more brain injury/SSDI stuff

University of Washington Neurological Vocational Services – Harborview Medical Center

Dear Sir/Madam:

We have appreciated working with you for purposes of vocational rehabilitation. As per our discussion, we unfortunately need to terminate our service arrangement at this time for the following reason(s):

We have been unable to identify a funding source for your service. Please consider WorkSource and call us as we may know of a community program in your area.

[handwritten]recommend EnSo for your business needs. Good luck.[/handwritten]

Again, our best wishes in your future employment efforts.

except that EnSo is a place that gets personal assistants for people with developmental disabilities, and doesn’t have any way to deal with a person with a brain injury who wants help with his business.

i also talked with the legal assistant for the attorney that is supposedly handling my SSDI appeal yesterday. she says that there is a fourteen to sixteen MONTH waiting period for a hearing, and they just submitted my request for a hearing in july, so it’s probably going to be september to november of 2008 before i even hear anything from them… what do they want me to do in the mean time? the only way they are willing to "expedite" the waiting list process is if the person requesting the hearihg is dying. they also said that the hearing is where most people get approved. i wonder how many people go homeless and starve while waiting for a hearing because they don’t have enough money to shop or pay rent… i wonder how many people die because they’re waiting for a hearing and they can’t get it "expedited" because they’re "not dying"… but, instead, our government is apparently willing to ignore our lying president and fund two wars over a commodity that is going to be gone in 50 years anyway…

and people wonder why i’m depressed…

however, there is a bright spot in all of this. i called the woman at EnSo, and she told me that she had received email indicating that DVR had actually got a new director and was eliminating their waiting list. she forwarded this article to me and encouraged me to call DVR and “light a fire under ’em”, which i did. the result is that instead of 2 years, they have me down to 3 months, so it’s possible that, by january, i might have some help with my business… but i’m not gonna hold my breath, because i’ve been burned by government organisations that were supposed to help me in the past.

2 thoughts on “more brain injury/SSDI stuff”

  1. i finished my college education quite a while before i had my injury: the last college-like thing i attended was the tech school, which ended in 1986. i have taken a couple of directed classes since then – one in administration of the (now openwave) email server, and one in general unix administration – but they have been work-related and i didn’t actually receive a grade or college credit for them. if i had to go to a trade school, at this point, i’d study apache administration, or perl, or C++ programming… or welding or something like that… either that or i’d get some sort of teaching credentials that would allow me to become a music teacher at a public school.

    it’s really bizarre, because i was given a driving test while i was still in the hospital, and they encouraged me to get my license back as soon as i left the hospital. i went to the DMV and said that i wanted to get my license back and they said “what was it taken away for” and when i told them that i had a brain injury and was in a coma for 10 days, they said nobody had told them and my license hadn’t been revoked. i insisted, and they gave me the practical test (but not the written test) and told me to go out and drive. in a way, i’m really lucky, because if they hadn’t re-instated my license, i would be in the same boat i am now, but i wouldn’t be able to go to rehearsals, which is the only thing that’s keeping me alive at the moment.

  2. Been there, done that—sorry to say.

    I think I mentioned in an earlier post that my injury occurred after my first year of college. This was fortunate, because freshman year of the foundation program was a grueling seven courses per semester, giving me only 19 credits for each of the two semesters. After my injury, I was forced to take a 2-year break, during which I hitchhiked at night and raised general hell at my parents’ house (and spent 4 months in a psych ward); they gave me their blessing to return to school—albeit against medical advice.
    I completed my bachelor’s degree in four additional years, but then found I’d screwed myself by getting a [useless] college degree; Vocational Services (VESID, or Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities) was unable to pay for any more college courses, and sent me to a trade school. In truth, I probably couldn’t have handled anything more serious than art, but the B.F.A. I graduated with qualifies me to wait tables—if only I didn’t have this ataxia—and walk dogs. So I walk dogs.

    It took me several years of false starts and time wasted knocking at the door of VESID; it’s depressing the way things have turned out, but it could be much, much worse. I consider my still being in New York City a reliable measure of my success; it’s going on 25 years now.

    Sorry I can’t be more upbeat; in a lot of ways, my life is as good as it can be; in one worst-case scenario, I’m still living with my mother in Connecticut, still unable to drive. I never got my license back, and have observed that if I had been a guy, Motor Vehicles would probably have just handed it to me. So New York City is, in a lot of ways, the best place I could possibly be, and why I pushed so hard to get back here. With luck I’ll never have to leave again.

    My message is: yes, it’s hard, it sucks, and you have to be your own advocate. Incidentally, that’s the only way I was able to finish school—by making sure they allowed me to complete my credits under the program I had entered the school under, and not the one they had switched it to in my absence: in my first go-round, I wasn’t required to take a year of Western Civilization, but only a year of social sciences like psychology and anthropology. I had to go to a few different administrators to get permission to take NYU courses under the cooperative program that was in place.

    Keep posting here, and any information or help I can give, I will.

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