I'm Officially Broken

Well, it's official and I don't know how to feel about it. The government has acknowledged that I am broken and put me on Social Security disability.

It's a very long story, but the gist of it is, the company I worked for had a great disability insurance program that I didn't even realize I was paying into. When the stuff hit the fan, they started paying me a pretty good amount every month. However, they required that I apply for Social Security. I'm not exactly sure of all the ins and outs of it, but the way I understand it, they were loaning me the money that Social Security should be paying me. Now that it's all settled, they get all the back pay and they will continue to pay what Social Security doesn't so I continue to have the same income.

And that's where we're at. My hearing was successful and not I am officially stamped as broken.

How should I feel about this? On the one hand, this is a program I have paid into for 20+ years and the program is set up for just this kind of situation (or retirement), right? So I should be happy that it's there and take full advantage of everything it has to offer, right?

On the other hand, am I sponging off the government? The conservative side of me it telling me to suck it up and be a man and pull myself up by my bootstraps. But I don't wear boots. I can barely walk on some days. So am I taking advantage of a system that already has too many issues and should just take myself off it?

I know there are many that "play the system" and that makes people like me, who legitimately need help look bad. Nobody questions a senior citizen getting a Social Security check, but everyone looks crosseyed at someone under the aged of 65 (or 67 whatever it is now) getting one. Ever watch Judge Judy? She has a virtual parade of people who play the system and are living off Social Security. She often calls them on it. I don't want to be put in the same category as "those" people.

But here I am. 42, walking with a cane, often forgoing time with my wife and kids because my head hurts so bad. Now I'm on Social Security. I'm happy that my kids will be somewhat taken care of this way. But I'm just not thrilled with the whole idea of being officially broken.