Thursday, November 17, 2016

Frustration at Department of Rehabilitation

I have a love hate relationship with the California Department of Rehabilitation. Well actually I just really love to hate them.
A red explosion graphic with the word Bang in gold across its center.
BANGLove Hate Relationship With the Department of Rehabilitation

I had my first dealings with the Department of Rehabilitation back in 2009. Not a good year to start dealings with an organization like the DOR. California was on the way into a financial tailspin and I did get the promise of a cane. A white cane costing $25 took over 18 months to obtain from the DOR. I had bought my own in four days from amazon. com.

They had allowed me to have five hours of training with a cane. Thank God for such generosity. Then after a few months of being told  that I could not have lessons in using other adaptive technology they  genorously  closed my file.

After several attempts to re-open my file I reapplied to the DOR for help. I knew that I was planning to move home, now to be closer to medical resources and possible training. Maybe they would help. They did. They told me I couldn't move home. Well for that part it wasn't just my say, my wife had the offer of a new and better job and I would have been left to live alone in a small town, seventy miles away from all my doctors and that was only accesible by one bus per day in each direction.

Well after I left my job and moved home. The DOR did relent a little. They did agree that I could have some access to training on adaptive technology and typing training. Plus I would have an advisor who would put me in touch with employers.

Well things were definitely looking brighter back then. In eighteen months though I have come to learn that the promises of the DOR are nothing short of lies.

The classes eventually stopped at the end of 2015.  The person who advises on jobs went on a little longer. I didn't mind writing an e-mail every week about my job search. Listing all the applications and a detailed description of what each job was, but something told me that she did not particularly understand that finding  jobs for a blind person is fraught with some difficulties. I don't know what it was, whether the job application she sent me for a truck driver, the application to spend the Summer working on  an Alaskan crab boat, or maybe it was the telling me at ten in the morning that I had a chance of an interview that very afternoon if I could get to a place just out of town, by two o'clock.  Sadly for me at one o'clock I had my monthly eye doctor appointment to atten to and with no cash to pay for Uber, nor having a friend or relative available to drop everything and get me to the place to work everyday, I felt it more prudent to decline.

Back in May I had also told them of my ideas to spend more time working on  my blogs   and my amazon FBA business   So I did begin working more than full-time hours on those things as well as continuing to look for other work, of course avoiding long distance truck driving, being an airline pilot or deep sea fisherman.

Well just over a month ago I received a call from the DOR. They  wanted to check on my case. I told them of all the things that I have been doing, my businesses, producing TV programs, as well as doing presentations to school children on working with Guide Dogs.

Well for the DOR this is not looking for work. I am earning some money, it is an income that has grown throughout the past six months. I have the support from my wife for doing what I am doing, but I do not have the support of my case workers at the DOR.

They describe me as "not ready to participate in the workforce." Which I take to be government gobbledigook for not willing to play their game.

The vast majority of the blind and visually impaired community is unemployed, employers will not employ the blind, they see us as a liabillity. Because of employment regulations it is more difficult to fire a disabled person. They see the blind as a risk of filing a suit for injury from falling or they see the blind as lacking in motivation to do a days work. The blind are of course  not more likely to take time off, nor are they more likely to sue an employer. But that is the reality of being blind, if you are blind and want to work you are pretty much screwed.

So I took an option, work for myself, and work hard. True at the moment I don't earn a lot of money, but with every box of books I ship to amazon to resell, with every blog post I make, with every design I submit to my zazzle stor the potential grows.

But my case workers at the California Department of Rehabilitation don't want to see that. They want me to fail, to be unemployed for life, to discourage me at every turn. My success at making work for myself is a step closer to failure for them. Because if I don't need them, then what is their purpose. If every disabled person who can created their own life, did what they can to the best of their abillities then only the truly needy would need the DOR. But the truly needy would mean that case worker's would need to work on cases.

My view is, the DOR seek merely to procrastinate, frustrate and disenfranchise the majority of otherwise able bodied people, merely to create a need which allows them to exist. They need to let those of us who want to help themselves do so. Allow us to live as we wish. Not to pose as assistants who are out to help, when they merely hamper. Nor should the tax payers of California be cheated by this body of incompetants living off the public purse, enjoying benefits and pensions which the ordinary taxpayer can only dream of.

What do you think?  Leave a comment below.