Monday, March 14, 2011

let's play a game called "what they really mean"

Round Two of attempting to get approval for Social Security Disability benefits.

What they say:
We estimate that it will take about one hour to read the instructions, gather the facts, and answer the questions.

What they really mean:
We handed an able-bodied intern an espresso, a dossier containing a brief bio and two or three medical facts, and asked them to fill out the paperwork based on what they were given. It took him an hour, so that sounds good. We didn't take into account your potential disabilities and how they might affect your ability to write, your medications and how they might affect your ability to think, or how much paperwork 15 years of medical and job history can generate. We willfully ignored the fact that your average person won't keep every single piece of paper generated by said medical and job histories in one place, filed by date, just waiting for the day they become disabled and can experience the joy of losing their ability to provide for their family and filing appeal after appeal with Social Security to prove that multiple hospitalizations and the inability to function on a daily basis does in fact interfere with one's ability to work.

What they say:
We comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act.

What they really mean:
You should have seen the size of this sucker originally! The Postal Workers Union complained after receiving numerous reports of back injury (ironic, huh?) and we were forced to reduce the volume by half. To remain on good terms with your mail carrier, we generously offer the option of faxing your application in. Twenty-four pages at $2.00 per page (plus the animosity of everyone in line behind you) isn't too much of a burden, is it?

After photocopying the work history section with my answers from last time, since they haven't changed in the last five months, it only took me eight days to fill out the rest of the appeals application. I achieved a kind of regularity to my work, writing three or four answers before my hand cramped up. So really, I suppose I AM employable. I just need to find an office that requires a very slow writer who takes frequent breaks and finishes ten lines of writing a day. Yippee skippee!

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