About five months ago, I wrote a post stating that I'd been approved for retirement social security. I also stated I might write a follow-up blog post when I'd received my first payment. Well, this is it. I'm happy to say it appears to have been transferred into my checking account. I was pleasantly surprised at how efficient the whole process was, considering that the U.S. Govt. is involved and the four and half years I spent trying to obtain it early in the form of disability.
I wanted to write another post because, while I may not have had a whole lot of accomplishments in the now relatively long life I've lived, this one, I feel, is significant and I have some pride in it.
As I wrote in my previous blog, for a typical person, receiving retirement social security is another milestone in life, although probably the last one before they die and not really a big deal for them and an everyday occurrence.
For most people diagnosed on the autism spectrum, this is not a typical milestone. Unemployment rates between 85 to 90% are reported. A number of individuals with autism that I've met in real life and have encountered on the internet have been on SSI and have never had "substantial and gainful" employment as defined by the social security administration. Others I know, have been turned down.
I was very lucky to have supportive parents over the years, but there was still a question of whether or not I would have to apply for SSI and have to live on $900 a month from the government and not be allowed to have support from my parents, be only allowed to have $2,000 in the bank, and have other problems involved with having to be on SSI.
Fortunately, as I've mentioned before, I was able to work sporadically from age 24 (when I completed college) to age 51(when I retired from my last paid employment). However, it was very tough and I was fired from more than twenty jobs and may be in the Guiness Book of World Records for most jobs fired from. Working was an incredible struggle for me and I really suffered psychologically from all my firings and the other problems I had in various workplaces over the years where things got so bad I was forced to quit.
During the last nine years or so that I worked, I did medical transcription working from home as an independent contractor. Therefore, I had to pay twice as much into social security as a statutory employee to get the same amount back as the statutory employee.
After I stopped working, I tried to get SSDI, which unlike SSI, has no means test and not the same rules as SSI does, except you're limited in how much income you make from working. After a four and a half year fight, I did not prevail.
However, though I'm not getting quite as much as an SSI recipient would, it's close. I'd be getting more than the SSI recipient had I waited until age 66 and 2 months to claim benefits, but chose not to do that.
One of the nastiest individuals in the neurodiversity movement and one of my greatest detractors claimed that I could easily do a menial job and keep it, but because I'd gone to college, I felt this was beneath me. This is absolutely untrue, as I worked in a warehouse loading merchandise onto industrial palates as my first job and I applied for a job as a delivery driver when I was having problems with transcription jobs before I got my last independent contract gig. I would have done a menial job if that would have been easier and one I'd be less likely to be fired from than a transcription job, but there is no way this would have happened contrary to what some people's personal opinion of me is.
Others have espoused nasty attitudes toward non-working autistics. When I described what my situation was on Facebook in one post, a nasty ND called me an enabler and a quitter. Blogger and Autistic Self-Advocacy Network supporter, The Autistic Bitch From Hell wrote a blog post stating the reason some pro cure autistics protest ASAN's actions is because they're lazy loafers who are worried about losing welfare benefits because they won't take responsibility for their lives if they're forced to work.
Some of my readers may remember the blog post I recently wrote about the article Ron Sandison wrote where he and Temple Grandin criticized autistics who weren't working and the insensitivity and callousness Autism Speaks displayed when they published the post on their blog.
I only wish the guy on Facebook, the autistic bitch from hell, Mr. Sandison, Temple Grandin, and the geniuses who run the show at Autism Speaks could have felt my pain and humiliation at being fired from so many jobs. I wish they could have felt my pain from the bad treatment from I received from the California Department of Rehabilitation when I was first trying to learn medical transcription. I wish they could feel my pain when I tried to learn computer programming and could not do it. I wish they could have felt my stress anytime a supervisor walked by me and I was scared they were going to call me into the office to fire me.
I'm proud that I tried my best to work and had some success. Whatever happens during the rest of my life I'm glad I had one accomplishment and can point to a positive resolution.