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Rural Health: Financial Insecurity Plagues Many Who Live With Disability

  June 12, 2019 | By Selena Simmons-Duffin, NPR

Carol Burgos is worried her neighbors think she is bringing the neighborhood down.

She lives in a mobile home park in a woodsy part of Columbia County, N.Y, just off a two-lane highway. The homes have neat yards and American flags. On a spring Saturday, some neighbors are out holding yard sales, with knickknacks spread out on folding tables. Others are out doing yardwork.

Burgos’ lawn is unruly and overgrown.

“How bad do I feel when these little old ladies are mowing their lawn and I can’t because I’m in so much pain?” she says.

Burgos is in her early 50s. She can’t mow her lawn herself because of pain and physical limits related to her osteoarthritis, degenerative disk disease and other health issues. She was deemed disabled in 1997 and lives on payments from Social Security Disability Insurance. She gets health coverage through Medicare.

She also can’t afford to pay someone to mow the lawn for her. “I don’t want another bill,” she explains. “I don’t want to be in more debt. I’m embarrassed. I don’t know, who do you ask?”

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