Today I took a sick day from work. I hate taking sick days from work because I am always afraid that my employer will think I am “too sick to work” or even worse; being lazy. I used to wait to take sick days until I was REALLY SICK. One time I showed up to work with walking pneumonia, not a suggested course of action, FYI.  Today, I woke up and felt congestion building in my chest. Now, I could have gone to work. Everyone else has been showing up in worse condition. But, I decided to stay home to “nip it in the bud” so that it doesn’t become pneumonia. Can I tell you, though, even on my sick days I hope to get things accomplished. I will tell you now that except for a few phone calls and some reading and now this post I got nothing done today.

Some of the physical problems I have bee having could be related to some recent, major, annoying stressors. All related to the Social Security Administration (SSA). You see because my mother passed away before I was 18 and was a contributor to the household income my brothers and I all received Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) until the age of 18. Because I have a permanent disability that I have had since Bith I am entitled to SSDI benefits for the rest of my life. The income part is not what matters to me all that much, what matters is the Medicare coverage. (Managing a disability so you stay out of the hospital means lots of doctors appointments and medication and therapy that all add up.)

Well, I started working when I was 18. I have reported my income from every job. Even my first few that had laughable income amounts (Dishwashers, political telemarketers, and grocery deli workers don’t make that much…). I have not only reported my income but I have done it in a timely manner. I wanted to work for the Federal government, so why would I try to rip them off? Not to mention, I have a conscience and an insane “I can take care of myself” work ethic. Well, despite my best efforts, something went wrong and I now allegedly owe SSA over $4,000.00 from Social Security Income benefits. Because I allegedly owe them this enormous amount, they have also made me ineligible for SSDI benefits. (I’m sorry did my disability go away without my knowledge? Sure doesn’t feel like it!) Cutting me off from SSDI will also cut me off fro Medicare. Unless of course I magically come up with the requested back payments by the 25th.

Having unpaid premiums leaves me on Medicare, nominally, which means according to my private insurance through work they won’t pick up anything until claims are processed through medicare first. But medicare won’t process anything because of the unpaid premiums. Catch-22. Right now, this is causing a major problem because I can’t get the medications I need to function. One medication for a month’s supply “out of pocket” would be 135.00 and that is the one that is generic.

Right now, what I think I need to do is put the Medicare back payments on a credit card, even though, I really don’t want to use credit. In the meantime, I am in the middle of a battle with SSA to prove the “overpayments” were not my fault, and that there is no way I could financially make the payment. I called Social Security and Medicare yesterday. was so wiped out emotionally from the whole situation that I told the woman I spoke to at SSA that they were making me feel like it would be better for me to quit my job. I am not making enough at my job to survive. If I quit, all of my benefits would be reinstated, I would get back on a list for section 8, I would get food stamps and I could put my student loans into perpetual deferment because of low income. Sometimes this scenario is actually tempting, except that I would hate myself for being lazy and I would get so bored so fast.