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No warning: Life with disability and without work

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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It was an ordinary day for 46-year-old Mark Schuh. The painting business owner was working alongside an employee in a custom home. He decided to take some 100-pound doors to his shop for a coat of stain, so he and his employee loaded them into a work trailer. It was then that his life changed forever.

The half-ton stack of doors gave way and fell, striking the businessman in the head. At the time, he said he didn’t think the blow was serious. “The hit I took to my head was so light, and it only left a small scratch on the left side of my forehead. No bleeding, no nothing.” He expected to go to the ER, get a prescription for a muscle relaxer, and then resume his life as an entrepreneur, husband, father and outdoorsman.

“It wasn’t a good day,” Schuh’s mother said. An understatement, to be sure.

At the hospital, doctors delivered the news: Schuh’s C3 and C5 vertebrae were fractured and he had a vertebral artery dissection (a tear of an artery in the neck that supplies blood to the brain). He was paralyzed from the neck down, but his spine was still intact.

His wife and family made the decision to pass on surgery for him at that time, instead opting to have him flown from his South Dakota home to a rehabilitation center for people with spine and brain injuries.

When he was returned home a few months later, it was as a quadriplegic. A new life, complete with new financial realities, began to become clear. His income was gone, partially replaced by monthly Social Security Disability benefits of about $1,400 per month.

While Schuh had been devoted to his family life and business, a new cause emerged: getting their insurance company to provide home assistance.

It is a long, hard journey and there are undoubtedly more challenges ahead, both personal and financial.

People who can no longer work are often confronted with medical bills, physical limitations and expenses they never expected. For those facing those realities, SSDI can provide a measure of much-needed assistance.

An experienced attorney can help you navigate the SSDI appeals process.