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people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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psa: welfare post of the future
children of dune - leto 1
Quick note:

Here I talked about doing a PSA on receiving benefits such as Food Stamps, TANF, and Medicaid in Texas, what's available, what to expect, etc. If you are interested in or have relatives who may benefit from this, please check it out and if you have questions, please leave them here in this entry so I can try to get in depth. I'm going to try to do it after this testing cycle is complete, so sometime in the next two to three weeks.

Here is what I can do:

1.) explain what each program is and who it applies to (this will be more limited in nursing home and elderly care, but I'll be honest with you; that requires a trained caseworker to cover anyway. Even if I was one, I could not give much here, it's that much a mystery and a wonder of the world. I will however, give what i can and explain where to go for more.)
2.) what to expect during interviews.
3.) (Some of) your rights as an applicant.
4.) overview of the process.
5.) answer some questions on what disqualifies an applicant according to Texas interpretation of Federal policy.
6.) the right of appeal, which too many people literally do not understand because it's not exactly easy to get.

I can't:

1.) tell you if you qualify. I mean, legally, I am not allowed to do that, though I am trained as a caseworker and am still qualified to go back and do that. I wouldn't anyway, because believe it or not, I'm good at policy but there is a reason we have computer programs and a manual help us out. It's that complicated sometimes, and more than that, it's ethically sketchy and possibly illegal.
2.) tell you why you yourself were denied. I can give an idea of that, but I'd honestly have to ask you to call me at work and then transfer you to a friendly caseworker (I have many friendly caseworker friends; everyone has horror stories of shitty caseworkers and I know some. The ones I hang out with are awesome.) Or more appopriately and far more effectively, I'd give you a number and tell you what to say when you call to get the right person. That I can do legally and ethically.
3.) I cannot tell you with any kind of authority what is going on in states not Texas. I can, however, find you the handbook and explain (for most handbooks) how it's structured and where to look for information you need, because one thing they train us for is how to find things in handbooks. That's actually a lot of the training I got; not just policy, but because policy is so big, how to find in the handbook, which changes every three months, what you're looking for.

I won't:

1.) Tell you anything I can't verify or is outside my experience; I will happily say I have no idea what the hell you are talking about, but I will try to find out if I can, or at least direct you to where you need to go.

This last part is the complicated part, because a lot of times, no, you are not stupid because you can't find something; you just are stuck because the terminology is weird and I mean, it would be like me looking for something in astrophysics that I know what it does but not what it's called. This is not a failure of you; this is a failure of not knowing how to phrase what you're looking for. I'm not always successful, but I know my keywords pretty well.

Part B: Who This Applies To

You should consider this:

1.) if you are pregnant with or without health insurance.
2.) if your income has gone down and think you may be interested in help getting food or other services.
3.) if you are a single parent and the sperm donor/egg donor is not contributing toward support of the child, or the other parent is unemployed or unable to find work at this time.
4.) if you are a married/committed couple/partners with children that requires cash assistance and are unemployed.
4.) if you, someone you love, or someone you know may require nursing home assistance.
5.) if you have children below age eighteen.

Part C

If anyone else who works social services in any state would be interested in contributing, please drop me a line and I'd love to add in anything you think is relevant and cited to you or to anonymous if you'd rather be anonymous. The following would be useful in any state:

1.) Food Stamp, Medicaid, TANF, housing, power and electricity assistance, non-Medicaid assistance, nursing home assistance both SSI and non-SSI.
2.) I'd kill for a rep of SSA to give some easily-digested information on the SSA including retirement and disability, Medicaid Part D, or how to navigate for best results.
3.) CPS and child protective service and adult protective services overview.
4.) Websites where any of this can be found and easily read by the layman.

Anyone else:

Any sites/info in your experience that have helped and could help others.

This is brought to you by a post at booju_newju. It's weird how welfare wank always makes me want to balance the universe a little. You can find more posts covering some of this under the tags used on this post.

ETA: Brilliant!

And this is people being amazing.

cookie57 volunteered to discuss broad issues with CPS and CPS in Indiana.

ethelagnes works at SSA with disability appeals and will be happy to answer questions.

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I'm glad that people out there who might need it have someone like you willing to help them with this stuff. Benefit claiming is a minefield - here in the UK, how much help you get can come down to your choice of words to explain something. Just...asdfgh...ARGH!

3.) if you are a single parent and the sperm donor is a loser or unemployed or whatever.

I LOL'd at this at first, because I describe the male contributor to my existence as 'The Sperm Donor'. However, after I'd finished laughing, it struck me as kind of discriminatory to single fathers with custody dealing with an egg donor who is a loser or unemployed...

Argh, you're right Thanks for pointing that out.

Fixed! Thanks for the heads-up!

how much help you get can come down to your choice of words to explain something.

Here, too. *sighs*

I know it's the minority position for the father to be the sole resident carer of the children, but there is always someone who'll come along and accuse you of being a feminazi for ignoring the existence of single fathers. (I noted this was an open post, so anyone could come by.)

Here, too. *sighs*

I'm still boggling over the DWP and how they give more points when you use often as opposed to frequently. O___o

Dear seperis,
I love you. Seriously, the fact that someone in that behemoth system cares enough to make psa announcements like this gives me hope for humanity.

