Adjusting and Readjusting

10 01 2009

It has not been easy to face the fact that my husband will never be strong again.  I told Jim recently that in my heart I knew that he probably wouldn’t be able to stand the rigors of working in his factory much longer than a year.  This time last year, there were no signs of the economy hurting the business of the factory.  Jim was working seven days a week.  He only got to attend church about once a month.  He got an excuse from his heart doctor to work no more than 50 hours a week.  The factory would not honor the excuse.  His supervisor told him that if he couldn’t work what was required then he would be fired.  I ached for Jim.  He was so tired and weary.  I suspected that his health was not the best.

Signs of the recession finally hit the factory in May.  Suddenly there was no more overtime for Jim and many others.  It was a real relief.  I believe now that if Jim had kept up that pace–he would have died.  Since August, this factory has laid off about 200 employees.  Jim made the first cut and his illness came right before the second cut.  This was a trememdous blessing as Jim was able to keep his insurance and draw short term disability pay.

Meanwhile, many were urging us to complete the process for Jim to draw Social Security disability.  We both dragged our feet because it seemed so final.  I can’t speak for others but neither Jim nor I wanted to believe that he  was actually disabled.  Although the signs and symtoms were under our nose each day.  Finally, close to Christmas I called the national social security number and set up an appointment for Jim in our local office.  Our appointment was on Christmas Eve day.  It was a nasty day weather wise and we got a call from a social security worker in Campbellsville, Ky asking if we would rather have the interview on the phone.  I asked her if I could be on the line because Jim doesn’t handle these types of things well.  I had already filled out forms of medical information for Jim to take to his appointment.  We had about a 45 minute interview on the phone.  She told us that they would back his date back to November 1, 2008.  Moreover, she told us that if he was accepted that he would get his first check the end of May. 

There are two kinds of social security disability.  One kind is for people who have never earned enough credits for working and are extremely poor.  We didn’t meet that requirement.  That kind of social security comes with immediate health care. Jim , if approved, will get the kind of disability based on all of the working quarters he has completed in his life.  He will have to wait two years to get medical care. 

That certainly left us in a dilemma as Jim’s insurance runs out when his short term disability is finished.  We can buy what is called  Cobra for 18 months but it is extremely expensive.  We started thinking about any benefits that he could get because he is a veteran.  We had already been thinking about completing the paper work for us to be buried at the beautiful veteran’s cemetery in our county. 

This past Monday we made a visit to the veteran’s cemetery.   Jim handed the secretary his DD214 form and she said that it would be processed in a couple of days and that we would receive a post card of affirmation.  I can be buried with Jim, too.  We have to furnish our caskets but the rest is free for Jim.  There is a $300.00 dollar cost for me.  It doesn’t matter if I die first.  We will be buired on top of each other.  That was a relief to get that matter settled.  Jim asked how one could find out about veteran’s health benefits.  We were surprised that a veteran’s benefit’s person had an office right there.  So we went in to talk with her.

She got Jim’s DD214 and started working on our case.  We spent almost an hour answering questions and we were done.  She faxed Jim’s information to the veteran’s hospital in Nashville and told us that we could call in a few days to see if Jim was in the system.  We did call and they had not processed  Jim’s claim yet.  Hopefully, by early next week we will know.  The lady who helped us didn’t seem to think that it would be any problem for Jim to be approved. That will take care of Jim’s health needs.  I will be able to have cobra and that will cut our cost for healthcare in half. 

Early in December I completed all of the requirements to go back to substitute teaching.  I didn’t have to get references again but I had to get a TB skin test, fill out a few forms and get fingerprinted again.  I also had to get an extenstive physical exam.  I’ve done this three times since 2000.  I’m not going to be able to resign this time.  I’m going to have to stick it out.  I had been teaching junior high and high school students.  I enjoyed it so much from 2000 to 2003. However when I went back to work in 2006 I was shocked at all of the cell phones and ipods in the classroom.  There  were rules against them but I couldn’t get the administration to back up my discipline referral slips.   Finally, I resigned.

This time I’m only going to teach kindergarten through the 5th grade.  I had tried some teaching in the lower grades initially in 2000 and didn’t like it at all because it was so “busy” all of the time.  I didn’t like lining up the children for every little thing.  I didn’t like going out on the play ground twice a day for recess.  But that was before I had grandsons.  I’ve learned to like young children once again.  I think all of my experiences  of working with my grandsons will be a great benefit to me.  I have developed a more “childlike” heart since they have been a part of my life.   I now believe that working with the younger children with their very full days will be better that dealing with high school students who are bored out of their minds with the 90 minutes class room blocks. 

Hopefully, the calls will come soon.  It will be another adjustment.  But that is what life if all about with adjusting and readjusting.  I’m thankful that we have completed the process for Jim’s social security disability, our burial and his veteran’s healthcare.  Life is certainly much different for us these days.  There is a path of grieving that we are both walking through.  And I’m sure many ideas of future blogs will grow out of that grief.  Yet in the midst of our grief  is joy because we still have faith in God to see us through each day.

May God bless each of you!




4 responses

10 01 2009

My dear friend,
I understand the feeling of loosing what was and adjusting to what wasn’t suppose to be…

For me, it felt like something was out of balance and the more I tried to balance it, the more out of sync it felt…

I am so glad that you applied for Jim’s Soc Security benefits. It takes more time than what people know and yes, it takes two years for any medical benefits to take effect.

We had to pay COBRA and child support out of Dan’s disability benefit. Because we paid the COBRA, Dan was eligible for supplimental insurance coverage because he was under 65 years of age. If we had not paid those 18 months, he would not have had the ability to have it to help cover the costs that Medicare did not cover…and those costs add up so quickly.

I am glad that Jim’s VA benefits will cover him.

All of this excluded me. I was not on Dan’s insurance coverage while he was working and even though I am working, I still am without healthcare coverage…isn’t it ironic, most healthcare workers are working without this benefit or if they have it, it is such poor coverage that you still pay more out of pocket than for the benefit…

Yes, this will be a year of change, but the greatest blessing is that Jim is here with you and together, as in all things in your life, you will find your way…

All my best and my prayers to you.


11 01 2009
Frugal Trenches

Nichole. I’m so glad that Jim is no longer working those hours, I’m appauled his manager would treat him in such a way, absolutely appauled. Labor laws are so tight here, I guess I forget what it is like for others.
I’m so happy that Jim can get health insurance for being a veteran, that is the least he deserves – what an answer to prayer. I’ll keep praying for his health and your finances to work out!

11 01 2009

Dear Shadowlands,
I’ve learned so much from you about handling all of these difficult situations. Reading your blog and following your pathway has been a great help to me in this time of my life. I’m so sorry that you don’t have health insurance when you work as a health care provider. That certainly is not right. My prayers are with you in all that you continue to go through.

Your friend,

11 01 2009

Dear Frugal Trenches,
I’m very touched by your concern for our lives. There are labor laws in our country. Time and a half has to be given for every hour of overtime– yet each company can demand the overtime and can fire those who don’t comply. The labor laws here mainly focus on getting breaks, and making sure people are paid for the extra hours. Thank you for your prayers.


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