Is VESID a good thing?
Maybe. Conceptionally, VESID (NYS Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities) is a great idea. Putting it into practice falls on human beings with various levels of competence. In Syracuse, VESID appears to be doing at least as much harm as it does good. People reporting from other regions say that the Syracuse office is much worse than VESID offices in other areas.
Can VESID help get me an apartment?
No. VESID’s job is to get people who are disabled ready to go to work. Its mission is employment, not housing. For housing for people with disabilities, see the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which has affordable apartment buildings all over the place. To search for a subsidized apartment, go to http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/mfh/hto/inventorysurvey.cfm. The rent is basically one-third of your income.
If I’m on disability can I get Section 8 housing in New York State?
Section 8 housing is based on income level, not disability, but being disabled usually makes you poor enough to qualify for Section 8.
Section 8 basically comes in two different forms: vouchered or project-based. In one case, you get approved for a voucher that you can take to any landlord who will accept it. Some landlord’s like Section 8 vouchers because it’s a government guarantee that they will get paid. Other landlord’s won’t accept it because it brings in “that kind of people,” i.e., poor people. The voucher is portable and you can take it anywhere within the county of issuance. The problem is that HUD isn’t putting enough money into the voucher system. There are too many people who are qualified for Section 8 vouchers but can’t get them. The waiting list in Syracuse is five years.
The alternative is project-based Section 8 in which the Section 8 attains to the building not to the person. You only get the low rent as long as you stay in the building. There are HUD-subsidized Section 8 buildings with anywhere from 24 to over 200 apartments. The waiting time to get into one of these buildings is usually from 30 to 90 days. Some HUD-subsidized buildings are exclusively for the elderly but most are elderly and/or disabled. Most published information about buildings is incorrect. You have to call the building manager to get accurate information.
By the way, do not be misled by the appearance of HUD-subsidized apartment buildings. Because they have to meet federal guidelines, they always are well-maintained and look good. That doesn’t mean they are happy places to live. Your happiness will be based on three things: (1) whether you are moving from a place that was better or was worse; (2) the compassion of the management, and (3) how you get along with poor and/or sick people.
In my building, which has 176 apartments, 83% of the tenants have an extremely low income, i.e., below $10,000/year. The majority are disabled and between the ages of 50 and 65. It is clean, safe and affordable—and no fun at all.
Can a sixty-three-year old black receive Medicare or Medicaid if he has terminal disease such as cancer?
Medicare is usually based on age; Medicaid is based on low income. Neither have anything to do with race. There is a “catastrophic illness” category in which a patient with cancer or other devastating illness may be eligible. Assume you are eligible and file applications for both Medicare and Medicaid.
I have had both Medicare and Medicaid since I was 52, based on disability.
Can God use elderly or handicapped people?
Yes. God uses anybody who has a heart that is open to love. God, unlike Americans and families, does not turn his back on people who are elderly or disabled. He has a path for each of us to follow. Bible study and prayer will show you the path that God has for you. Mother Teresa pointed out that people are hungrier for love than for bread. Old and/or handicapped people are very able to give love. What form that will take—telephone support, knitting blankets, doing advocacy work—is up to you and God to discover. Call your local volunteer center and ask them what they need people to do.
Does Medicaid transportation still come to get you if it is snowing outside?
Yes, according to policy. Maybe, according to reality. They will make every effort to get to you for one simple reason: the transportation companies are privately owned and they only can stay in business if they are out earning money by carrying patients.
You are responsible for keeping your driveway and/or sidewalks shoveled so the Medicaid transportation driver can get to you. In some cases—after being warned—a transportation company will refuse to carry you if you’re not keeping your access clear. A company owner may pull his drivers off the road in blizzard conditions when it’s totally unsafe, but that is very, very rare. And they always will get you home if they brought you out. Drivers are not wimps; they are pretty tough professionals who take pride in getting the job done when conditions are bad.
What can people do with disability that others can’t do?
I don’t understand the question. Resubmit it in different words and give a specific example of something you have in mind.