With all of the healthcare & “Obama Care” media hype and the pending legislation in the House being such a hot topic, I decided to break out some of my old blogs describing my trip through the healthcare and welfare system. After finding myself with health issues, I wrote an eight part series that described the process I was forced to navigate and endure. I have been there and done that. I’m hopeful that somebody might find some of the information and experiences helpful in their quest for answers or search for assistance.
December 27,2007: My field trip to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Family Assistance Administration
I had an appointment on December 26,2007 at the local D.E.S. office. Last November, I suffered a noise related injury at work resulting in severe hearing loss and unexpectedly found myself out of a job. Of course, my insurance carrier is ignoring the fact that I have coverage and have turned their backs on me. I’ll probably have to retain a lawyer and go to court to get the Workers’ Compensation benefits I should be collecting at this time.
My former employer has not heard the last of me. I’m going to bury everybody with paperwork. I was on short term disability which is covered under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993. I should have been returned to my original job and rate of pay after being released from the doctor according to this law. Of course that didn’t happen. I suspect my employer has retaliated against me for filing that Workers’ Compensation claim with the Industrial Commission a week earlier. I will be having the last laugh when it‘s all over. Employers never want to follow the rules.
I signed up for unemployment insurance benefits four weeks ago and of course the payment is being delayed for several weeks because of 16 hours worth of vacation pay I received as my last check. To my surprise, I received a $0.50/hr. pay increase. Since I want to be a burden to the system, I decided to sign up for food stamps and AHCCCS medical coverage.
I arrived early for my 9:00 AM appointment. I noticed that almost everyone except me was playing with cell phones and MP3 players. I found it fascinating that people who never worked for a living could afford such accessories. The crowd consisted mainly of Hispanics, one black male and a few older white women. People were lined up all the way to the door. Some of the lazy fat people dragged chairs and sat while waiting in line. I somehow had enough energy to remain standing the whole time. My name was called at 9:10 AM.
I was guided to this cubicle where sat a caseworker. She appeared to be Hispanic with a blonde dye-job and “pear-shaped” body. She tripped over the telephone line and her phone went crashing to the floor. She almost fell on her buttocks. The majority of the people in this building were obese. I had to provide work, medical and financial documentation. I was also asked about felony convictions, drug offenses and fraud charges. I truthfully answered no to all of those questions. I also was expected to provide proof of Citizenship. I asked, “What country could I be deported to if I could not provide this proof?” I said, “I’m an Appalachian American or non-indigenous native.” A drivers license, voter registration, property tax documents, etc., etc. are not enough for a White guy to be verified while illegal aliens can walk right in and get whatever they ask for.
During my discussion with the caseworker, it was suggested that I apply for Social Security disability benefits. My hearing loss, the inner ear nerve damage with unpleasant side affects along with my lack of people skills and anti-social behavior makes me a good candidate. I really didn’t plan on retiring this young, but will if I can.
My next stop will be the Social Security Administration office which is just down the street from the D.E.S. I got a few worried stares from loiterers sitting on the sidewalk as I left the building and went to my truck. I strapped on my Sig Sauer P-226 9mm, got in and drove away. Although Arizona is supposed to be the “wild west“, people react funny when they see armed people.
Although I cannot verify this, I heard that something I said in this blog caused management at Cardinal Glass Industries in Casa Grande to put the plant on "lockdown". During the time I served on the plant's safety committee, we barely spoke of workplace violence. My former supervisor actually threatened me with violence before getting off his shift. After switching shifts, his production numbers took a very big shit. I'm not sure why they were so afraid of a disabled man that was just released from the hospital. To be honest, not one of those idiots would have been worth a bullet. I worked with quite a few alcoholics and dope fiends at Cardinal Glass. I believe substance abuse has a way of inducing paranoia.
A gardener employed for the last 29 years at the White House grounds was suddenly dismissed from his position after he was heard walking the around the White House grounds saying, "Now where is that damn spade and that old ho at, anyway?"