Deborah from Tacoma, WA

Faces of the Federal Budget

I was permanently disabled at the height of a well-paid career as a technical writer by a stroke (labelled a cardio-vascular accident by the MDs who looked at my MRI.) Completely unexpected, occurring in the weeks following 9/11.

A year later, I was trying to live on the "disability income"—60% of my previous income, and my employer was liquidated in bankruptcy so that I had no COBRA and was bleeding money into a state-sponsored high-risk insurance pool… and that 60% income is TAXABLE.

Sold my one small rental property a step ahead of foreclosure, gave back a car to my credit union via voluntary repo, eventually got Medicare (it takes 29 months after one receives Social Security Disability to become eligible for Medicare), SSDI may not be taxable but the rest of my disability income is… until it terminates when I turn 65. At which point, I file bankruptcy to deal with the consumer debt that has NOT reduced the usurious interest rates in excess of 28% despite my entering into a voluntary "debt management program."

Retirement funds? Every nickel used (taxable but not penalized) during the first two years post-stroke. What retirement funds?

Meanwhile, my prescription medication co-pays have increased a dollar a year for the past four years (that is, they've doubled in cost to me in those four years). My Medicare supplement insurance premiums have increased in similar fashion (three years ago, it cost me nothing to visit primary care, and $15 a visit to see a specialist; today those numbers are $10 and $40).

My life insurance and auto insurance premiums continue to rise (actuarial tables speak loudest to bean counters). Food prices go up regularly and do not drop even after the price of gas drops significantly for several months.

And my "retirement"? When I turn 65, I still will be disabled… but my sole income will be SSDI.

"Chained CPI" is a concept that should never be allowed NEAR the earned benefits that Social Security represents. That particular "compromise" offer has done President Obama no good, and threatens the security of every citizen who relies on Social Security.

Deborah from Tacoma, WA | Map

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