I miss having the security of a steady liveable income

Sometimes I forget what it was like to have a steady liveable income. My new “normal” has become so ingrained, it’s easy to think that’s how it always was. Then I’ll wish I could buy a new sweater, for example, and I’ll remember there was a time when I really could buy a new sweater any time I wanted to.

This is one of those things that can be hard to understand until you live it. Politicians talk about cutting social security disability payments because they see the huge amount the program costs overall. They don’t consider what it’s like for an individual to have to actually live on the average payment of less than $1200 per month. (Full disclosure: my payments are above average. Of course, the cost of living in my city is also above average. I haven’t done the math to figure out if the ratios are the same or not.)

Of course, it’s all relative. There are people who aren’t on SSDI who only earn that much. There are people who earn $150,000 per year and are in debt. The former has their own set of issues that need addressing on a federal and state level. The latter has options, though. I miss having options.

Once upon a time I earned around the average national income of $50,000. Even in one of the most expensive cities in the country, I had no problem living on that salary. I just avoided spending money on certain things. I saved money every month. So while I couldn’t shop endlessly or at high-end stores, I could definitely afford to replace worn out clothes. That was my “normal” for many years.

It’s been a cold winter and that’s fine by me! The cold is much better for my body than the heat, so I’m happy about it. But unfortunately, my wardrobe is not. I have many t-shirts, but not many sweaters. The ones I have are old and out of style. Some are falling apart. They are pilling and developing holes. But I keep wearing them because I don’t have a lot of options. Sure, I have some savings, but SSDI only covers about half of my expenses each month and I need my savings for that other half. I can’t go throwing it around on clothes that I don’t really have to have.

It’s not the clothes that I miss, it’s the ease of of those purchases. It’s knowing that any money I spent would come back into my bank account and then some. It’s knowing there was always more where that came from. It was knowing that I had years, decades, to keep earning and saving.

And that security is what’s really been taken away.

Despite what certain politicians think, I would rather be working if it meant getting that security back. But the truth is, that’s just not an option for me right now.

6 Responses to I miss having the security of a steady liveable income

  1. Lorna says:

    If you are too ill to work, it is wrong that you are penalised for it. Over here if you can not work and are disabled you are entitled to about £1000 every four weeks. Also you can claim to have your rent and council tax paid. You get free dental and prescriptions as well. It is means tested. Also you can get money in the winter to help with heating.
    However, fortunately I also receive a pension from my work as a teacher and a small payment from a plan at the bank. I worked all my life so my government money is classed as a contribution payment (from my earnings) so I don’t qualify for free dental and prescriptions. I also own my house so don’t need rent money. I do get free car tax. If you don’t have a car, you can use part of your mobility money and get a new small car every three years.
    So our social services are good and fair.
    Every country is very different in how they look after their people. There is still huge differences in how we all live.
    Take care
    Hugs xx

    • chronicrants says:

      Is 1000 pounds enough to live off of there? And getting a new car every 3 years sounds odd to me – why so frequent? I mean, I’ve had my car over 4 years already and I hope to keep it another 10. I find it odd the government would say 3 years was suitable.

      You’re sure right about each government being different! Our social services are really lacking here. We’re one of the only countries in the world without paid maternity leave, for example. I sure hope that all changes one day soon!

      • Lorna says:

        Yes you live off a thousand pounds but you would need to be careful. With the disability car, three years is when the manufacturers warranty is up. So that would cost the garage money

      • chronicrants says:

        Ah, that makes sense about the warranty. Still, I would think it would be cheaper to pay for repairs than to buy a whole new car!

  2. Reblogged this on Migraine Discussions and commented:
    A must read in my opinion and a situation many with a difficult disability reflect on at on time or another. To recognize that this happens and that we need to end hiring discrimination and the stigma surrounding those with chronic illness. The truth is many of us would like a real job, but it’s also a truth that many of us just cannot work we are 100% disabled.

    Articles like this is why I am starting @VoiceofPatients we need a company that shows others how to make money whilst hiring those with chronic illness also known as #spoonies. Thank you for your time and I hope you check out the article I am typing one right now I just saw this and had to share it since it echoes so many of the stories I hear every week.

    • chronicrants says:

      Thanks so much for sharing this! It really is so frustrating. I spend huge amounts of time and energy trying to figure out a way to fix this situation for myself. Or I dream about winning the lottery and helping out my friends. But we really need systemic change in this country.

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