Jeff L.

Yacolt, WA

I have worked as a pipefitter in the construction industry for several years. There have been several times I had to do above average physically demanding work. One time I lowered equipment that weighed several hundred pounds, by rope, with the rest of my crew, through a hole in the ceiling. We were forced to do that because the general contractor had took the crane down to save a few bucks.I hurt my neck, off the job. I had an MRI and a work evaluation. I put in for Social Security and my union disability. I got them both. However, there is no way I could make ends meet without both of them. To me, having Social Security disability allows me to be able to keep my home. If it was lowered, I am not sure what I would have to do. It was not my idea to have an early retirement like this.They have programs were the state will pay up to 70% of your pay for five years, plus give money to help make the workplace a place where you can work at. Even with that, no one would hire me.I have worked in a very physically demanding trade and it has taken a toll on my body. I am thankful that we have Social Security disability.I had an optional 401k plan. I had to use it to make ends meet while getting disability. I hated to cash it out. One of the things that got to me the most was that I had to cash it out under hardship and the IRS used that as a reason to tax it at very high rates. I don't think it was right for the IRS to tax my 401(k) so that it couldn't go as far as I needed it to go and at the same time, Congress gave bail out money to Wall Street so that they and corporate CEOs could get a million dollar bonus. This really burns me that while I am trying to save and keep my home, they are trying to figure out where the next place to get another vacation house is.Jeff