Back in late June I had my hearing before the Administrative Law Judge regarding my Social Security case. I answered a lot of questions as to the pain I am in daily, how my life has changed since March 25, 2010 when I was put on medical leave by the district, what I can and can’t do, and a host of other stuff. I explained in detail what I actually did for the school district when I was employed as the vocational rehab specialist that was there described me doing far different work than I actually did.
It was a very exhausting and extremely painful experience. Not just in terms of the physical effort to attend the hearing, but in terms of the emotional. Very tough to hear your life and work history summed up by others in cold terms.
The bottom line is that the ALJ judge found in my favor and issued a ruling of “fully favorable.” This means he did find me to be disabled. Something that anyone around me knew to be true after a couple of minutes.
I am to get a small amount of back disability pay as well as a small monthly disability check. At this point I have no real idea when those payments will arrive. What I am told in one letter is not what I am told in another. The good news is at least something is coming at some point. I also now know that working for the school district also means that my payment will be far lower than it otherwise would be because the PISD didn’t pay into Social Security.
Sure, I knew that at the time when I went to work for them.
But, I only thought of that in terms of retirement. Retirement was way off in the future and a mythical thing I rarely thought about---if at all. I never once thought of the impact of that decision should I become disabled. While I now know full well the economic cost of that decision, I will never know if being thrown over a desk by a very angry special education student more than once at my last assignment, being slammed into the walls, or any of the other physical situations I found myself in the last assignment as well as over the years in the PISD caused or contributed to where I am at now.
All I do know is that finally I should be receiving a little monthly money to help us here. That will mean an end to the donation widget at left that has been a major savior to us and at the same time a huge humiliation. While I am very grateful for all the help we have received, I am also very embarrassed to be in a situation where I had to ask for help just to keep a roof over our heads and other basic necessities. As long as Sandi is still able to work and I receive my small monthly check, unless another disaster strikes, we won’t have to ask for help. Feel free to knock on wood--I AM!
The ruling also means that come Saturday I will be under Medicare. This will mean that I can start seeing my doctors again. First up is my cardiologist so that I can find out how bad my heart enlargement is these days. Then it will be on to the back/leg deal to see if I can get any relief at all.
This also means I can go to a doctor to do the paperwork so that when I do drive somewhere I can park in a handicapped accessible spot once I have the plates/placard. Something that will help me tremendously due to my increasing lack of mobility and other issues. Walking anywhere with my cane or walker is painful and exhausting. An ability to park closer to the doors will be a huge relief.
With Sandi still in cancer remission based on the latest PET scan and this deal with me, hopefully we are turning a corner and things are going to start getting a little better. Time will tell.