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Author Topic: Lemonade, anyone...?  (Read 2447 times)

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Offline Solo_LTSurvivor

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Lemonade, anyone...?
« on: June 17, 2009, 02:09:32 PM »
First of all let me preface this by saying that I know there are many others out there who may be dealing with situations much worse than I could ever imagine.  Many times we get so frustrated in trying to make the best of things and deal with the frustration, especially when nothing seems to be going in our favor.  Most times it helps a lot of you feel like you're being heard.  With that, it's time to dive right in.

I originally posted about my experiences in the past -- and I've run out of lemons to make lemonade, so I need someone to listen again.

As I don't want to recap the entire situation before getting to the heart of the matter, you can peruse the following links in order to get up to speed.

The initial outline from 8/2008 of my situation can be found here:

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=22383.msg285374;topicseen#msg285374

I followed up with an update in 10/2008 -- and it can be found here:

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=23409.msg297682;topicseen#msg297682

Now on with the show.  As I have always been proactive and have little use for case managers, caseworkers, and the like because they have only served to make me more frustrated because many of them have not been helpful to me.  I'm not saying all of them are BAD, just the ones I have encountered.  Therefore, I always empower myself and don't wait on anyone to do anything, unless I encounter a roadblock.  And even then, I keep at it, while seeing what they can do in an effort to assist me.

When I saw I was getting absolutely nowhere in succeeding in persuading Medicaid to approve my being able to go elsewhere to seek dental treatment, I decided it would be best to blow them all off and go back to work and just pay for my own damn denture.  So I registered with a temp agency in 10/2008 which specialized in placement of workers with disabilities.  They managed to finally call me in 12/2008 and offered me a fairly long-term position paying half of what I made per hour when I temped in 2002.  Yes, the going rate they offered was $9.98/hr -- but it eventually got bumped up to $11.  I worked until the contract ended in 5/2009 and managed to save half of the amount I planned on putting toward dental implants done at a local School Of Dentistry.  

Sidebar:  Unless you've worn dentures, you have no idea of the agony some people go through trying to wear them.  While it doesn't happen to everyone, there is a small minority which encounters extreme difficulty -- and I happen to be in that bunch, especially since I am forced with wearing the temp denture I got in 10/2007 thanks to Medicaid.  So I just want to be able to have as less of an appliance in my mouth, meaning I would need implants to secure it.

As sure as there is a higher power, I should've known I would be tested.  In 2/2009 a scum-bag bottom feeder of a debt collector saw I had a source of income so he initiated proceedings on collecting a judgment entered against me on an ancient debt.  I discovered when I was searching for my info on the Civil Court website, there were over 1500 entries I had to wade through he had filed in court against people so it was clear to see this is how he made a lot of his money.

It was a hassle, but after two court appearances when he saw I wasn't willing to settle, the case was dismissed.  I had an excellent HIV Legal Aid attorney helping me out.

I knew that I needed to report any and all income to the SSA which I did promptly -- and had scheduled an appointment to go in to see them in person in 4/2009 to insure they were clear on everything.  Of course the day of, the office was temporarily closed.

Fast forward.  I get a letter two days ago stating that I am in now in danger of my SSDI benefits being shut off because I had used all of the 9 months trial work period and had made more than the $980/month substantial gainful activity allowance (SGA) in 2/2009.

Yes, I worked for 6 months in 2006 (and made more than the $860 SGA).  I reported this income to the SSA after I stopped working in 2006.  Then I worked from 12/2008- 5/2009, making more than the SGA.  

Of course I noticed the letter had the wrong dates so I try to call my local field office immediately.  Busy. So I call the 800#.  Got a great representative who understood completely and advised me of the best way to handle things in order to not be terminated because she understood that HIV is not one of those health issues that "improves."  

She tried to schedule an appointment with my local field office while we were on the phone, and couldn't get through either. She tells me in the end that our conversation should be accessible in the system so that if I call the local office I can try and schedule the appointment myself as opposed to waiting on them to call me.

I was on hold 78 minutes before I finally hung up when I was able to get through to my local field office this morning.  I call the 800# back to see if they might be able to try to schedule this appointment again for me -- and the rep I get today claims she sees nothing in the system regarding the conversation I had yesterday with the helpful lady.  Puts me on hold.  Comes back and tells me to just take documentation to my local field office, so I just thanked her and hung up.  

