Hi, I'm Jay Justice. I'm a cosplayer, activist and editor. You may have seen my work in comics, video games & on the internet. I'm permanently disabled and have been since I was a child. I have an autoimmune disease that destroys healthy tissue because my immune system does not recognize those cells as 'self'. This causes me to experience severe pain, damage, and increasingly reduced mobility. I went from using a cane, to a manual wheelchair, to a motorized scooter as I became more ill.
I've always been a very hard working, dedicated and determined person. I worked as much as I could, and still do. I eventually had to apply for social security disability benefits to help make ends meet. My goal for years has been to move into wheelchair accessible housing, because it is very difficult as a disabled person to live in an inaccessible home. Eventually I will be completely unable to walk or stand and I desperately need to live in a place where I can be independent and functional.
I was working towards this goal when disaster struck. As of January 10th 2018, my disability benefits were suspended due to erroneous data that stated my earnings last year to be over $20,000 greater than their actual amount. Working with this false information, the goverment has determined that I have to repay all of the benefits I received in the last 16 months. To repay this amount, they are witholding the entirety of my disability check for the forseeable future.
I am working on the appeals process currently to prove this information to be incorrect, and to get my benefits reinstated. Unfortunately I am told that the investigation will take time, and that is something I do not have. I have to pay for food, rent, bills and medical care. I was relying on this money and without it I cannot survive. My immediate goals are to secure enough funds to cover mandatory needs.
How You Can Help
I am experienced in and looking for work, gigs or positions in the following areas, and can provide excellent references from prominent companies and indivduals: Cosplay and Conventions
Promotion and Marketing
Editing Novels, Comic Books & Graphic Novels
Social Media Management and Consulting
I have several upcoming convention appearances scheduled and I will have my handmade items available for purchase at Haven Con, PAX East, and Universal FanCon.
I would also like to take the opportunity to discuss a serious issue affecting the disabled community.
As a disabled person on benefits, I cannot exceed the monthly income limit which is $1,170. That's $14,040 annually. If I do earn this much by working, the SSA will deduct over $6,000 annually from my benefits. This leaves the maximum possible earnings for me at under $17,000.
The minimum income required for wheelchair accessible housing is at least $20,000/year.
Independent living for a disabled person feels like an impossible dream.
You're penalized for working, and doomed to crushing poverty if you're unable to work.
We need to change this.
I am writing letters to my representatives to highlight this issue & discuss ways we can improve the lives of people with disabilities. A life above the poverty line should be accessible to all.
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