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YAY!

We were fair­ly sure of this right after I final­ly had my Social Secu­ri­ty hear­ing last month based on the very pos­i­tive state­ments from the judge, but I didn’t want to jinx any­thing. We got the offi­cial let­ter in the mail today, say­ing that the deci­sion was “ful­ly favor­able!” SQUEE!

It will still take some time for that deci­sion to bounce around the bureau­cra­cy and get month­ly pay­ments start­ed, much less get the back pay from the SSA. Because the onset date was years ago, I should be eli­gi­ble for Medicare right away, but I’ll need to talk to the attor­ney about that on Mon­day.

I real­ly need­ed some good news, so the tim­ing is mar­velous.

This process has been an insane endurance con­test. The fact that the SSA has been absolute­ly obstruc­tion­ist through­out (and I know my expe­ri­ence is far from unique!) is ridicu­lous. The sys­tem demands that peo­ple who are most in need of help are least like­ly to get it in any time­ly fash­ion, because it takes so much per­sis­tence, jar­gon, and inside knowl­edge to get any­where. If you can do all those forms and gath­er all the records and so on by your­self, I don’t know that you should count as dis­abled! Even peo­ple with good sup­port in oth­er ways don’t always have some­one will­ing, able, and per­sis­tent who can and will spend the hours and hours of time to push a claim through.

I start­ed the fil­ing process for one rea­son: I need­ed sta­ble access to health­care so that I could get well enough to go back to work. Five years down the line, I’m not at all sure that I will be able to return to work, because my health has dete­ri­o­rat­ed so much that it may not be pos­si­ble to get back to an “abled” state. How many years of pro­duc­tive lives are being in the U.S. wast­ed for lack access to health­care?

I get annoyed every time I hear a talk­ing head refer to plans to “insure” every­one. That isn’t what we need! Plen­ty of peo­ple have health insur­ance and still don’t get the actu­al health care they need because they can’t afford the co-pays, or the insur­er won’t cov­er a par­tic­u­lar drug or ther­a­py, or there are pre-exist­ing con­di­tion prob­lems, or…

We need health care. Not divid­ed up by age (this for kids, that for seniors, some­thing else for work­ing age peo­ple, oh, right, the dis­abled here) by uni­ver­sal car, the same care for every­one, for the whole body, cra­dle to grave. (Who ever decid­ed that eyes and teeth should be sep­a­rat­ed out, any­way? That’s stu­pid.)

I read an art­cle about San Francisco’s health pro­gram last week–if I can find a link I’ll add it lat­er. It does just what I described, from what that arti­cle says. I don’t know how much it costs to join, but appar­ent­ly there’s a lot of out­reach to peo­ple who are oth­er­wise unin­sured. There are no pre-exist­ing con­di­tions.

Does any­one know of pro­grams like San Francisco’s else­where in the U.S.?

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