How bureaucracy continues to screw with me for being disabled

May 31, 2017

Remember this post from a year and a half ago when I was told I was nearing the top of the waiting list for Section 8? Well, a year and a half later I found out they were just screwing with me.

The other day I was thinking about what I would do if I suddenly got Section 8. At this point, it would make a huge difference. I could stop trying to work, and stop feeling overwhelmed all the time. I could actually cover almost all of my expenses. I could focus more on my health. Good things, right?

The last time I asked about my Section 8 status I was given vague non-answers. A year and a half ago they said I was near the top of the list and I spent hours filling out paperwork, some of which they lost, and I had to redo. A few months later they had me do more paperwork with my financials for the latest year. And then I heard nothing.

I checked in a few times, but they didn’t tell me anything.

After thinking about how helpful it would be, I decided to try again. I recently moved, so I called the housing office in my new town. I learned a few important things:

  1. When I signed up the waiting list was 4-5 years long. Now they’re saying it’s 10 years long.
  2. Because I moved, I’m no longer going to get a voucher from my old town. I mean, it’s allowed, but it won’t happen. Every town gives priority to people who live and work in that town. So my new town will give me priority over others, but of course, a lot of people are ahead of me on that list.
  3. I have another 2-3 years to go. Maybe more.

The woman I spoke to was confused as to why I was brought in to fill out paperwork. She said I was far too low on the list for that. And that was yesterday. I was obviously much lower on the list a year and a half ago!

This means a few things to me:

  1. Filling out that paperwork was a waste of my time.
  2. Filling out that paperwork was a waste of the housing office staff’s time and therefore money. Certain politicians say that people like me are wasting taxpayer money. Nope, not me. Believe me, I’d have rather not done all that work for nothing! The office wasted the money.
  3. I have no chance of getting Section 8 any time soon so I have to continue to try and earn money myself.

This sucks. A lot. At a friend’s urging, I will contact my state rep, and maybe my U.S. rep, to see if they can find out what’s going on. The thing is, they might find out, but I doubt it will help me.

I was jerked around. I was given false hope. And there is no discernible reason for this other than incompetence.

I am so sick and tired of poor and/or disabled people being screwed with and disrespected. This has to STOP!

And the insurance system screws me even more

February 23, 2013

The kid tells his teacher that his book report will be late.

  • Kid: But it’s not my fault! I didn’t have enough time!
  • Teacher: You knew about this 2 months ago.
  • Kid: But the library was closed!
  • Teacher: When did you go to the library?
  • Kid: Yesterday.

You have no sympathy for the kid, right? He should have gotten the book much, much sooner. Procrastination isn’t an excuse.

Of course, what my insurance company did is even worse. You can read the basics here. After sending in the appeal, the insurance company by law has 45 days to respond. At that point, they can request an addition 45 days, which of course they did. So I counted down those 90 days, anticipating and dreading the result, but thankful that at least I’d know, one way or the other. I was glad that I could move out of limbo. I waited impatiently for my lawyer’s call. Almost a week after the deadline, I emailed my lawyer, and she responded that she hadn’t heard anything yet. So I waited more. Finally, more than a week after the deadline, I got the word: they need more time.

And this is where it gets all book report-y. They say they need more time because they need to talk to my rheumatologist. They contacted her and didn’t hear back. I asked when they contacted her. The answer: the day before the deadline. They reached out to her on day 89 of the 90 day response period. So WHY THE FUCK DID THEY WAIT SO LONG?!? Probably, because they can.

There’s nothing I can do, of course. My only recourse is to sue the insurance company, and my lawyer insists that won’t help. The company will argue before a judge that they didn’t get to speak with all of my doctors and the judge will rule that they should get that chance and in the meantime I’ll be paying the legal fees.

So I’m waiting again. I’m waiting and waiting and waiting. I did call my doctor to find out when she’ll respond to the insurance company and I am waiting to hear back from her. And that’s all I can do.

I’m furious. How can this happen? Don’t they realize there’s an actual person whose life is being affected? Who needs to make plans for the future, like whether or not she’ll be able to pay the rent next month? Who needs to know how much she can afford to spend on medical treatments? Where’s the respect for a fellow human being? Why doesn’t the patient have any rights?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when I get healthy I’m going to try, somehow, to fix this system. Because this is simply not ok.

Long term disability insurance: Navigating a system that is designed to screw us

June 15, 2012

I’ve written about the roller coaster effect before, and it’s happening again now.  This time it’s both physical and emotional, not to mention financial.

In addition to all of the irritating, difficult, painful physical problems, I’m also dealing with bureaucratic crap.  I wrote last week that the long term disability insurance company is denying my claim for benefits, but it turns out that it’s worse than I’d thought.  As it turns out, they aren’t suggesting that I’m not ill.  Instead, they are saying that I’ve been sick for a long time and they see no evidence that it’s gotten any worse.  Basically, if I was well enough to work a year ago, I should be able to work now, too.  But how do you prove worsening fatigue?  I don’t have a blood test or MRI for that.

