Time for Change

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If you read my recent blog entry I might be in a wheelchair, but I don’t just sit on my ass then you know the issues I am facing along with many others trying to keep their benefits while earning an income. I have recently met with staff from my state representative’s office and federal representative’s office. It has all come down to the fact that if real change will occur it must come from the governor. I have recently written a petition to Florida Governor Rick Scott and the members of the Florida state legislature.

I understand this issue may not concern you directly, but if we only stood up for issues that directly affected us we would be a very apathetic group of people. One fifth of the world is disabled and I think that is a very large minority. I am asking you take a minute to review and sign this petition. I am also asking you to please share this with everyone you know. If you choose not to sign because you disagree with it I do not mind, but I would ask you to please share with me what you disagree with and or what your idea for a solution is.

Inherent Challenges

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I recently wrote about how I want to make an income and live the American dream. Aside from medical costs certain living costs and entertainment costs might be significantly increased. For example, when I travel the cost is much higher because I am unable to go alone. If I go to New York I have to purchase two flights, food for my caretaker, and possibly extra money for their time since they are basically working round the clock. Any places I go that have entry fees also cost me double. Even if I am not traveling and I go to lunch it is common courtesy to offer to pay and I do not want to sound stingy, but this is constantly double the cost which can really add up. This applies to so many things that include movies, concerts, events, museums, and much more. I am not saying persons with disabilities should be given these services or be assisted by the government. I am explaining that the cost of certain expenses are higher for persons with disabilities and feel that we should be allowed to earn higher than normal income under Medicaid guidelines.

I might be in a wheelchair, but I don’t just sit on my ass.

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I recently went on Medicare, Social Security Disability Income, Florida Managed Medical Assistance Medicaid, and Florida Long Term Care Medicaid. Sometimes it truly feels like a full time job just juggling all of these benefit programs. The most vital of these programs and the hardest to obtain is Florida Long Term Care Medicaid. This programs is what gives me the care I need to do the things that most can do independently. Medicare and Florida Managed Medical Assistance Medicaid are great programs that cover traditional medical expenses just like typical health insurance that most can purchase or receive from an employer. Since I have worked in the past and earned income credits I receive a check from the federal government in the form Social Security Disability Income which is wonderful, but not nearly enough to cover my living expenses.

I am not writing this blog saying I want more from the government in the form of a higher Social Security Disability Income or more benefits. I want to work just like everyone and earn an income. It is not that I cannot work or cannot find work. The issue is that Florida has very strict income and asset limits for persons on Medicaid. If I ever have more than $2,000 in my bank I will lose my Medicaid and if I make more than $2,199 before taxes in a month I will lose my Medicaid. There are many programs that help you to keep your Social Security Disability Income and Medicare while you try to go back to work. There are also many programs that allow you to shelter your assets over the $2,000 asset limit. As of now I have nothing that allows you to earn income above the $2,199 limit.

Florida does have a share of cost program called Medically Needy Medicaid which I was on for two months and makes no sense. First, this program does not cover any long term care expenses. The state of Florida determines what you can pay for your care and the numbers usually make no sense. For example, if you make $1,200 they will tell you can pay $1,000 which is your share of cost. If that month you have very few medical expenses and they add up to $350 then you pay the $350. If your medical expenses add up to $1,000 you still pay the $1,000. Now if your medical expenses are $1,000.01 the state of Florida will pay all $1,000.01 and you pay nothing. In essence the state of Florida is encouraging you to increase your medical expenses.

I am asking that the state of Florida to have a way that persons with disabilities that need the services from Florida Long Term Care Medicaid that cannot be found in private insurance be able to keep them while still earning a living. I am not saying I want to be a millionaire and still receive government assistance. I am saying that I want to work, buy my own health insurance, pay income tax, and live the American dream. I cannot live the American dream with an income limit of $2,199 before taxes as it does not even cover my living expenses. When my care that is covered by Florida Long Term Care Medicaid costs over $100,000 I truly do not how I can make this and money to cover my living expenses.

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