By Kevin Nunez

I’m a 35-year-old single male with a developmental disability. I’m a capitalist and I love this country but I am financially suffocating. I am writing this on July 5, 2022. The day after this great nation celebrated its independence. This is the land of the free, the home of the brave, and most of all opportunity. Individuals like myself are never given this opportunity. I don’t believe in complaining. I support small businesses and I admire corporations like Google, thanks to the dictation software on this Chromebook I can give you blogs like these. I would like to showcase how expensive it is to live with a disability. I want to focus on two specific numbers $2,000 and $3,000.

As an individual, the maximum I’m allowed to have in my bank account is $2,000 at any one time. If I were to get married that’s when I am eligible to make $3,000, The reason why no one is in a rush to get married with a disability? You cannot have more than $3,000 between both partners. Most disabled Americans and the majority of non-disabled know these numbers. What people don’t realize is these numbers have not been increased since 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. According to the national price index, the current inflation rate is 8.6% The monthly maximum federal amounts for 2022 are $841 for an eligible individual and $1,261 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse. Every asset except for the house you live in will count against you. Most of my colleagues with disabilities including myself do not make the maximum the average amongst people I know is approximately $500 a month. The majority of Americans have invested in some form of stocks.  People with disabilities cannot afford this luxury.

The average accessible vehicle is $60,000. For me to sit in my chair and be the advocate that I am every day costs $50,000.  I need 24/7 personal care. To receive my care I must remain Medicaid eligible. All I have to do to maintain my eligibility is stay below the poverty line. I am not an economist but something seems out of balance with the American dream. There are programs like Able Accounts and Special Seeds Trust fund that will allow disabled Americans to save but they are very complex and restricted. New Jersey also just updated its WorkAbility program In January of 2022 but as of July of the same year, the signed law is still not been implemented. Instead of circumventing an already overloaded system, if you raise the asset limit to $10,000 per individual, we will ensure that people with disabilities can contribute to this country’s economy. If we don’t fight for financial freedom, then some Americans will always be slaves.

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Disability in Focus