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Epilepsy Disabled Woman Seeks Disability Grant Money For Service Dog

by Jennifer
(Rockland, MA, USA)

I am a 55-year-old widow of three grown daughters. I am a recovering alcoholic with 5+ years sobriety.

I have gone to school (online) to be a Drug and Alcohol Counselor over the past year and just graduated with a 4+ average.

My goal has been to better myself by returning to school and returning to the work force in a field that will help others as well as myself.

I have realized by completing my internship that getting back and forth to work is going to be a major issue.

I need a Service Dog and am looking for a grant to obtain a Mobility Assist/Balance Service Dog. I live on Social Security Disability right now and cannot afford one.

Disability Issues

I have epilepsy and another neurological disorder that has kept me on Disability for many years. I have frequent neurological "attacks" where I do not have any control over my legs and if I am walking I fall and cannot get up on my own.

Sometimes a walker helps me but a walker cannot retrieve the phone for me or pick up dropped items.

I have been followed for a few years at the Brigham and Women's Epilepsy Center in Boston, MA and have an excellent epileptologist/neurologist that has been the first Doctor that has been able to correctly diagnose me after years of not knowing exactly what was wrong with me and why I experienced these "attacks."

I do not have the confidence that I need to leave the house on my own because my balance is not good and I have frequent falls.

I believe that a Service dog would give me the independence that I need to go out and be able to walk to and use public transportation.

I am beginning to get depressed because I had such high hopes while I was excelling in school. Now I am beginning to think that it has all been for nothing if I am not able to get myself to work and be a dependable employee.

I hate to think that after all this hard work I am destined to stay on SSDI for the rest of my life. I so want to be able to work and counsel others, I know that I have what it takes; I just need some help.

I believe that a Balance Assist Service Dog would give me the independence that I have spent years lacking. I love animals, especially dogs, and I believe that my medical need for help combined with my love for dogs would be an ideal situation.

More than anything else, a Service Dog will help me not be so terrified to leave my house. I feel like a recluse.

I spend days without ever leaving home because I always have to wonder if I'm going to fall while I'm out and have a stranger stop in the street to help me by giving me a ride home. This isn't the safest thing in the world, but when one has fallen in the street and can't get up, one doesn't have much choice.

Financial Hardship

My Neurologist has me on Clonazepam as a preventative medication (none of the traditional seizure meds worked. I was allergic to two and the others were not effective).

However I still have "break through" attacks so he gave me a small amount of Ativan to take away the seizure activity when the attacks occur. It is called my "rescue med" and only to be used during a full-blown attack.

For over three years, I've been on a waiting list to get into disability housing. My rent is three quarters of my disability check.

After I pay my rent, I have very little money left for anything else. Food Stamps and a SafeLink phone that I got from the government do help, but still, I live on very little money.

When I get housing, hopefully that will change, or when I can work, that will change. I am still living in a Sober House with over five years of sobriety.

I no longer need to be here but the owner says that I am a big help to her and to the new residents that come in with very little sobriety.

If I could get off of disability by being able to get to work, I could afford a place of my own to live where my children could come and visit me.

We cannot have any visitors in a Sober House. I have definitely outgrown my need to be here and I am taking up a bed that someone in need could desperately use.

The woman who owns the house just feels badly for my situation so she has not insisted that I move on since I really cannot afford to go anywhere else right now.

Income Efforts

I have a supportive family, although they only have the ability to be emotionally supportive.

I have three grown daughters but they are not that old and are having trouble getting by themselves.

I have tried to help my youngest with what little I have because she has been having troubles of her own.

I have an elderly father that I wish I were in a position to help. I was raised Mormon but I have not gone to church in years, and I no longer believe in that faith.

I am on SSDI, and I am not eligible for SSI (I applied) so now I am trying to get a grant for the disabled.

I have set up a free web site to try to get donations but so far I have not gotten one donation.

I even offered to hand crochet hats and scarves for anyone who was willing to make a donation.

Specific Needs

I am in need of a grant for $8,050 to be paid to Goldstar German Shepherds in Nevada. They sell advanced obedience trained dogs and Service Dogs.

I spoke to them on the phone and they said to train one of their dogs for Balance Assist and for Retrieval of dropped items in addition to what they are already trained for, the cost is $8,050, which includes shipping.

A trainer accompanies the dog to train me how to work with it. They are members of the IPDTA (International Positive Dog Training Association) and specialize in training their Service Dogs for Mobility and Balance impairments.

The cost is far less than many highly trained Service Dogs and they do not have the several years of waiting that many Service Dog Organizations have that offer their dogs through donations.

As soon as they receive a deposit, they start training the dog for Mobility and Balance Support.

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Dec 19, 2012
Thank You Claudy
by: Jennifer

All of your suggestions have been beyond helpful to me and I cannot tell you what they mean to me. Just to hear some that sounds like they really "get it" is very refreshing. Thank you very much. I am not going to take your words or suggestions lightly. My Doctor has always been very supportive of me in my efforts to keep active and continue my efforts with schooling and becoming Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. I have talked to him about my need for a Service Dog and he has supported my quest, but I have never asked him to actually write me out a prescription for one. I have no idea if this is something that insurance would actually pay for, but you don't know until you try, and if there is one thing that I am not lacking it is persistence.

Dec 18, 2012
Seek And You Will Find
by: Claudy


There are many opportunities available for you! You just have to know how to find the help you need. There is a very good website that will be the answer to almost all the problems you have mentioned and help for problems you haven't mentioned. It's called benefits.org and it is a one-stop shop for all the benefits, programs, grants and services you qualify for.

The way it works is you take a long statistical survey of easy questions and a computerized list is instantly created from your specific answers. It is all government agencies that provide the services you may qualify for. It is complete with addresses and contact information. You will be surprised just how much help you never knew about. They just recently added a video link for you if you need help. But it is pretty easy so you should have no problems.

A dog will probably come easier if you ask your doctor to write a prescription for one! Then maybe your insurance will cover the cost. Maybe there are foundations that will pay if not and maybe a social worker at your hospital can help or go to the library and ask them to help research a way to pay for a service dog. They shouldn't cost and I'm sure there is help.

Finally, congratulations on your sobriety. I know it is a daily chore for a long time but certainly worth your effort. I have been on the housing waiting list nine years but have noticed that if you have to have a place in an emergency they miraculously find you a slot real quick like!

Hope you have good luck really soon. I know you will.

Take care...

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