Applying for SSI, Personal Perspective

Living with Sickle Cell Anemia involves much more than just dealing with a horrible and painful disease, it affects you & your family’s lives on daily basis financially as well. In fact the financial part & obligations can be more stressful and painful than the disease itself, & they don’t stop just because you’re sick. I’m sure some financial guru has estimated the financial burdens of the medical expenses are to a person or family with SC annually. However, I’m not going to try & figure it out because I live with the disease, so I’ve  seen the bills first hand & all I can do is throw my hands up and Thank Jesus that I have medical insurance.

Unfortunately there are a lot of people & families out there that do not know there is help available to help with their  medical bills, & any other bills they may be struggling to pay. So I’m going to give you the information you need to apply for Assistance. But remember this is not going to pay for ALL your bills; it’s just a way to help with some of them. You still have to manage your money which is an everyday struggle for everybody. For the next following issues of the Sickle Cell Newsletters your girl, “Sleepy”, will be providing you guys with information on all the Government & State funded Disability programs that all my fellow warriors are eligible for. For this first issue I am going to tell you about the main disability program every single SC Warrior should be on, & that’s S.S.I Supplemental Security Income- Is a Federal income supplement program funded by General tax revenue You can apply for SSI benefits by calling 1-800-772-1213 (or TTY 1-800-325-0778 if you are deaf or hard of hearing) for an appointment. They will also take your Telecommunications relay services assisted calls at 1-800-772-1213. You can apply for benefits on the telephone or in person at your local security office. Anyone who has Sickle Cell or has a child with Sickle Cell should apply for this program immediately so that you do not lose benefits. Receiving SSI opens the doorway to all the other programs the state has to offer. Now this journey is not going to be an easy one, the average person has to apply at least 3 times & each time can take up to a year. This is the GOVERNMENT. They don’t play! The applications and requirements change so often that once you apply you really need to stay on top your representative to make sure you are submitting all the appropriate paperwork and documents needed. But trust me, having this benefit will help you & your family so much. The income you receive can help you with anything, bills, food, clothing, even taking the family to dinner & a movie instead of waiting on Redbox for once. When I was 16 my parents told me I could buy anything I wanted with my first check, before they managed the rest, I bought myself a brand new bed because I was getting to big for the one I had & I was so proud!! I loved that bed. Because of SSI I was able to do that & you’ll be able to help your loved one do something like that. Now that I am an adult I am still able to receive SSI, THANK YOU JESUS!! But really once you get on SSI there’s really not much you have to do besides keeping your info up to date & let them know if anything in your life changes like moving, getting a job, etc. You can work & still receive benefits; however your check will be affected by how much money you are making. Like I said before this program & benefit is something everyone with Sickle Cell should apply  for because pain is not cheap to live with. I really hope this gives some insight and help in your decision to apply for SSI, but remember to go online and do the research for yourself so you can have a clear understanding on what being on SSI means, and if it’s a program for you. I wish all my fellow Warriors the best, and I look forward to talking to you again in the next Newsletter.

~Sleepy, aka Kendre Horn