Broken Hip but No Benefits
—Alamance County, NC, aid recipient—
I was trying to get social security one time. I should still be able to get it. I broke my hip 2004. That’s four screws, two bolts and a plate. And somehow or another, cut off the circulation to the bone, so it’s like eating it a little bit at a time.
You’re x-ray’s is supposed to be bright white. Mine is like bright white and there’s a black spot about that far [indicates about an inch] going down, a little bit more all the time. But for some reason they turned me down for Social Security. They told me they usually do that two or three times but I just never went and applied again. I don’t know why.
Q: And they didn’t give you much of a reason as to why they turned you down?
Nah, they said I’m too mobile. But I was riding a bicycle at the time from like Webster Road to Huffman Mill everyday when I was working at Arby’s. So I mean, I can see their point. I mean, I can get around, no problem but how far down does a bone have to die before they’re gonna have to cut it off and slap something in there. Come on. I’d rather not wait ‘til it gets down to me knee.
But I think social security is, you might go years, trying to get social security. Some of these people—I know ten or fifteen people floating in and out all the time, they’re getting checks for no visible reason. There’s nothing wrong with them. I don’t understand what the thing is but they’re getting…
There’s one guy, perfectly sane, I’ve talked to him many a times. He just wears two different kinds of tennis shoes—one different tennis shoe on each foot from different sets and just does stupid things when he’s around any kind of a, like, a social worker or something like that. Other than that, you talk to him off to the side and he perfectly sane. Probably smarter than I am. But I just… I don’t know. Like my situation, I think at least put me through Medicaid for a little while, you know?
If I stand in one spot for two, three hours, that’s it. I used to have to…I’d work four hours at Arby’s and then I had to ride a bike home. Took he forty-five minutes to get there. About thirty minutes to get back. I had no problem, but when I first start out, it’s like oil in the machinery, It’s like geez. After, about fifty feet I’m fine, but you know the first fifty feet is a pain. But you know, if you actually need it [Social Security Disability Insurance or Medicaid], I mean go ahead and don’t make it so difficult.
But everybody I’ve ever talked to always says it takes some two or three times to apply before they ever get it. And then if you don’t apply for a lawyer, who is going to take a third [of the settlement], and then a lawyer usually won’t even take you unless you got a open and shut case. The first time. So you got to get turned down at least once, be halfway through the second time before they’ll even look at your paper work because it’s not financially worth it for them.
So you got to be looking at a pretty decent settlement for they’ll even bother. I’m not sure if that’s all of them, but I talked to two of them I think, I don’t remember the names, but talked to at least two and they said after you get turned down the next time, we’ll talk to you, or something like that. It’s like, ah, whatever.
At the time of the interview, Michael was unemployed, applying for disability. He is Caucasian, aged 46, and was interviewed by Tom Mould, Mar. 20, 2013.