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.