Disability Grants To Help Bipolar Navy Veteran Michael Deal With Depression
by Michael Hemmer
(Lakeland, Florida, USA)
I'm a 68-year-old retired Navy veteran who has been married 45 years and has three grown children and six grandchildren.
I was a hospital Corpsman from 1967-1987 for the U.S. Navy. My specialty was as an x-ray technician for the majority of the time I served.
Two of the places I was stationed in were Great Lakes, Illinois and Jacksonville, Florida. I was on board two Carriers: the U.S.S. Intrepid, and the U.S.S. Saratoga.
I served in the 3rd Battalion 6th Marines as their Chief Corpsman.
After retiring from the Navy, I worked for Givuadan, which is a Citrus flavor company. My responsibilities were maintaining the shipment of incoming and outgoing products. Most of the work was done over the phone. When Givuadan got bought out 15 years later, my position was terminated.
I attempted to find a job for the next two years where there was no lifting and little contact with people, which was very hard.
I have been diagnosed with many different things including: 100% disability from the Navy after five years of medical retirement, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder and others.
I was medically retired, and started receiving mental health care as well. Starting in 1971, I received mental health care in the Jacksonville, Florida Naval Hospital.
Being a Chief corpsman for the Marines for three years at camp Lejeune, North Carolina was very difficult for me. There were too many people.
We were deployed to Okinawa, Japan, where I received treatment for four months.
My bipolar disorder causes me to have panic attacks, depression and the inability to be around big groups of people. It is difficult to maintain control of my body when put in situations of many people.
I had three lower back surgeries within 10 years (1990-2000), two for perforated disc repair and one for fusion.
Present day I can barely walk or stand for long periods of time because of the severe back pain and arthritis in my legs, and hips. I stay in my room most of the day because it is painful to be active.Financial Hardship
My financial status is not the best, but it is better than nothing. I collect money each month from social security, navy retirement and veteran's benefits.
After all bills are paid, including supporting my wife and brother-in-law, I have just enough left over.
I am depressed the majority of the time. I am always worrying that I am not able to fix things that need to be fixed in my house for example: new windows, a new back porch, or central heat and air.
My panic attacks are increased from too much worry. I want to support everybody close to me and the financial burden causes mental pain.Income Efforts
I have a big responsibility, and that is making sure everything is paid and what exactly is paid.
The veteran's administration has put my wife in charge of the benefits. She is in control of the incoming and outgoing money/payments.
I have been trying to get loans for a while now. My credit score is 500, because we have been supporting my family: two of my granddaughters, my son and my brother in law.
They recently moved out of the house, but when I supported them, I also gave them money to survive on.
I have borrowed from credit cards to the point they are maxed out.Specific Needs
I live in a 50-year-old house. The central heat and air have not worked in over 15 years.
There is a window unit in the kitchen that leaks and only works half the time. The hole was manmade and the water leaks between the walls and makes it way outside to the back porch. There is black mold from the amount of water damage.
I have windows, but none of them physically open. Some are even missing glass. I need new windows to lower the cost of electricity.
I want to be able to open them up when it is cool outside and receive fresh air, instead of using window units to cool off the house, and also a safer environment. Florida is very hot and not having central heat and air is hard.
My pain would be more tolerable with working air conditioning; I could relax and not be so muggy, or hot. I could have another room to hide away in, if it was fixed.
The back porch/Florida room needs to be rebuilt, before the walls completely fall down. With water damage and how old it is, the floor is splitting into two.
I would be able to sit out there and not be around people. I could just enjoy Nature.