Extremely frustrating, as usual.  So I will try again to see if I get another rep on the 800# and maybe they can offer more assistance, while still trying to get someone to pick up at the field office because I am not about to go there without an appointment.

On another note, after this temp position ended last month, I had decided that I wanted to go back to school and had started the application process at one of the colleges I'm interested in.  I'm finally at the point in my life where I can attend to some things I want to really do.  Things seem to be going OK so I'm waiting on the status.  Finding out I can get financial aid, schools are emailing me, yada yada yada but no acceptance letter.  So I try a few emails and calls to check on the status.  As bad as dealing with the SSA because you cannot get through to anyone.

Finally yesterday, I manage to speak to someone at the particular college after I hung up from the nice lady at SSA.  Am told that I would require to be on a certain "level" before they could admit me.  Ironic that a decade ago, I got accepted at NYU with no problem and hadn't set foot in any school in some years.  But somehow I guess I've gotten dumber as time has progressed. (Rolling eyes).  It just wasn't the right time for me to go to NYU (or any school at that time).

I'll be 46 this coming Saturday, and I just have to laugh at all of these things when they happen.  Sure, I'm totally frustrated -- but whatever. Growing up and becoming mature, seasoned, and wise, helps tremendously.  Although I'm all out of lemons, I can find a way to get the desired end result.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot: This morning that same temp agency called to offer me another position 41 days to the day after the last one ended: it pays $10/hr.

I might be disabled, but I'm not desperate.  I'll work on sorting out my SSA mess and my goal of getting myself into the college of my choice in the meantime.  It will be full of frustration, but I'll make it happen. Even the dental fiasco will come to a positive resolution, eventually.

I may have hiv, but it doesn't have as much of a hold on me at it thinks it does :)

Thanks for reading.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2009, 02:27:50 PM by Solo_LTSurvivor »
don't equate intelligence with lack of masculinity
Jim Phelps, Mission Impossible
____________________________

Seroconverted: Early 80s
Tested & confirmed what I already knew: early 90s

Current regimen: Atripla. 
Last regimen:  Epzicom, Sustiva (since its inception with NO adverse side effects: no vivid dreams and NONE of the problems people who can't tolerate this drug may experience: color me lucky ::))
Past regimens
Fun stuff (in the past):  HAV/HBV, crypto, shingles, AIDS, PCP

Jan 2012: 818/21%
Apr 2012: 964/22%
Jul. 2012: 890/21%
Oct. 2012: 920/23%

Still UD after all these years

Offline Solo_LTSurvivor

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  • Posts: 1,176
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Re: Lemonade, anyone...?
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2009, 06:53:06 PM »

Fast forward.  I get a letter two days ago stating that I am in now in danger of my SSDI benefits being shut off because I had used all of the 9 months trial work period and had made more than the $980/month substantial gainful activity allowance (SGA) in 2/2009.

Yes, I worked for 6 months in 2006 (and made more than the $860 SGA).  I reported this income to the SSA after I stopped working in 2006.  Then I worked from 12/2008- 5/2009, making more than the SGA.  

Of course I noticed the letter had the wrong dates so I try to call my local field office immediately.  Busy. So I call the 800#.  Got a great representative who understood completely and advised me of the best way to handle things in order to not be terminated because she understood that HIV is not one of those health issues that "improves."  

She tried to schedule an appointment with my local field office while we were on the phone, and couldn't get through either. She tells me in the end that our conversation should be accessible in the system so that if I call the local office I can try and schedule the appointment myself as opposed to waiting on them to call me.

I was on hold 78 minutes before I finally hung up when I was able to get through to my local field office this morning.  I call the 800# back to see if they might be able to try to schedule this appointment again for me -- and the rep I get today claims she sees nothing in the system regarding the conversation I had yesterday with the helpful lady.  Puts me on hold.  Comes back and tells me to just take documentation to my local field office, so I just thanked her and hung up.  

Extremely frustrating, as usual.  So I will try again to see if I get another rep on the 800# and maybe they can offer more assistance, while still trying to get someone to pick up at the field office because I am not about to go there without an appointment.


