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Disabled Veteran Ricky Seeks Grant Money To Make Home Wheelchair Accessible

by Ricky Smith
(Wilmer, Alabama, USA)

Hello, my name is Ricky W. Smith Sr. I am a 57-year-old disabled veteran and I want a chance to tell you my story.

I want to tell you about myself not for pity, sympathy or greed but out of pure necessity to make my home and my life more accessible due to my disability.

Disability Issues

I was discharged with a 40% disability due to a broken bone in my foot that had to be removed, a splenectomy and a total nasal/face plastic surgery reconstruction.

The army doctors told me I would be handicapped with a lift strength of 10 pounds. I beat that and proved I could lift and walk. I had every intention of re-enlisting with the given limitations.

I had letters from 4-star generals, colonels, senators and congressmen, all wanting to give me the opportunity to re-enlist. Unfortunately I could not pass the physical training test because of my foot.

I had two kids and a wife to support so I joined civilian life and held a few great jobs for many years.

I had a few health problems such as two heart attacks, which gave way to a quadruple bypass surgery. This slowed me down a bit and the doctor said I could not lift over 10 pounds.

I had two kids in college and tuition bills to help pay. I wanted to ensure they got a good education so they would not have to work so hard. I had no choice but to get passed the heart attacks and keep working.

Again, I recovered quickly and resumed normal activity, which included lifting 50 to 60 pounds several times a day.

In 2003 I fell in a 50-foot ditch with a riding mower on top of me, which broke five bones in my back and gave me a head contusion. The doctor at the Alabama Orthopedic Group said there was no way I was going to be able to work again.

Within two weeks I was on my feet again and within four weeks back to work. I had trouble lifting and standing but I got the job done. I continued to work for 10 more years.

In 2009 my wife was in a traffic accident that took her life. I felt lost without her and my life as I knew it was over.

I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol for which I take four medications.

I also have sleep apnea, which means I have very limited driving ability and I have to sleep under a CPAP machine every night.

I have had my spleen removed. My face including the nasal cavity has been surgically reconstructed. I've had a bone removed from my foot. Five discs on my spine have been broken. I have degenerative joint disease in my back and shoulder, and I have left eye optical problems.

I take an anti-inflammatory medication but I try to avoid any other types of pain medications.

Financial Hardship

I am currently trying to receive civilian Social Security Disability, which is good and bad in a way. The situation is good because my children are out of college. My daughter and her husband live with me, so they are able to help me when I need help with physical activities.

The situation is bad because I have beaten the odds so many times that it has done an extreme amount of damage to my back and shoulder. It seems to have made it harder to prove that I need civilian Social Security since I have continued to work when I probably should have stopped so many years ago.

Currently I am only receiving my disabled VA benefit, which is $571 per month and food stamps in the amount of $114.

My daughter and her husband live with me. This does help but I would rather not depend on them at all for my bills and meals.

Income Efforts

In 2012 I was re-evaluated by VA doctors and my disability rating was increased from 40 percent to 50 percent.

I have been working to get civilian Social Security Disability since December 2013. I have gone through the process of applying, being denied, appealing, obtaining a lawyer and waiting for a hearing date.

I was blessed to have enough money in savings to help cover some of my cost until I get can get Social Security but unfortunate circumstances and the length of time it is taking to get a hearing have drained my savings and the 401k I had.

Specific Needs

I am looking for help on programs and grants for disabled veterans so I can improve my home to make it more accessible before I get to the point where I have to be in a wheelchair.

I would like to make improvements on my home such a smother driveway, a more accessible kitchen, bathrooms and replace a much-needed roof.

I also need information on grants to help subsidize my income until I have my social security hearing and am awarded benefits.

Comments for Disabled Veteran Ricky Seeks Grant Money To Make Home Wheelchair Accessible

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May 12, 2015
by: SheilaKay Paris

Hi Ricky,

It's been a while and I was wondering if you had gotten your disability award yet. I know it can take a while, but I also know major disability lawyers do this full time so I'm sure they know what they are doing.

Have you gone through the other parts of the Ability Mission workbook? So much good information there!

For other grants that could come in handy, try Brian Therrien's Disability Digest website for free help (no charge to you because he gets paid through his sponsors.) Here is his resource page :


And to sign up for free for all sorts of benefits:


Below is a link just in case it didn't work out with your current attorney:

Disability Advocate

If you run into snags or roadblocks, please give me a jingle. You can reach me here and I'll get right back to you, Ricky (that was my cousin's name, we grew up together, he passed from an abdominal aneurysm) Duh, don't know why I mentioned that but he was a great guy and I associate him with you so you get the same treatment from me - my very best.....;)


Jun 14, 2014
Re hire an attorney
by: Ricky smith

Thank you for the awesome advice. I have hired Binder and Binder for representation.

Jun 14, 2014
HIre An Attorney
by: Wendy, www.retirement-online.com

I think you need to hire a Disabiity Attorney for both the Social Security and the Veterans Disability.

1) Often these attorneys will take the case with no down payment -- only if and when they win, do they get a cut of the retroactive pay you receive. Schedule a free consultation with a local attorney, see if you like them, then hire someone who won't charge unti they win.

2) You need a Disability Attorney specifically, as they often play golf and do conferences with the Disability Judges. They know how the paperwork needs to read and dot all the i's and cross all the t's... making it much easier to get a positive decision.

With a lifetime of employment, surely you deserve more than $500+ a month in income. Let an attorney, who KNOWS what they are doing, help you!

Best Wishes!

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