Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Husband's Blog

Well, I think I finally managed to do it. I think Dave is working on a blog now. Well, he has it setup at any rate. I just checked it, and he has not actually posted to it yet. But, it is http://aphasiarecovery101.blogspot.com/. He will probably write about how mean I am to make him do this, but he really does need to write more.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Troubles with Social Security

Ugh, I'm so disgusted with Social Security. My husband has been considered disabled for nearly 2.5 years now. He should be enrolled in Medicare automatically as of December 31, but I have not seen any paperwork on it yet. I also had questions about what the money our daughter is receiving should be going towards, since we are going to get audited once a year on it.

I called SS to ask these questions. The first gal refused to check Dave's file to see if I was listed as his rep until Dave could provide her with his mother's maiden name. (Yes, that is what she said, she would not even open his file to check until HE answered the security questions.) Well, he has aphasia. One of the things that he CANNOT say is his mother's maiden name. When I tried to help him pronounce it, the gal said that I could not answer for him, and refused to have anything else to do with us.

I called back, and got a gal who just would NOT shut up. She was trying to tell me that I had to go to the local office to ask my questions (the LOCAL office is an hour away). I could not get a word in edgewise. I finally said, "Would you shut up and listen to what I have to say?" She said, "You did not just tell me to shut up!" and immediately put me on hold for five minutes. Now, keep in mind, it takes about 15 minutes to get a live person on the phone in the first place. When she came back on the phone, she said, "Now where were we?" I said, "I want to speak with your supervisor." She said, "OK," and hung up on me. HUNG UP!!! Social Security is supposed to be there to help people, not give us this BS!

I called back a third time, in tears. I reached a kind man named Thomas, who had one of those voices that was very soothing to listen to. He actually took the time to explain what all had just happened (it turns out I was not listed in the computer as Dave's rep, even though I could have sworn we had arranged that when I filled out the paperwork 2.5 years ago). He patiently allowed Dave to practice saying his mother's maiden name, and was willing to accept the fact that he was as close as he was going to get, considering his aphasia. He answered my questions very quickly and kindly, and seemed very knowledgable. Considering my treatment by the other two reps, I was very grateful.

Keep in mind, I was not asking for any personal info. I was asking when we could expect info regarding Medicare to arrive in the mail. There should be a standard answer for this, regardless of who the rep is talking to (Thomas said that it is within 2 months, and that I should expect it sometime this month). I was asking for approved expenditures as a representative payee for my daughter. There should be a list somewhere (the pamphlet is a bit vague, like it does not mention if her payments can go towards the mortgage - Thomas said it can). It is not like I was asking for his social security number, address, amount received, etc. I just had general questions.

Oh, the cool thing about Thomas was that it turns out he is completely blind, since birth. He has a seeing-eye dog under the table. I did not think to ask him how he was able to read the computer, but I guess there are standard processes for such things these days. When he heard I was a beekeeper, he told me about how a friend of his had taken his hand, placed it in a hive, and allowed the bees to crawl all over it. Thomas said it was rare that he could tell someone about that experience, and how special it had been for him. I told him about how my daughter, who was 9-months at the time of this incident, had figured out how to open one of our observation hives, and had laughed as the bees had walked and tickled all over her hand, and did not get stung. I also told him how a blind man had come to our shop several weeks ago, and we had placed his hand on the glass portion of the observation hive so that he could feel the vibrations of the bees as they kept their babies warm.

I guess I had a bonding moment with Thomas. I plan to write a letter to Social Security, and forward copies of it to my congressman and the congressman in the Ft. Lauderdale area (where Thomas works). Hopefully, I can get someone yelled at, and someone else a commendation.