Friday, November 17, 2006

Calm before the storm

Starting next week, I'll have a ton of work coming in every week for the rest of the year.  But this week there was very little work, so I took the opportunity to get some long-postponed chores out of the way.

We took two big boxes of professional clothing to the thrift store -- dresses and suits that could have been Seanette's if she had ever gotten the basic housecleaning caught up enough that I could ask her to spend a couple hours doing something non-essential like helping me clean out the closet.  She chose not to do the basics, so she lost out on the opportunity to have a full office-job wardrobe for free.  And has only herself to blame.

Stubbornness and slothfulness can be costly in the long run.  You never know what bonuses your employer has in mind for a job well-done.

Now I'm going to spend the weekend enjoying a last burst of stitching, because once the work starts coming in, there won't be much time for that.  Fortunately, I'm almost done with my Christmas presents.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Guilty Until Proven Innocent (Part 2)

Also see my post of 7/11/06 is Mary's version of the same rant. 

According to Mary's research:

There's a widespread national myth that people are "faking it"

I understand that Connecticut spent over a million dollars to uproot all
those fakers in their system, and only found six. Real cost efficient. You
would think those economists who like to argue that it isn't worth the cost
to eradicate that least little bit of pollution would also maybe
occasionally argue that it isn't worth the cost (both human and
bureaucratic) to be so fixated on that last cheater somewhere that:

a. The system spends more than it saves by finding them; and

b. Real people with real disabilities, and their real families, suffer.

It's even worse around here -- the government is doing a thorough investigation of a number of high-level police personnel who "mysteriously" became disabled just before retirement.  Apparently, they get more money for disability retirement than they do for regular retirement.  But that's not the case for the rest of us.  Because I was deemed unable to continue working at age 42, I lost 25 years of what would presumably be my highest earning capacity.  Not only will my disability benefits (if and when I ever get them) be only about 30% of what I could be earning as a paralegal, but my retirement benefits go down with each year that I'm not earning good wages. 

There simply IS no "secondary gain" for the average person in applying for SSDI instead of continuing to work.  You're losing money -- lots of money -- every year that you don't work.

Yes, there are a rare few who simply don't want to work.  According to Mary's statistics, a whole 6 people in the state of Connecticut.  Extrapolate that to a couple hundred in the entire US.  Meanwhile, most of the million CFS patients have been denied benefits.  The "cost" to the economy of hundreds of thousands of people with not one cent of income to contribute to the economy far outweighs the savings of denying benefits to a few hundred liars.

But I can tell you from many years of working in the legal field, evaluating injured people, that the real fakers are usually outed.  At some point, they'll tick off the wrong person, who will report that the wheelchair-bound can walk for 12 hours at Disneyland, or the person who claims a severe back injury was seen moving furniture, and the faker will be charged with criminal fraud.  End of payments.

No one doing surveillance on me could possibly claim I'm faking.  I can do light gardening for about 5 minutes and then have to go lie down ... exactly what I've reported I'm able to do.  I go shopping and sit down in the middle of the aisle to rest ... exactly what I've reported I'm able to do.  There's no surveillance tape, and will never be any surveillance tape, showing me spending hours gardening or housecleaning or dancing, because, quite frankly, more than a few minutes of any of that leaves me gasping for breath and on the verge of fainting.  Go ahead, take a video of me out for a walk ... it'll prove that it takes me 1/2 hour to walk 1/2 mile, and I stopped to rest at least once every block.  EXACTLY what I've reported.

Like 99% of Disability applicants, I'm telling the truth.  My former employer says I can't work effectively.  Half a dozen doctors have made the diagnosis and those who were specifically asked to evaluate disability say I cannot work more than a couple hours a day.  I have orthopedic limitations on both shoulders (no reaching, lifting, carrying) that preclude even a secretarial job, and am limited to typing half an hour before the tendinitis pain starts (which definitely precludes a secretarial job) ... EXACTLY what I've reported.

But because there is no CFS-specific blood test, the abnormal test results have been ignored.  The doctor-imposed restrictions have been ignored.  The judge's ruling is made purely on prejudice against the name of the disease and not a full understanding of the ways in which the neurological effects affect my ability to work.

There ARE lies being told in my case, but not by me.  Lies by doctors who claim I'm "self-diagnosed" and "haven't worked since 1988" and "there are no abnormal tests".  Lies by the judge who invented a husband who supports me and my "choice" not to work.  Everything I say can be proven.