So I’m still struggling to get on disability for my anxiety issues. I’ve been fighting for this for a year or maybe two, now (appealing two rejections) and got to the tribunal stage (the final showdown where they either reject you forever or they accept you and can’t take it back) and the lady at the tribunal approved me(!).
Unfortunately, now they’re saying they can’t actually give me money until I prove to them that I qualify financially (they never asked me my income in all this time. WHY DID THEY LET ME JUMP THROUGH ALL THESE HOOPS WHEN FOR ALL THEY KNOW I MAKE TOO MUCH MONEY TO EVEN GET HELP). I just got a letter with a huge-ass list of shit I have to provide to prove my income etc.
The real kicker is, after my tribunal in December of 2016 where the lady said “congratulations! You’re in!”, the disability office literally forgot about me for five months. I had to call twice to remind them I was alive. Then sometime after the second call (where they were like “Oh shit, okay, we’ll try to find your paperwork and put it through”) they apparently assigned me a worker but never told me that – I only found out another month or so down the road when I still hadn’t heard anything so I called yet again. They gave me my worker’s name and extension. I left a message on her voicemail basically going “so…I got approved…um…when can I expect cheques in the mail…?” And she left me a voicemail a week later saying she’s behind on her paperwork so just wait (and that my welfare cheques won’t be discontinued until I start getting disability cheques. Well, cool story but I’M NOT ON WELFARE. I’ve been treading water and hoping desperately for disability to bail me out of poverty).
And now – seven months after the tribunal where they told me I was approved for funds – I get this letter with a huge list of documents I need to provide the disability people in order to get any money…AND THERE’S A DEADLINE ON IT. Of less than a month.
Oh and I’m sure it goes without saying but the letter says that if I can’t get all that shit in by the deadline I have to call them and give them reasons why. Ummmm BECAUSE I HAVE ANXIETY THAT INTERFERES WITH MY EXECUTIVE FUNCTION. IT IS THE MAJOR REASON I’VE APPLIED FOR DISABILITY. Oh also their list of documents that they want includes tax info and I haven’t done my taxes in like five years. BECAUSE. I. HAVE. ANXIETY. AND. I. AM. NOT. GOOD. AT. GETTING. THINGS. DONE. OR. DEALING. WITH. BUREAUCRACY.
TBH, now that I’ve moved in with The Dandy and Dandette and am paying half the rent I used to, I probably won’t qualify for disability. It’s my slow season but between the lowered rent and The Dandy paying for the lion’s share of groceries and toiletries, I think I can mostly make it through the summer okay; in winter I typically make much more so I’ll do just fine. But my understanding is that once one gets approved for disability, they give you a retroactive lump sum dating back to when you first applied. Which I believe in my case would be well over ten thousand dollars. And I’m hoping that even if they don’t think I should get anything going forward, they’ll see from my history that I did qualify back then, and give me that lump sum to make up for the hardship of the previous year or two. You guys, I’m a terribly anal retentive person and compulsive worrier/planner. It’s been killing me to have to live month-to-month for the past five years or so. If disability gives me that lump of cash I’d finally have an emergency savings fund again. I wouldn’t have a repeat of last summer where I estimated my finances wrong (and was too afraid to check my account and know for sure) and ended up in the negative and paying off like two hundred bucks in NSF fees. Or at least, I wouldn’t have a repeat of last summer for probably a pretty long time, if this living situation holds out.
It’s so hard, though. I hate that they’re making me produce so. Many. Documents. And in fact I probably can’t produce all of what they want, so maybe I’ll go through all this work for nothing. And if I’m actually able to get on disability and get a cheque each month, that’s more bureaucracy to deal with – I’ll have to send them proof of my income every month, and they’ll make deductions from my next cheque depending on what I made in the current month (I think that’s how it works) so my income still won’t be steady, and doing my taxes will be even more of a clusterfuck because I’d be getting income from yet another source…it’s tempting to give up.
I realized that The Dandy is a big factor in this, for me. He’s been partially supporting me, and he hasn’t complained about it but I don’t know that he’s thrilled about it, either. And he knows I have a shot at getting a regular income, all year long, for the next three years; enough income that I could pay my own way entirely, year ’round. If I don’t take that shot, how will he feel? Will it look like I’m taking him for granted? Like I’m assuming, without ever having asked, that he’ll pick up my slack financially?
So over the weekend, while angsting about this stupid list of documents, I asked The Dandy point blank, “If I just totally give up on this [process of getting on disability], am I an asshole?”
“No, not at all,” he said. “I mean, look, you do work. It’s just seasonal. You may have to contribute less during the summer, whatever, that’s fine. My income is steady. I can cover us. As long as you’re contributing what you can.”
OMG OMG OMG. This is such a relief. Because, here’s the thing: I decided from the getgo that I will pay my fair share here no matter what. If I don’t do that, I’m afraid The Dandy will see me as a child/invalid or start thinking he owns me or some other nefarious shit. So when he and I first spoke about me moving in here, I negotiated a rent of $450/month – one-quarter of the full rent here. My reasoning there is that Dandette has her own room but I’m sharing with The Dandy so I’ll pay half of his half of the rent.
But. With how little I make in the summer months, it was looking like that $450 would tap me out completely – I’d be able to pay my rent and maybe bills but then have nothing left over at all.* And it strikes me that there are different kinds of “fair” – paying an amount of rent that matches the amount of apartment I use is fair, but I’d say that paying an amount that’s commensurate with my income (so that The Dandy pays a bigger proportion of rent but we each end up with enough discretionary cash to feel like we have basic human dignity) would also be fair, in its way.
We’re on a waiting list to move into a three-bedroom unit where I’d have my own room, and I’m not sure exactly how much those units are but based on what the rent is in our current 2-bedroom, my guess is that a third of the rent for a three-bedroom in the building would be at least $700 if not a bit more. I’d been working up my nerve to talk to The Dandy about him subsidizing me a bit, at least in summer. Like maybe an even third of the rent during my busier months but $300 in the slow season. Now it appears I don’t need to have that talk. 🙂
*As it happens, I got a few lucky breaks recently that have made my summer look a lot less tight. But that’s not really the point.