At the end of the About page of my site here, I mention that I want to make “Freedom is the Dream” a nonprofit company after I become financially independent. After thinking a lot about it, however, it might be better to start the nonprofit business sooner than later.
A foundation based on the ideas behind “Freedom is the Dream” would be a place where people with disabilities, who could possibly work or help run a business, could go to get help assessing what it would take for us to be financially free from the government. It would help us answer pressing questions we all have to ask if we do want to go off government assistance. It would also help us navigate the legal hurdles we face when we make the choice to be financially independent.
We must have answers to many questions that most people might not think about. The answers to these questions will be vastly different for each disabled person:
- What will be the cost to the disabled person to pay for their caregivers each month/year if they need that service? (This will all depend on how many hours they need and how severe their disability is.)
- How do they go about hiring caregivers if they pay for their own care?
- Would they have to go through an agency or could they hire independently?
- If they hire independently, would the caregivers be employees or contracted workers? (If the caregivers are employees, the disabled person would have to pay wages and also be required to match the caregivers’ Social Security contributions each year. They would also have to provide vacation pay and other employee related expenses depending on the state.)
- Would the disabled person be required by law to hire people who’ve been through special training to be a caregiver or could they hire anyone they choose and train the workers themselves?
- How does the disabled person obtain necessary background checks for the caregivers they hire?
- What type of health resources would be available if there are medical issues that require regular nurse visits?
- What type of health insurance is available for the disabled person to buy?
- How much will that insurance cost them each month/year?
- What other medical supplies and equipment will be needed for the disabled person that insurance won’t cover?
- What is the estimated cost of these supplies and equipment each month/year?
These are just some of the questions I can think of right now off the top of my head. There are definitely more. These are all in addition to the regular questions everyone has to answer regarding rent or mortgage payments, food costs, utilities payments, transportation expenses, other types of insurance and everyday costs of living. There’s also the yearly tax bill to factor in.
It’s a daunting list that’s been running through my head for many years, even before I started “Freedom is the Dream” two years ago. It’s a list that brings me great anxiety and fear, making it hard for me to take action towards my dreams. During the last month or so, I’ve been very depressed, often on the verge of tears in fact. This is partly because I want to do more with my life but I get stopped in my tracks by uncertainty and fear. I’m sure a lot of other disabled people have the same feelings, especially if they feel trapped in the system like I do.
If we can get a foundation started that can help answer these questions for every disabled person who dream to be financially independent, we will be better prepared for the battle we face to make our dreams real.
I also want the foundation to fight for better laws that help the disabled become more financially independent. For example, I believe Medicaid should always be available for the disabled who qualify based on disability no matter how much they earn. That would mean people with disabilities wouldn’t have to worry about many of the questions listed above unless they wanted and could afford to make the choice to go off of the Medicaid program.
The way the program works now, the disabled are forced to live below the poverty line in order to get the care we need. This discourages the disabled from finding jobs, especially good paying jobs, or starting our own businesses. That means most disabled people, like myself, are totally dependent on the government for support. If we could work without the poverty restrictions and fear of losing the medical care we need for our survival (Medicaid), it’s likely that more people with disabilities would want to find better income opportunities than SSI or Social Security. We could increase our standard of living while also paying taxes. The more we earn the more we’d be paying back into the system, making us less of a burden on the system over all.
I don’t have all the answers but a foundation that can help us get the answers is sorely needed. We need a nonprofit foundation that can help some disabled people get on the path to financial freedom and that can fight in the government on behalf of the disabled. I would really like to be a part of that and help get it started.
What do you think? Are you a disabled person who wants to be financially independent? Do you have fears about how you will take care of yourself if you try to be more self-sufficient? What are other questions you need answered in order to be financially independent? Are there other people reading this who would like to help start a foundation with these goals? What ideas do you have that could help?