The JJs List Blog

Finding My Purpose

Posted by on September 17, 2021 - 1 Comment

By Ashley Alcantar, Guest Blogger

I thought I was going to be at a completely different stage in my life career-wise than where I am presently, and it is frustrating. It is frustrating because I’m having a “mid-life” crisis at the age of 24 and it’s unfair.

Ashley Alcantar

I had always planned to take a short break after I graduated college. I didn’t plan for how long but after about a year of not having much to do, it started to get boring. I was ready to start being busy again.

My fiancé and I planned to get married two years after I graduated from college. One year out of college, on my break, I learned that if I got legally married I would lose all my disability benefits. The reason being is the government assumes that one spouse should be able to provide for the other. In addition to that, if I were to earn an income of more than $2,000 a month, I would also lose my disability benefits. As unbelievable and frustrating as that is, it is the way it is.

I was in a lose-lose situation.  I decided I was going to get married regardless, so I put off job hunting for a while longer. Planning my wedding gave me purpose again. It was during that time that I realized that I am my best self when I am busy.  I felt amazing about myself.

Since our wedding a few months ago, I haven’t had anything to keep me busy. I feel like I have no purpose again. It is extremely difficult to admit that because I know that I’m not worthless. I know that I’m educated enough, but I also know that I’m missing something critical to push me forward, something to help me be my best self.  So I have finally begun to start my job search.

Never in my life have I used my disability as an excuse not to do anything, but I probably won’t find a job as fast as others. There are two reasons for this: my physical disability and my speech impairment. I will need accommodations that allow me to communicate effectively with my coworkers.

While I look for a job, I am also focusing on things that truly matter in life.  I’m trying to bring in only positivity. I really miss the person I was in college. I was confident and sure of myself that it radiated all throughout. Now, I try to stay away from social media because it negatively impacts the way I feel about myself.  I am focusing on my abilities and searching to find my passion. I realize that I have value even if I am not employed.

Ashley Alcantar

I’m also realizing that, in fact, I’m not running out of time in life. At 24, I still have a whole life ahead of me to navigate and get to where I am supposed to be.

This might be one of the hardest journeys of my life, but day by day, I’m getting through it. I like to remind myself that even though no one may understand what I’m going through, it doesn’t mean that my feelings are not valid.  If you are on a similar journey, know that you are not alone. We’ve got this.

Ashley Alcantar is a 24-year-old self-advocate with Cerebral Palsy. Her passion is to advocate for the disabled community and share her stories along the way.

1 Comment

David Robb says:
Oct 01, 2021

Hi Ashlee,

I thought you would like to know that workers with disabilities who are approved through the Health Benefits for Workers with Disabilities (HBWD) Program, may earn more and have more liquid assets. From the website: If you are an individual with a disability, between the ages of 16 and 64 and working, you may qualify for HBWD. Workers with countable income of up to $3,404 per month for a single person and $4,588 per month for a couple may qualify for the program. Unlike other Medicaid programs, HBWD allows enrollees to have up to $25,000 in assets. Depending on their income, enrollees pay a monthly premium based on their income range to receive comprehensive healthcare coverage.

You may download an application or request an application to be E-mailed. For more information please call our hotline at 1-800-226-0768 (TTY 1-866-675-8440).

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