As you may remember from my previous blog post, I have some important things to consider before I’m able to start a business. These things are vital to my daily survival. They consist of all the important things the government pays for right now. They include my healthcare, my medical supplies, my caregivers, and my wheelchair and repairs. Without these things, I would be in serious trouble. Please bear with me as I explain. I know this is a long post but I really want people to understand the situation I’m facing here.
Now, let’s look at healthcare. Because I live below the poverty line, the government pays for my doctor visits through an insurance company (this is with the new health insurance laws.). As a quadriplegic, I have a higher potential for something to go wrong with my body. Even though I’m pretty healthy for someone with this type of disability, when you can’t feel 90% of your body, you usually don’t find out about an issue until it’s really bad. The situations could range from bladder infections to pressure sores to pneumonia or worse. When you’re even unable to feel a stomach ache, you have to watch for any sign that things are out of the norm and take them seriously. Without healthcare coverage, I’d be unable to get the immediate care I may need or see my doctor for the regular checkups and tests that help catch any problems before they become serious ailments. For example, my kidney and bladder functions are things doctors need to monitor.
Not counting the hospital stay that resulted from my initial accident, I have been hospitalized three times for life threatening pneumonia, had numerous pressure sores over the years, and had my entire spine fused with steel rods. The curve of my spine was so severe that my lungs were being crushed. I’ve also had a hiatal hernia fixed and my toes straitened because they were curling so much that it caused sores. As you can see, having mostly worry-free health coverage is very important to my well being.
If I were to have my own insurance, it might cover many of the things listed above with a monthly payment and a deductible. However, what about the medical supplies I need every month? These items are beyond what most regular insurance plans cover. This is the stuff I use every day to make sure I stay clean and presentable to the public. I’m going to be honest with you while trying not to be too gross. Without these medical supplies, I would soil myself on a daily and constant basis. I would smell bad, and my clothes and bedding would be more than filthy, requiring washing every day. I would also be covered in sores because bodily waste is very acidic and easily causes skin breakdown with long exposure to the flesh. This is how life is when you can’t feel or control your body from the chest down. These medical supplies help me keep these things as contained and on a schedule as can be expected. Even then, accidents will happen, and things don’t always work as intended.
That brings me to my caregivers. I can’t use the medical supplies I get on my own. It’s just not physically possible for me to do. When there are accidents, my caregivers have to be there to help me fix the problems as well. Needless to say, it can be a messy business. Beyond that, I need my caregivers for a lot of other reasons too. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to get in or out of bed. I wouldn’t be able to dress myself. I wouldn’t be able to bathe or get any food and water. Basically, my sound mind is not in a sound body. Without help from somebody, paid or not, I would not be able to live a functional life. It would only be a short matter of time before I got sick and died. Seriously.
The only thing besides my caregivers that gives me a modest amount of independance is technology like my power wheelchair. My power wheelchair is the closest equivalent I have to a functioning set of legs. If the batteries die, or the chair breaks down, I am once again at the mercy of others for my propulsion. Of all the tech I use every day, my wheelchair is the most important and most expensive tech the government pays for.
What It Means
After explaining all that, you might be wondering what point I’m making. Well, it all comes down to my ability to keep these vital services the government pays for. If I earn income or own any assets, like a business, then their value determines whether I qualify for these services. As I stated at the beginning, I have to remain below the poverty line to qualify. They have set limits on how much I can earn or have in assets (which includes cash I have access to). At this time, the cutoff limits are $1,070 a month in earned income or $2,000 in assets.
So, let’s look at just some of the numbers here. The cost of my caregivers, if I were to pay them myself directly, would be about $4,000 a month. That would be much higher if I went through a caregiving agency. Then there is the cost of a new wheelchair every 5 to 6 years that I would have to set aside money for. That cost is about $7,000 I would have to save up over that time period, which doesn’t include the cost of any possible expensive repairs. When you factor in the cost of my medical supplies and health insurance each month, the bill gets even higher. Believe me, I’ve simplified this whole process for the sake of keeping this blog post as short as possible.
These costs don’t include the rent and food assistance I receive each month. Add utilities and other costs of living to that and that’s another $900 a month I would have to cover myself. Although, I think that’s reasonable when compared to the other costs I would be facing. In order to live at my current standard of living and still pay for everything I need for survival, I’ll need to earn between $8,000 and $10,000 per month. That’s a lot more than the cutoff limits.
Where To Go Next?
Now the first step to achieving my ultimate goal of financial freedom is to find a legal way around this major income obstacle. In no way am I going to use this as an excuse any longer for not living the life I’ve always dreamed of. If you know of other programs that can help prevent the burden of losing everything when I get the beginnings of a business started, let me know. If you are or know a lawyer who will give advice about my options, please comment or contact me. If you have any ideas, I want to hear them. The more voices we get talking about this, the more likely we will find solutions to this problem for me and anyone else in this situation. Also, stay tuned. I have a couple ideas I want some feedback on but I’ll talk more about that in the next post…