I have been on SSDI since i was 23, following a serious back injury while working for a landscaping company. No it wasnt precisely work related, my boss and i were struck head on by a drunk driver.
I was quite shocked at the amount i was to receive for my SSDI payments, 976 before my medicare premium came out, only 852 after, considering that according to the equation given to me, i should have been getting around 1,100, i learned that for every year before retirement age, they deduct a percentage of your total payment. I barely got by when i was making 1k every two weeks, due to my state have high property taxes, high sales taxes, and a ridiculous income tax. (i was losing about 25% of my wage to federal and state taxes, without counting SS, and Medicare taxes that were also coming out)
I have been forced to move back in with my parents. Even so, my income is not enough to afford my medicare copays. I have to pay $55 for a 30 day supply of medication, if its generic. And several of my meds dont have generics, so i have to try and come up with 78 a bottle, for 30 days. I actually have to borrow money pretty consistently from my family, and recently had to forgo my medications.
If you have ever had a crushed disk, and a torn dorsal muscle, you will know what going without pain management is like.
The saddest part is, even thought i make less than 12k a year on SSDI, i still make too much for state assistance, because they count household income, not individual, even though my mother works for minimum wage (very few job options in the area, and not enough money to move) and my stepfather is 'too disabled to work, not disabled enough for benefits'.
I applied for food stamps, and qualified for $3 a month. Yes. $3. Not a Typo. I make too much to receive assistance, but not enough to get into any of the low income loan/housing programs, as the minimum annual income required by these programs is 15k and up.
I recently sold my truck, a 68 chevy pick up i inherited from my grandfather, for less than half its value, because i needed to pay for my dog's hip surgery. No my dog is not optional, she has served me faithfully for 9 years, the last 4 of them as a physical assistance dog, I'm not dumping her off at some shelter that will kill her for being old. (the shelter told me flat out her age makes her completely unadoptable, but i love her too much to rehome her anyway)
I recently applied for a home improvement loan targeted towards people on SSDI and other such programs, and was told i made too little to qualify. I currently live in an attic with exposed insulation because its the only viable space. It only needs about 500 in materials to become a fully livable space. Some plastic sheeting, and some rough cut lumber, and ive got a nice little 'loft'.
But i rarely have more than a dollar left in my checking account once my bills are paid. Since i have to see a specialist for my back every 4-6 weeks, and it costs me 150 out of pocket every appointment.
You cannot live on SSDI without sacrificing quality of life.
And i have tried to get work, my back is at 80% of what it used to be. But employers see that my health records include a major surgery on my back, and suddenly im no longer a qualified candidate.
I went to college for a degree in Landscape Design and one in Business Management. My degrees are useless because my back is a massive liability for any prospective employer.
But you know im not bitter or anything, i mean im fine living on my 11k a year, even if congress says no one can live comfortably on less than 150k a year.