Thursday, April 5, 2012

More adventures with Workforce Services

Well, they changed things on us again. No explanation. Yet they say "Please review the following for details"

  • The number of eligible persons in your household has changed  (No it hasn't, we don't have any more people here or any less. They did take my husband off our case because he was a full time student, so maybe they put him back on? Not sure why though since he's still a full-time student. I recently had to do a review, and OHMYGOSH they had a bunch of stuff wrong. For example, apparently I had never been married. So maybe "now" that they "know" I'm married, that changed our people eligible. Who the hell knows? Not me, because they give no explanation.

  • Your countable income has changed. (Yep, this is huge mind you.... we get an EXTRA whole $18 more from VA disability each month. Better count that against us! Better cut our food stamps by 70% because we make so much more now.

  • Your housing/utility (shelter) costs have changed (Well first of all our Mortgage is actually $5 more a month, so yes they are correct there, that has changed. Also when I first filled out the utility section it was divided up so I had to estimate each because ours is lumped together here. So when I filled it out this time it was all in one, so yes it was probably a little less... but not by nearly as much as they're adjusting our benefits.)
I notice all this last night, so I went to check more into it this morning. We are usually sent messages through notices. Well on the screen there's a note that says 

Important information:

  • Everything is okay on your case today.
Well Hallelujah! If they said so, it must be true!

I still want to know what happened. And what do they mean by everything is okay? That is so general. Until I see an official notice saying that everything was the way it was, everything is NOT okay! 

What frustrates me is trying to sort this all out. Is it something to worry about? Do they have incorrect information? As I've said in previous posts, it's not a simple matter of going in and getting it sorted out. I wish... although that is a 30-40 minute drive. Nope, you have to call or chat with an eligibility specialist with a wait of on average, 45 minutes. Well today I hop on the chat and it's only 4 minutes. YES! Oh, but she can't answer ANY of my questions. I'd have to call and talk to an eligibility specialist. Um, I thought that was what chat was for. Apparently not anymore. So after wasting 15 minutes on chat (because I wasn't sure which questions she might be able to answer), I reluctantly call. There's an estimated 28 minute wait. I can't afford to wait 28 minutes. I don't have a home phone, just a cell phone. A 28 minute wait means more like 40 and then talking to someone and get it all straightened out would be another 20 at best. I don't know if my battery would last that long and I just can't use that many minutes.  :(
That was one thing I liked about being able to chat. Plus I had it all there in front of me and I could save it if need be and refer back to what I was told. GGGRRR!
I also had another question which would be another department, so a separate phone call.

Sorry. Had to rant!

Now there's a 7 minute wait so maybe I'll finally get this sorted out.

This is lovely. She says we went from an income of $0 to $2400. Um, nope. We've always been getting the VA Disability and the unemployment. NO changes there! But see they had taken John off the case because he was a full time student, so we qualified as a household of 4 and with him being off, his income was off. I have no income. Well they saw that he got VA disability, so they marked him as 100% disabled! Just assumed I guess as usual. With him being 100% disabled, he was eligible for benefits, so they counted his income which lowered our overall benefits. Without verifying anything. Then she tells me because of this there could be over-payments from before. MY heart flipping stopped beating!!! How can they do that to us when they made the mistake? I told her all the things they said had changed hadn't. We've been upfront with them about everything from the beginning and along the way. I laughed though when she said he was 100% disabled and said no, he's 30%. She said that would probably change things back to where they were so hopefully no over-payments. If there would be over-payments, they would probably have to stop benefits for about 4-6 months to make up for them or have us flat out pay. Either way would SUCK! 
So now, I ask you, was everything okay?

And a few days later.. this is how they fix it:

There has been a change to the Household benefits for this Program. Please review the following
information for details:
• The following individuals have been removed from the assistance program:
This decision was based on information from the school(s) that the child(ren) are not
regularly attending school and do not have an acceptable excuse (good cause) for not
The child(ren) may be added back on to the financial assistance if the school verifies either
by letter or the completion of the form 126, "Verification of School Enrollment," that you are
cooperating with the school and following the process to resolve the attendance problem.

This is my husband they're talking about first of all, not a child. Second, they make it sound like he's not attending school. Well he is, so obviously they didn't check with the school. Third... because of they're reasoning here, we get our benefits back to what they were. It IS fixed. But they make it sound like because he's "not" attending school, we get more benefits. That's how brilliant they are. They can't just say, "Oops we made a mistake, your husband is attending school full time, therefore he's not eligible for these particular benefits." 
So hooray for it being "fixed", but still nerve wracking because it's not worded right, and I don't want it to bite us in the butt later, because of how THEY worded it.

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