Header for Ability Mission

Disability Grant Money To Help Multiply Disabled Mom Restore Family Life

by Barbara E. Schroeder
(Ogdensburg, NY, USA)

I have been totally disabled for the past 10 years: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

At the age of 54, it is still very difficult for me to ask for help, of any kind.

I had always prided myself on being the "strong one" mentally and physically.

For 20 years I was mother, father, provider, etc., while raising my three daughters entirely on my own with no child support.


I was raised in a "blue-collar" family with three brothers and six boys next door. I had to be strong to survive growing up with nine boys and just me.

I had been employed with the Federal IRS for three years in Ohio until I returned to my family home when my divorce was final. With three babies under the age of five, I needed the support of my family.

As I wanted to continue my Federal career I applied at the only Federal installation nearby. It was a 35-mile drive one-way and the next location was 100 miles. I drove this 70 miles a day for 13 years.

I was the only woman working in a non-traditional man's job. I had worked there for three years in a "white-collar" position and was extremely well liked.

When I entered the "blue-collar" position, everything changed, much to my amazement, by both the male and female employees.

I worked in a very hostile environment for 10 years. I was subjected to daily discrimination and disparate treatment that contributed to my health becoming progressively worse.

This Federal installation was too far away from WDC to keep tabs on various problems and enforcement of EEO policies/regulations. The "good-old-boy" system is alive and well in northern New York.

I would have given up but I had three children to support. The only reason I wanted the man's job, was strictly for the money. The "blue-collar" position was $12,000 a year more than I was making in a "white-collar" position. I knew I was qualified and I knew I could do the job!

It didn't help my popularity that I was selected by DOT to be sent to WDC to meet President Bush Sr. In 1990 I was selected to be "recognized" for my outstanding work as a "woman in a non-traditional job" and for my volunteer work for the Red Cross and the United Way. And I was doing it all as a single parent.

My physical, mental and emotional injuries were caused and/or exacerbated by my employment during that 10-year "blue-collar" period.

I should also be receiving Workers' Compensation and not SSD. Every time a judge would rule in my favor my ex-Federal employer would appeal. I applied three times, I was approved three times, and it was appealed three times and denied three times. I knew I was never going to get a fair hearing. I was just too sick to continue fighting.

I was also illegally terminated. I was being stalked by a co-worker, on-and-off government property. They terminated me and kept him.

I appealed to a higher court for a fair hearing on my illegal termination. My case was to be held in a large city where the jury pool would be filled with "white-collar" individuals more knowledgeable about EEO matters.

Again, I was unable to receive a fair hearing. Somehow the judge had changed the venue of my case, now my jury pool would be farmers and store clerks. I'm sorry but I did not feel that this was a jury of "my" peers.

I finally realized that the Federal/State/City governments have unlimited resources and endless amounts of taxpayer's monies at their disposal, and that they would spend over one million dollars of taxpayers monies to beat a $250,000 issue.

So, it is true, you can't fight city hall, well you can fight, you just can't win.

With that jury's decision, my life, as I knew it was over.

Why I am suffering hardship

I was totally devastated mentally, emotionally and physically. I had lost everything I had worked for all my life and all I had left were major medical problems. I have lived in pain 24/7 for the past 15 years.

I was very lucky to be approved for Social Security Disability the first time I applied, and approved within four months. It still was not soon enough to save my retirement monies to support the four of us.

With so many medical problems, my family wanted me to go to a Nursing Home. They did not want to deal with all of my medical issues. They just wanted me to go to a Nursing Home. I was not ready to go to a Nursing Home at the age of 44. So I was alone and on my own.

I had now lost my 16-year career, my health and my home of 22-years, and now I had been exiled from my family.

I went into isolation for five years. I was certain that with over 50 medical problems, I had little time left to live.

During the first five years, I realized that no matter how much pain I was in, my medical problems were not life-threatening, not even the arsenic poisoning or the seven head injuries.

Then for the next five years, as long as I was not going to die, I needed to find a way to alleviate my acute and debilitating pain. If I was going to live I was going to have to find something that would give me some kind of quality of life.

I started searching for a doctor who would listen to my problems and work with me to help me manage my pain. It took two years to find the right doctor and three years of experimentation with medications to make my pain manageable!

I had hoped that my family would visit me now, as I no longer needed their assistance. So, I rented a small house near them.

