The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Disability brings challenges, prompts questions


To the Editor:

I have spent my entire life being rather self-sufficient and successful in our society and never really worried about the day that I would be unable to care for myself. My life went on its merry way living a very nice life in this wonderful country of America.

Often in the back of my mind there was a sense of wonderment of what it would be like if the tables turned. Being an avid reader of current events, I would read articles about those less fortunate and their horror stories thinking I was so lucky ... and indeed I was.

Well, sad to say, the unthinkable happened and now I am disabled. Once young, vibrant and full of life, I am now confined to a wheelchair and a cane.

Simple things, such as walking or taking a ride in the car are now activities that seem near impossible for me due to my extreme pain. My habitat is now a recliner, my social life the TV and hobbies are on the Internet.

Again, in the past I read about horror stories of those seeking disability so they could survive and the problems and humiliations they encountered. I would shake my head in dismay. Now I am shaking my head in dismay for myself, because I am going through the same horrors these individuals endured.

What bothers me the most is that I have worked all my life since the age of 14, paid taxes, voted, supported others and gave to charities.

Our government had absolutely no problem deducting taxes, Social Security and unemployment from my paycheck all these years, and if there was an amount due on my tax return they expected it immediately.

Now, I have to wait for them to decide when they are going to give me my money to survive after working hard for all these years.

After pages and pages of forms to fill out, asking humiliating questions — as if I were anything less than human — I am now treated like a number and not a citizen of our country.

Two questions now prevail in my mind: How can this be? And why?

Steven Gams



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