KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville woman with multiple health issues has been struggling for years to receive social security disability. But, each time, she has been turned down.
The government says Gina Ruth’s health is not that bad, and she can work.
Over the years, 51-year-old Ruth has been a cashier, a cook, and a housekeeper for her landlord, but for the last 10 years, reports from her doctors show her health has deteriorated. While she has tried to find employment, Ruth says she cannot physically work anymore.
According to Ruth, she received 10 years’ worth of denied letters. The documents she collected over the years as she has tried to qualify for social security disability say, while she has some limitations, the government claims she’s capable of working.
“If I go to apply for a regular job. They find out I’m epileptic then they tell me I’m a liability case. They won’t hire me because they consider me a liability if I have a seizure or whatever. Because I’m used to being just a cook. So, I didn’t get the job,” she said.
In this letter of denial from social security in 2022, it states, “We have determined you are not entitled to disability insurance benefits.”
“I did want to work, yes. But my health has been so bad the last five year. My vision is going in and out. I’m already blind in my right eye. My epilepsy is getting wonky. I can’t drive,” she said.
According to Ruth, she has no means of income. She moved to Knoxville in 2013 to care for her mother who passed away five years ago. The denial letter from social security in February states, “You said you are UNABLE to work because you are blind or have low vision, epilepsy, disorder of female organs, anxiety and depression.”
“Then they said, ‘In addition to what was alleged, we also discovered in your medical records attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and restless leg syndrome,'” she said. “All I can do is keep trying and trying, yet they keep denying me.”
WATE wrote to the Social Security Administration.
The administration replied, “The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. We pay only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability. We consider people to have a qualifying disability if all of the following are true: You cannot do work because of your medical condition, you cannot do work you did previously or adjust to other work because of your medical condition and your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least 1 year.”
The administration also pointed us to this document which says she has “the right to appeal the government’s decision.”
Which Ruth has done before.
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“Yes, several times. I had a seizure one time in the courtroom The last few years my health has been going downhill. I’m having seizures on a daily basis,” she said.
Ruth is now at the point where she is desperate.
“I want to get my disability. If I can. I do,” she said while laughing.