The small rented house is very handicap accessible. I am able to get around in this small space. However, I still have to use a wheelchair when I go out.

I have been here one year this month, and still they will not allow me back into their lives.

I have five grandchildren all under the age of 10 who do not even know me.

I still only leave the house one day a month to see the doctor and obtain provisions. After 10 years I still suffer from agoraphobia from being stalked for over a year.

My fourth head injury caused the most injuries, my whiplash, my TMJ, my seizures, the loss of seven teeth from bruxism, migraines, etc.

I still suffer from severe depression, even though I take the highest doses of depression medication.

I was able to regain most of my typing abilities after the head injuries. I continue to work on brain exercises daily.

My health problems are my daily hardships.

I have been a victim of childhood molestation, rape and sodomy, a brutal assault, stalking, two car accidents in which there was a fatality, arsenic poisoning, seven head injuries, neck and lower spine injuries caused by co-workers, Hepatitis A, TMJ, GERD, RLS, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, four stents, agoraphobia, migraines, anxiety attacks, acute depression, fibromyalgia, etc.

Now, I am a survivor, a survivor who lives alone and has no family. My inner strength will not let me give in or give up.

As long as my pain is manageable, I will continue to pray that someday my grandchildren will want to see me.

How a government grant could help me

I am not looking to take advantage or receive a free ride from the Government Grant Programs.

However, if the monies are available and I am eligible, I would love to repair my credit.

I would like to consolidate my personal loans, bank loans I defaulted on, and all of the medical, hospital, doctor, and dental bills that Workers' Compensation did not pay for.

I will never be able to repay all of my friends who sent me money, so I wouldn't have to live in my vehicle.

I no longer have a vehicle. I cannot afford a car payment let alone insurance and gas.

It would give me great pleasure to repay the ones who believed in me and thought enough to loan me money for food, fuel, security deposits, etc., with no idea when of if they would be getting it back.

My daily life consists of reading, TV, computer, and brain games all of which I do from my bed.

I have too much time to think, like the hamster on the little wheel inside the cage.

It took me two years and a donation of $500 from the Heart Association to have what was left of my teeth removed.

It would be nice to include the cost of dentures to improve my self-esteem/confidence.

I do know that I can no longer have any more trauma in my life. Any type of drama, fighting, anything upsetting causes me trauma.

I love the small house I am renting. It is the first time in 15 years that I have felt safe and comfortable. It is for sale. If I was eligible for a home loan that would be great too.

Thank you for your time. It has taken me five days to complete this letter. In my other life it would have been less than five hours. Barb S.

Comments for Disability Grant Money To Help Multiply Disabled Mom Restore Family Life

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 20, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Next Step -- Lets try something New
by: Katina

Hi Barb,

Thank you for replying to let us know if the links posted helped.

I understand about the grant programs listed online. After reading your latest reply I did some further research and found the following leads.

Here is a program that I found a few days ago, that you can download -- for FREE. It is really free. I wouldn't tell you this if I wasn't sure :) It is called: Grant Gate.

The other is called: Federal Money Retriever.

Just type the key words in to a search engine, preferably Google, and follow the download instructions.

The Grant Gate Program is relatively easy to use, and you could find grants this way.

With your disability, are you able to spend 4 hours a day working from home? I ask this because you may consider starting a website that is for women in your area to find resources.

Pepsi Refresh Grant Ideas -- This is a highly competitive grant project that is open to anyone residing in the United States. The way to receive a grant through this organization's project is to get the most "votes" on your idea! It has to be something that offers a positive impact on the community in some way, whether that is starting a new business, such as an online resource website for woman with disabilities, or planning a trip to take single moms to learn about ... Ideas that make it to the top three are ones that are 1. Unique, 2). Positive and 3). Professionally Written.

If you decide to take this project on, please let us know. I may be able to help you in some way.

While we don't condone listing home addresses, or other personal information on Ability-Mission.org, you can reach me through my One Stop Write Shop website.

I'm not an experienced grants writer, but I do have an editing friend that may be able to help with editing a grant proposal, or coming up with some other ideas.

What you?re doing is great. There are so many stories listed at Accessible.org, and few grant seekers respond to let us know what is working and what is not working.

Together, we can come up with solutions that work!

When a person has a disability and a low amount of income, the barriers to finding a stable plateau is like diving into Niagara Falls! It is not impossible, but it is time consuming, and frustrating.

