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Voice of sadness: Ashamed of disability and need for SSDI

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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The sadness and shame in a recent North Carolina newspaper article are palpable. The writer suffered an ischemic stroke late last year and has as a result been unable to continue working.

He writes that he lives today in “devastating humiliation” because he can’t drive or hold a job. Part of the shame he feels is attributable to his need for assistance (he derides it as a “handout”).

Though the woman who helped him fill out forms at the Social Security Administration office rightly told him that SSDI is not a “handout,” but is instead a benefit that he has earned and paid for, he is not convinced.

Like many who receive Social Security Disability benefits, he would much rather be able to hold a job and earn a living as he once did than accept financial and medical assistance.

What some folks struggle to accept is that there is no shame in injury or illness. There is no shame in accepting or needing help.

The woman at the Social Security office who helped the writer told him “to stop crying because it is money I have earned,” he recalled. “So why do I feel so much shame?”

We cannot answer that question for him, but we do hope that he and others struggling with difficult changes in their lives learn how to accept their new realities and come to understand that they are still vital, important parts of our city and nation.

A Charlotte law firm dedicated to helping SSDI applicants navigate the appeals process can improve your chances of approval for the earned benefits you deserve.