30 August 2013

Case Non-management

Today. Meeting at 1300 with my VA Transitional Housing Case Manager. Weekly meetings are required, so fine I'll go. Waited until 1340 before she was done with the person before me. First thing she says is "I have to leave at 1400."

"So, what about your rent?" she asks.  "You haven't paid any this month."

Um, I didn't pay any because I signed up for direct withdrawal back in June. My rent didn't get taken out July 1st, so I was expecting it to come out August 1st. Turns out it didn't. Now it's an emergency that I get to Porchlight (the org that actually owns the building) today and find out why rent isn't being pulled from my checking account.

My case manager accuses me of being passive aggressive. I was willing to let the 40 minute hurry up and wait slide-- she was helping another veteran-- but this accusation pisses me off.

It's been suggested (as in, it would behoove me to) that I apply for Social Security money. The program says we have to apply for any financial benefits we're eligible to apply for. Personally, I don't want to be on Social Security. I want to go to school, learn some cool shit, graduate, and get a job that fits me. I hate relying on the government to support me.  Anyway, I submitted an application earlier this year, but I missed the call they made to make an appointment with me. Now I have to fill out a new claim form. When I explain this to my case manager, I get a look. You've seen it, the one you get when you tell your wife/husband you forgot to do something important.

"You forgot." Well yeah, I have this mental health issue where I lose track of time and find it hard to concentrate on things. Which is why I'm homeless in the first place. That was about it for discussion on Social Security, except for being told I need to do a better job keeping track of things, audible sigh included.

Fine, we're working on my goals now. Eliminate anxiety. Get to all of my mental health appointments. Keep my goals updated.

Wait, what?

The phone rings. She answers. Something about one of the other staff people at vets house. Case manager makes it a point to say she's leaving at 1400.

Now we're at intake questions. Have I ever experienced trauma? Well, let's see. I was a victim of sexual abuse as a kid, my parents divorced while I was in junior high, and I spent seven months in a godforsaken Desert wondering if I was going to die. I guess that's a yes.

Thanks so much for making me remember all that at once.

More about the rent. I need to sign the form and attach a voided check. I explain that I did that already in June, I expected money to be pulled and it wasn't-- I didn't drop off a check because I didn't want to overdraw my checking account.

The phone rings, again. She answers, again. This time it's her husband wondering why she's not home yet.  I've met him, he's a good guy. Has PTSD issues like losing track of time and forgetting things, much like I have. While she's talking to him, she's filling out some form about me on the computer. I've given up any pretense of giving a shit at this point, and I'm playing Infinity Blade II.

We're almost out of time. Goals will have to be finished next week. Irony stands outside the window, chuckling and shaking her head.

Now it's time for bad cop/good cop. I'm starting to wonder if the VA trains people to pull this shit on people like me. This shit was old when I was a kid, and it's beyond old now.

Case manager: If you don't get this figured out TODAY, YOU are going to be HOMELESS. They're going to drop the HAMMER on YOU.I make it a point to remind Case Manager that I don't need to be reminded that I'm homeless.

Then the good cop speaks. If you won't take care of this for yourself, do it for me. We're friends, right? Getting the rent straightened out will help me, because friends do that kind of thing for each other. You need to have a sense of humor about these things.

I have no poker face. I'm pissed, and I know she can see it in my face. Or perhaps it's my knuckles that have turned white because I'm holding my phone that tight? I'll never know.

Meeting over. Things accomplished: One case manager seriously aggravated one veteran.


Questions my case manager did not ask me today:

* How's your therapy at the mental health clinic going?
* Any problems you're having that I can help you figure out?
* What's going on with getting back to school?
* Need to talk?


Dear Veterans Administration,

I am eternally grateful for having a roof over my head and food to eat.

However, your idea of helping homeless veterans recover kinda sucks.



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