Making a Difference

In the early 1990s I lived in public housing and collected a government disability check.

I lived below the poverty line in America.

On the approval letter the SSDI interviewer had written words to this effect:

“Signs and symptoms do not totally indicate schizophrenia. Yet inability to work at a job renders her eligible for benefits.”

At the time I also collected Medicaid. Living below the poverty line is no joke.

Today in Kentucky the government is set to pass a law requiring Medicaid recipients to work at a job.

The last I heard a lot of people with mental illnesses who are still actively symptomatic might not be able to work at a job if what’s going on in their head interferes with their rational thinking.

My vision of Recovery for Everyone starts with the clock running today.

My goal is to help people recover.

My focus is on what is possible when people get the right treatment at the right time.

In retrospect I can see there was some kind of benefit when I was just starting out in having been in “the system.”

People with mental health issues who receive benefits like Medicaid are doing the best we can when our illness is severe.

At this time we might require government money in the form of checks and healthcare.

To mandate that a person like you or me has to work at a job to receive Medicaid isn’t right.

It’s not right if we’re not in the right mind to be able to hold a job and do well at a job.

Yet this is the trend in government coming to where you live soon:

Denial of the benefits people require to get their lives back on track.

Those who can are writing into law the denial of benefits leaving every citizen to fend for ourselves.

Making a difference doesn’t cost a dime.

Those of us doing well have the duty to help make things better for those less fortunate.

Call or write your elected officials to tell them what you think. Join a protest if that’s more your style.

The time is now to speak out.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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