Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

I received a notice from Camp Medicaid late last week that my so-called “Fair Hearing” (filed 12/16/10) is scheduled for the afternoon of May 3, 2011. I cannot make it for various reasons, but also cannot get through on the phone number  the form directs me to call to request an adjournment to another day/time.

In the past, oh, seven months since I reapplied for Medicaid when the Roosevelt breast clinic refused to see me b/c my Medicaid lapsed, I have not been able to get a follow-up  breast exam or mammogram to make sure that everything from my breast biopsy is okay. This is the NYC public “assistance” at work, folks. The so-called social safety net.


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HARLEM — East Harlem’s Rafael Nunez has been struggling to make ends meet since he lost his job nearly a year ago.

“It’s been very tough,” said the father of three, who has been scouring the Internet and taking courses in computers and bus driving to try to find work.

But things are about to get worse for Nunez, who is set to become one of the approximately 18,000 Manhattan residents who will lose their unemployment benefits over the next month after Congress failed to pass an emergency extension on Wednesday.

Read entire article here.

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I had a job interview on Friday, or rather two interviews. A recruiter contacted me the Friday before last about a PR/Marketing position at a prestigious hospital in Manhattan with an attractive salary. There was no question that I am interested. I still haven’t paid my March rent and the prospect of a day job after 10 months of underemployment seems quite appetizing just now.

So, I went out into the New York rain to the Upper East Side last Friday and interviewed and was interviewed for two hours by two different department directors. I left feeling pretty good about my ‘performance” and certainly my credentials are up to par.

Afterward, I called the head recruiter as per her instructions, but got her voicemail. She called later while I was underground and said one of the women had gone home sick so she had not had the chance to debrief with them, but would early this week and get back to me.

This is only the third interview I’ve had since I was laid off in June. But it also seems the most promising.

Fingers crossed.

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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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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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I saw my new WeCARE case manager yesterday. I heard in passing I am a special interest case to the supervisor of the program, not entirely sure why, but have my own theories. So, got in and out in record time. She explained that because so many people have in the past abused welfare and stayed on it indefinitely instead of just using it in a crises like I am and then moving on the federal government has made it very hard for people applying now to navigate the system. She was kind of amazed I’d stuck with it so long.

She said I have to be at the program from 9-2 five days a week and I have two options: take a WEP assignment or take vocational courses. She advised—and this was her personal advice to me, not HRA’S or WeCARE’s—that I take the courses, because anything is better than working at a shit job for free and getting lost in the system forever. “With the classes you can at least get a certificate or something, whatever it is and then you can move to the job search portion. And if you find a job on your own, which is more likely, then just show us a contract or your paystub and your benefits will be adjusted.” She gave me my WeCARE papers from my visits to Bushwick , handed me her business card and told me to meet her Monday morning at 9:30 for orientation. Two weeks of testing to figure out my skill levels. Back To Werk!

Oh, and the one communications job I was waiting to hear about: no go.

Onward and upward!

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Citylimits.org reports:

In October, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum released a new report which shows that the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) is frequently in error when it takes actions such as denying applications for public benefits or sanctioning low-income clients. The report charges that HRA may be too aggressive in taking such actions, at a great cost to the city.

In New York State, welfare recipients have the right to challenge the termination or denial of public benefits in a court proceeding, or ‘fair hearing’–the cost of which is shared by the state and local district. Since 2000, HRA has been charged $58.6 million for these hearings, yet its actions have rarely been affirmed by judges.

Public Advocate Gotbaum said: “If HRA would address the many barries between eligible low-income New Yorkers and the public benefits they deserve, a significant number of these hearings could be avoided.”

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