Disability Grant To Help Multiply Disabled Bipolar Minister With College
by Ric Worstell
(Greenwood, Indiana, USA)
I am a 55-year-old father of seven children who are grown and living on their own now.
I have one son in the military and a daughter in college. The others have families of their own now.
I served in the military for a little over three years and I am also an ordained minister. I've been working on obtaining a college degree in Pastoral Theology.
I have suffered from multiple chronic cluster headaches since I was seven years old. They have gotten progressively worse over the past 7 to 10 years.
Some of my headaches are so severe that I am unable to get out of bed at all, often for days at a time. During these headaches, I must restrict my movement drastically. Any movement causes severe pain, to the point where it feels like my head is about to explode.
I have chronic lower back pain caused by spinal stenosis pinching off three nerves in my lower back. I am unable to walk without severe pain in my lower back, sometimes radiating into my hips and legs.
I have Dupuytren's contracture in both hands. I have had surgery on both hands to correct most of the problem, yet I'm unable to lift heavy objects (my limit is 5 to 7 pounds). Some of my fingers have begun to draw back into my palms again.
I have diabetes that is causing severe pain in both of my lower legs and feet, making it even more difficult to walk. Some days my feet swell up to almost double their normal size.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a little over three years ago.
I have filed for Social Security Disability. My first application was denied because much of the paperwork was not submitted. My attorney made no mention of my bipolar disorder in the application.
There was also a comment in the decision that, since I was receiving a payment through a long-term disability insurance provider, I was not in any great need. This was also before I was diagnosed with diabetes.
With my disabilities, I am unable to work at all. I have lost two wonderful jobs due to my disabilities. Because of the medications I am on, I am unable to drive.
It is just my wife and I living at home now. It has become a bit easier to meet our current monthly bills. However, we are still playing catch-up from when I first went on disability.
I was making decent money at my last position, so naturally when I became 'officially' disabled, our income was drastically reduced and we were unable to keep up on many of the bills. We had to voluntarily allow two cars to be repossessed.
I use a cane to get around. I don't have the money to get my own motorized cart, so I use whatever carts are provided whenever I have to go shopping.
The medications I take on a daily basis are:
Morphine Sulfate 30mg (2x daily)
Propranolol HCL 80mg (2x daily)
Calcium 500mg/Vitamin D 200 Unit (2 pills 2x daily)
Omeprezole 20mg EC Cap (2x daily)
Metforim HCL 500mg (2x daily)
Gabapentin 600mg (4x daily)
Divalproex 500mg 24HR (ER) SA Tab (2 tabs at bedtime)
Sennosides 8.6mg (2 tabs 2x daily)
Hydrocodone 7.5/Acetaminophen 325mg Tab (3x daily as needed for pain)
Cyclobenzaprine HGL 10mg (3x daily as needed for skeletal muscle pain)
Capsaicin 0.075% Cream (Apply every 4 hours as needed for skeletal muscle pain)
Menthol/M-Salicylate 10-15% Top Cream (Apply 3x daily as needed for relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints.
It is not helpful when applying for employment when I have to enter the business on a cane.
Most of my business experience has been in fast food and convenience store management. It is virtually impossible to obtain a management position in these areas while disabled.
You're expected to work 50 to 60 hours a week and you have to be able to work every position as well as put away inventory when it arrives by truck.
I am unable to stand more then 15 to 20 minutes without causing much pain in my lower back and legs. I have fallen flat on my face many times when I try to stand or walk too long.
The last position I held was General Manager of a Pilot Truck stop. This is where I worked when I went on disability. They held my position open for me for around 90 days.
When I was unable to get a note from my doctor stating that I was fit to return to work, they released me and filled my position.
The position I held before that was at my church back home in Nevada. Officially I was the church bookkeeper and the school principal.
Both of these positions require standing for long periods of time as well as being able to conduct physical education for the students.
When my headaches became worse and my back problems more frequent, the church had no choice but to let me go. They did sponsor me during my first year of Bible College.
I have tried to find a work-at-home job, but most of those are "secret shopper" positions and require going to a business, making purchases and standing around covertly while watching the way certain businesses and employees conduct themselves.
I tried this for two weeks but was unable to spend much time standing around to properly watch the employees.
Then I discovered that the entire position was a scam.
Once they had me working for them, they would send me large checks, which they wanted me to cash at my bank, then use 90% of the money to send them a Western Union check, then use a small amount to make a purchase and finally keep $200 of it for "my payment."
The whole thing sounded fishy so I contacted the FBI and gave them all the information about the business.
Most of my family members (not including my children) are either deceased or do not make enough money to help.
I am seeking benefits or grants to help me finish college and to start my own business back home in Nevada.
Though I feel called to complete my degree in Pastoral Theology, it is not a well paying position. You need to be lucky enough to get hired by a "mega-church" or at least by a church that already has a good membership and is supporting itself financially.
Sometimes pastors do not receive any income at all until they are able to build up the church membership to the point where it can afford paying him.
I have much experience in managing a business, well over 25 years. I even owned my own business at one time, a computer store/ISP provider.
My wife also has much experience in management.
I would like to start a business of my own again. When I operated my computer store, I did so well with customer service and satisfaction that I put the other four computer stores operating in the same town out of business.
Then my trusting nature and ignorance got the better of me.
A gentleman came into my store and told me he liked what he saw here, that he had been watching our business for a couple weeks. He was a friendly man and appeared to be well to do.
We talked it over for a couple weeks. He examined our books and such. We had just made it to the point, after two years in business, where we were making a decent profit over and above all expenses.
He offered to purchase my business for a huge amount of money and even gave me a check for $10,000 as a retainer.
He wanted to conduct a full inventory of the business with his accountant, or so he told me. Since he had given me that retainer earlier that day (it was a Friday). I agreed and gave him a set of keys to the store.
He said the inventory had to be done very meticulously, so it might take a couple days. I said okay and that I would return Monday so he could have the weekend for his inventory.
When I returned Monday, almost everything was gone, even a couple of customers' computers that we were fixing.
My first call was to the police and the second to the bank to see if this retainer check was any good. No surprise there, it was no good.
I gave all the information to the police but they explained to me that this guy was evidently a professional and that the chances of finding him were next to impossible.
They had done a name search off the name on the check he had given me and there was no record at all of anyone going by that name. It was after this that the church back home hired me.
I have become a bit wiser and much less trusting. I would like to reopen a computer store back home in Nevada and give it another try. This time it would be just staying with computer sales and service and not operating an ISP.
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