People have asked for updates on how we’re doing, so I thought I’d start a regular post looking at the good, the bad and the ugly going on between updates. And, because I like to end on a happy note, the good stuff will be at the end. Those of you with a weak constitution, feel free to skip to the end.

social-security-support-cardThe Ugly: As most of you know, Keith is on long-term disability through his former employer. The company providing the coverage looks at each case and determines which are likely to have the person going back to work soonish and which people are likely out of work for a long time to come or permanently. Keith falls into the second category and with that comes the agreement that he would apply for social security disability. To make sure it gets done, the long-term disability people work with a company that specializes in getting people Social Security Disability – they handle the paperwork, find expert doctors to support the case, they even higher lawyers when/if you get denied. We don’t have to pay them (thank goodness), but we do have to agree to repay them the money they gave us between when we start receiving long-term disability and when he gets social security disability. I’m fine with that if I don’t have to lose my mind doing more paperwork and tracking down more people.

We got a call from one of the people on our “team” with some follow-up questions. So I kind of unloaded on her about all the hassle we’ve been having with Social Security and lost paperwork and no idea where anything stood. She reminded me that’s why they’re there and if I ever have problems to let them know, it may not be what they cover but they could also help us figure out who to call.

Cartoon woman pointing and yelling
Hey you! Would you hit the dang send button already!

She said to give her a few minutes while she made some calls. When she called back about a half-hour later, she was obviously frustrated. She called three different offices repeatedly trying to get a straight answer from someone. Eventually, she figured out that someone in the local Social Security Office didn’t hit send to forward the application through to the next step. Let me repeat that. The local Social Security Office didn’t hit send on a document for weeks. For probably around two months, it has been sitting in the local office waiting for someone to hit send! I’d like to point out that this is the exact same office that “lost” Keith’s Medicare paperwork for about 3 months and then managed to get is all approved in just over a week with no need for the paperwork or doctor’s report. Our advocate finally convinced someone to hit that pesky send button and will be following up with them and me on Friday. At least that was one fight I didn’t have to have!

phone-1433174_1920The Bad: I’ve been working on getting public assistance. I would rather not, trust me. But desperate times and all that. Twice I’ve had appointments scheduled where someone was supposed to call me and they didn’t. Then I got a letter in the mail saying I didn’t qualify because I didn’t complete the process. Amongst all the calls I managed to get a few names and numbers, including a supervisor. Guess who I called with a polite but snarky message asking how I can get his employees to call me back and keep appointments so I can complete the process. This afternoon I heard from the first person who was supposed to call me and he obviously realized he screwed something up somewhere. But, and this kind of interesting, he told me to apply again on March 1st rather than reopen the last application. With the lack of unemployment in March, we’ll have less income and can get more help. If I pushed through on the other application I wouldn’t qualify for anything. So, I am filling out an application for the 3rd or 4th time in 6 months. Hurray.

woman-865111_960_720The Good: I just started a part-time online job that doesn’t pay much considering the amount of work I’m doing, but it’s 20 hours a week and it’s money. So it’s something. It also keeps me under the magic amount needed to qualify for help. When you add in the freelance work I’ll be making…well, frankly, I’m making crap. But it’s more crap than I was making so woo-hoo! I’m not getting too excited – I’ve found a couple of issues with their software and timekeeping (like 2 minutes disappearing off the clock and moving forward at normal speed) that are giving me pause. Trust me, I want to work, but I also want to be treated fairly and as stress-free as possible. So far this is neither of those things.

In other news, I’ve been doing more writing and decided to enter a writing contest in January. I heard from them over the weekend and they want to publish the short non-fiction piece I wrote! There’s no money, but I’ll be published, which is a huge step forward for me. I’m not going to say any more until after I get the contracts and get everything squared away, but I wanted to share the good news, especially considering most the news we’ve shared is not exactly good.

I also wanted to share a picture from a couple of weeks ago. Keith was up and able to help Kayleigh with her drop an egg physics assignment. We’re starting to see more of these participating in the world around him moments, which is beyond amazing. They don’t happen every day, but they’re coming often enough for us to keep our hope up and make us feel more like a “normal family” (not that we ever were normal…). And for those of you wondering, backyard drop testing went well. Drop from the press box in the gym did not.