Sunday, February 26, 2006

My hatred for pork

Some of you know that dad had to go out on disability back in July. After nearly 30 years with the phone company and some 7 years in a second career as a correctional officer who eventually became sergeant and lieutenant and was on his way to captain, he had to leave his job. He had bypass surgery in December 2004 and was recovering ok but when he went back to work a few months later, it was too much for him. His job required him to run after incompetent officers and inmates who were running amok, add to that working double shifts and being on his feet constantly. He was always out of breath, couldn't stand up, lie down or sit too long and his many health problems finally forced him to do what he never thought he'd have to do---go out on disability. It's been hard for him as he loves to work and really enjoyed his job.

When he left his job on short term disability he had to begin the process of applying for long-term. His doctors told him that he just couldn't do his old jobs anymore. And so the process began. He did EVERYTHING Aetna asked him to and still he had a hard time getting anyone to help him. He couldn't get his caseworker to return calls, they had screwed up his information, and they delayed his weekly checks. I mean this was his life they were screwing with, and mom and dad relied on his disability checks to help pay their bills. It was hard ya know, being on 2/3 of your regular pay, and what made it worse was when they screwed up sending him his checks. It was like nobody gave a damn. When he approached them about something he had heard about Aetna having representatives who help their LTD recipients in obtaining SSDI, they suddenly didn't know what he was talking about. Eventually someone got a clue. It took hours of me and dad on the phone, him from his house and me from my work, trying to get someone who gave a damn enough to help him. Eventually he received his approval for long term disability which is valid for five years. But once he FINALLY got it, he encountered more problems trying to apply for social security disability. The man has almost a dozen doctors in all different specialities (diabetes, heart, lung, orthopaedic, podiatry, and eye doc) who have all attested to his limited capacities, and he was turned down not once, but twice now.

His only course of action now is to go to the Administrative Law Judge. This ALJ is an attorney appointed by Social Security to act as a Judge in these non adversarial matters. So dad needs a lawyer. He said that Aetna's representative was there to see him through this process so he'll be contacting them to find out what's next. I hope they are as good as a regular disability lawyer. You would think they would have to be, if dad wins his case, Aetna won't have to pay him LTD anymore and that saves them a lot of money. But a lawyer on the outside is fighting for his or her 18 percent of your year's worth of Social Security Disability that you're owed. So....

I gotta tell ya, with all this bullshit he's encountered since July, dad pondered whether or not to keep going with this SSDI case. It's really heartbreaking to see a grown man at his wit's end feeling like the world is working against him. There was a point in time where he had to make a choice to either go back to work and forget about it or continue fighting and allow his employer to officially terminate his position so they could replace him. If he'd gone back to work he would have been WORSE off and his disability process would terminate and all this work was for nothing. We reminded him how much pain he was in at work and that going back would kill him. So he realized that it just wouldn't work. He had to stick this out and fight it.

SSDI's recent later of denial states that they know he is disabled but he doesn't meet their criteria for LTD. They mentioned they talked to three doctors, he has at least six doctors. ALL of his physicians have attested to his disabilities and have shown proof. In fact, he caught a simple cold a few months back and had to be HOSPITALIZED. His doctors told him it is likely that every time he gets a cold this will happen! I mean what the hell people? His heart isn't functioning near what it should, he has circulatory problems, diabetes neuropathy, pinched nerves, herniated disks, COPD, congestive heart failure, a serious hip problem, carpal tunnal and a whole host of problems. Social Security wanted to know if his condition was terminal. His doctors told them it is, eventually it may be one of those things that does it for him.

I know he never expected his life to be like this. He has worked hard since he was just 14 years old. Dad grew up poor in a very proud and hardworking Georgia family. He worked when he was a kid, joined the Air Force later on, and when he got out he worked his way up through the same company for 27 years, in a job that caused his carpal tunnel and most of his arthritis. Dad has ALWAYS worked. I don't ever recall him taking many vacation days or calling in sick. In fact, dad received recognition for perfect attendance over the period of 26 of 27 years of service.

How many people can boast that?

You might think I'm pretty protective of dad. Well hell YES I am, we all are. Dad worked when he was sick, he worked in the rain, in the snow, in the sleet, he worked for 12 hours at a time on top of telephone poles, he worked all day in nasty, damp, vermin filled manholes. He wired telephone cables for so many years, eventually it caused his hands to hurt all the time. And when he wasn't at work, but at home with his family, he worked too. He was NEVER sitting down, he was always fixing things, building things, keeping things going on the outside while mom did the inside. My dad has always sacrificed for his family many times he went without for us. He and mom always took care of us, always paid their bills, paid their taxes, and God knows that the government took more than its fair share of taxes from them in the very plentiful days.

And now, after all these years of paying into the system, they're giving him the finger and the good old fuck you. Sorry for the language folks, but I'm just angry. I'm tired of my dad being treated like he's a second class citizen who doesn't matter.

He does matter.

This situation is just one more example of yet another in a very long list of corrupt, mismanaged, taxpayer funded government agencies staffed by morons and managed by a bunch of equally incompetent jackasses. I am just sick and tired of paying into government programs that trip over their own feet in an effort to give away our hard earned tax dollars to the "poor, unfortunate, disadvantaged" people in this country while at the same time saying "fuck you" to the law abiding, decent, hardworking, middle class people like my parents who have NEVER taken a single dime from any government program, but whose tax dollars sure as hell are sucked into them every payday.

I've had it.


  1. Anonymous2/27/2006

    Oh Jess! I know all too well what you are talking about. Paige does not qualify for SSI because we make too much money. ROFL! The government surely doesn't mind sucking the money out of our paycheck to funnel it to other "needy" people. Her first pediatrician advised us to file for disability. He had kids that recieved SSI and all they had was attention defeceit disorder. He said some of them received as much as $400 a month. What is up with this? There has to be a way for the citizens of this country to change this corrupt and warped system. We pay in all our lives and can't get any of our own money back when bad times come our way. The icing on the cake is finding out who all is getting OUR money. I know people who get disability and they are able to do anything and everything they want. It is infuriating.

    I will definitely keep your dad in my prayers. I'm praying for his health and that he will finally be able to get his money back!

    luv ya, Susan

  2. From what I understand, it is standard procedure to deny everyone who applies for SSDI the first time. It's just sickening that someone who is young and actually able to work can qualify and your dad, in what should be his golden years, can't catch a break. I hope it turns out better than you are expecting.

  3. Susan, JY you guys are awesome, thanks for lifting my spirits. Luv ya guys!