Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability

This is my story and it has been a tough row to how. In March of 2006, I had a cerebral-vascular stroke, which left me with a left-side weakness and permanent speech impairment. I have applied for disability from SSA (Social Security Administration) to no avail. After two denials, I am awaiting an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Review, wherein I will have a hearing hopefully before a human being (my everlasting hope that this judge will be just that).

Back in CA where this story began, I had that oxymoron: a contingency fee advocate law firm who did nothing for me until I finally discharged them. I made all appeals on my own, made all appointments, gathered all medical records, in short everything SSA requested of me. It was only when I made any progress at all (making arrangements for my hearing, for example) that this lawyer came out of the woodwork, so to speak like the parasitical vermin they were, with a request for 25% of my claim.

It was at this time that I sent the firm a letter unceremoniously cutting them off in no uncertain terms. I’d be damned if I was going to share one penny of any claim I might receive (I’ll believe it when I see it!) with those blood-sucking leeches. This leaves me to wait, up to 14 more months, according to SSA. My guess is that this is their modus operandi: wait me out until I give up or die.

My disability primarily consists of my inability to communicate effectively. My phonation difficulties leave me ill suited to use a phone and I would dread any attempts at an interview process, given that I struggle to order lunch successfully. It is the obscure nature of my physical challenges that make my disability so hard to fathom, at least for caseworkers at SSA

Let me state as a matter of record that I do not feel any sense of entitlement as respects Social Security benefits. I do feel that after over twenty years of high paying employment I certainly made my share of payments in support of older and disabled workers. I feel it is now my turn to dip into that well not as an entitlement but only to collect what is my fair share of a social commitment that I contributed to over long service and now feel should give back to me in my time of need.

I 1983, Greenspan, the then Fed Chairman for the Reagan Administration, stood before the nation and asked workers to pony up more per paycheck to ensure solvency for the social contract. Not one to complain, especially in matters pertaining to the preservation of society’s promises to elder workers, I dutifully increased my contribution (of course this was mandatory but I did contribute without complaint).

Social Security began as part of FDR’s New Deal during the Great Depression, something some conservatives bemoan as the beginning of entitlement programs. It is in fact an opportunity for workers to contribute in the support of the needy or less advantaged among them. Conceived as a safety net, it grew to be seen as something to be entitled to, among certain workers. Hence, the term “entitlement” was born. This is unfortunate, as to many, it serves as a bridge to a somewhat comfortable end of life.

At this point, I am hoping the government will honor their pledge of commitment to those like me. Workers in this country should be appalled and dismayed at their representatives who bow to apostles of greed who continue to betray the spirit (if not the letter) of the social contract. It is time for workers to stand up for the disabled among them, time for workers to stand up for what is right, for honor among themselves.

Social Security Disability

stephen hewitt

Lanexa, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

An account of my struggles with SSA

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