Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Worst Time of the Year

Here in south central New York, winter has settled in, with snow, ice, and howling winds.

It is a rough time of the year for disabled people.

Many depend on HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) to help with the heating bills, but money is limited, and unti that HEAP check comes, they have to limp along their heat.  The heating people won't make deliveries without a certain number of fuel oil or kerosene gallons, and many can't afford that minimum delivery without the HEAP money.

People in this country may not believe how close some people come to freezing to death each winter, but this could be one of your neighbors.  It could be the young man helping you at the grocery store, making minimum wage at a part time job, with few or no benefits.  Or, the disabled vet.

Or, a person like Bil, with a developmental disability.

Bil doesn't even make minimum wage at his sheltered workshop job, but the county he lives in counts his income in with his SSDI (social security disability) and his Mom's pension, and bottom line, it puts her above the cut off for HEAP.  So she has to struggle along, and Bil struggles with her.

For the disabled, this is the worst time of the year.  And that isn't even the entire story.  More tomorrow.

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