Phoebe's Gift

Phoebe's Gift
Gifted to me while on Retreat at John's River Vally Camp

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

(6) DSS CAME LAST WEEK, part one

On a sunny day last week I heard a car's engine grinding hard to get up the driveway, looking over the deck and down at the road I saw a four door vehicle backing up to reposition itself for more traction to get up the hill and I knew right away that whoever was in the car was someone experienced at steep driveways on gravel landscapes.

So on a sunny mild November day we sat on the deck,  she pulled up a stool and put down her case and pulled out some forms.  This was the part I feared most, the snoopy questions, her intrusiveness, and where it might lead too. Was Social Services still hostile to the mentally ill, would they bring in the police and harass Alfred as reportedly had happened in the past when people refused to comply with things like letting them enter their house. Would they try to cut off Alfred's safety net created by mom and dad, and leave him without Medicaid and SSI. Cutting mentally ill folks benefits happens still today.  When families pitch-in extra cash toward things like rent, government accounts for that, and deducts that amount from a person's monthly SSI check. Since they get as little as $8,000/yr this leaves people with the same small amount of money they had to begin with, and so families are defeated,  discouraged from helping their loved one, and poverty is strictly adhered too keeping the mentally ill poor and sometimes without services harbored by our countries incarceration system. I knew my folks did not want Alfred criminalized because he had a mental illness, this would be great injustice and I too would not have it.

In 2014 while teaching a Nami class one of my students told the class that SSA reduced her paycheck by the same amount her parents gave them to help her with her rent. He parents had proudly admitted helping her with the rent and all were in effect punished! If family's have extra money often times they want to help their loved one. However if gov takes the money families give to their loved one away then their helping is defeated. Nami, an advocacy organization needs to inform it's members that this can happen, and find new ways to address changes needed in the system.

I answered her questions, no Alfred did not have children, none that I knew of, no he is not diabetic not that I knew of. I repeated to her what I had said over the phone that I was concerned about Alfred's physical health because of the screaming I hear coming form his home about three times/ week on average. I am concerned that he is in great pain about something. Then again it could be his diagnoses. She stopped me there and asked how long ago was it that he was diagnosed? Since it was in around 1997 or so she said they would have to reevaluate hime. I knew once she met Alfred she would know he has a mental illness.

I told her about what happened in 2012 after receiving a letter from NC Dept of Health and Human Services Division of Medical Assistant saying that an annual physical check-up could be scheduled with High Country Family Medicine PA.  So I attempted to schedule an appointment for Alfred, and was told that all the Dr's there refused him an appointment!  I felt I'd made a mistake by mentioning that Alfred had a brain disorder because their refusal must have either been because of stigmatization of Alfred for his brain disorder or distain for the poor because he was on Medicaid. Not sure, however this stopped me in my tracks, left me hanging......  To be continued....

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