19 February 2013

Who says feminists are humourless?

My inlaws are in town. This is Tony's parents, his two sisters, one sister's husband, the other sister's two kids, and two of Tony's aunts and uncles. It was his parents' 40th anniversary on Sunday, so I rented the church hall and cooked a meal for everyone. It turned out fabulously! Woo! I rock.

A little snippet of a conversation I heard:
Great Uncle to Snap: So, you're almost done school. What are you going to do next?
Snap: Women's Studies.
Me: *trying not to smile*
Great Uncle, smiling expectantly: Haha. What's the punchline?
Snap, not understanding what he means: Huh?
Great Uncle: Wait? Seriously?
Snap: Yeah...
Grandpa: Couldn't you study men?
Snap: That's called History.

HA! Go Snap!

Tony's family is pretty conservative. Great Uncle thinks Idle No More is "the greatest scam ever" and asked me how to say, "Get back to work" in Cree. Instead, I taught him how to say, "I'll see you tomorrow" which I figured might sound encouraging to anyone he yelled it at. I'm not fluent, so I couldn't come up with anything better on the spot. :) He's not all asshole though. I mean, he was the only man there who offered to help in the kitchen, and the only man to thank me for all the work and food. Makes it hard to hate the guy.

04 February 2013

Adventures in Bureaucracy

It's the continuing saga of dealing with bureaucracy for autism. Today, Snap had her PWD (persons with disability) intake appointment. PWD is disability welfare. It provides some programs, a cheap bus pass, and $900 per month for people who can't work due to disability.

Here's the process:
1) Apply online. It's a MANY page application.
2) Await phone call saying they got it. Get date for intake. Get list of shit to bring. At least one important thing will not be mentioned. Get location of intake. Forget to take down time of appointment.
3) Try to find a phone number to find out the time of the appointment. Discover that there is on 866 number for the whole province. Get connected to the smarmiest SOB who ever worked in government (seriously, I understand the gravity of that statement). Ask for the time of the appointment.

  • Didn't you take it down when you called?
  • I must have forgotten! I'm sorry.
  • Well, you're the mother. Do you have written permission to speak to this file?
  • (thinking 'speak to this file'?) She's a minor. I'm her mother.
  • She's a minor?! How old is she?
  • 17
  • Well, why is she applying for benefits?!
  • Because she has autism. Look. I just need the time of the appointment.
  • Fine. What's the confirmation number on the email you received when you applied?
  • I have no idea. It went to her email. But if you hold for a minute, I can look it up for you.
  • No, don't bother. What's her social?
  • Uh?
  • So. Shul. In. SURE. ANCE. Num. BER.
  • [looks it up and tells her] 
  • Monday. 1:30. 771 Vernon. *click*
4) Show up for the appointment at 1:25pm. Find out that the address given to us didn't include the office number and there are at least two dozen of them in 5 different buildings. Luck into the right one and find a room full of terribly sad, terribly poor people who smell even worse. Stand around looking confused, trying to decide whether we had to take a number or not, because the signs were really not clear if you needed one if you had an appointment or only if you were a walk in. Finally be greeted by a security guard demanding to know whether we have an appointment. Yes, we say, for "Snap". Be told, "Fine. Have a seat."
5) Wait about 20 minutes. Try not to die from the smell. (Can't blame them. Not being judgmental. Just damn. SO MUCH STINK.)
6) Get called into the office to meet with the intake worker. This is the first time we are treated decently in the whole thing. The intake worker was awesome. I wish I'd gotten his name. I'd write up a letter to the office saying just how nice he was. Find out that we were supposed to bring her SIN card. Try to figure out how the snappy woman on the phone connected her SIN to her file, considering they didn't seem to have any record of us giving it. Ask to have a form filled out allowing me to "speak to her file". Be promised that was coming. Realize while writing this that this did not happen.
7) Go through a 45 minute interview in which we are asked the exact same questions they asked on the online form. To this interview, we had to bring ID (reasonable), proof of diagnosis (reasonable except for what will follow), a letter from the social worker saying that she recommended Snap apply, a recent psych report, and banking information dating back 60 days. 
8) Be preliminarily approved, and given, get this, an application package!! This package has to be filled out by Snap and her doctor and returned within 90 days. Her doctor is an asshole, and the chances of that happening are slim to none. 
9) Be told that after the package is filled out and returned, then there will be another sit down meeting, to which we will have to bring the banking information again.
10) Get home, call the doctor's office. Hear, "I don't think she'll do that. I'll ask her and get back to you. But probably not for a few days."

To be continued...

Why the hell does her doctor need to fill out the information they already received in reports from psychologists who know her a hell of a lot better than the idiot we get to fill the ritalin prescription? These reports are enough to get funding for autism. Why not PWD? It's the same government!

Why did the woman on the phone have to know why my daughter was applying for benefits in order to tell me what time the appointment was at? And why did she have to be so rude?

Why couldn't the original call have included an email confirmation of the time and place of the appointment with a list of items to bring? 

Why did the intake worker have to ask all the same questions we already answered on the internet form?

Why couldn't the signs on the wall make it clear what one is supposed to do when they get to the office?

How in hell could anyone who is disabled who does not have a support system be expected to do this on their own?

How in the hell could anyone without a GP manage this? A walk-in-clinic sure as hell won't fill out PWD forms. What if I just moved here and had no GP? What if my GP retired and I couldn't find a new one? (both of those things have happened to me and I've been doctor-less for a while)


How in the bloody fucking hell can anyone live on $900/mo when rent + hydro + food can easily cost more than that? What about medicine? What about therapy? What about any sort of connection whatsoever to society? Snap's lucky enough to have us, and we can support her to a large extent. But imagine having no family support!

This government is just cruel. And the previous one was no better. This whole system needs a major overhaul.