Since I had my heart attack in my police cruiser in 1990, I have learned that it’s not the world I thought it was.
If you receive benefits from your village, city, township, parish, county, state or even federal services, you best plan on getting in line and then plan on being in som
e of those lines for the rest of your life.
Forget that you even have a disability because a lot of those services, if not all of those service providers, should be coming to our residences so they can complete our paperwork for the services or benefits that we need and deserve-but they generally won’t.
For those that don’t know, I suffered a heart attack in my police cruiser in 1990. Like almost everyone, I didn’t know squat about Workman’s Compensation, (money lost) Early Pension, (money lost) or Social Security Benefits (money and benefits lost).
Well, I found out the hard way and the hard way didn’t take long to get harder. I started suffering strokes and between my depression, PTSD and an unstable angina, I basically was functionless. At times, I still
Interestingly and sadly, none of the service providers even seemed to care. If you want what they offered, you had to meet their guidelines and their rules on their terms–so much for the ADA of 1990 and Section 504
of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
People with disabilities should have the least restrictive environment possible.
Well, for me it all began in 1990 and it is now seventeen years later and probably unlike the average person with a disability, I went out of my way to learn my rights and am now a very serious, professional and well-known
Disability and Civil Rights Advocate. It’s just too bad; it doesn’t make any difference.
People talk with me all of the time because they want to know about the myriad of services, benefits and resources that they are eligible for and I almost hesitate telling them because I know what they are going to experience is literally going to throw them into shock.
As an example, let’s say, they need an electric wheelchair.
They must get through the required prescription, which may need to be rewritten ten times for the exact language of the chair being requested.
Then they face the physical therapy evaluation, the paperwork of medical necessity and finally the joy of medical insurance company representatives communicating with the chair provider’s representatives.
But that’s only if you even have insurance.
If you’re lucky, it can go smoothly, but that’s not normally the case nor is it the reason I’m using this as an example.
Even if you get the chair, welcome to a planet that’s not designed for disability, despite the ADA and all of the other state and federal laws in place to serve us.
Now you have to address questions that were not even on your horizon when you were thinking you were finally nearing independence.
How are you going to haul the chair? An average van with a wheelchair lift is about $45,000 and no insurance plan on this planet can help.
Not a problem, so you say. You’ll become reliant and use the chair for your daily trips.
It’s raining, it’s snowing, it’s freezing, it’s blistering hot, there are no sidewalks, it’s garbage day and everyone has the trash cans on the sidewalks but you have your wheelchair.
Yet, we haven’t even discussed not being able to get it into your house and even around the house.
Well, what if you were one of the lucky ones to get on the Medicaid Waiver after waiting how many years. Great, right?
You have a case manager that has no idea what he or she is doing and this is a fair statement nationally.
So, you buck up and let your case manager know what you need. Odd but its the same list that’s on every state’s DJFS web site.
The traditional items include a panic alarm, delivered meals, wider doors, roll in showers, etc. Again, not so.
You ask, they decline. Then if you really need it and want it, remember that line, get back in it and file an appeal. Or should I say, stand and stay in that line because you will just be filing more appeals.
Oh, your wheelchair now has a flat and the provider wants you to pay for it because you had no business taking it out of your home. WHAT ? Didn’t the chair provider tell you that Medicaid and Medicare are providing a chair for you to use inside of your house only?
Or consider, your home health care aide had to rush you to your physician because of an urgent medical concern at the same time your delivered meals where scheduled, too bad. There will be no food for the week.
So, I feel for all of us who need medical equipment and services. But even with what we receive, the lack of compassion and concern from those who are providing those services and benefits may just make your life more
With all of that said, I finally decided to throw caution to the wind and forget specifications, policies, constraints and get me a wheelchair that I like.
It won’t go into my house and I’m sure the VA Para Transit Service won’t want to haul it but for me, I’m going to go where the heck I want to go for the first time in six years. Even if there is no sidewalk, mud, or snow, maybe for the first time in a long, long time, I can finally enjoy myself as a person with a disability.
So, if your inclined to join in on finally having a good time and are also interested in a Tank Chair, just give them a call: (602) 882-4103 or Visit their Web Site: http://www.tankchair.com/default.htm
And for those of you who are wondering about benefits and resources that you should or could be getting, that’s planned for next month’s article. See you then.
– Purchasing a $200,000 home for $13,000
– Free new wheelchair lifts
– Free new appliances
– Free emergency cell telephones
– $10.00 a month telephone service
– VA non-service connected disability compensation
– Qualifying for a personal care attendant