have come from). He is considering going to the local community college starting this fall and trying to get into web design (he has taught himself how, but it is impossible to get hired around here without the degree that says you are capable).

    We live in an average size city (population about 25,000 I guess) with most of both of our families within 10 miles of us. We're both close to our families so thats why we haven't up and moved already to an area where there might be more opportunities.

    I totally understand now why people choose not to get married. I really feel like he was punished by SSI for getting married. The money he gets is all gone by the time we fill up the van with gas a couple times, pay for insurance on the van and feed his service dog. $150 doesn't go far at all these days.

    We'll keep trying to come up with something.

  6. #6
    bd, I responded to your other post before seeing this one. The problems with your income sounds accurate to me. A person must work for 40 quarters before being eligible for Soc. Sec. Disability benefits. He is eligible for SSI which is essentially welfare for people with disabilities and all other income impacts this award. The best way to improve your lives is for your husband to determine what college-level program will allow him to acquire a skill for which someone will pay him. In all honesty, I don't believe he is adequately prepared at this time to earn significant money. You say he has two years of college already, so if his grades are satisfactory, he has demonstrated his ability to handle the acamdemics. Web design could be a reasonable goal as this is something he could do at home. VR can not only sponsor him for college, but also pay for transportation for him to get there, if a system of transportation exists. VR could also provide him with a computer if it is necessary for him to achieve his goal. I would assume this to be true, as this is the only reasonable way for him to prepare reports, do research, and practice web design, if that is his goal. The two of you should determine a vocational goal that will enable him to get competitive skills, not an education. If an MA degree or Ph.D will make him more employable, then this well-conceived plan should presented to his counselor. However, first answer these questions for yourselves. Is there a college within reasonable commuting distance of your home? Since he doesn't drive is there public transportation, a friend, or family member that can reliably get him to school on time every day. Can he handle a minimum load of 9 credits a semester (preferably 12, but VR might allow 9 due to the level of his disability.) After you have answered these questions for yourselves, present the plan to VR. The counselor may very well be overwhelmed by all this, so request a meeting with the supervisor and/or manager of the office. On each occasion your husband must emphasize his desire to go to work, not get an education. If his request is denied, request a formal, written denial and appeal it as per the guidelines the VR office must present to you. Also contact the Client Assistance Project (CAP) in Tenn. for assistance. This is usually handled through the Protection and Advocacy agency. VR must have a contract with an agency to provide CAP services. Here's the kicker: If your husband is successful, goes to work, and no longer needs SSI benefits, VR will get most, if not all the money spent on the case, returned by the Soc. Sec. Administration. This will obviously take a long time, but is the best way to go, IMO.

  7. #7
    Thanks Samuel. I made notes from your post. We're gonna work on his application info tonight and see if he can't start classes this fall.

  8. #8
    I'd like to know how you're able to go to your job as a secretary if your husband requires help with all transfers. My husband has been a very independent C3-C4 for 8 years. In the last 6 months his condition has gotten worse and he now needs help with transfers. I've been able to work from home but that isn't a permanent solution. Do you get someone to come into your home while you go to work?


  9. #9

    I'm sure being a high quad he just transfers into his chair in the morning and out of his chair at night. That's all the transfers I do in a regular day. I'm C5/6.

  10. #10
    Thanks, Kimmyprettyface. Once you're in your chair, are you independent? For how long?

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