Social Security vrs Voc Rehab

My mother was thrown off a horse years ago and broke her back in three places. She continued to work as an RN for a full year in a back brace that ran from the top of her hips all the way up to her neck. She also had to wear elastic panty hose to support her legs and keep her from getting blood clots. After she worked like that for a year, her doctor told her to set a date, quit working, and apply for Social Security Disability. It took a long time for her to be approved for Social Security benefits, but she eventually did start receiving a check. However, every few months, she would receive a letter telling her she needed to be seen by the Social Security doctors to determine if she was still disabled or if her condition had improved enough to return to the work force. Time after time she would go in to be evaluated and each time she was classified as disabled. Now, that mom is almost 86 years old, and living in a nursing home, she still receives letters asking if she is able to return to work. I must have the doctor at the nursing home complete the form every few months to say her condition has not changed…Am I missing something here or are they?

When Shantel turned eighteen, she applied for Social Security Disability to help supplement her  living expenses including some of her college needs.  Again, it took a while for her case to be decided, but she finally was approved after several months, and receives a small monthly check. She was told if she didn’t live at home, she would receive more money, but if she didn’t live at home right now, she wouldn’t be able to attend college at all since no one is willing to hire her. It amazed me how long her approval took since all her supporting documentation from her doctors clearly state she had both eyes removed when she was two. Social Security Disability benefits clearly state it covers blindness. I don’t know how much more blind you can get than to have your eyes removed. However, she is now receiving letters letting her know she needs to set up an appointment with her Social Security Case Manager so they can evaluate if she is still eligible for her disability benefits.

Other than the issues of having to go in at all to show them her eyes didn’t grow back, she has not been able to reach the Case Manager at all. She was told she had to have an appointment set up with the Case Manager by May 2nd or her benefits could be canceled. Shantel tries to call her Case Manager everyday. She was able to leave a message once letting her know she is trying to reach her to schedule the appointment, but her call was never returned. Shantel even called the main Social Security number to see if anyone else could help her but was told she had to work with her own Case Manager…What a circus and waste of time and money this has been.

Now I understand that there are many, many people who scam the government. But, why not go after them, and leave the people who clearly are qualified, and need the benefits, and whose conditions are never going to change alone? I wonder how much money that would save the government every year?

Shantel also receives benefits from Voc Rehab which pays for her college tuition. The agreement is they help her get her higher education, which in turn will help her get a higher paying job and allow her to not need Social Security Benefits. Then, once Shantel has her education and degrees to support her career, she agrees to give back by doing work for Voc Rehab…all sounds perfect right? Wrong…Shantel is required to meet with her Voc Rehab Case Manager anytime they ask her to come in. She also has to maintain a certain grade point average, and report any and all changes in her school, living arrangement etc. to her Case Manager.

Shantel had many problems with her Voc Rehab Case Manager who would threaten to pull her funding for any reason at all including because she didn’t think Shantel should use the college tutoring program to help her with her math. It got to the point that Shantel had to request a new Case Manager which has been done. Now, Shantel needs to set up an appointment to meet face-to-face with her new Case Manager in order for them to continue to pay her tuition. Shantel has been calling the new Case Manager to schedule the appointment for the past three weeks. No response to any of her calls. What is wrong with our government agencies? They make rules they insist you follow or they will “cut off you payments” but they are never available when you call and never return your calls. It’s like they set you up for failure from the beginning, but I am proud of the way Shantel has handled all the follow-ups she has had to do even though she is more than frustrated with all the run-a-rounds…

I’m all for these government agencies as I know they help many, many people. But, when I hear stories about how some people abuse their government benefits and/or try to run scams with their government benefit money, I wonder how they can get away with all that without being caught right away since I know my family members are hounded almost constantly to prove they are really eligible? What’s up with that?

Next: Grandchildren

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    May 04, 2012 @ 00:29:44

    This sounds very similar to my experience with my dad’s pension through the VA. It’s just unbelievable isn’t it? xoxoxo


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