The Back Story
In September 2012, I was at the end of my rope. I was exhausted from driving an hour each way to work and working, typically, about ten hours per day. I had brain surgery in 2009 and although the company had worked with me to keep me working, it was just getting to be too much. My daughter was driving with me and on many occasions, I needed to pull over and let her drive.
What Do You Do?
I had no idea what to do or where to turn to. I was facing a decision that would change my life forever. I was seriously looking at just walking out the door of work and not going back. The friends I had at work were supportive but most did not have answers for me. I knew that once I walked out the door, I would never work in the electrical field again. Balance issues are very dangerous inside electrical cabinets.
One friend in particular suggested that I talk to a person he knew from church. The man was part of an organization called the Department of Assistance and Rehabilitative Services (DARS). Having no idea what they were about, I decided to meet with the person and discuss my situation and what was going to happen in the very near future.
What They Do
DARS is a state agency who also gets funding from Health and Human Services. They take people who have disabilities and work with them by assisting with education, certifications, college and other services to help people find employment. The cost to the person seeking help is based on their income. Since I would be going on work disability and my wife worked, we were still over the poverty line as far as income. The cost to me would be the difference between the poverty line and our actual combined income.
How They Helped Me
After spending several meetings with my adviser at DARS, we came up with a plan for me to return to college so that, once done, I could seek employment that would pay close to what I had been making before going on disability. It is a long process. All said and done, it is going to take me three years to complete my tasks at school. I have three semesters left.
No matter what the cost ultimately will be (right now it appears it will be zero), it was well worth it to me to ask about this type of help. I was also fortunate to receive assistance from my company disability insurance above and beyond my disability check. Just for clarity, I am on disability through my former employer, not social security.
I’m looking forward to finishing college and getting back to work in my new career field. I have gone from feeling overwhelmed about the future and the choices I was going to have to make to looking forward to new opportunities.
If you are on disability (even if it is Social Security Disability), give it a shot and talk to the folks at DARS and see if there is something they can do to help.
eBook available: The Little Debt-Free Book.
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