Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Reason #3479 Why You Should Not Trust Your Government

Today is my Dad's 51st birthday. Just because the guy can't catch a break and the universe loves a good chuckle at his expense, he found out today that the state is taking away his computer and camera.

A little background info...

After my Dad's health began to decline and he could no longer do the work he'd been doing all of his adult life he found out about vocational rehabilitation. It's a state program that pays for people in certain circumstances to go back to school to get a degree and ultimately find employment. My father applied and was accepted and graduated a couple years ago with a degree in graphic design. The state provided him with a computer and very nice 35mm camera. My Dad was told that after he had the computer for 3 years that it would be considered his. Apparently, the person who told him this was mistaken.

This morning Dad got a call saying that they would be picking up the computer next Thursday along with the camera. Geof and I are headed down to see them this weekend because he needs me to help him delete all of his personal files from the computer.

All this just makes me sick. What more does he have to go through. If I were to sit here and tell you his life story just from the last 10 years you'd say that there was no way that one man could be handed so much shit in one decade. He has no legs from the knee down, he's diabetic and has all the ailments that go along with that. He can't work...period, yet, he has been denied disability benefits twice now. This last time he called a lawyer and they're supposed to be working things out with Uncle Sam. It's been over a year with no progress. Geof is the only reason he's still alive I know this because he's said it. My mom is the sole provider. She's overworked and underpaid and their life savings were depleted years ago. It's not like he's looking for a handout, just a hand up. He needs help. They are maybe 2 pay checks away from living on the streets. He paid into the system, why can't he get the help he desperately needs and is owed? What's really a kick in the nuts is the fact that his doctors are stunned that he hasn't been approved for benefits. Anyone he has ever told his story to have been appalled by the social services system. Several people have contacted the governor and other political officials for help. All anyone gets is a generic letter with a generic letter head and stamped signature. Hell, I've even written to fucking Oprah Winfrey on several occasions. What are people supposed to do? There is a man we know of who had some kidney trouble, but who could still work to support his family and is now 100% healthy who is on disability and his driveway is full of brand new cars, he lives in a brand new house, etc. It's not fair. Nathaniel has offered to take my Dad to Raleigh so that those fat fucks who make the decisions can see for themselves what kind of shape he's in physically. The emotional toll that all of this shit has taken on him is very hard for me as his daughter to watch. He is a shell of the man he used to be. It's frightening to realize your own father's mortality. He's always been a big tough burly guy. He's wasting away and wishes for death. Thanks be to all that is good in this universe for Geof....he keeps us all going. But is it fair to put so much weight on a 2 year old's shoulders? Granted he doesn't know any different. But if he did, imagine the gravity of it all. We are all part of the reason that he is here, but he's the reason that we stay.

Happy birthday, Daddy, I love you more than you know.


Blogger Stacey said...

That's so awful.

I hope your dad is able to get somewhere with a lawyer to help. From what I've seen with a couple of friends, it seems to take a lawyer to get disability benefits no matter how disabled you are. One friend of mine had total/permanent kidney failure and was seriously ill. He was spending 4+ hours a day, 3-4 days a week having dialysis while waiting for his transplant--and they still turned him down the first time even though kidney failure requiring dialysis is supposed to automatically qualify a person for SSDI. The system is totally insane.

January 11, 2006 12:31 PM  
Blogger Mamacita said...

My gosh, that's AWFUL. What a sad commentary on our society. I hope the lawyer can get someone to get sensible here. Good luck. (My dad lost his legs to diabetes, too. And he spent hours a week at the kidney dialysis unit. Sigh.)

January 18, 2006 3:17 PM  
Blogger Nickels said...

You're tugging at my heart strings. Get that man to Canada..we'll help him out.

January 26, 2006 5:32 PM  

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