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Posted by Georgia ( on February 25, 2001 at 17:14:58:

In Reply to: The Mad FREEk returneth.........(WARNING: contains naughty words, some nudity, might be VERY long winded,but no machinery or animals were harmed during the writing of this post) posted by Carl D on February 25, 2001 at 09:34:36:

I am so sorry to hear of your struggle. I am very happy to see that you are turning your anger into something productive, like the creation of A.R.E.

You spoke of people, mainly minorities, receiving preferential treatment with the Department of Social Services. You are right, they do, but perhaps not for the reasons you have attributed. I have worked in a welfare to work program for over three years and have had to deal with DSS on a daily basis. The people that I have seen receive better treatment, faster service, etc. are those who know how to work the system. In my experience, the minority groups did not receive better treatment because of the threat of the AARP, it was more the use of particluar catch phrases - such as FAIR HEARING or CONTACTING THE COMISSIONER that has brought this about. Many have been receiving benefits since their birth and it is the only life they know. They HAVE to know how to manipulate their case workers in order to survive. DSS will freely admit that the services they provide are not meant to help people survive, they consider it a temporary assistance program. They also will freely admit that they pride themselves on being rude and difficult because they don't want the process to be enjoyable - they fear that people will get too comfortable that way. Don't ask me to back this "logic" - I think it a horrific way to operate.

Next time you go there, while you are sitting in the waiting room for an ungodly amount of time - talk to the people there, tell them your story, ask what they would do. They will likely have an earful of advice of how to get what you need, and quickly.

My advice to you would be to ask for a supervisor next time you are there, or to file a formal complaint with the Comissioner. If all else fails, ask for a fair hearing. This consists of you pleading your case, DSS pleading theirs, all in the presence of a "neutral" judge who is familiar with the process and the regulations. DSS must heed the outcome of the hearing. Often times, just the mention of it is enough to hurry things up. You may also want to seek out the advocacy of a federally funded program while you are waiting for yours to be created. There are several programs that will put the pressure on DSS for you, go to your appointments with you, etc. Get a copy of your local wellness pages, either in the phone book or distributed at DSS. Check into VESID - vocational education for individuals with disabilities. Check into your local county mental health services. Both of these places offer advocacy and know the case workers and the system.

Lastly, know that you are not being treated this way because of you - it is not personal. They treat everyone like shit on the ground. The irony of it all is that an abnormally large percentage of the people working at DSS were once sitting at the other side of the desk. How quickly we forget where we came from. I hope this helps. If you need anymore info, please feel free email me. Keep us updated as to your progress and I sincerely wish you the best of luck.

Peace and love,

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