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Posts Tagged ‘Social Security

Wheelchairs Anonymous

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by Treadmarkz

I went the other day to pick out my new wheelchair, and to fill out the paperwork for the wheelchair dealer to send in to the State of Minnesota so I could get my request approved by Medical Assistance, and two things stuck out, for me.

First thing: I had to get a prescription for my wheelchair. Why? I am clearly disabled and in need of an alternative method of locomotion. My legs won’t cut it. Why do I need proof that I need a chair? Are there people who are abusing wheelchairs? Are people overdosing on wheelchairs? Is there some illegal underground trafficking of wheelchairs that I don’t know about? Well, okay, with this one, if more people lose their social security, and MA and all that, this may happen. But as far as I know, this has not become an issue.

And secondly, when I was filling out the paperwork, I was asked my Social Security # and my MA card’s number, of course, and my address and phone number so they could contact me, of course. But then, out of the blue, Question #5 read, verbatim: “What is your role in society?” I thought “What the bloody hell?” I didn’t know where to start. But I knew what they were getting at. Again they don’t want to be giving away wheelchairs to just any bum off the street! You never know what the hell they’ll do with ’em! So I told them about my job where I am in a hectic office environment where I put on a lot of miles, not to mention the fact that I have a life and occasionally I, imagine this, go places!

But I didn’t need that. It’s National Disabled Employment Awareness Month for cryin’ out loud, and they want to know why I need a functional wheelchair? They don’t ask walkies that question when they buy a pair of shoes, do they? Nope. Just us.

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A Time Machine with Hand Controls, Episode I – The Middle Ages

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by Treadmarkz

Announcing a new segment here at treadmarkz.wordpress.com…”A Time Machine with Hand Controls” in which I explore living conditions for the disabled throughout history.

I have written about my thoughts on what my life may have been like had I grown up on a farm and not in a small town, and exploring that possibility has lead me to want to explore another dimension.

Time.

What kid hasn’t wondered what his/her life would be like if they’d been born in another time? My favorite place and time period is Europe in the Middle Ages (between the years 500 roughly, to about 1300-something, when brains became important again in Europe.

I love to read about the Middle Ages. The wars, the struggles for survival, and even the schmaltzy fictitious legends of knights in shining armor. But living in it? First off, without the use of my legs I would have been useless in the Wars for the Holy Sepulchre (the Crusades) unless I was able to come up with a way to hold fast in the saddle while wielding a sword and fighting off “infidels”.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, the law of the land was feudalism, which means you were “allowed” to work the land in exchange for protection from your lord (usually some fat guy who got someone to do all his fighting for him). Incidentally this is where the modern term “landlord” comes from.

There was no place to buy your food unless you wanted to travel miles to the nearest market place. If not, you were to grow and raise and graze your own food. Traversing the land to get to said market would be a chore in and of itself for someone without use of their legs, as their was no Quickie wheelchairs in the Middle Ages. There is record of wheelchairs being used in China in the sixth century but in Europe not until well after the Middle Ages and even then their use was restricted to the Royals. And anyway, a wheelchair certainly would have done little good for a disabled peasant who worked the fields.

Most European-based surnames are rooted in the trade of those in the Middle Ages who were lucky enough to be self-sufficient and not to be dependent on a lord. Tanner, Smith, Shoemaker, and Miller are all examples that come to mind.

But let’s be honest. Technology did not allow the disabled the freedom we enjoy today. There was no ADA protecting the rights of the disabled in the work force. And there was no social security. Most disabled people scraped a living together however they could, and this was hard, as other folk saw them as witches or bad omens, the blind often seen as some kind of oracle with inner vision that the rest of us did not possess. Again, stereotypes can be used to one’s advantage! Much in the same way that the eight-limbed girl from India has been recently doted on as a reincarnated Vishnu. Can you blame them for running with it? I would!

In closing, it has come to my attention that in the Middle Ages, everyone had the middle name of “the” – Alfred the Great, Harold the Bold, Henry the Unready, Philip the Goofy. Whatever. Well, I would be Forrest the Lame, of course. But I digress.

A Must-Read For Anyone on SSI

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by Treadmarkz

Many people on SSI think that the new Economic Stimulus plan which is going to give each taxpayer up to $600 back this year on their taxes, and every married couple up to $1200 back, does not apply to them because they earn no taxable income.

For an explanation of whether you are eligible, please read this message from the American Association of People with Disabilities. You may be eligible! Click the “Information on this Topic” link in the message that I linked to above. Then, if you still have questions, be sure to click the “Contact Us” link and find out for sure if you are eligible.

April 15 is coming soon, so don’t delay!

Obama’s Got a Plan for the Disabled

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by Treadmarkz

(I wrote this commentary just before Super Tuesday, but the facts remain the same and hold true)

As I write this, Super Tuesday is one week away and I am doing some final “soul-searching” while researching the candidates. Beginning with the leading Democrats, I noticed something. Each candidate has a drop-down menu titled “Issues” on their homepages. Though Clinton’s covers health care, and she clearly makes it a high priority, nowhere on her list do I see anything about the disabled. Barack Obama has a similar drop-down list and “Disabilities” is the second item on the list. Check out Obama’s campaign video here.
Granted there are much bigger issues to tackle in ’08. I understand that. The war and the economy are big problems that the new President will need to work hard to sort out, and it is important to know who we want leading us in these endeavors for the next four years. However it bothers me that even though Republicans John McCain, Mitt Romney and Michael Huckabee all have a detailed section on health care, none approach the subject of the disabled, and even health care seems to be slipping down the ladder of importance for these GOP candidates.

The internet is where the candidates should be reaching out to the masses with their entire message. So if the disabled are part of the agendas of these candidates, where is the proof? Health care and Social Security is going to be a big issue for all of us one day. For some it already is. Some disabled people are completely covered by Social Security and hope to remain so. But Obama tackles issues that are the keys to keeping disabled people thriving, successful members of society such as education and employment for the disabled, discrimination against the disabled (contrary to my experience, it IS out there), and independent living.
Give it some thought before you cast your vote on Super Tuesday and in November!

I’m Treadmarkz and I approve this unbiased, factual message.

Written by treadmarkz

January 30, 2008 at 5:01 AM