I just spent the last hour of my life re-certifying for my benefits.

These benefits include SNAP (food stamps) and most importantly Long term care benefits. These are the benefits that pay for the aides that come three times a day to help me, which allows me to stay in my home and not housed in a facility.

This has to happen every year. It is not new.

Yet every year that comes around, though I know the importance of it, it doesn’t stop from reminding me exactly how poor I am.

The deal with the devil that you sign when you need government benefits, is that you make this unspoken vow, to stay poor. Many people who get angry at those of Us using Government benefits don’t understand that in order to prove that We qualify, we have to give up privacy (so they can check our resources and our sources of income) and our chances of ever occupying a better station in life (we cannot have more than $2000 in our bank accounts or hope toward saving for a home or car or they take our benefits away).

There is also the constant onslaught of the media and society demonizing folks who need and rely on government assistance because either We physically can’t support ourselves or just don’t have any other way.

As a person with a disability, who was fortunate enough to be able to work and support myself and my family for 10 years, having to prove how poor I am now, year after year, is dehumanizing. Having to hear and face the ire of folks who have never been on this side of things, is demoralizing at best.

Maybe this will serve as your yearly reminder to be kinder to those around you because it’s tough out here enough as it is.

EDITED TO ADD: And please don’t think that the Government benefits cover Us comprehensively – they don’t. I have a dizzying patchwork of coverage to manage everything from my life saving #Spinraza treatments to my my equally life saving wheelchair. If not for those who love me and #TheVillage, many more of my immediate needs (needs, not wants – there generally isn’t enough to see about wants) WOULD NOT BE MET.

That means moving wouldn’t have happened, eating wouldn’t happen, being able to wash my hair with shampoo or buying clothes/shoes WOULDN’T happen. Basic things, couldn’t happen with the ‘benefits’ the Government ‘gives’ Me.

Be kinder Guys. Be kinder.

#DisabledChronicles#ItsToughOutHere #BeKinder