Wednesday, March 26


Rebecca's psychiatrist mentioned to us that we should get her started on SSDI now because it would be easier for her to get SSDI before she turned 18 and it would be easier for her later in life. She has no perpherial vision and no night vision right now. I tried to get an exact range of perpherial loss, but the doctor wouldn't do it because of her age so I'm not sure her exact perpherial loss - she is legally blind per our state. So, I do think that she would qualify.

I struggle with this choice, like I have with everyone other choice. I'm not one to take government handouts and I feel like by getting her SSDI I'm telling her that I don't expect much from her. I read the following article that really got me thinking and leaning more towards getting SSDI...

Nine years ago, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education began to track what happens to graduates of certain student groups four years after they graduate from high school. One of the groups included in the study were deaf students. The point of the study was to measure the impact of the 1997 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The information for this part of the study was collected in 2005, then studied and sorted and presented in late summer 2006.

So - how many deaf high school students go on to get more education? The survey says slightly under 51%, with a 5.8% margin of error (MOE). Of that half, 21% will attend a 4-year college, 26% will go to a 2-year college, and 13% will attend vocational-technical training. Among all the students surveyed - those who earn a degree and those who don't - 56% found jobs. Their average hourly wage was $7.70. Four years after (high school) graduation, just 29% are living independently. It's not clear from the publicly available study data whether the deaf students surveyed attended mainstream high schools, state deaf schools, or both.

An average wage of $7.70 an hour makes the other low number - 29% living independently - easier to understand. This is a reasonable wage for a teenager
living at home, but it's not a living wage for adults with student loans and other obligations.

By any measure, an educational system where 71% of the graduates cannot live on their own is not working.

This got me thinking if I do not get her SSDI now and she has a difficult time getting it later in life am I really helping her? Would I be of more help to her getting the SSDI started now so that when she is ready to go out into the world she has a little nest egg to get started and will have a monthly check coming to help supplement her income. If she does not need it, great! But if she does, then how would I feel looking back on this decision?

I still struggle with the word disability and accepting income based on a disability because to me Rebecca is very abled, but based on the study above if her income is only going to be around $7, I do not know how she can live her life fully on that income.

I'd love to hear ya'lls thoughts on this. What has been your experience with SSDI? Was it difficult for you to get started?


MB said...

I would definitely get it as soon as she qualifies. You can put it in a savings account for her to have for college or medical expenses one day.

marisa said...

yeah, you could deposit the SSDI into a 529 plan for college savings. or an IRA for her retirement income (gosh, imagine how much we would have in retirement savings now if we had started saving as children! hm, she may have to be 18 before it can officially be an IRA, but look into it.) or simply a high-yield savings account to watch it grow and then later decide what to save up for.

if you're looking for ideas, one blog I like for personal finance info is .