Thursday, July 30, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
After spending 4 days in court, judges insisted that I hire (and pay for) a court reporter since they would not accept an affidavit from my an attorney in Pennsylvania.
The landlord did a "garnishment execution" without my knowledge for several hundreds of dollars which included attorneys fees, however the attorney refused to speak with me directly throughout the entire process, and told me if I wanted any information about my account, I would have too have an attorney contact him.
I have received no response from anyone in Metro despite multiple communications with virtually every office ranging from the Metro City Council, the Mayors Office of Neighborhoods, Metro Social Services, my Congressman, my state representative. I am truly disgusted by the apathy and lack of human decency and courtesy that I have received from a city I have thought of as home for the last fourteen years. In fact, the only time I received any calls or emails from people I once respected and supported, were in reference to campaign contributions asking me to support them at upcoming events and elections.
That makes me sick. I have volunteered my time and money even when I didn't have it. I have decided to leave this place, however I don't even have enough money to do that. I do not have an address so I cannot even update my drivers license or voter registration.
I spend my nights sitting outside CyberSquatting since the temporary housing facility I have been staying at removed the modem to prevent me from filing complaints. The other residents have destroyed my property, disposed of my food and became violent with me. One came within inches of hitting me with a waffle iron simply because I asked where I could place my food since it keeps getting thrown out or moved. I have been told by instructed not to call mobile crisis since they do not want to neighbors to know that this place is really just a nut house in disguise.
My personal items including paperwork that is necessary to appeal my Social Security disability scheduled to be terminated on the 1st as well as other benefits I receive such as food stamps to help me scrape by on $606.00 per month.
I had to pay substantial fees to obtain certified documents from Court in order to verify that the account had in fact been settled, yet I still cannot find a single person to assist me in resolving this horrific situation yet even homeless prevention services is unable to assist me.
Welcome to my city: Nashville, Tennessee. You #fail
Updated July 27, 2009 8:45am
FOR A CURRENT UPDATE: PLEASE REFER TO THIS LINK: August 30, 2009 No Hope for the Homeless in Nashville, TN
Friday, July 24, 2009
Social Security barely covers the gas I need to get downtown, let alone the prescriptions I need to maintain some degree of sanity through this never-ending nightmare I have been living since 1995.
I would very much like to continue working as an advocate for the un and underinsured since I know how devastating and difficult it has been to go through this experience. Since many of you had me in class as a student, I am hoping—no. I am begging any of you to help me get off welfare so that I can contribute to society rather than live of your taxes.
I humbly request any assistance you may be able to provide to help me pursue my dreams of becoming an advocate and voice for people like myself who re trapped in a cycle of poverty.
I will not pretend that this experience has made me a stronger or happier person being, but it has taught what it feels like to be completely marginalized and written off by society. No one deserves to feel that way: ever!
I would like to attach a writing sample with this letter so you have a better understanding of just how devastating and incapacity such a loss can be to a young person who once had dreams, hopes, and possibly even a financially secure future.
After filing endless amounts of paperwork and appeals to anyone who would listen, I was ultimately “awarded”
$560, 000 in federal fines for ERISA violations; however, I was so devastated by the experience, I never civil that award simply because I did not feel I could relive the experience on the witness stand. Unfortunately, I now realize that swearing on a bible would not make this experience any less painful given the recurring trauma. dreams, panic I experience each day living in this world of nothingness.
Therefore, I ask of you 2 things (1) kindly recommend a very experienced and aggressive ERISA litigator who would be willing to discuss the possibility of recovering some of the penalty fees as decided by the Penna. Insurance department, and (2) if anyone world be willing to write a letter of recommendation on my behalf or even accompany me to a meeting with “Someone” in charge at Vanderbilt to negotiate the fees associated with my reapplication, I would be extremely grateful for the opportunity to begin contributing to society rather Than sucking up all the welfare resources that could be better used elsewhere.
Please call me or e-mail me if any of you are willing to take that chance. Despite my chronic depression, anxiety, and lack of social skills, I do believe that I could be a tremendous asset to the community given the chance.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this letter and I truly hope that I will hear back from someone who may be willing to help me move in a forward director, my heart is in the right place. I only hope that I can get to a place professionally where I can help people like myself who are merely trying to better themselves and the lives of the people around them.
