I’ve been having one of those days… weeks… months, really… and today just sucked. I recently discovered our state’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and they help people with disabilities get or keep jobs. Sounds like a noble cause and right up my alley, right? Ugh.
I first emailed them and the woman who replied said my disability must be irreversible (check) and “severely” impact my ability to do my job. She told me there are orientations every Tuesday at 10 am and Thursday at 2 pm and there would be paperwork to fill out.
I figured I had nothing to lose. I went to the orientation today.
I show up at 10 am for the 10 am orientation. The door is already shut and the woman behind the counter points to the door and mutters how the instructor (for lack of better term) does not like when people are late. Uh, last I checked, arriving at 10 am for a 10 am orientation did not constitute being late.
There were seven other people there and we watched a video of a woman going on and on about how fabulous DVR services are and how they really helped her by sending her back to school and now she’s working, making money and happy, happy, happy! When the video was done, the instructor asked if there were questions. The first question was a young guy asking about having DVR pay for him to go to school. The woman said that might be possible.
Then another guy asked about transferring his records as he just moved here from Florida. Again, might be possible.
We got into talking about the process, the paperwork required, and then people start asking questions about how their felony conviction might affect their services and voicing concerns over getting a job because then they might make too much and won’t get their disability checks any more. Once we were filling out the paper, there was casual discussion about the price of cigarettes and at that point, I just wanted to leave.
I hate to be judgmental, but after being given the impression via email that I wasn’t going to qualify because I might not be disabled enough, then to spend an hour with seven other people — four of whom mentioned having felony convictions — it got upsetting to think they will probably be the ones to get money to go to school and whatever else they need, and I will be denied services. It always seems to happen that way. If you work hard and support yourself, you somehow aren’t worthy of help.
I had a good cry on the way from that orientation back to work because I’m tired, I’m frustrated, I need help, I WANT help and all I can do is wait two to four weeks for my appointment with a DVR counselor to evaluate my needs… and hopefully not get denied because I already have a job, I’m not a felon or I don’t get enough other government assistance.
I want to be positive about this, but I feel deflated, devalued and defeated.