Being disabled is hard enough, but when you start receiving social security at a young age it can be harder. Your life can seem to loss all meaning as you spiral into a predetermined existence of living.
That is how I felt when I started to receive social security at a young age. My life was over. At the age of 20 my life was now decided for me.
All the years of schooling did not mean squat. The hard work, the late reports, the stressing over grades, none of that mattered now. My fate was sealed.
I looked at my future and it was bleak. I wondered how parenting with a disability would work, and if I even should be a parent with my disability? Something that I always wanted to be.
My life was at a loss…. I had hit the peak of my life and was now falling down the other side of the mountain. It was not pretty.Subscribe Today
Here are some struggles that I faced when I started receiving social security disability at a young age!
Receiving Social Security While Your Young | How Your Payment Is Calculated
So here is one of the biggest disadvantages to being young and receiving social security. Your payment for social security disability is calculated by how much you have worked in your life.
Now for most, when you start receiving social security disability you have had a few years out there in the work force. You have earned work credits throughout those years that goes towards your disability payout.
Work credits for your social security are credits that you earn as a result of paying taxes towards your social security. Most of the time these credits apply if you become disabled later in life.
To earn these credits you have to be over the age of 18, which sucks cause I worked a lot during my high school years.
You also have to earn a certain amount of income that year to achieve 1 credit ( around $1,200). You can have a maximum of 4 credits earned a year.
Of course at the time I did not know any of this (and if I did I don’t think there would have been too many jobs out there that would have hired me, liability issues and all) so I waited for my social security to go through (usually a 2 year process minimum).
Two years of nothing! Yep, that is what I lived on. Nothing! I had some government agencies that helped with my small studio apartment, I had energy assistance helping with my power, and $117 in food stamps to feed me for the month.
That was a really dark time for me. I could not tell you how depressed I was. I sat and watched my friends move on and go to college and get careers while I woke up everyday to nothing but pain.
And even on my good days I did not have the money to do anything anyways. I became a hermit with nothing to do and no where to go.
Then came the day that I received social security. I was so happy. Two years of waiting and I was finally going to be earning some type of income.
That was before I read how much my monthly check was going to be. $421 ($228 in S.S.D, $193 in S.S.I) dollars a month. That income put me well below the poverty level income bracket at that time .
The agencies that were helping me before now cut back because I had income coming in. With rent, bills and what little necessities it took for me to live on I was always broke.
I think at the end of the day I had $10 a month (if I was lucky) for some sort of entertainment. The rest went to bills!
That was when reality set in. That my life was only going to be these four walls that surround me. That I would never advance in life, I would never get a promotion, or even a tax return for that matter.
From there I hated life. I hated everything about life. I did not want to look at anybody in the face because I felt like right out of the gate I had failed at life.
What happened next only confirmed it!
Receiving Social Security While Your Young | The First Impression That The World Has Of You
This is another thing that I did not think about when I started receiving social security at a young age. That was how society would view me.
Now I am not saying that you should care about what people think of you, cause you really shouldn’t. But it still hurts when you see in their eyes disgust cause you are 20,23,25,27 years old and living on social security.
You know, when you met someone for the first time there is always 3 topics that people love to talk about.
- What You Do For A Living
While I use to love to play sports I was never a real big fan of watching sports (especially after my disability). I know, an athlete not liking to watch sports, what a crime! But I didn’t.
I would rather be playing sports than watching sports and after my disability I could not play sports anymore so watching them was just torture.
Weather was always a nice conversation, and one topic that I always tried to steer the conversation to so that I would not have to answer the third question.
While talking about the weather is nice, it is a short conversation. One that either ended the conversation shortly (always thankful for that) or that lead into the third and most dreaded question….
“So what do you do for a living?” The question that turned into my worst nightmare. This question always came with an explanation, and it was not an easy one.
“I am disabled,” I would say “I live on social security.”
The two looks and responses were always the same.
Here is response number one, ” I am sorry to hear that. What is your disability?” I would regretfully explain that I suffer from chronic back pain and essential tremors.
The conversation always turned south from there. I would get a despondent look, another sorry, and they would walk away. A cold end to a bad first impression.
Here is response two, “I am sorry to hear that. I hope you get feeling better.” They would say (as if it was the common cold that I had), with a look behind their eyes that I was not worth the flesh that God put on these bones.
That I was a waste upon society. One who takes their tax dollars and lives free and happy, without a care in the world.
Like being disabled was my first choice in life and I was just riding the social security and welfare train like I had won the lottery!
Well, to all those that think like this let me tell you, you could not be further from the truth. I would have loved to have had a job. To escape the four walls of my house everyday and actually have a purpose in life.
