Monday, April 13, 2015

(part 301) A Man Of Means By No Means

Even though there are some who have strongly suggested that I quit writing and thinking about the music business, this post will pursue that subject once again. I will be 70 years old in a week. I find myself in difficult financial times since my mother's death, because we shared all the bills which made it possible for both of us to be basically covered. But now all of it falls on my back alone. So the subject of this post is about money, not money from record sales or publishing, of which there is none, but money for making records in the past, of which there were many.
(list of records I made)
I was a member of both Local 47, the Musicians Union, and AFTRA. That means I had the right to be paid when I played on a session, or sang on a session, which for the most part I was not. The reason this is important now, is because by not being paid for work I did on sessions in the past means the necessary monies that were to be paid into the fund, which becomes your Social Security in later life, where I am now, was not paid. this means I do not get Social Security. I get something different called SSI (supplemental security income), which I am grateful for, but which is considerably less than I would be getting if I got Social Security. At 70 years old I find myself with more bills than income, and I live in the least costly way I can, with no frills at all. It is my past in the music business, and the failure of those who did not pay me, for session work only, that rears it's ugly head a half a century later in my current life. Once again, I am not talking, at all, about record royalties, or publishing royalties. I am speaking specifically about union money that I earned for work I did, but was not paid for. Money that would have meant I got Social Security decades later, which is now. It is hard, if not impossible, to disassociate myself from old facts that are currently making my life extremely difficult to live now. As much as I would like to put the past away, I find myself forced to deal with the problems I have today, which were caused by events long ago. When I was young I wanted to make records. So, what I should have demanded, from those who did not pay me, was left up to trusting them, and accepting their explanations for why I wasn't being paid for my work as a musician and singer. I didn't know enough back then to see fifty years into the future and realize how I would be affected. But I'm here now, and it's as clear as a bell how it happened. I do not want, or like, to complain about these things, but find myself forced to face the day to day hardships I encounter whether I want to or not. SSI does not permit me to get any outside help, or to work, unless I report it to them. If I report it to them they turn around and take any money I obtain, from any source, and deduct it from what they give me that month. So if I went and cut someone's hedge, and made $75.00, SSI would allow me to keep $60.00, but would deduct anything over $60.00 a month, whatever it was. If I don't report it to them, or lie about it, I am guilty of a crime under Federal Law. It is not like Social Security at all. Social Security is your own money and you have the right to it, and can work, or get other money, without it affecting your Social Security in any way. SSI is considered not to be your money, but the government's, and with it they force their rules and regulations down your throat for getting it. This is why, and how, the music business keeps being a part of my daily life now, even though I have not been part of it for over three decades. For those of you who seem to relish each opportunity to find fault with me, and to school me in how to live, think, and feel, I post this, as my latest invitation for you to once again issue forth your superior intellectual comments about my endless shortcomings.....