The best advice I could give you at this point is to keep replying here at Accessible.org. It gives readers a chance to get to know you, and then your story (out of 2500) becomes more than just another story in the pile.

Thanks again for the reply. That helps others help you.

Katina from Ability-Mission.org

Mar 19, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
I found some great resources!
by: Me again :)

Your probably tired of my replies by now, I'm sort of drawn to your story. Earlier today I found a program called: Grant Gate. It is an awesome free program that allows grant seekers to search for grants, by category, location, and type of need.

After you do a search for the grant opportunity, a pop up will appear with some links and a detailed description of the foundation/business who is offering the grant.

Some other places you may want to check out:

www.grants.gov
www.disability.gov
www.nonprofitexpert.com
www.grantgate.com
www.sba.gov

Please let us know if any of these links helps you.

You have a friend in Ohio rooting for you!


Mar 17, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Thank You and Comments
by: Barb S.

Katina:

Again, thank you for submitting more resources to apply to.

As I mentioned before, we are very rural and very poor. Catholic Charities barely has enough money for their day-to-day needs.

I was unable to get any satisfaction googling this agency:

Financial Women's Association of New York, Inc (Home Page): http://www.fwa.org/

Due to my numerous head injuries, I can no longer manage a chequing account or a credit card. I am unable to get my 'free' credit report without one.

At this point in my life, I do not have enough money to live month to month...so I will have to wait on your address for: debt consolidation and/or relief.

The resource listed below...is ONLY "available" for the five (5) burrows of NYC:
The New York Women's Foundation
434 West 33rd Street, 8th floor New York, NY 10001
Tel (212) 261-4586 Fax (212) 564-7386
info@nywf.org http://www.nywf.org/resources.html

I also tried applying to another grant program.

Once again...I swallowed my pride. Once again, I opened myself to things I never wanted to relive or remember.

Only to find out...it would cost me $25.00 a month to receive assistance for FREE grant money.

Thank you for your time and assistance. I will not be seeking any further assistance.

I cannot afford FREE grant money.

Barb S.

Mar 12, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Student Loans -- Important
by: Katina

Did you know that if you were not able to complete your degree program, or if you received your college degree but then became disabled, you may be eligible for a WAIVER!

Contact your local student aid office, and let them know that you are permanently disabled. You may need to give them the date that you became disabled to qualify.

Ask them to mail you out the form to forgive past due student loans.

This program may be different in each state within the US.

Get a statement from your physician that says you?re permanently disabled and cannot work anymore or attend college.

I don't often recommend students to do this, unless it is needed. There are additional programs for student loan repayment, especially if the student is receiving public assistance, food stamp benefits or social security disability income.

Please contact your university and request the form for student loan forgiveness due to being permanently disabled.

Mar 11, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Not seeking grant to restore family life
by: Barbara - the Disabled Surviving Woman

I had hoped to make it clear that I lived in a very rural area, where everyone knows everyone and where you work, etc., which is why I would never ask for help locally.

My request for a grant was to pay off loans to friends, banks, and Credit Bureau... so I could die with some dignity.

I would also like enough money to pay for dentures to increase my self-esteem.

My family has rejected me, so I have no need to "restore" family life. There is only me.

I had asked if there was a way to buy the property where I am currently living, as it has been on the market for years, and makes me feel safe and secure.

Like most agoraphobics, I do not wish to be in the public eye nor with more than one or two people in the room at one time.

I am also afraid that THIS Federal Grant Funding may be BOGUS, as I received this email:

These 3 simple steps can save you hundreds on your monthly payment:
1. CLICK HERE and review the company personally matched to you.
2. Finish filling out the short form.
3. Enjoy your new, lower mortgage payment.
Have a great day Barbara!
iSaveToday
Personal Mortgage Division

I had also hoped that my full name, city, and state would not be displayed.

Thank you Katina for you support and comments.

I have thought of writing a book many times. I'm not sure I could live through all of that trauma again. Due to my many medical issues I would not want to in the public eye in any manner whatsoever.

Barb S.

Mar 10, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Resource Links / Grant Opportunities
by: Katina

Again, thank you for posting your story. Here are some more resources?