To actually meet new people and have a real conversations with them, ones that did not end in feeling sorry for me or in disgust.
To actually be able to say, ” Yeah, work was killer last week, can’t wait for that tax return so I can get a new car!”
Or to say, “My boss just gave me a promotion! Let’s go out to dinner to celebrate!”
I even would have liked to say, “No, I am currently unemployed. My boss laid off the crew so I have to find a new job.”
No, I lived in a world that never changed. A world were there was never the opportunity to be promoted, get a tax return, or even leave my house on a regular basis.
That was my dream. To work. To live a life where I could walk up to somebody and say, “My name is Todd and I contribute to society.”
“I work and everything that I have I earned. I can sleep at night knowing that I put in a hard day’s work and tomorrow gets me one day closer to a better future.”
That is winning the lottery to me. Having that purpose in life. To look forward to the next day or the next week or the next year knowing that you are becoming something more than you are now.
When you receive social security disability at a young age you are robbed of that feeling. That feeling that tomorrow can be better.
It is the worst feeling that one can have. Knowing that tomorrow is the same as today and will be the same as yesterday. Nothing will ever change!
Which leads into the third reason why it is a disadvantage to receive social security at a young age.
Receiving Social Security At A Young Age | The Pain That You Harbor Inside
Pain, yeah I have buckets of it inside of me. Not just physical but pain in my heart. Pain that this life has turned it’s back on me and left me to nothing.
That is the pain that I felt for years. The pain that started to keep me from wanting to meet new people because I knew the conversation that we would have.
The pain of knowing that there is a tomorrow, and it is filled with same pain and dismay that I felt today and yesterday.
This is the type of pain that can eat you up on the inside. Make you feel like you are nothing. You start to view yourself as you think the world views you.
Like you are not worth the flesh God put on your bones. What starts out as pain in your heart turns into a cancer. One that starts infecting your life.
You start to see the world as one dimensional. Like all the color has been drained out of this world and all you see is gray. Your life is gray. Your future is gray.
My heart had turned as gray and cold as the world that I lived in. I no longer wanted to tell people that my life was one that had no future.
That I had no plans for tomorrow, that I had no plans for next week, or next year. That I was the waste upon society that everybody now saw me as.
So when I put that gun in my mouth, I was ready. Ready to end this world of pain. Ready to escape the gray dismay that was my life.
Yet, something held me back….. was it a voice inside my head or my own fear of the afterlife. I do not know, but I put the gun down and cursed myself for being a coward!
Since I could not end my pain, I bottled it up inside of me. I stopped talking about my disability and the pain that I felt everyday.
I stopped showing my pain (the best that I could) and hid when I had tremors to avoid questions. I shoved that pain deep down inside the pit of my stomach.
The pit was not endless though and worse, it began to transform that pain that I felt into anger, resentment, outrage. I found myself hating everyone and everything in this world.
Most of all…. I hated myself. For years I felt like this, pushing family and friends away because I did not want to hurt them because of my anger.
I had lost all hope…. and that is what receiving social security at a young age truly is. You losing all hope. I might not have killed myself, but more days than not, I wished that I had.
A person can not go through life like that. You can not stick someone who is only 20 years old on social security and say, “That’s it. This is all your life will amount to.”
Being disabled and a medical mystery to begin with is hard enough, but when faced with the reality that you are now never going to achieve anything in your life is worse.
People need a reason to live. They need a reason to wake up in the morning. It is not human nature to sit and watch life stroll on by while you live in agony mentally and physically.
I was very close to killing myself and I am now glad that I didn’t. I can not say that things got any easier, in fact they got a whole lot tougher for a long time.
I did eventually find peace in my heart but the path that I took to get here I would not want anybody to take!
New Hope For Those Who Are Young And Disabled!
I believe that anybody receiving social security (or thinking about receiving social security) at a young age should be presented with other options in life.
At the time of my disability computers and the internet were just coming about. I think we even still used dial up and AOL for our online needs.
Now in days, we have access to fast internet, and ways of making money online today that we did not have 15 years ago.
I believe that every disabled person should get a chance to earn a living. To stand on their own two feet and see this world for what it can truly be. Beautiful!
This is why I am making it my mission to help anybody who is on disability learn how to make money online. That is why I offer free training to learn how to blog.
But even beyond that I am working out a way for disabled people to get everything they need for free. From equipment, to training, everything that you will need to become successful online.
Subscribe today and I will keep you posted on my progress on this endeavor, which so far is going pretty well! Blogging has changed my life and it can change yours!
I want to make sure that anybody receiving social security does not have to go thorough what I have had to go through. That is my mission now in life. That is my purpose!