Saturday, February 5, 2011

there's a special sort of hell...

...for the person who designed the application process for disability benefits. The initial application involves filling out an online series of forms. The estimated time provided to complete these forms is half an hour. The reality for someone who is actually disabled? Well, it took me over five hours. When I was able-bodied, sure, half an hour. Now? Ha!

Following the online forms, I received more than 20 pages in the mail, all to be filled out by hand. The kicker was that most of the information repeated -- several times -- what I had already submitted electronically. Oy vey. A friend with good handwriting kindly agreed to fill it out for me, over the course of several hours. I bribed thanked her with peppermint hot chocolate and filled out the parts that required me digging through ten years' worth of medical records over the course of two weeks, a few sentences at a time.

Follow that up with a 2.5-hour interview and series of tests with an appointed psychologist on the second floor of a building with no elevator. Popped my hip on that one and took four medicated days to get moving again. All this just to achieve the first pinnacle of the journey toward the possibility of contributing to my own medical care and my family's financial stability -- the first denial, received two days before Christmas.

You don't receive disability benefits. You EARN them.

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