Last month I wrote a diary detailing my experience with my town's General Assistance office. This is something of an update, and partially asking for crossed fingers. :)
It took me a long time to go back. Not only was I worried about running into the same person again, but the fallout from the diary I had written had taken a lot of spoons (there were a few people who came after me in KosMail for being unable to follow their pet advice, per doctor's orders. Meh, it happens).
But I finally called, again from the parking lot, this time using my IP Relay, because my SSI claim was just rejected, and yah, desperate. Phone tag resulted, and I ended up just walking in and knocking since the admin assistant (understandably) thought I was calling from a true TTY phone.
The FSM had touched me with his noodly appendage, because the Director opened the door. I explained what was going on with the phone tag and why it wasn't working, and he said I'd made a good decision in coming in, since I was already downtown. He grabbed my folder, made me an appointment for the next time I'd be there (I needed time to get paperwork), and they'd set me up with vouchers to get personal supplies. And next time I leave a message, he's going to text me a reply. But he said they don't cover fuel, not even for medical needs.
"Well, okay," I thought. "This was a much better outcome. I was treated respectfully, they're taking my disability into account, and I actually got an appointment, and he guaranteed I'd get the voucher. I shouldn't have left it so long. But I need to leave myself a note to see what it covers."
And ah...there's where I got my sad.
From the General Assistance Guidelines for my town (emphasis mine):
Travel Expenses.If you read the previous diary (the link is above), they told me they didn't, ever, help with phones.
In determining need, necessary travel which is not work-related will be budgeted if the applicant can satisfy the administrator that the prospective need for travel is necessary. For applicants in rural areas, weekly transportation to a supermarket will be considered, as will any medically necessary travel.
Medical.As someone who is severely hard-of-hearing and just had a scheduling mishap because of it at my doctor's office, and the universal desire of all my medical professionals that I continue therapy, I think these letters will be easy to obtain, even at short notice.
The municipality will pay for essential medical expenses, other than hospital bills (see below), provided that the municipality is notified and approves the expenses and services prior to their being made or delivered. Medical expenses include prescriptions, devices, treatments, or services that are determined to be ‘medically necessary’ by a licensed physician. The municipality will grant assistance for medical services only when assistance cannot be obtained from any other source and the applicant would not be able to receive necessary medical care without the municipality’s assistance.
Ordinary medical supplies/non-prescription drugs will be budgeted at the actual amount when the applicant can demonstrate a need for such items. Allowable supplies include bandages, aspirin, cough syrup, and other generic brand, non-prescription medicines. In addition, the basic monthly rate for telephone service will be budgeted when a telephone is essential to the health and safety of the household. In order for telephone service to be considered an allowable expense the applicant must provide a written statement from a physician certifying that the telephone is essential.
The question becomes, why wasn't I notified of these programs? The Director knows that I have a TBI, that I have memory issues. That I've waited months before asking for help.
I don't understand.
I have the information now, printed, highlighted, in 2 places so that I won't forget (it's how I was able to write this diary!). I don't have a lot of short-term memory, but I have a few coping mechanisms. They aren't great, and a lot falls through the cracks, but I manage.
Cross your fingers for me. The meeting is Wednesday. Tomorrow I contact my doctors and ask for supporting letters, and apologize for the horribly short notice. I simply didn't know about this until yesterday.
But no matter what, I know this--not only was the person who yelled at me wrong in what she did, she was wrong in her facts.
Mon May 06, 2013 at 4:58 PM PT: After a fairly long communication with my doctor's office, they have written a nice, professional letter to the Director of General Assistance in my town, stating in no uncertain terms that not only do I need certain OTC medication and vitamins (I'm scary vitamin D deficient), but hat yes I need the phone I have, and I need to be able to get to my appointments!
My psychologist is also writing letters backing up my MDs.