Looking forward to watching Kevin Smith deal with his Southwest Airlines trauma in his future movies :: A friend's troubles with NYC Social Services
Now, a wealthy (right?) & famous (somewhat? at least in the indie world) movie director being inconvenienced & made to feel bad about himself is definitely not a good thing, but this Southwest vs. Smith episode makes me think of a recent, somewhat similar incident I witnessed - and was somewhat a part of - re: a NYC Medicaid office vs. a poor woman - so now is a good time to get this off my chest - so pull up a chair:
A friend who is unable to work full time due to health conditions & needs government assistance with her medicine applied for Medicaid in Brooklyn, at the Boerum Hill office at 35 4th Ave. I accompanied this person to the Medicaid office & helped with applications, etc. - so I saw exactly how the applications were filled out, $s figures used, support documents provided, etc. 50 days later, after not hearing from the Medicaid office (they said they would contact in 30-45 days), we went by the office to check on the status of the application. After waiting for 4 hours, my friend was told that she was rejected because she made too much money. Surprised, she asked what amount they had as her income, and the case worker gave a figure that was twice as much as what my friend actually makes (actual figure was documented/supported with a letter from employer when she applied for Medicaid). When we asked to see the paperwork used to arrive at the earnings figure stated by Medicaid worker (at this point the Medicaid office worker & her colleagues took the position that we had filled out the application wrong) we were told that the files are not available to be shown (this is the paperwork that we turned in 50 days earlier). When the workers searched their computers for scans of the documents that were turned in, none showed up in their system. So we asked about the next step - how to correct the error (made by Medicaid/the Boerum Hill office) - & we were told that my friend should re-apply & wait 30-45 days more to get an answer. So, a potentially lengthy & complicated complaint, reapplication, hearing procedures are on the way at the moment - not sure if & when these actions will result in my friend getting the Medicaid assistance that she needs, and in the meantime she is struggling to pay for her costly & essential medicine.
And did I mention the yelling & the accusations? While my friend was crying after hearing that she was rejected for Medicaid due to an error made by the Medicaid office, 3 NYC social service workers were yelling at us/having a shouting match with us because we dared to suggest that they messed up on the paperwork & also that they cannot produce the paperwork that we turned in, which they claimed was the basis for their decision (of course matters were not helped by me telling them that I was going to complain to whoever would listen about their incompetence).
So, bottom line, Boerum Hill Medicaid office/3+ (however many contributed to the horrible mishandling of my friends application) NYC social service workers get a big fat zero for customer service excellence. What was most annoying was their attitude that there was no possible way that they could have made a mistake, & that a potential client of theirs suggesting so was unthinkable & unacceptable.
We'll see how it goes next time with NYC social services/Boerum Hill Medicaid office (if we decide to go there again, may be better to try another office, even though Boerum Hill is the nearest one to my friend). Hopefully a lot better than the last time I was there. If it does not go well, you'll hear all about it here, & I am going to make sure whatever NYC gov entity manages that office (& anyone else who could help with reform/improving the level of service there) also hears about how the Boerum Hill workers mis-handled this one case.
Anyway, back to Kevin Smith & Southwest Airlines - I am glad Smith is drawing attention to his incident with the airline & is making Southwest re-visit their "Passengers of Size" (that's a Southwest Airlines corporate term, an ultimately negative term/idea/practice, kind of like "People of Color"*) policies. Here's hoping for better customer service in both private businesses & government agencies. And here's to people who complain about bad service - they are doing the rest of us a favor.
* why am I unhappy with the term People of Color? Because it denies individuality, just like race theory & racism, & it also supports race theory - which is a completely fabricated bunch of nonsense/war & conquest propaganda that has been accepted world wide (more or less) as fact. That, of course, is a subject for another blogpost on another day.