Paperwork, when requested/demanded from a government entity, is certain to cause stress. In this case, the paperwork was something that my husband had to fill out because he receives Social Security Disability benefits. This isn’t the first set of paperwork he’s had to fill out, and it won’t be the last of it.

The paperwork problem is making me hesitant to do the work required for my second attempt at getting Disability benefits. This, while I’m struggling through a horrible Fall pollen season and well aware of how disabled I’ve become.

The image above is from Pixabay.

My husband, Shawn, is legally blind. He has optic atrophy, which has no cure. Shawn was born with this condition and qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits. In short, he’s been receiving Disability benefits for a long time.

Every so often, the government requires Shawn to fill out paperwork about his income. For those who don’t know, people who receive Social Security Disability benefits are allowed to work (if they are able to) – but must stay under an imposed income limit.

Those that go over that limit, even by a tiny bit, risk losing their Disability benefits. People who are blind, for whatever reason, have a slightly higher limit than do people with any other type of disability.

I mention this because it means that one day, if I ever manage to get approved for Disability benefits – my income-from-work limit will be lower than Shawn’s. The amount of money I’m making now, with my freelance writing gigs, could potentially be a little bit over that limit. As far as I can tell, the amount of money I would potentially get from Disability benefits will not be enough to realistically replace the amount I make from writing.

To be blunt, I don’t make enough money on my own to survive.  Not even close.

I’m dyslexic, and numbers completely perplex me. I’ve no idea how much money he makes, with or without his Disability benefits. What I do know is that we need his Disability benefits, especially now that my three autoimmune diseases/chronic illnesses have started getting worse and I’m more limited in the amount of work I can do than ever before.

Our fate is in the hands of whatever random stranger at Social Security Disability gets to be the decision maker. Will that person understand that optic atrophy has no cure? Will that person decide that Shawn makes a few pennies more than he is allowed to – and rip away his benefits? Will that person use their power for good, or for evil?

All we can do is wait and see what happens.

There was a time when Shawn lost his Disability benefits, for an undetermined amount of time, and with the demand that he pay back money to them. Long story short, this was due to a paperwork problem. We struggled to pay bills and buy groceries. I don’t want to go through that level of desperation ever again.

I think about all of this, and worry about what would happen if both of us were receiving Disability benefits. One angry paperwork checker could destroy us by taking away Benefits from either one of us for the smallest reason. It’s a terrifying thought, especially since past experience taught us this sort of thing can happen without warning.

What I’m trying to say is that I have concerns that applying for Disability benefits and getting approved for them might result in more harm than help. This is a terrible feeling to have while I’m in the very very early part of applying for Disability (again). It makes me hesitant to try.


The Ominous Power of Paperwork is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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