I called the 800# back a few minutes ago, and another nice lady was able to see all of the notations regarding my conversation from yesterday.  She said she would try to set up an appt for me, but they were booked solid and she had no idea of when the first available would be.  BUT she did state that since I had called and it was documented, I am safe, for now, because the letter I received gives me a 10 day DEADLINE to respond or they make the decision.

Seems like customer service is such a luck of the draw, especially when you get people who hate to do their f*cking job, and it seems to be more and more commonplace when you have people working in a capacity where they have someone else's life in their hands.
don't equate intelligence with lack of masculinity
Jim Phelps, Mission Impossible
____________________________

Seroconverted: Early 80s
Tested & confirmed what I already knew: early 90s

Current regimen: Atripla. 
Last regimen:  Epzicom, Sustiva (since its inception with NO adverse side effects: no vivid dreams and NONE of the problems people who can't tolerate this drug may experience: color me lucky ::))
Past regimens
Fun stuff (in the past):  HAV/HBV, crypto, shingles, AIDS, PCP

Jan 2012: 818/21%
Apr 2012: 964/22%
Jul. 2012: 890/21%
Oct. 2012: 920/23%

Still UD after all these years

Online Miss Philicia

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  • Posts: 23,875
  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: Lemonade, anyone...?
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2009, 08:20:42 PM »
Hey, Solo.  I read your first post this morning and just wanted to say that I'm thinking of you.  I can't particularly add much, except that yes dealing with any big entity like SS can be a very trying experience.  Documentation is key, and forcing that they record things and giving you a confirmation code of some sort and then keeping a running diary in a notebook of who you spoke with and what was said on your end is IMO compulsory. 

Hope things work out for you.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Robert

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,643
Re: Lemonade, anyone...?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2009, 11:22:29 PM »
hi solo.

i went back and read your stuff again too.  I got your back, so to speak.  I'm in the same way, sorta.  Long story short, ATT owes me $600.00.  BAck on April 11, I got a supervisor to approve the payment.  A month ago I got a credit for $40.  I spent 45 minutes on the phone today asking when I was going to get the $560.  Customer service wouldn't transfer me to a supervisor as it had all been documented and perhaps they had just overlooked it.  She said she sent off an email to some supervisor and told them to call me back.  I told her in the 2 months I've been talking to them about this, I've been promised many call-backs but have never gotten one.  I don't expect it to be any different this time.

So I'll call monday and we'll see what happens.  The fact that 1:  a supervisor approved it and 2: they sent me $40.00, will make it very difficult for them to back off on the remainder $560.  Years ago I would have been livid and uptight. Now, I just shrug my shoulders and know it will happen. 

Que sera sera.

robt
..........

Offline Solo_LTSurvivor

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  • Posts: 1,176
  • Twerk Baby Twerk
Re: Lemonade, anyone...?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2009, 01:55:47 PM »

Hey, Solo.  I read your first post this morning and just wanted to say that I'm thinking of you.  I can't particularly add much...

Hope things work out for you.


hi solo.

i went back and read your stuff again too.  I got your back, so to speak....  Years ago I would have been livid and uptight. Now, I just shrug my shoulders and know it will happen. 

Que sera sera.

robt
__________________________________________________________________

You guys didn't have to say anything.  Just knowing you read through my novella, understood, and related to my juxtaposed rambling spoke volumes.

Although I don't post here often, I do browse frequently and can honestly say that I feel quite fortunate to have access to a group of such caring people.

I am totally aware of the documentation requirement when it comes to dealing with people, in general.   It always comes in handy when you have to prove your case, as you never quite know when you will encounter difficulties forging ahead. Sad, but true.

I really appreciate the time you guys took to make me feel heard.

And since I'm trying not to crank out another novel here, I'll wrap up by reiterating you guys are the greatest.
don't equate intelligence with lack of masculinity
Jim Phelps, Mission Impossible
____________________________

Seroconverted: Early 80s
Tested & confirmed what I already knew: early 90s

Current regimen: Atripla. 
Last regimen:  Epzicom, Sustiva (since its inception with NO adverse side effects: no vivid dreams and NONE of the problems people who can't tolerate this drug may experience: color me lucky ::))
Past regimens
Fun stuff (in the past):  HAV/HBV, crypto, shingles, AIDS, PCP

Jan 2012: 818/21%
Apr 2012: 964/22%
Jul. 2012: 890/21%
Oct. 2012: 920/23%

Still UD after all these years

 


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