Chondromalacia Disabled Veteran Seeks Grant Money Help For Normal Home Life
(Ruffin, NC, USA)
I'm a 59-year-old chondromalacia disabled veteran. I'm divorced with 5 adult children, 15 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild soon to be born.
On June 30, 1975, I enlisted in the United States Army with all the intentions of making a career of it.
My initial enlistment was for four years, but I was honorably discharged under medical conditions on October 6, 1975 with a service-connected disability of chondromalacia to both knees. This started when I finished my Basic Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
I have tried (albeit unsuccessfully) since being honorably discharged to get my initial 20% disability rating increased to 100% because I have not been able to work a steady job since being discharged, and that's because the condition has worsened considerably.
I am unable to squat down, run, or walk for any length of time without being in excruciating pain in both knees. I want to work. I love working and doing things to help others as well as family, but I am severely limited because my condition has worsened considerably.
I recently had two surgeries: one on my right elbow, and the latest one to my right shoulder. Neither is service related. I am even more handicapped now because I am right-handed and cannot use my right hand because of the surgeries to that side of my body.
To top all of that off, in July 2005, I fell headfirst onto the concrete floor from a standing position after passing out from the heat.
As a result, I temporarily lost the sight in my left eye, damaged the C-5 and the C-7 vertebrae/disk. I can only turn my head to the left just a little because of the damage sustained from the fall.
Not being able to get/maintain a job due to my disabilities, I am forced to live on $1118 per month: $251 VA, $475 SSI and $392 Special Assistance Adult Fund (Social Services).
I cannot afford any transportation of my own because I do not have enough income.
I am forced to use food stamps just to eat; however, I can only qualify for $16 per month in food stamps because of the increases in my SSI check (from $451 to $475) and my VA Disability check (from $243 to $251) in early 2012.
I am on 18 different medicines. My co-pay is $4 for some of my meds that Medicaid will cover. I have to pay for the rest of them out of my pocket.
I am forced to use the County Transportation (CDOT) in Caswell County, North Carolina, and I depend upon friends to go places not covered by the County Transportation.
Most of the time, I am sitting in the house I rent for days at a time because I have no way to get anywhere.
I have to use a bedside commode, shower bench, raised toilet seat, shower wand and electric wheelchair.
When I was discharged from the Military, I was in a half-body cast on both legs, and once the cast was removed, I could no longer stand up because of the condition of my knees.
I was forced to use forearm crutches (Guardian 404) and have been on them the past 37 years. But with the surgery to my right elbow and right shoulder, I am once again stuck in this wheelchair.
I have tried earning money in any legal way I can. I do surveys (the pay is $1-$3 per survey), applied for jobs online only to be turned down because I don't have the qualifications for a particular job.
I have tried making occasional cards (birthday, holidays, etc. to sell), business cards, drawings, etc. Nothing works for me, but I keep trying anyway. I am trying now through this organization to get a grant.
What I need is a hand... not a hand out. I want enough finances to buy myself a home of my own so that I no longer have to rent.
I want to buy some good comprehensive insurance for myself and for the wife I hope to have one day.
I want to get off of Welfare, SSI, and I want to be able to (at least) feel as if I am making a contribution to the society in which I live.
I need transportation, food, clothing and Life/Dental/Vision Insurance.
At this time, I do not have any ideas as to any business I may wish to start. It is taking all I have just to live from one day to the next.