Why I Work
By Ben Spangenberg
As a child with Spina Bifida growing up in Northern California I had some amazing opportunities. I went to the best public schools, had friends both with and without disabilities, and even participated in children’s theater. I also had many of the complications that people with Spina Bifida have—eleven surgeries, occupational and physical therapy appointments and countless sick days.
Through all of the opportunities and challenges of childhood, I always expected to graduate high school, go to college and get a good job that would keep me self-sufficient. By high school, I learned about the atrociously high unemployment rate for people with disabilities, and realized this would not be so easy. After high school, I attended the University of California at Berkeley, where I discovered Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI provided some income for housing and food and Medicaid provided the health insurance...