Unbreakable Journey

Tuesday’s Child:Papers

Posted on by Meg Currell

My daughter is in the final stages–which sounds remarkably like death throes–of filling out paperwork for state agency assistance. She turned 18 in December and we’ve been working on these for a while now. She’s filled out papers for the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and for Medicaid, but there are somehow FOUR different agencies for which we are applying.

Frankly, we’ve lost track of all of the agencies to whom we are applying, who wants what and when they want it. One agency has told us that before they can process our application to *them*, we have to have applied for services through a *different* agency first. It’s possible we’ve already applied for that agency, but they need documentation.

Another agency sent two different sets of paperwork for her to complete. They arrived separately. They are–apparently–for two different types of assistance, though there was nothing included in the envelopes that indicates why we received either one, what they’re for, or what part of the agency they should be returned to. I’m tempted to put them both in the same envelope and let the agency sort it out. I suspect, however, such insolence would be rewarded with denial of services.

But my FAVORITE part of this whole process is that every single piece of mail we receive from all of these agencies has the EXACT SAME NAME in the return address. Every. Single. One. I’ve been trying to let my daughter manage this process herself–since she’s 18 now and will be doing it from this point forward–but it’s impossible to walk away when the mountain of papers that needs to be filled out grows weekly. Plus, it’s confusing enough for adults who know how to navigate the system, but leaving a kid to do this on her own is just cruel. So we’re trying our best to teach her as she goes along, but these agencies do not make it easy.

The attached video expresses beautifully the frustration of dealing with bureaucracy. Her battle is about immigration, but the same frustrations exist. About 3:30 into the video, the singer loses it. I’ve totally been there.

\”Papers\” aria from The Consul by Gian Carlo Menotti

Meg Currell is trying to resist the tractor beam of state agency hell.

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About Meg Currell

Mom to a grown son, a teenage daughter with osteogenesis imperfecta, and a teenage stepson. Married to a devoted husband. Doing the best I can with the tools I've been given.

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3 Responses to Tuesday’s Child:Papers

Tim says: June 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Sorry I didn’t listen to the whole aria. That stuff makes my optic nerve seize up and quiver…

John Banaski says: June 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Meg,

I read your blog as time permits — usually within a day or so of each posting – and am always struck by the same thoughts. My little sister is all grown up and has a family and navigates these trials and tribulations and expresses herself beautifully!

I know I’m not the only one that feels that you and hundreds of thousands of others that juggle the daily life of a busy adult with a family life that includes the normal hand-grenade and emotion juggling. It’s not unlike Ginger Rogers doing every dance step that Fred Astaire did, but backwards… and in heels! And you do it all with a special-needs kid, now young adult, in a system that you aptly describe as anything but nimble or easy to go through with both eyes open. Unfortunately, it is not an easy process because each agency acts independently and the people hired to work in these social services are sometimes not trained as thoroughly as they could be due to lack of funding and the need to get as many “hands on deck” to help! I wish it were easier and maybe someday someone can invent an iPhone app that links each agency and tells people everything they need to know in a language that’s easy to understand AND follow!

I’m proud of you and the fact that you have raised great kids with all the challenges awarded to you. There are many who could not do what you have done so well AND retained as much hair in their head because the system seems to induce much stress and “hair-pulling confusion”!

Be proud of yourself and your beautiful kids because you deserve to sit back for a moment, take a breath, and say quietly to yourself over your cup of French Press coffee… “I did pretty darned good!” No one would ever disagree with you!

Love ya,

John

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