I meant to tell you after your first post what I great thing I think you are trying to do with this. There is so much mystery and stigma attached to these services and so little real understanding of the people these services actually help.
I can help with the CPS converstations- I can answer broad child welfare questions in general, and can help with more specific information about Indiana. I can't really help much with adult protective services though.

You're kind of amazing. *blank*

If you don't have time, that's fine, but would you mind writing up a very short intro of that and what kind of questoins you could answer for when I make my big post? I mean, you don't have to, I'll just mention to add a subject line to comments if there's anything anyone wants to ask, but for general information for hte post.

And thank you so much. *hugs*

ETA! If you decide to, my email is jenn at thegateway.net

Edited at 2010-03-25 08:38 pm (UTC)

I'm more than happy to do this- it's kinda sorta what I do for a living (I did front line work for years and work in a university setting now but work every single day with this state's public system and understand the federal framework). I get a bit passionate about what people don't understand about families who end up in this part of the system. Spent some time in a class last night talking about this stuff.
I can do a broad overview of what states' public systems are required to do and the basic federal mandates if you like. I have a couple of links for places that are pretty helpful without being too technical. I even have something somewhere that talks about what families in the system need to know. Is that helpful? I should be able to do this over the weekend.

Just checking in to make sure you got my e-mail. Don't worry if you haven't looked at it yet, or even if you hate it and decide not to do anything with it- just wanted to make sure that you got it as promised.

I work at ssa reviewing disability appeals. I don't know much about retirement or Medicare, but I'd be happy to answer anything I can.

...seriously? I am like tihs close to hugging you and offering you my as yet non-existent second-born. Thank you!

Um, if yo udon't have time or don't want to, that's fine, but would you be interested in writing a tiny intro about what you do and what kind of questions you can answer for when I do the larger post? It's no problem if you can't or don't have time or anything, I'll just mention in that post to add something to the subject line if there'sa specific SSA related questoin somene wants to ask.

My email is jenn at thegateway dot net.

Again, thank you. I did not think we'd get lucky enough to see someone familiar with SSA.

Edited at 2010-03-25 08:32 pm (UTC)

Basically, I work as an attorney-advisor for the Office of Disability Ajudication and Review (Odar). It's the branch of Social Security which decides Social Security appeals that appear before the Administrative Law Judge. I mostly handle cases involving SSDI, SSI, and other disability issues for adults and kids. When the case gets sent to the ALJs, I help review it for the judge. After the judge makes a final decision to grant of deny benefits in the case, s/he gives it back to me to actually write the decision according to their instructions. This means that I review the file and make sure that the evidence and the judge's decision are in line with social security regulations. So, procedure, how Social Security makes decisions, what judges look for, I can probably answer. Obviously, I can't answer whether someone qualifies or has a case. But if I don't know an answer, I can wander into my neighbor's office and probably get a good idea.

As it happens....I'm currently applying for SSA Disability. Just sent a direct message to - huge thanks to both of you! This is awesome.

I got your message, and I'm going to get an answer to you tomorrow.

Legal Aid can help

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid can help with these types of things. They help people apply for these services and appeal denials. They're also doing a lot of work specifically in regards to the food stamp backlog and have a special hotline number set up for people to call with food stamp issues. Most importantly, they provide these services free of charge to low-income Texans.

So, I'm not in TX, but at work I deal with TX Medicaid quite a bit (and other TX Payers). Anything that relates to BOTOX (no, not the cosmetic kind), I can help with. It's actually a vital treatment to children and adults.

And yay for all the help you're offering!

You continue to make me happy to know you. You're so awesome to do this.

I work at SSA in one of the payment centers - kind of the behind-the-scenes support for field offices. I can't answer specific questions about people's records but I can give general info. (i.e., I can't go around pulling up people's records. They'll have to visit their local field office or call the SSA 1-800 number for that.)

I deal mostly with post-entitlement issues but I might be able to help answer some of the more basic entitlement questions for people and I can always ask around and find out info from coworkers who have been there longer than me if I don't have the answers. I'm more comfortable with the retirement side of things since than the disability side.

And I can answer some basic questions about Medicare eligibility and enrollment but not really anything about the benefits themselves - we refer those questions to Medicare.

Also, the SSA website seems pretty decent (www.SSA.gov) It is at least a great deal more comprehensible than the policy I get to wade through. :) It seems like they've put a fair amount of work into it and we try to promote it as much as possible. You can apply for benefits online for retirement and I think now for Medicare too. Disability applications are still done in the field office. You can go to your local office or call the 1-800 number to schedule an appointment to file, which is what I would recommend.

If you think I might be of help, you can add me to your ETA.

I have a question for you. I've done pretty much as much research as I can do on my own, but I'd like to see if you come up with a different answer knowing the mojo like you do.

I get SSI, Foodstamps, & Medicaid already. I have found that there are federal programs that states like Maryland and California offer to Medicaid recipients, but I have been unable to find out if Texas does. My assumption has been if I can't find it, it probably doesn't exist.

The main program I'm looking for is a 'bootstrap' (I know you probably hate that word) out of poverty by letting a person like me work part time, and buy, with a sliding scale pricetag, the medicaid they are currently receiving. In other words, I could work at a job that does doesn't have medical benefits (since part time rarely does), make more money than my current SSI, but keep access to the medications and medical resources that are allowing me to be well enough to work. Know anything like that in TX?

Thanks in advance for anything you can tell me.

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