Karl Kiefer

I was a construction worker, married, with two sons.  Times were difficult when the construction market fell flat and better when the construction market was active.

My wife at the time was disabled and we tried to get her on disability.  The effects of her physical and mental state, combined with the effects of the medicine she was taking, made it clear that she could not function alone at home nor assist with any parenting activities.  In 2011, my wife’s behaviors became even more of an issue.  She started stealing, lying, and cheating.  She stole my son’s identity to buy things.  We caught her.  Without these resources, she left the family.  Then it was me and my sons living in the trailer.  We still live in the trailer, but it is now my son’s. We have one vehicle.

In 2015 I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis through MRIs.  My leg goes numb.  I cannot stand on my feet for more than half an hour.  I need a cane or some support.  Even with medication, I experience great pain and difficulty.

I contacted a free consultation law firm.  An attorney told me that considering my history and Social Security credits I had accumulated, in-home-care or nursing home were my only options.  I do not need in-home or nursing home care though.  I can still do things (dishes, shopping vacuuming and cleaning, etc.) if given enough time.  I do not know of any jobs which would allow me to work 12-16 hours to get done the same work of an 8 hour shift.

My oldest son is employed in construction like I was.  I no longer own anything, as he owns the car and house.  I take care of the shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.  This is how I “earn my keep”.  My physical condition does not permit a return to working construction.  I sought part-time positions in landscaping, Dollar General, and Walmart.  As soon as these people learn of my medical issues, they are reluctant to offer employment.

I received a letter that said I was losing my healthcare.   I worked over 35 years trying to be a productive citizen and raise a family.   Now, when I need health care, they do not care. I was told I did not qualify for assistance. I attempted to appeal my situation.  I had phone conversations with a woman who works for TennCare. After sharing all of my information with her, she said she would prepare a letter for me that basically said I do not have a chance of winning the appeal.

My concerns go beyond myself-they reach to all people- those living now and those who will be born in the future.  We are not currently providing the best investment in the future.  It seems despicable to pass these horrific issues on to our descendants.