Archive for February, 2010

Remember my wild good chase (https://werkinggerl.wordpress.com/2009/12/08/a-wild-goose-chase) where I was sent to a non-interview at HealthFirst in Queens? Well, I just signed my New York Medicaid CHOICE form and my “choice” among so many non-choices is HealthFirst. I can’t go to any of my real doctors cuz they don’t take HealthFirst.

I need my right breast checked b/c I had a biopsy in July and it still hurts and it’s time for a check-up anyhow. Now I have to find a Medicaid clinic to go to and a competent doc to examine my tit. I’m just really not into Medicaid mills.

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More mandatory meetings:

I have been summoned once again to the Linden Job Center. This coming Wednesday I have a Recertification Appointment with worker A. Ahmed.

The notice advises me: “You must have an in-person Face to Face interview, as schedule below.”

It kinda looks like HRA already made a decision about  the outcome of my Tuesday meeting and will cut off my public assistance before I have a chance to speak with them at that particular mandatory meeting on that subject.

In terms of Food Stamps, I will bring my 2009 tax return to show I made less than 10K last year and am making one thousandth of that this year. Hopefully they will let me keep eating!

On another note: I received a score of 93 on my US Census test. Passing score is 70. The proctor showed me my score and said to expect a call for an interview next week.

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Failure to Comply: The Disconnect Between Design and Implementation in HRA’s WeCARE Program


In early 2005, the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) implemented the Wellness, Comprehensive Assessment, Rehabilitation and Employment (WeCARE) Program to determine which public assistance recipients and applicants have multiple and complex barriers to employment and provide them with specialized services that were not available under HRA’s previous support and training programs. Based on discussions from June 2005 through August 2006 with over 700 welfare recipients in WeCARE, as well as in-depth focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and phone surveys with 100 of those participants, this report is a study of how the WeCARE program is supposed to work and whether or not it is providing the support and specialized services it is designed to deliver to public assistance recipients with disabilities. The report lays out the policies put in place by New York City to serve public assistance recipients with disabilities, relays findings based on participants’ first-hand experiences with the program and offers recommendations for systemic and service delivery improvements.

Find the reports here.

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I just retrieved my mail and opened a envelope with the Linden Center Job Center as a return address. The document is titled Conciliation Notification for Activity Period Continued.

“We would like to discuss any problems you may have with work activity requirements and the reason(s) why you:

Failed to comply with WeCARE Vocational Rehabilitation Services or did not attend or cooperate with scheduled activities for all assigned hours.

Either you did not meet the minimum number of work hours required or failed to cooperate during the period of      01/26/2010 through    02/09/2010. If we cannot reach an agreement about your participation in a work activity, we will make a determination as to whether or not you did willfully and without good cause fail or refuse to report or cooperate…” YADDA YADDA YADDA ad infinitum

This meeting,  with a so-called “Conciliation Worker,” will take place next Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. I’ll keep you posted!

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This morning I went to only the second job interview that wasn’t canceled I’ve been invited to since I started sending out resumes in July. It’s for a glorified administrative assistant position a very high-end real estate boutique in Chelsea. I eliminated my JD from my resume, dumbed it down just a bit and also told them that their job description is more than “just” an admin asst. They agreed and still invited me to speak with them. They (the two principals and their assistant) actually seemed kinda enamored with me, my writing experience first and foremost, but also my PR background.  Seems a relatively decent gig: flexible part time hours and –if they pony up like I asked them to–decent pay for the work they really want accomplished. I’ll take it!!!

I’m also scheduled to take the census test at a church down the street from my apartment on Thursday. I will have with me two forms of ID, two no. 2 pencils (and a sharpener), a pen and my brain…

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I had my MDR (Mandatory Dispute Resolution) meeting today. It lasted less than five minutes.

The “meeting” — and I use that term extremely loosely, was with one Mrs. B. Warren. With a dour look she shouted my name and had me follow her into the office and her cubicle. She proceeded to scream at me that my landlord didn’t fill out the correct forms so I can’t receive rental assistance and I  have no grounds for a Fair Hearing.

I asked if I might introduce myself. She said, again screaming “I know who you are!” I replied that I had no clue who she was.  “I’m Mrs. Warren, my name is posted right there,” she motioned to a very small sign pasted on the wall of her cubicle that was in my blind spot. I asked if she might explain why my case for rental assistance was closed without anyone notifying me.

“I ALREADY TOLD YOU THAT YOU DIDN’T SUBMIT PROPER PAPERS.” I told her my landlord didn’t fill them out properly nor would he—he doesn’t want a welfare case living in his apartment. “THAT’S WHY YOUR CASE IS CLOSED!”, she screamed.  I said again. “I want to know why I wasn’t notified because at the time my landlord was being cooperative.” She put her hands to her head: “SHUT UP! STOP TALKING , YOU’RE GIVING ME A HEADACHE!”

“Okay,” I said, “then can you please tell me about my public assistance, food stamps and Medicaid cases”? “YOUR CASE IS OPEN, I TOLD YOU THAT ALREADY. WHY DO YOU KEEP ASKING THE SAME QUESTIONS”?

