Social Security is a Federal program we pay for every day of our working lives. I started working when I was 15 and paying into Social Security. I looked at those steep payments being taken from my check every week as a savings plans for retirement. I also knew in case of injury, I was paying into Social Security so it would be available for me if the need ever should arise. Just like having insurance on your home, car, and your very own life, this was a safety net. In the end, I needed it, and I am on disability.
Is social security an ‘entitlement’? Hell no! I paid into the program!
Why am I still so embarrassed to tell people I am on disability? Are you on disability? Are you comfortable with that? Tell me if you are because that is one thing I can’t shake, the shame I feel for taking checks from the government for a monthly payment. The disability checks are not near enough to live on, let alone pay for the needed medical attention due to the injuries that put me on this very program! People making minimum wage make twice what I do in a month and that was before the $15.00 per hour minimum wage went into effect. I used to work at McDonald’s, I’d have no qualms about going back to work there now and claim my $15.00 an hour … but I am not physically able. I am disabled!
It sucks being on disability. Calling it an entitlement only worsens the stigma. I am already filled with shame. I blog, I admin a facebook support page because it makes me feel that I am somehow earning that check; that disability payment. Does that even make sense? To me it does. I was ‘medically released’ from a job I loved. I enjoy helping people and answering their questions so blogging and admining a support group makes sense to me. Giving back and earning that government check …
I finally have an answer to the dreaded question, “What do you do for a living?”
I am an advocate for fibromyalgia awareness, I published a book, I am a blogger, and I admin a support group. That is my identity. My reality is that I fight the fibromyalgia pain demons every day, take my medication as prescribed, and research every aspect of my health for answers. I fight the chronic fatigue and try to keep a clean house and a satisfied husband. I fight the sleepless nights and exhaustion every day to check in with my group and write a blog. I don’t always win, but I fight.
And, I forgot to mention, I receive a check from the Federal government from a program that I paid in to… there should be no shame in that.