Mitt Romney, February 1, 2012
Dear Mr. Romney,
This Super Tuesday has not been very super for me.
Let me tell you about myself.
I grew up in an upwardly mobile middle class family. While we did not approach your level of wealth, I wanted for nothing and took many perks for granted, vacations, theater, and higher education. I suppose you could say I was spoiled.
I married and my husband and I had four children. He was a tugboat captain who also made a very good living. I went to nursing school to augment my Bachelor’s degree, preparing to go to work when the children were all in school.
Returning to work came sooner than I expected when my husband died suddenly at the age of 40. I had four children to support and I did so with determination and ambition. Working three jobs that first year, over the next decade I gradually worked my way up the corporate ladder to the executive level. I returned to school and got my Master’s. Without help from anyone, I bought my own beautiful home, my own car, cars for each of my children as they got their licenses. I took them on vacations. I was successful, happy, fiercely independent and living the American Dream.
Then I found out I had multiple sclerosis.
My high level job was ‘eliminated’ after I asked for an accommodation in order to receive my monthly infusions of Tysabri. The same thing happened six months into the next position. The job after that ended due to poor management. That was in February of 2010. I spent the next two years looking for a job while trying to grow my own consulting business. Did you know that few hiring managers call back a person in a wheelchair? And all the while I got sicker and sicker and sicker.
I finally, reluctantly, realized I had to apply for disability. Mr. Romney, I will receive approximately $1200 per month in Social Security disability. That comes to $14,400 per year. A bit of a dropon from the six figure salary I was earning before. My mortgage is more than $1200 a month. But disability is my only option. I am truly too sick to work.
My unemployment is exhausted. I went to the County Social Services office today. I learned that because I receive my late husband’s pension of $174 per month, I do not qualify for any kind of assistance, because I have an ‘income’. Of $43.50 per week. To cover food, utilities and shelter. If I didn’t have that income, I would qualify for a stipend of $140 per month. That is $30 per week. I may qualify for food stamps, $200 per month. I will find out in THREE MONTHS, the average time it takes to process someone’s application. I do not qualify for Medicaid, so I have no health insurance, as COBRA has ended. My medical bills are astronomical. I am losing my house, as I cannot pay the mortgage anymore.
Pretty soon I will have nothing. From having the world on a string to having nothing in 6 years. It is not a good feeling. I worked hard, I got a good education, I went to church, I was law abiding, I did everything I was supposed to do. And it has all been shattered by MS.
You are not concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net? Well, now I AM the very poor Mr. Romney. I want to work more than anything, but I never will again, as I just keep getting sicker and sicker. Yet I am surrounded by people like the ones at the Social Service building, today, rude, condescending and indifferent. I would do that job with compassion and efficiency. Instead, I sat there. The waiting room was like another ring of hell, with clients that were mentally ill, aggressive or simply unbearably downtrodden and employees who were palpably disinterested. I waited two and a half hours for a ten o’clock appointment. My case worker actually yelled at me when I didn’t hear a question over the din and I asked her politely what she had said. She screamed the question in response, deliberately exaggerating each word, as though I had intentionally been trying to annoy her. And that is when I began to cry. This humiliation was already too much and her meanness was the last straw.
You are not concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net? WRONG. Wrong, wrong, wrong. There is no safety net for me. I truly do not know what I am going to do. I am sick, I have no money, no health insurance and soon will have no home. I certainly do not see any safety net in my future.
An MS Renegade
My version of Mitt Romney's statement:
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