Bipolar Bliss n' Blues

This is my personal fufillment/journal diary blog. I am bi-polar and sometimes its a little hard to sort out all that craziness, the feelings, the rush of emotions. This is my sanctuary. Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose. Lets see if I grow up to BE someone! Or... fade into the background like a wilted orchid. Once beautiful, now overshadowed by others in vibrance and ambition. Like minded souls, let us share in each others wisdom, celebrate life's victories, and support each other whenever we stumble.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Government: No Soup for You! (Until you drop out of School)

How The Government really works when you are undergraduate adult college student suffering/recovering from a mental/mood disorder and you need some money for food.

I spent a good majority of today trying to find VOC Rehab in Burlington, VT. The official government sites, The department of Mental Health, Human Services AND Social Security all have Vermont's VOC Rehab (short for Vocational Rehabilitation) listed as: I have no idea when the last official "update" to any of their sites were, but I have a feeling someone is lying when they say "last updated April 16th, 2010," or something to that extent. We all know the government can hire some lazy, ignorant and unfeeling individuals for jobs that require more than what they are willing to give. Its nice that as long as they arrive at work on time, they are allowed to keep their jobs. Even if they suck at them. Even if they don't really care about the job they are performing or the people they are interacting with/assisting. I picture a doughy, fairly well dressed individual with a high sense of self and a general cloud of unawareness floating above their heads.
Today I see the cloud floating while the government agent takes a nap at their desk. Feet stretched out in front of them, resting comfortably on a semi-cluttered desk. That's what I picture TC as when I close my eyes. She works at the Department for Children and Family Services in Burlington, VT. Unfortunately, she seems to be the only one who can make appointments for you when you are seeking food stamps/financial assistance. I say unfortunately because I had the pleasure of meeting her ONCE, the first time she denied me food stamps because I was- GET THIS- going to school.

"As a student, you are required to work at least 20 hours part time while you are enrolled in college."
"Um.. I'm on unemployment. I've been trying to get a job. There aren't any. I'm still waiting to hear back from workstudy at CCV.."
"Oh, well... I'm sorry we can't help you. You have to be working 20 hours in order to recieve benefits."

(starting to cry a little..) .."You mean there isn't anything, you- you or anyone here can do for me? Because I'm in school?"
"Well there are programs. We do have the food shelf."
"Yeah, that will provide some real heathy meals for me. Anything canned and preservative filled. Great for my mental health."
"There are other programs." (fake sympathy smile) "Its better than nothing right?"
"So... let me get this straight.. If I was not working, not trying to better myself, further my education... essentially NOT TRYING. Than I get food stamps."
"Yes you would."
"So if I drop out of class now, I could get food stamps?"
"Doesn't this system seem kind of fucked up to you? If I don't do anything- If I just sit on my butt, I get Unemployment, Free Health Care, Free Meds, and Food Stamps."
"This is the system we have in place."
"Well something needs to change because its fucking backwards."

Okay so that was my first and only face-to-face meeting with T. She wasn't doughy and she wasn't napping with her feet on the desk. But I did get a nice self-satisfied air of smuggness and lack of human compassion from her. She looked like she worked in a professional environment, but maybe, once upon a time, she enjoyed shooting hoops or playing soccer in highs school. Maybe she was one of those bitchy cross country (x country) intermural activity girls. You know the ones. They act like they are perfect students, perfect people, all nice, smiling and friendly. You would never guess they were some of the biggest bullies, agressors, bitches, prima-donnas. Or, maybe you would. Depends on if the popular thing to do at your school was sports or arts. At Essex High School, in the war of Sports vs. Arts, Sports kicked our asses.
--Okay, getting off topic. We'll just say I met T, she was pretty much what I percieved a government employee, there to help people in tough situations, would be like. And, she didn't help me. I applied for food stamps about 6 other times. Most of the time, even though I told her NOT to call me, she would call me to set up another appointment. Or to do a phone interview. I think the last three applications I specifically wrote in several places- "PLEASE DO NOT CALL ME- I MAY NOT HAVE ACCESS TO A PHONE." I also checked the box that asks if you would like your worker to mail you a notice when they have decided on an appointment time for you. All of those times, I recieved a phone call. I also got 2 notices saying I had missed our scheduled interview and now I would need to call and RESCHEDULE. I called and asked them how I could possibly reschedule something that wasn't schedueled in the first place, considering I knew nothing about it and recieved no prior notice. I couldn't even win that argument. I was told that was just a formality. It doesn't actually mean "rescheduel." WTF? Why don't they just say, "Okay, when would you like to schedule an appointment, Miss L?" I feel like all of this can't really be that hard!... Can it?

Last thing I wanted to rant about was the fabulous TC's love of wasting paper. The worst display of that was when I recieved 4 different letters from DFC (Vermont Department of Children and Family Services), all 4 from T. 2 of them said I had missed yet another appointment. The other 2 said, due to an unexpected increase in numbers of applications they had recieved for 3squares (Food Stamps), It was taking a little while for mine to process. If I didn't hear back within the next two weeks, I should contact them. They were dated one day apart from each other, but all mailed the same day. All of these letters had stamps on them of course. Stamps funded by the tax dollars provided by Vermont Tax Payers. Basically stamps paid for by people like me to send redundent and contridicting letters to people like me. I paid for TC's waste of paper.

... I called them that day and asked for ANYONE to help me other than T. I was told I couldn't switch the person who was assigned to me. T handles my case. I asked for a supervisor and was told no one would be able to help me. again. (sigh). I do wish, just a little bit, my fellow Vermonters would read this blog. Just this entry. Maybe it would tell them they are not alone when it comes with dealing with the select morons seated in those cushy government chairs. Metaphorical feet propped up on the desk. They might as well just use my body for a fucking ottoman....... Needless to say, I have not reapplied. Yet.

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