Please help me find someplace I can be me.
The Application and Appeal for Disability Benefits
I remember how difficult it was for me to obtain benefits when I first applied several years ago. I am deeply concerned about how the most recent decision to eradicate yet another class of TennCare / Medicaid recipients (the Daniels class made up of SSI recipients by way of a pending federal waiver) will affect the poor and disabled residents in Tennessee. Without my current level of benefits, I simply do not function.
Before my benefits were stabilized, learning to navigate the system consumed every waking moment of my life. I was unable to work or attend school on any substantial level and I am frightened to see at might happen if I were to stray from my established, stabilized, treatment plan. If I lose my benefits, will I still be able to work? To function? To be productive?
Any new public program requires careful planning if it is to be effective. Recent discussions have not focused on the true impact these changes will have on the “street-level.”
Has anyone asked recipients how they feel the new program (safety- net) should be designed, implemented, or evaluated? How will this impact the community and other social service or welfare agencies??? I want access, quality, and outcomes. I want... I want... I want!!!
The massive number of people being disenrolled or limited in their access to medical care and other social services will no doubt create significant anxiety, confusion, and chaos for everyone involved in the social service and health care industries.
I remember when Mr. Brian Lapps was somewhere very high up on the corporate TennCare ladder in 1999 when they adjusted the prescription formulary over Memorial Day in 1999. I see Mr. Lapps quite frequently since he now works at the local gas station down the street from where I live.
To this day, he insists that cell phones and TennCare are somehow contraindicated. Perhaps he knows nothing of the population he claims to know just all-too-well... housing conditions that may or may not have electricity, broken families-some riddled with community violence and domestic disturbances. In the hood, your cell phone is your very best friend. 9-1-1.
These people plagued by domestic violence and community instability makes a cell phone the only logical option. How can you find a job with out a phone? How can you find a home with out a job? Yet even 6 years later, Mr. Lapps uses cellular phones as an example how the TennCare program is being abused by lazy, cheap, and unscrupulous second hand citizens who are just shiftless lazy bums waiting around for their next free hand-out.
Anyone who has EVER applied for or relied upon any kind of government subsidy to have their basic needs met, e.g., food, shelter, medical care, dental treatment, etc... Let me personally assure you that there has never been a single time where I felt I was “pulling one over” on the government. I am not just one of the poor saps who believed what they told me they in school, I bought it hook, line, and sinker for the mere price of $152,718.130 and not a shred of financial security to show for it.
Even after consolidating my student loans, the interest alone is $10 less than my monthly income from social security.
Tennessee is in the process of applying for yet ANOTHER federal waiver to eliminate the “Daniels” class of Medicaid recipients—the poorest and sickest of all. Social Security Recipients. Can you live on $623.00 / month? Can anyone?
So what happens now that the state of Tennessee will begin to cut off social security recipients from TennCare? I honestly do not think I can survive yet another re-certification process—God knows the first one almost killed me. After three years of appeals, my condition had deteriorated so severely that I was forced to drop out of school, lost my home, lost my sanity, and lost hope. In short—I lost my dignity and my belief in the social welfare system.
By the time my benefits were approved, I had already checked myself in to NYU Psych Ward because simply could not cope with the reality of what my life I had become. I weighed 94 pounds and suffered in excruciating pain that has only gotten worse with time. My extremities were ice cold, and my hands were numb since I went without medical treatment for the spinal injury that was first discovered when I was 22.
I am now 36 years old. My spinal cord is now damaged from years of delayed, sub-standard medical treatment. I owe the federal government $152,000 in student loans and when I am able to work, I make $10.46 / hour as a substitute teacher in an urban school district. That job comes with no security and no benefits. It does however offer the flexibility I need to receive the bi-monthly epidural injections and other procedures necessary to manage my pain and alleviate the numbness I feel because of the damage to my nerves. And even though I cannot afford the gas money to get my appointments, pay for all of my medication, or even to get back and forth to work, it does allow me a few weeks of mobility so I can drive, use my mouse or hold a pen.