“No one here is at all helpful and you are being extremely rude, “  I told her. “ I just want a report on the status on my open case.”

“GET OUT OF HERE” she screamed, dumped me out of my chair and waved me away.

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A recent exchange with a lost acquaintance:

Her: How’s tricks with you?

Me: No tricks at all that’s the problem…on food stamps, cannot find a way to make a living in this economy, which I don’t think is ever going to truly “recover”…

Her: …yes, the economy is a bitch. I know so many journalists and media types who are really suffering. It’s like we’re auto workers in Detroit, watching our jobs disappear forever. The only upside is believing that it’s not a personal failure, just circumstances beyond our control. But that doesn’t change the fact that rent must be paid …

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I showed up at 2 p.m. Friday for said “fair” hearing. The Administrative Las Judge was a really, really, REALLY smug guy in a pinstripe suit with gold jewelry who leaned WAY back in his chair the way smug male bullies do. He would not entertain my statement that the lack of response from the Bergen Street Food Stamp Center was a failure to give me my case record.  He sed I should have sent a letter. I told him they would have just thrown it in the garbage and he knows it! He smiled a smug authoritarian smile. Well, then let’s just proceed with this sham, I said.

There was a rep form Bergen Street there and she handed us both some papers. Seems I’ve been receiving food stamps and ostensibly public assistance all along from my original filing. I don’t know form Public Assistance, but why did Bergen Street say my case wuz closed if it wasn’t? HRA needs to get their shit together… WHAT A WASTE OF TIME on all accounts!!!

I voluntarily withdrew my case after making my point that HRA is utter bureaucratic resistance rather than public assistance. Another smug authoritarian smirk from the ALJ. The lady form Bergen Street just kept her head down.

I returned home to two letters in my mailbox from New York State. The first one was acknowledgement that they received my request for a fair hearing against HRA for closing my rental assistance case without notifying me. The other stating I MUST attend Mandatory Dispute Resolution on Wednesday to “resolve the issues regarding you requested Fair Hearing.” Pretty goddamn ironic that I will be meeting with the very same supervisor whom I have tried to make an appointment with for months. I called and called and even went down to the Linden Center to see her, Ms. Colletti, but reception told me didn’t have an appointment. I responded that I couldn’t get an appointment because she neither answers her phone nor returns messages. I had to file a Fair Hearing request to prove my point. This is your NYS/NYC tax dollars at work, folks!

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stone·wall // (stnwôl)

v. stone·walled, stone·wall·ing, stone·walls

1. Informal

a. To engage in delaying tactics; stall: “stonewalling for time in order to close the missile gap” (James Reston).
b. To refuse to answer or cooperate.
2. Sports To play defensively rather than trying to score in cricket.
v.tr. Informal

To refuse to answer or cooperate with; resist or rebuff: “I want you to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment” (Richard M. Nixon).

>I’ve got a so-called Fair Hearing against the Forte Green Food Stamp Center tomorrow. That’s the joint that almost stole my x-mas by cutting off my food stamps just before the holidays. Well, I filed a request for a Fair Hearing , but it’s hardly fair to go before the same people who’ve made a  judgment against me.  And, I’ve been calling the Fort Greene Food Stamp Center (FS/20) for over two weeks since I got the notice that my hearing would be February 12th (tomorrow, Friday) to obtain the documents pertaining to my case. All to no avail. My voicemails go unanswered and when I do get a live person they are so eager to put me into a voice mailbox that is full or a number that rings to no one I haven’t been able to secure what I am they are legally bound to supply to me.

So, I have been assembling a recording of my the voicemails and messages I left, which I recorded cause I ain’t no dummy. Once a receptionist pretended to take a message for the supervisor, Ms. Cromwell, but I could tell she wasn’t even writing down my info. I called once because I was going to just go to the place and demand my documents, but Ms. Cromwell wasn’t in that day and I was told I can’t see anyone, let alone a supervisor without an appointment. I asked, clearly rhetorically how I might secure an appointment when Ms. Cromwell doesn’t answer her phone or return my phone calls.

I’m no techno geek and it’s been really difficult to translate my funky Skype recordings onto a CD.  So, I think I’m going to venture out today to get a brand new jump drive and just stick the recordings on that, bring my Netbook to the hearing and let the Administrative Law Judge hear why I don’ t have any information about my case: I have been stonewalled from day one.

Fair Hearings are a blemish on HRA Centers and Units. The city KNOWS HRA is spending way too much money their defending cases that have no merit and that they will surely lose. I have been receiving what is called “aid-continuing” during the time lapse between the official notice on December 19th of having my Food Stamps discontinued and now—it’s all part of the game. If they find that I don’t deserve them, then I have to pay them back. Apparently they believe that they can get blood from a stone.- I haven’t even paid February rent…<

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National Briefing | Washington

5.7 Million Get Weekly Food Assistance


The number of Americans getting help from soup kitchens, shelters and food pantries each week rose 27 percent in the past four years, to 5.7 million, according to a survey by Feeding America, an association of food banks. About 37 million Americans, one in eight, got assistance over the course of a year, an increase of 46 percent.

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