A disability can change a person’s life without warning. Whether caused by an accident or the sudden onset of a disease or illness, having a disability impacts a person’s health, finances and livelihood.

One 48-year-old man went to work one day in July, but that day did not end like every other day. While going up and down the stairs during the course of the day, he noticed new pain in one of his knees. By the end of the day, the pain was so extreme that he left work to go to the hospital. He was diagnosed with gout, a type of arthritis, in his knee. The pain is so sharp that it has prevented him from returning to his job of 23 years.

The man applied for short-term disability, hoping that the pain would subside. His health has not improved, however, and now his savings are running dry as bills are piling up. He even tried going back to work, but the pain was too severe. He has also been diagnosed as bipolar.

His disability benefits ran out in September and he has been living off savings and food stamps ever since. His family and co-workers have also helped him out with paying his bills.

He has since applied for Social Security disability. In the meantime, his doctor has told him to lose about 100 pounds. That goal should keep him busy while he waits on Social Security. People like this are the reason disability benefits were established in the first place. The man looks forward to getting back on his feet so he can help the people who have been so generous to him.

Source: The Ledger, “Struggle With Gout Puts Mosaic Employee Behind on Bills,” Elvia Malagon, Jan. 4, 2012