I have an advanced master’s degree from an Ivy League Institution. I am eight credits shy of completing PhD in public policy. And despite maintaining a 3.83 grade point average while completing an advanced masters in social and educational policy at an, “Ivy League” institution; a 3.2 GPA during the 3 years I spent working on my doctorate at a not-quite-so-prestigious Graduate School; The Powers That Beat in that damn Ivory Tower don’t will not grant me any leniency by extending the amount or time permitted to complete my degree—a rule that was changed while I was on a formal leave of absence tending to my health (and my Medicaid appeals!). Not only did they decide 8 years was the rule instead of the 10 it had been previously, I was also told that I could not even transfer the credits I had earned toward a different degree towards another program at the same institution. It has been just over ten years since I first enrolled. What a mistake that was!
The “Harvard of the South” no longer officers the degree to which I was admitted—and enrolled so they actually suggested that I pay for a 3rd application to the school (I was admitted into two degrees—the MPP as well as the PhD program in a separate college) requiring two independent applications, fees, official transcripts, graduate test scores, even way back when I was still considered a promising candidate. Now “they” think it is reasonable to ask that I do it all over again??? It goes without saying that I do not have the financial resources available to finish my last semester, take the GREs or GMATs one more time, or even the money to release my transcripts from the Graduate School into any other program at the same University, I guess I am just shit out of luck.
To be clear, WE ARE ALL PAYING for that student debt because I can assure you that their endowment is far greater than any income or earning potential I have given my current financial status and student loan debt! To be clear, YOU ARE ALL PAYING to keep me on Welfare. Yes, all of us are paying some price... I want to work. I want to be productive. I want to be a part of something greater than myself. I want to share what I have learned.
So throughout the years I struggled to stay in school, believing somehow that social justice would prevail, and my heart and dedication towards the greater good would show through to whomever, wherever, or whatever that could make my degree worth while—the Medicaid and disability applications managed to take front seat. So as I filed appeal after appeal after appeal, I managed to acquire well over ¼ million (yes—MILLION) dollars in debt due to uninsured medical expenses and student loans. Despite having three Major Medical insurance policies, I still went bankrupt applying for Medicaid. Morally Bankrupt.
My life will never be the same. My heart will never be the same. I want to pay my bills on time. I want to get off welfare, but no one ever taught me how to be poor.
So after all this—now I face losing my healthcare once again. Where is the safety net? Where is the American Dream that I so diligently chased after for so many years? What was the point spending so much on an education that will never be utilized? I understand the how; I just don’t understand why.
Maybe one of these days Vanderbilt University or and the Department of Education will realize it might just be cheaper to hire me that harass me, because unless I find a real paying job soon, their collections department will no longer be able to reach me on that extravagant lifeline my friend, Brian Lapps, refers to as a luxury.
If anyone on your staff would like to “trade places” with me for one month-I will gladly assume his/her responsibilities for that position if you can find a writer who is willing to endure and write about the reality of social services in our fine state. I do not want a paycheck from your organization; I just want the opportunity to put the myth of freeloading welfare mother s to rest. Live in my shoes for 30 days. Can you find the out? Can you balance my budget and make it work? Can you get the bill collectors of my back? Can you afford Internet service to file state job applications and apply for services online? Can you maintain pride and dignity without feeling the least bit sorry for yourself and the choices you have made?
When I go to the pharmacy, I am humiliated that I do not have the $3.00 necessary for the co-pay on my covered TennCare prescriptions. At least when it was $40 dollars, I was not so damn embarrassed by my lack of funds.
Remind me again why I went to school. Remind me once more, why I bother to speak out. Then remind me right now that that there is somebody listening. I cannot be the only one who actually gives a crap. My contact information is listed below.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
This love is the shallow conditional "love" I grew up with as a child. The kind of love that I came to believe was for other children. Children less difficult or better behaved than I could ever be. The kind of love that used to scare me because it was so unfamiliar.
It existed only in titles and words; is dependent upon an ideal that can never be met.
