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Will disability benefits help salvage his second chance at life?

Sometimes in life, we are given second chances. There was recently a story of a man who had received a second chance after he had made mistakes and spent time in prison.

Though he was struggling financially, he was doing the most important things: holding on to a job, paying his bills and staying on the straight and narrow. The 46-year-old had even found love, developing a long-distance online romance. Then his second chance at life seemed to evaporate.

Early this summer, he was struck by an auto-immune disorder that affects the spinal cord: transverse myelitis. The inflammatory attack on his spinal cord has left paralyzed him from about the middle of his chest down.

While he lives far from Newark, this Oregon man’s story is one many in New Jersey might be able to relate to. He was taking advantage of a second chance when suddenly illness swept that second chance away.

Fortunately, in some cases it seems that there are third chances in life.  

After hearing of his plight, his long-distance girlfriend rushed to him and became his wife.  She has overnight become a nurse, a social worker and a metal reseller (one of his sources of income before his illness was collecting and reselling scrap metal).  

He is also fortunate that though he can no longer work, his medical expenses have been covered by the state of Oregon. But with no income, he faces the possibility of eviction from the tiny apartment he and his new wife occupy – a truly frightening possibility for a person still getting used to a wheelchair.   

His landlord is a friendly, accommodating person who doesn’t want to evict the couple, but life isn’t easy for him either. “I'd like to see him stay put, but I run a business,” the landlord says.

The story of the man struck by transverse myelitis shows how important Social Security disability benefits can suddenly become in a person’s life. If he can gain approval of his benefits claim, he would be able to once again pay his bills and once again do his best to make the most of the chance he has been given to better his life.

Source: Statesman Journal, "Man with rare, paralyzing condition waits for help," Carol McAlice Currie, July 30, 2014

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