Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Falling Through the Safety Net

Maybe it is because we are an unofficial tribe now, but for various reasons I seem to know many people dealing with the politics of medical disability. It is a tremendous privilege in the public service  to have this safety net - but the politics around it can be less than straightforward.  It is not something that I have faced because I quit my position nine months before I discovered my kidneys were failing.   Had the timing been different I likely would have continued to collect a percentage of my salary each month...but for those who faced significant challenges while still on the job - their dealings with the insurance companies (as opposed to their employers) have in some cases taken on a life of their own - and the long, often trying battles they face seem the heart of cruelty when someone is trying to cope with their medical demons - an added indignity and stress-inducer they could dearly do without. I know the prevailing sentiment is that such safety valves are open for abuse - but sometimes the effort to prove legitimacy seems incredibly onerous - even when copious and emphatic evidence is provided by specialists. In many ways while I miss the security of a monthly cheque - there is a reason things happened when they did in my case - and the notion of any kind of dependency - particular with taxpayer's money - is a difficult one for me. Frankly in many ways it is a dance I am very relieved not to be a part of - as fearful as I am of some of the financial decisions we will be forced to make. There is always a need for checks and balances - but at the same time employees pay dearly for the privilege and at a when they legitimately need it - adding to their distress is hard for me to fathom. I know at the same time even having this battle to fight is something legions of workers do not enjoy - and when tragedy strikes they are left with whatever paltry sum the federal government might offer when their circumstances haven't allowed them to save for a cloudy day, let alone a rainy one. What we earn and what we are owed, if anything, are never easy concepts to reconcile...let alone what every human being deserves and who we allow to be the judge and jury when need strikes.

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