The additional danger in that for me, is that even the ideal ideal is so incredibly foreign, that I can not seem to grasp.
I needed a self worth in and of its self so that I can go into a relationship knowing that I bring as much if not more than I can take. In my loneliness, the thing I "need" and feel tempted to take, is time.
This is the time where I can find myself lost in my words, or in their absence. I find myself needing something, anything, from anyone capable of diverting my attention from the realities I would rather not see.
In my work, I can forget about everything else. I can feel strong, and I can feel whole, I can feel beautiful, and I can feel love.
You once asked me what makes me feel beautiful.
I don't know what the "right" answer was to that question, though I remember the clear
distinction of the physical, external beauty we see in magazines and soap operas, as opposed to the inner-beauty we hear of on Oprah. I told you that I feel most beautiful in the Theatre class I TA'd for last spring.
We discussed the association between beauty, knowledge, and power. And although I am unsure if I could express the sentiments at the time, I can now clearly see that sitting in front of that Theatre, I didn't need to rely on the external.
"This is what a grad student looks like" Our first acquaintance at lunch during the summer of 94. you commented how the boys would eat me up at law school. Isn't that the point.
I do not wish to compromise your peace in any way. Whether you realize this or not, 1 write these words mostly for myself, as they clearly reflect my self I have tried not to define myself through and by my relationships with others, since 1 believe that reality and identity is something that comes from within. Perhaps that is why I am so intrigued by the social context of evaluation, since it is in perpetual conflict with the belief in subjective reality.
So to learn of your incredible distaste for me, which from my understanding is quite strong, is the exact same reasons you were drawn to me in the fist place.
in the relationship we may have had at one point, and your subjective interpretation of events.
Though I need no clarification, I will not pretend as though there is no motive beneath this contact. So in the world of business where there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, you have something I need, I am willing to pay for your time, but not your love.
[note pgs 3-300 may show up someday... or maybe not]
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Evolution or e-volution?
Shortly after the World Trade Center 9/11 disaster in New York City, I found myself reflecting on friendships and people I have lost along the way.
I turned inside myself and began journaling on a daily basis to help myself overcome the horror and isolation that comes with such an event— Friends I had gone to school with; productive members of the community... people who had accomplished so many things I had yet to do myself. So different from the I was living at the time.
The feelings were overwhelming and went far beyond fear, solitude, and I began to question my purpose in this life. Had I been just a few miles closer, heading west that day instead of east , I would have driven right into Ground Zero.
Friends circulated e-mails about form,er classmates that were presumed dead. They had families: pregnant wives, children, and all of the things that I believed I would have by the time I reached my 30’s.
I quickly realized how many of my peers had achieved at least some of the goals they set out to accomplish years earlier— and I felt pangs of guilt and sadness seeing how much they were loved, how fondly they were remembered, and how many of them were on their way to achieving great things.
By that time, I was nearing my thirtieth birthday and the list of goals I set for myself seemed hopelessly beyond my reach. Not just beyond my grasp— the future seemed ominous, scary, and it took everything I had to keep myself alive. In the months after the attack, I became increasingly aware of just how disconnected I was from my past.
Before FaceBook, there was classmates.com…. One day I got one of those e-mails that makes you feel as though someone from my past was trying to contact me. I thought long and hard before I responded.
I had a mix of emotions.
I had done everything I possibly could to quietly erase any ties or connections I had to the past. Filling out the online registration for FaceBook; responding to my 20th reunion invitations; afraid to be exposed for being poor.... but then it came tome.... I am not poor, I am merely a rich person without any money.
Because I had never lived with one parent, one house, or one school any longer than a year or two at best, it was not that hard to fade away into a distant memory. I wanted to be forgotten.
The last few weeks of my life have been anything short of living moment to moment... confronted with all the crises I wanted so badly to leave behind.... yet those experiences; my fight or flight instinct carried me through.
Thank you to all who tweeted and chatted... I made it through the storm, and I am glad to know you were there with me.
I am glad to be alive today, and I look forward to attending at least one of the three possible reunions. I hope you are glad to have me.
Cheers to you all, can't wait to see y'all at the Freak Parade!