Matthew Lickona 2:45 p.m., Dec. 10
You Want A Slotted Head Or A Phillips With That?
"Here it come...you're never gonna stop it!" --Twisted Sister, from "You Can't Stop Rock And Roll!" (my favorite TS song, by the way)
I noticed that my weekly stipend check from my payee had not come last week. So, I get on the horn to my payee (The Organizer II) to check on the status of my check.
Ten minutes go by... The phone lady informs me that my SSDI bennies had been stopped, effective July 31st of this year.
WHOOOP! WHOOP! WHOOP! CODE BLOOD-RED!
I quickly put on my shoes and socks, grab my waist pouch, and head over to the bus stop. From there, I catch the 305 Westbound to Vista Transit Center. From THERE, I catch the Westbound Sprinter to the El Camino Real Stop. All the while, I'm trying to maintain my composure. It just would not do to have yet another nervous breakdown on a NCTD bus.
11:06hrs: I catch the Southbound 309 to the stop next to the 7-Eleven. From there, it's a bit of a uphill hike to the Social Security Administration's Oceanside Field Office. I stop for a minute to rest, then make my way through the door.
11:25hrs: I get my "line number," take a seat, and wait. There are only four ahead of me, so I'll be out of there in less than two hours.
11:47hrs: My number is called. I go to window 4. I have my CDL and my Social Security card out, and present them to this nice young man doing the intake. I explain my situation to him, then he inputs my SS# into his terminal.
He tells me that according to Social Security records, I had made "too much money" working at a partt time job, and that my bennies were supposed to be terminated as of July of 2007.
MAJOR OBVIOUS BRAVO SIERRA ALERT HERE!
First off, I'm always careful about checking the "yearly per-month earnings cap" for SSDI cash bennies/Medicare A,B,& D. Then, I notify my employer that I recieve SSDI, and that I need to cut back my hours to fit my mothly gross pay under the cap. They always co-operate.
The young man agrees, tells me that I should never have been chopped in the first place . So, we fill out a form requesting reconsideration of the decision, and he files it.
WHY DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS SOONER?
I would have...except all of my Social Security correspondence went to my payee instead of me! This very same problem affected my Medi-Cal bennies from January-March of 2007. The problem: UNTIL I CALLED THEM, THEY DID NOT TELL ME DIDDLY/SQUAT!
Obviously, they assume that if they just send my the weekly stipend checks, everything will be cool...why bother me with forms from the Social Security Administration, California Department Of Health Services, and the like? BECAUSE THAT IS "NEED TO KNOW" INFORMATION--AS IN "I NEED TO KNOW THESE THINGS!"
I also filed a "Change of Address" form with Social Security. My intake worker told me that my bennies will be restarted (pending final outcome) in 3-4 weeks.
13:20hrs--Leave Social Security Field Office feeling better. Board 309 Northbound for trip to ECR Sprinter Station and home.
Two days later: I get a form in the mail--they already have reconsidered my status--and it stands.
GIANT ECONOMY-SIZED WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT MIKE FOXTROT.
However, I also get a note from my assigned caseworker, Mr. Kwamoto, leaving his phone number. I put that in my cell phone.
The next day: I have to write my Dad and tell him the situation. Pending the outcome of my meeting with Mr. Kwamoto, he's thinking about helping me out with my rent-if needed. He's actually pretty mild about it.
Friday the 13th: I get a package from Social Security in the mail--one that Regina (our resident manager) brings to my door. It consists of the following: 1) Application for renewed Social Security bennies. 2) Repayment Reduction Request 3) "Activities Of Daily Living" worksheets. 4) Envelope to mail it all in (no way! I'm schlepping that puppy to the field office!).
According to the note attached to the paperwork, I am to fill out all of it as part of the re-determination process.
SAY WHAT? YOU TURKEYS JUST REJECTED MY REQUEST TWO DAYS AGO!
August 15th: Spent part of the night filling out as much as I can. I'm to see Mr Kwamoto on 18-Aug ay 14:00. Hope he can help me out here!
When I talked to my Dad on 14-Aug, he thought that I was getting the same jobbing that I recieved when I first applied for Social Security bennies back in 1987. The fact that it took the ruling of an Administrative Law Judge to start my bennies in April of 1988 makes me realize that Social Security is asking me one simple question:
"YOU WANT A PHILLIPS HEAD OR A SLOTTED HEAD WITH THAT SCREW?"
I have an appointment with my therapist Ed McShane at 11:00hrs. I'm taking all of the paperwork with me when I go. Dad will be checking in on Thursday.
I'll keep you informed--I ask that you keep me in your prayers in return!