Why I Joined the Poor People’s Campaign

I’m poor. It’s not because I’m lazy. It’s not because I’m morally deficient. It’s not because I’m not a hard worker. It’s because I have an illness.

I have schizophrenia. I never know when I’m going to have a psychotic episode. So far, I’ve been hospitalized over 7 times. I take medications. I’m in therapy. But they simply don’t know the cause of my illness or, really, how best to treat it. They do the best they can.

So I’m on SSI. I get around $8,500 A YEAR to live on. I also, thankfully, get Medicaid. I’m blessed to have the healthcare I have. But SSI has strange views on what a person can live on. The $8,500 a year I live on is supposed to cover my basic needs. I cannot afford rent for my own place. I live with family. I’m lucky to have a family that supports me and my efforts. There are many things I cannot afford in this country, such as my own food, my own cell phone, my own car. I’m fortunate to have a family that helps care for me. I know that’s a privilege. I know, based on my friend group, that other people have it far worse off than I do. I try to work when I can.

But, again, SSI has strange views on how much money I should be able to make. I can make $85.00 per month, and after that, they take away fifty cents for every dollar. Only recently have I been able, in Florida, to legally save over $2,000. I know they do all of this—they have all these strange views—because they are worried about people “mooching” off the government.

Let it be said: there is very little fraud when it comes to Social Security Disability. If you see someone or know someone of SSI or SSDI, they are highly likely to have a disability. Poverty and disability go hand in hand in this country. It takes several forms. Mine is but one.

So I’m standing up to fight, as I am able, for economic justice in this country, along with people from very diverse groups. If you would like to join us, in anyway you can, go here, tand help fight for economic justice.

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