Friday, July 17, 2009

The Causes of Poverty

Time to get honest about the causes of poverty that have affected my life. I believe that many Americans in poverty will relate to these causes of poverty.

Divorce- Though divorce is not necessarily a cause of poverty, for me it was a contributing factor. I had quit college when I got married fifteen years ago. Ten years later, I was left with no income and no college degree.

Disability- My disability is the cause of unemployment. Prior to the onset of my disability, I worked full-time and was doing much better than I am now. Many people who are unfamiliar with SSI may think that I should be doing okay with the monthly social security disability benefits. However, the payment is only enough to cover my mortgage and perhaps one of my monthly utility bills.

Poverty- Yes, poverty begets poverty. Poverty in and of itself make it difficult for someone to escape poverty in America. For example, my car has been repossessed. If I was able to get traditional employment, which I am not due to my disability, but if I was, I would absolutely need a car to be able to get to a job in my small town. So, since saving for a car is impossible without a job, and it is impossible to get a job without a car... you see where I am going with this? Poverty becomes a trap.

Difficult Times of Surgeries and Hospitalizations- Some of the hospitalizations and treatment I have had in the past two years while on SSI were related to my disability while others were simply a matter of bad luck such as having to have my gall bladder removed.

Low Self-Esteem- When you are on disability and told by family, friends, and caseworkers that you will always be on disability or always suffer from the disability even though there is a chance of recovery, the message of hopelessness can impede growth and damage your self-image. No one dreams of being on disability when they grow up. I've managed to hold on my hope for a better life despite these negative messages. I realize that it won't be easy to build a better life, but I'm not afraid of hard work. However, I have always struggled with low self-esteem and it does affect my behavior and relationships at times.

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