Right! Well, I did it. I braved a message to www.change.gov. "Golly, Rob! What did you say?" Well, my faithful minions, I found the site by accident, and was looking around at Mr. Obama's agenda. Seems he's got some ideas for people with disabilities. Here is what the site says:
Barack Obama and Joe Biden have a comprehensive agenda to empower individuals with disabilities in order to equalize opportunities for all Americans.
In addition to reclaiming America's global leadership on this issue by becoming a signatory to -- and having the Senate ratify -- the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the plan has four parts, designed to provide lifelong support and resources to Americans with disabilities. They are as follows:
First, provide Americans with disabilities with the educational opportunities they need to succeed by funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, supporting early intervention for children with disabilities and universal screening, improving college opportunities for high school graduates with disabilities, and making college more affordable. Obama and Biden will also authorize a comprehensive study of students with disabilities and issues relating to transition to work and higher education.
Second, end discrimination and promote equal opportunity by restoring the Americans with Disabilities Act, increasing funding for enforcement, supporting the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, ensuring affordable, accessible health care for all and improving mental health care.
Third, increase the employment rate of workers with disabilities by effectively implementing regulations that require the federal government and its contractors to employ people with disabilities, providing private-sector employers with resources to accommodate employees with disabilities, and encouraging those employers to use existing tax benefits to hire more workers with disabilities and supporting small businesses owned by people with disabilities.
And fourth, support independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities by enforcing the Community Choice Act, which would allow Americans with significant disabilities the choice of living in their community rather than having to live in a nursing home or other institution, creating a voluntary, budget-neutral national insurance program to help adults who have or develop functional disabilities to remain independent and in their communities, and streamline the Social Security approval process .
Ummm...Huh? "We're going to educate people who can't go to school! End discrimination against people who appear to exist at the bottom rung of the ladder! Provide insurance at a rate that people who are starving can't afford! Increase employment rates for people who can't get to work! Allow the disabled to continue to live in slums or face the outrageous prices of various institutions!"
Gee whiz, Mr. Obama! "Change we can believe in"? How about getting us out from beneath abject poverty and helping up LIVE first, instead of merely existing? Of course, the fools running this site set up a link with a message, "There is no more important resource for changing the direction of this country and defining the ideas that will transform America than the American people. Tell us your ideas and be part of the change you're looking for."
The change I'M looking for? Okay!
To Whom It May Concern;
It has been suggested that I get a Cabinet Appointment in Mr. Obama's administration as "Ambassador to the People." This is in spite of being permanently disabled by a combination of diabetes, severe recurring depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. I am held in check from finding gainful employment by the limits of Medicare and additional benefits needed from AZ's Department of Economic Security (DES). I'm at my computer all day long, fiddling around online or playing computer games. Why can't some of that time be used by working from home?
Thanks to the way the system is set up, it can't happen. Medicare only pays 80% of my medical expenses. ACCHS, provided by DES, handles the other 20%. I actually found a job where I could earn $9.00/hour part-time. Since I haven't been employed since 2000, I would prefer starting out part-time to find out if I can actually do it. The snag comes from DES. Their office tells me that if I earn more than $120 a month, I will lose my benefits from them, making that 20% not covered by Medicare my responsibility. With all of the doctors I see, and all of the medications I take, a part-time income (and probably some of my SSD income) would be drained away. Additionally, no company is going to hire me for 13 hours a month at $9/hour of I tried to stay beneath that $120 limit.
What is a guy like me supposed to do? I want to work, but have difficulties getting out, and have even called in sick to doctor appointments! On some of my worst days, I have still been able to hobble to my computer and do whatever I please. I can work from home, probably with ease. Even if I leapt into a full-time position, however, there would be three months where I am only covered by Medicare. I already live beneath the unrealistic number that is poverty level. (What idiot thinks a single adult male can live on $10,400 a year?!?)
The government is sorely out of touch with a majority of the population of the United States. Since I've started speaking my mind online, some of my friends have suggested Mr. Obama hire me to be a representative of that majority. I would listen to their ideas, sift through the lunatics who demand greater protection from aliens listening to their thoughts, and bring the concerns of the populace directly to the President once or twice a month. There are a lot of "back seat Presidents" in this country. Not only could I possibly become part of the system that helps them speak their mind, but I'm also fairly sure a cabinet position where I could work from home would come with medical benefits.
Aside from all but begging for a job along side Mr. Obama, the Social Security system needs to be completely revamped. Medicare should cover 100% of medical needs. Welfare systems should be something only needed on a temporary basis by those that are handicapped. (Having to deal with multiple government offices is truly a "joy" for those of us with enough woes on our collective plates.) While various pundits cry that Social Security will be bankrupt in the near future, a majority of us lives BENEATH poverty, yet are told we make too much money to receive food stamps. Well, we wouldn't need food stamps to begin with if SSI/SSD kept us from living lives where our hands are always out, praying kind strangers will give us the funds to merely exist.
The system is severely broken. It doesn't need fixing. It needs to be torn down and rebuilt to get people like me living above poverty level. What's more, that which is called "poverty level" needs to become a realistic number, because NO ONE could possibly live on $10,400 a year.
I will await your form letter and expect to be ignored at your earliest convenience.
Yes, I actually included that last line; I firmly believe that's what will happen. Mr. Obama isn't really interested in giving a guy like me access to himself, or any major member of his staff. I would likely need to move to Washington D.C. to work there, and I doubt they'll pay for my relocation. And a job where I can work from home? Unless I'm living in the White House, I don't think that's going to happen.
Even if they did, can you imagine the job interview? There I am, arriving at the White House, about to sit down for a chat that may change the way I live, possibly forever...and I'm showing up in jeans and a tee shirt, as well as an ancient pair of sandals because I can't afford a suit. But, hey! I'll be able to show off the ulcer on my left foot easily enough, and the severe arthritis on my right big toe!
As for revamping SSI/SSD so that people like me aren't perpetually begging for help, I suppose I could hold my breath until that happens. I suspect oxygen deprivation will become a daily part of my life, occurring every few minutes until the day I die. Hold breath, pass out, respiration returns to normal, wake up, "wash, rinse, repeat."
No one's listening. If they are, I'll be shocked.