It’s funny, if you think about it. The way that people perceive persons with disabilities. We are all lying around on the couch or in bed, munching on our favorite chip, going out for pedicures and coffee with the girls and to the club at night. We send all of our dirty government handouts on fun and live off the system, even cheat the system.

To anyone who thinks this, the first question I would ask is: Have you ever tried to apply for federal disability? You know, that Social Security Disability Insurance that the government so willing hands to us. It’s really easy to get. Here’re a few steps to get started.

  1. Get sick. Get really, really sick so that you can accumulate all sorts of medical bills, can’t work and lose the life you had before.
  2. Prepare for war.
  3. File your initial claim.
  4. Get denied
  5. File an appeal.
  6. Get denied
  7. File an appeal for a court hearing.
  8. Court Hearing
  9. If you’re approved, great stop here!
  10. If you’re denied, then continue appealing for years and years.

It’s a lot of fun—having people go through all of your personal history, your medical history, your job history, your education. And then they want more. They want their doctors to look at you. They want more records. They want you to see a neuropsychologist because what if you are making it up? Then you file more paperwork, send in more records, keep going to the doctor because without doctor visits there’s no claim. In the meantime, you are still horribly ill and unable to work. Shuffling from appointment to appointment, searching for rides, possibly moving back home to live with family. You are searching for answers, but all you get is bills.

Bills upon bills upon bills. If you are lucky, you have good health insurance. If you’re not, you’re in a lot of debt. Either way, most of us spoonies have medical bills in collections somewhere because we see all these doctors and our big, fatty check that we are so obviously taking advantage of from the government doesn’t do anything except buy you some food, maybe rent if you are lucky.

But before you get that check, before you become one of those participating in a rigged system for lazy people, and this—this is the really fun part.

You have to wait. I applied for SSDI in December of 2014. I had my hearing in January of 2017. And now I have to wait 60 days for the decision, and then another however long until benefits kick in.

That’s almost two and a half years of fighting to get benefits. And I don’t even know if I will get them.

So what do people do during that time?

They can’t do much. They have no money. People who are waiting on SSDI lose their homes, their belongings, they often get divorced or have a relationship end, have to move back home, or end up in shelters or homeless.

Imagine I took you from a decent job, made you all sick and broken, and then stuck you out there in the world for 2-3 years with 0 money.

We all know that just because we don’t have money in the bank, it doesn’t equate to 0 bills.

So we wait. We wait for SSDI. We try to stay hopeful, to stay positive. We battle our illnesses and we wait.

Broke.

Destitute.

Just waiting.