Header for Ability Mission

Disability Grant To Help Army National Guard Vet Matthew Regain Solid Financial Footing

by Matthew Perry
(San Diego, CA, USA)

My name is Matthew Perry. I have two children ages 13 and 14. In addition a baby is due in March of 2016.

My two girls live part time with me and are the light of my life. I am currently engaged and looking forward to meeting my new son Vincent.

I served in the Army National Guard from 1999 until 2012 with one tour to Iraq in 2009.

I have owned three businesses and enjoyed some success prior to 2009.

Matthew At Family Outings And With Fiancee Sara
Matthew At Family Outings And With Fiancee Sara

Disability Issues

While on deployment in Iraq I suffered a few head injuries and the Swine Flu. Two of my accidents left me unconscious for over two minutes.

In temperatures above 100 degrees F, I contracted the Swine Flu and suffered a fever over 104 for two weeks.

After my deployment my ability to focus and remember events started to regress. I have extreme anxiety and depression that has become a daily part of life.

To date I have forgotten more of my life and special events that most take for granted. I live with a note pad to minimize my forgetfulness, but am still challenged daily.

I am now just starting to understand my injury and its effect on my life. My challenges continue to grow and I fear for my future.

I have become desperate to figure a way to live and provide for my family. It is clear I need to reinvent myself and learn to navigate this world with a hidden disability.

Financial Hardship

Before my deployment I had a good amount of money saved, but I was forced to close my contracting company. In 2008, the market for contractors took a big hit.

After returning from Iraq I invested the remaining of my savings and opened a coffee house. I operated this for one year before closing.

I could pass blame on many issues but most on me. I fell victim to my own inability to concentrate and focus, missing deadlines, marketing correctly and keeping on track.

Many of my issues were small but all added up to something bigger, making it impossible to navigate daily events and expectations.

I have spent the last two years attempting to start anew and figure a way to live a fulfilling life. As of today I have sold everything of value I own, forgotten almost all of my training, education and experience.

Asking for help has always been hard to do. "Why do I need help when I have and can do this on my own."

Unfortunately, through my own pride I have bankrupted myself and put my family at risk of homelessness.

I have no car, no rent and no job. I did not pursue treatment beyond medicine and have hoped that a magic pill would cure my injury.

Humbled and embarrassed I now am reaching out to the VA for help treating this. I have no clue what treatment will help, but will explore any that show promise.

Income Efforts

Since my deployment I have attempted self-employment again. I have worked as a building maintenance supervisor, bartender and contracting. I was let go from all these positions because I could not remember how to do things.

I currently am receiving $680 a month in Disability with a 40% rating from the VA. A few months ago I decided to use the last of my savings and purchase an online store.

After finding an add on Biz4Sale I purchased an existing store. To date I have no idea why I did this the way I did and I should have known better.

The owner appeared to be legitimate and produced everything I needed to be confident in this purchase. After I paid for the site in cash and into his sisters account, I quickly found out that the website was fabricated as well as the numbers. The person I purchased it from has done this before and has many identities.

Being me I had a hard time accepting failure and have rebuilt the website from scratch and it is currently operating. I have no sales yet and have learned that it could take years to build this into a valid source of income. I still hope that my efforts will pay off on this but it is not looking like it will.

Specific Needs

Most of my days start with me trying to remember important tasks. Many times in the last couple years I have woken up and forgot to do something that is very important.

I have forgotten special events and it has affected my relationships dramatically. I am not sure beyond medicine what my options are for combating this injury. I do know that I need to increase my VA rating.

I could use some legal help with a bench warrant I received in Florida.

While visiting Florida my fiancé and I got into an argument. I had been drinking and was upset. I punched our car and we were yelling back and forth. A witness driving behind us called the police and claimed I hit my fiancé.

My fiancé being very upset with me did not deny this. Later she recanted her statement but it was too late. The state of Florida had pressed charges of Strike or Touch, a misdemeanor.

Reluctantly I accepted a fine and six months of parole. I told the state of my injury and they told me because of that I had no defense and could spend over a year in jail.

I know that I overreacted that night, but I never put a hand on my fiancé. I was pressured into accepting a deal and regret not going to court.

I returned home and tried to accomplish the requirements of the parole but failed. I actually forgot about this until recently reminded by an employment background check. I have always considered myself as an honest and law-abiding citizen.

Business Idea

I am in the beginning of this treatment and wish I could say I have the perfect business idea. I have realized some time ago that I will have to conform around my disability.

Having a business with daily task that are consistent and minimized in distraction is why I tried to work online. Through this challenge I have begun to think that maybe the best option for me is not to stay clear of reasonability but to embrace a different kind.

I have always loved animals and extremely enjoy being a father. These are an emotional part of my life that I have inspired me and motivated me.

I believe if I could find a way to incorporate a business that involves the two things I love the most that I would have passion and heart in what I do helping me overcome many of the obstacles that my injury inflicts on me.

I have just started to investigate opportunities in the care of animals. I have a dream of owning and working an animal sanctuary. I understand this is a big dream but I am also very motivated.

This dream could not only help me but many others in my community. In addition to the animals I would have other disabled veterans help, hopefully inspiring them to overcome challenges in life and pursue happiness.

I would structure this as a 501c3 and consider this my last job and in a way retirement from the rat race. The idea of spending time with my children helping others in need while giving animals a safe and happy place live or recover is a big dream, but I don't think I'm ready to stop dreaming.

Comments for Disability Grant To Help Army National Guard Vet Matthew Regain Solid Financial Footing

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 18, 2016
Rating
starstarstarstar
Business Idea
by: Jacqui

Hi Matthew,

Have you checked out rover.com? This is a website where you can become a pet sitter. I am not sure what your living situation is like but it could be a great start on an animal business. You would be watching animals in your home or you can also do it in other peoples homes. This would give you a chance to work with animals, make some money, do it on your own schedule and your kids would be able to be involved as well.

Also as far as the memory issues go I use a paper planner. My favorite is Limelife Planners because they have large boxes and appointments and lots of room for notes and to-do lists. When I use it, I don't forget the important things. The process of writing things down and having them on a planner helps with memory much more than using the calendar app on a computer or cell phone.

Good luck on your quest.

Jacqui

Feb 08, 2016
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Next objective... the Workbook
by: Don from Ability Mission

Hey Matthew,

Congratulations on getting your story published! You may now access the Workbook, which shows you how to use your story as a springboard to getting the help you need.

Best regards,
Dog Coggan

Click here to add your own comments

Return to US California.