Then it gets worse.  According to the lawyer I spoke to (who came highly recommended by friends who used her for their own SSDI claim) I will have an extra problem because I did not see a doctor in the few weeks leading up to my leave from work.  In fact, my last appointment before leaving my job was 2 months earlier.  At that appointment my doctor and I discussed the possibility that I might have to stop working, but I don’t know if that was recorded in my medical records.  I think it’s time to cough up the money and get a copy of my own records.  I wish someone would have told me that life would be easier if I saw my doctor in person before leaving my job, instead of just speaking with her on the phone 4 separate times.  I’d have gladly done it, if I’d only known.

The lawyer talked about the many steps we would take to appeal the LTD denial, including getting letters from my doctors and from friends and family, as well as hiring a vocational expert to study my case and write a report explaining why I can’t work.  This all sounds wonderfully proactive, but there’s one part that makes me very nervous: the lawyer isn’t confident enough in my case to take it on a contingency basis.  Damn!

So basically the system is designed to screw us.  I got insurance and paid my premiums, and the company denied my claim to save themselves money.  In order to get them to pay what they rightfully owe me, I have to spend a lot of time and energy and effort and money (none of which I have any extra of) to hire a lawyer.  If I ever get well (or well enough, at least) I am going to fight this system.  I don’t know how I’ll do it, but I will get it publicized, I’ll get my legislators involved, I’ll do whatever it takes, but this simply can not be allowed to continue!  But first I need to get my own claim approved and focus on my health.

And in case you’re wondering, the appeal will take approximately 6 months and cost me $7000-$10,000, plus expenses.  Expenses are for things like paying for copies of medical records, paying for the vocational expert, etc.  If we lose, I’m out that money.  If we win, the insurance company owes me $30,000 per year and they will pay me what they owe me from the date I became eligible a few months ago.  They will not pay the legal expenses I incur.

Yep, the system sucks.

Oh, and of course this is also at the same time that I am looking into practitioners, tests, and treatments that will not be covered by my health insurance, I feel like crap daily, I am enduring the most stress of my entire life, and my scant energy should be used to research my treatment options and to recover.  Like I said, this system is designed to screw us.

Spoonie kitchen screwups

April 30, 2012

There’s tired, and then there’s spoonie tired.

I decided to make an easy dinner tonight.  I’ve been trying to eat healthy food as much as possible, and I was feeling run down, so I wanted the best combination of easy and healthy.  For me, that meant pasta for dinner.  I use this a lot as my go-to easy dinner.  I sautee onion and garlic, add in veggies, include meat or beans or something, add spices, add sauce, cook pasta, and I have a healthy, relatively easy dinner.  Even easier is eggs and/or oatmeal, but I’ve done that a few times lately so I wanted to go to the next step.  Apparently, I wasn’t ready for the next step.

I’m not great at chopping up anything.  No matter how big or how small it is, I have to concentrate hard just to avoid cutting my finger (and even then I sometimes cut it.)  Today, more food than usual was hitting the floor.  I felt really off.  I had so much energy an hour earlier, but I hit the wall hard, and I just couldn’t seem to do anything right.  Luckily I wasn’t doing much cutting, since I was using frozen veggies.  Fresh veggies are better, but I didn’t have the energy for them.  Still, a lot of onion and garlic hit the floor.

As I was finishing the sauce, I kept thinking that something was missing.  It all seemed to be there, but I had that nagging feeling.  What could I have forgotten?  Then it hit me all at once: spices!  I forgot to add spices!  I quickly reached for the oregano and parsley and thyme and…. what was I thinking?

The steps ran through my head.  I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten the spices.  I’ve made this so many times I thought I could do it in my sleep.  Clearly I can’t even do it when I’m awake and run down.  But that’s ok, I fixed it.  It would be good enough.

Beans!  I forgot to add the beans!  Ok, no worries, I ate plenty of protein at lunch, and I have plenty of spinach and broccoli in the sauce.  It’s ok.

Beep beep beep.  Time to drain the pasta.  Something was wrong.  Why was it so mushy?  I timed it for 16 minutes and the package said 17-18, so what could be wrong?  Oh no, I used the instructions for the wrong pasta!  The other type, the other brand, is 17-18 minutes.  This type is only supposed to cook for 7-10 minutes!  Yikes!

Ok, the sauce will mask the pasta, right?  But wait, the sauce is…. liquidy.  I didn’t use enough veggies!  I usually make the sauce very thick, so that the meat/beans and veggies are just barely coated by the sauce.  I got it wrong tonight.  It looked so pathetically thin.

Despite all of the problems, the meal turned out ok.  It was even slightly tasty.  And I’ve learned an important lesson: the next time I feel drained, I won’t attempt anything as complicated as pasta.  I’ll stick to eggs.  Clearly my brain can’t be trusted to function on all cylinders when cooking (or typing, for that matter, judging by the number of mistakes I’ve already caught in this post.)

What basics things have you messed up when you’re not completely there?  Let’s revel in our spoonie mistakes.

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