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What now?
Jan 13, 2004

I am a 41 year old male living with HIV/AIDS. I was diagnosed in 1995. At that time I thought my life was over and prepared to die. Now I am relatively healthy. My life has completely changed and now it is a struggle financially and its like pulling teeth to get adequate medical attention. I dont make enough money on Social Security Disability to live. But if I go back to work I will lose the benefits I have and will have no way to pay for medcal care etc. I am so bored and frustrated. I do not wish to go back to the stress of the corporate workplace that I left when I was diagnosed. I cant go back to doing some stressful job I hated. I would like to start an organization that could help people in my situation. There are a lot of us stuck in this limbo barely surviving day to day.

I would like to know how I would go about starting an organization that would help people in my situation. I dont even know where start. But I know it can be done. I would appreciate any feedback or suggestions.

I would like to start or help start an employment/career agency for people living with HIV/AIDS. That would help find jobs etc for people living with aids that could help them financially without affecting thier benefits. Finding companys and individuals that need services that would be happy to employee someone living with HIV/AIDS. That would offer alternative ways to compensate people living with HIV/AIDS so that their benefits would not be affected. Also offer assistance with going back to school and obtain scholarships and funds for this.

Thank You, Brad Abercrombie 1584 Wainwright Dr SE Atlanta, GA 30316 404-375-3166 dpbearcub@aol.com

Response from Ms. Breuer

Dear Brad, Whew! You packed several questions into this one. First, please don't assume that you can't return to work without endangering your public benefits. Social Security Disability has provisions that allow you to try out a job for several months without losing your benefits. For that one, please check with either or both: the Web site of the SSA and/or www.helpwithbenefits.com, a Web site managed by Jacques Chambers, who knows all this stuff cold.

As to starting a new agency, please think about these ideas: 1. Your startup idea will be more credible if you've done a successful job return yourself. 2. There are several such organizations around the country. I'd suggest Googling something like "HIV employment service" to see what you find. You can research the organizations that are already doing this and learn whether there's an unfilled niche in your part of the country.

Starting a new service business takes huge amounts of energy. I can tell you that from experience. Please be kind to yourself and do all the research first, before you commit to such a venture. See how you do first in a new job, doing something you truly enjoy. You have a new lease on life. Rather than thinking about a job as something that reflects your social standing, or the fulfillment of what your entire extended family wanted you to do, or the income you want (you know all those external reasons for seeking a particular job), look for what you'd be doing anyway, whether they paid you for it or not. Joy is a great antidote to weariness.

I truly wish you well...



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