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  • FourDirect@aol.com
    Dear All, I ve been off and on sick from a series of Peace Corps illnesses, as many of you know, for about 20 years. I am on Temporary Total Disability
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 21, 2006
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      Dear All,
       
      I've been off and on sick from a series of Peace Corps illnesses, as many of you know, for about 20 years. I am on "Temporary Total Disability" which is obviously not enough to live on. I have some cyclic and remitting periods and I've returned to part time work but it has never been financially worthwhile as I have been dropped out of the OWCP system on each occasion and it took up to two years each time to get back in. Each time I feared for my health and housing and ultimately my survival. I don't have a disability that can be measured quantitatively, which makes it hard to predict.
       
      Subsequently, I decided that it was no longer worth trying to work part-time but decided instead to refocus my energy into getting as well as possible and then into changing career directions. I am now back in grad school in another field in the hope that when I get out that I will be able to drop OWCP all together. I hope to be able to earn enough doing part-time work that can provide health insurance and get out of this system that keeps me fighting and pleading for every little thing I get. It is not a system that promotes healing.
       
      But I am fortunate in having an illness that, although will last my lifetime, will allow me to get back into the workforce (I hope). Living just above poverty was one thing 20 years ago in Chile but not so fun in New York. And like Meg's wonderful words so eloquently expressed "disability is not my career choice" either.
       
      I finally did apply for Social Security Disability even though I had no idea how long I'd be unable to work. I kept postponing the process and the longer I waited the longer I struggled to get additional health insurance. Many of us lobbied to get a supplemental plan from the Peace Corps for many years, years ago, to no avail. So, I did apply for SSD and I did get it on my first try! I sort of overwhelmed them with as much documentation from as many sources as was possible. My illness is tough in that it has no official diagnosis but is rather a set of syndromes, although I did have Bovine TB just after serving in Chile that was clearly related to my work there.
       
      Now, I am able to be covered by Medicare and I plan to get off that once I go back to work in the future. So it did solve the additional health insurance issue. I think that anyone who has been unable to work for 2 years should at least apply and see what happens if they have the stamina for more paperwork and not lose hope of someday healing more.
       
      Again, the key is to keep seeing doctors or medical practitioners not so much for medical improvement but to simply be monitored and to have a paper trail. At least that's a lesson I've learned that has served me well. If I had a marriage partner or a job that provided health insurance I'd probably try to get out of this whole government quagmire.
       
      Glad people are back on and expressing ideas! I miss folks when they're silent.
       
      Well wishes,
      Nancy
      NYC
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