Catholic Charities (Several Listings) for your area:
http://www.cathcharities.org/officelocations.html

Catholic Charities
Administrative Office
Wadhams Hall
6866 State Highway 37
Ogdensburg, NY 13669
(315) 393-2255 - Phone
(315) 393-2402 - Fax
ccdirect@wadhams.edu

Financial Women's Association of New York, Inc (Home Page):
http://www.fwa.org/

For debt consolidation/relief visit this Accessible.Org page:
http://www.ability-mission.org/consumer-credit-counselors.html

The New York Women?s Foundation
434 West 33rd Street, 8th floor New York, NY 10001
Tel (212) 261-4586 Fax (212) 564-7386
info@nywf.org
http://www.nywf.org/resources.html

Check back from time to time for additional helpful comments.

If you are active in things like MySpace, Twitter or Facebook, be sure to link back to your page here at Ability-Mission.org. This increases the chances of finding more help.

Mar 07, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Had to respond again -- You're not alone.
by: Katina :)

I had to come back and let you know that you don't have to feel alone. I'm here for you. I don't know how close you are to Ohio, but that is the state I reside in. I'd come to give you a hand if could. I suffer a lot of pain, but am able to drive short distances.

I had a procedure done called: RFA -- Radio Frequency Ablation, although it is a painful procedure, it gives people with chronic pain months of pain-free living, without drugs. Well worth the one hour of the procedure. The nerves do re-grow, but they are burnt for at least three months and in some people up to one full year!

Care Source does cover this procedure.

Other things you may want to do:
Call your local churches and tell them your story.
Send the letter you posted here to a local newspaper
Send the letter to ALL the talk show hosts in your area, or abroad.
Send the letter to the New York Times.

If you need fax, phone, or mailing addresses to any place listed here. Please contact me. I am at my desk literally all day, 7 days a week. More than I'd like.

One day, I'll be more able to ask for help myself, but until then, I'd like to help others. It eases the pain that I failed my little family.

Good luck and God bless you always. I know he already has. He's there for you. He is there.

Katina M. Woodruff
http://www.onestopwriteshop.com

IF you would like help writing your story, contact me. I've got nothing but time.

Mar 07, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Much in Common -- Surviving Violence & Pain -- A Life-Long Journey (Write Your Memoir)
by: Katina M. Woodruff

Thank you for sharing your story. We have so much in common. I know that does not help much, but I am here in case you need a friend. -- Katina
http://www.onestopwriteshop.com
Surviving Life and an Amen

As the lights showered the rooftops, we were smiling, and dreaming of the upcoming holiday season. What I would be able to do once the income came, to start my own daycare center, teach children with multiple handicaps, become an avid gardener, learn how to ride English style, or jump horses in competition... so many dreams, and one promise: I was physically capable of achieving them all.

The night sky fell.
Metal sheered our skin.
A meteor type of impact,
at first thought.
No, it must have been another car.
But, how? We were completely stopped.
Waiting.
Waiting for the traffic
to clear.
How did we become
crippled in debris,
the smell of gasoline,
crying
they had taken off their seatbelts
just moments before.
Home, they thought was around
the bend.
Our only car.
Our family.
And, then, suddenly,
the impact was felt,
again.
Only this time,
I was unable to feel
anything for a second.
Had I broken my neck?
I didn't know.
There was no more crying.
Silence,
had filled our small
Honda
and my children
laid in the floor board of the
front seat
in between my legs.
Joseph, I had screamed.
My God are you
OK
John looked toward the back
of the car,
and tried to understand
what happened to it.
Was,
no longer
recognizable.
Had they remained seated
as instructed,
they would have been
killed.
The roof of the car
smashed through
the backseat.
We were left,
with,
the promise of
hope for another dream,
and love and
pain,
for life.
The speed -limit
was just twenty five,
what life could have been
if only,
they had
slowed down,
for us,
while we waited
at that lonely stop sign.

The moments after the three cars
accident is elusive to me now,
as they were then.

I only know how much pain, I continue
to be in.

The children were taken away
a few years later, due to an addiction
to the pills a physician had prescribed
for me
to lesson the pain.
Did they know, they had killed
our small family?
Did that driver know?
or understand,
how quickly our lives were
taken
taken
away.

I dream of a day when the pain in my spine will
be relived,
then, I wake up,
and I talk to God,
and he whispers to me:
my child,
young girl, that I no longer
am,
The pain of today, will lead you
toward a much better plain, where
I'll be there, waiting, for you.

Until then,
I tell my tale, in hopes
of making drivers see:
slowing down, can help a family,
live for the rest of their
lives, as it was
meant to be.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to US New York.