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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

My Take On Government Assistance

Everybody at Community Services Northwest is at the same time proud of and puzzled by me.

Jason, my housing case manager, quite assertively instructed me not to buy any BitCoin.

I expect he regards BitCoin as being just as valuable as magic beans.

He eventually compromised by telling me to buy only $100 worth.

I emailed him after his visit to inform him that I bought $200 worth of Etherium before he arrived at my apartment.

I further explained that my only hope for a comfortable retirement was to speculate - not invest: speculate.

I did attempt to set Jason's mind at ease by pointing out that I will be contributing the age 50 or over "Individual Retirement Account Catch-Up Contribution" of $6500, and that I will make only conservative investments with my IRA. I told Jason - and this really is true - that I will use that whole $6500 to buy a Standard & Poors 500 index fund.

I mean here I am this imaginary United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel who bivouacked under a highway overpass until the enemy slashed up his tent, then I get a job which pays far more than any CSNW employees can ever hope to earn in their entire lives, and I actually know what an IRA is and why S&P 500 index funds are wise investments.

They were all pleased about this but then I told them all that when my wire finally arrives I'm going to run right out and spend ten grand on magic beans.

Shortly before my discharge from Western State Hospital the patient financial coordinator met privately with me so he could get my signature on a form that enabled him to obtain my lifetime pay history so that I could qualify for the government tit.

When Anthony informed me of his evil plans I pointed out that I was not disabled and that I was a software engineer. I readily agree that I am mentally ill - and I told him so - but that being batshit insane does not interfere with my ability to write code so I did not need any government tit milk.

"That's OK," Tony assured me, "if you don't need the money you can cancel it".

He came back a few days later both dismayed and puzzled that my pay for 2008 was $102,500. He said that was a strange amount of money. How was it that I earned so much, but not a round number like $100k?

I explained that in reality I was paid $150,000 that year, but the Social Security maximum pay was $102,500. Then I reminded him that I wasn't disabled because I worked as a software engineer.

"This is a mental hospital. People say all kinds of things."

Poor Tony was on the verge of tears because he just found out that this "Mad as a cut snake but at least you're an independent thinker" imaginary coder earned far more than he - as a public employee - could ever hope to make.

Social Security told Tony that I did not qualify for SSDI when he asked them if I would still be considered disabled given that during my hospitalization I had been writing an iPhone App on paper with a pencil.

"He's working," they explained, "so he's not disabled. KTHANKSBYE!"

But it was made crystal clear that because Western has a policy of not discharging patients into homelessness, I would never get out of that insane asylum unless I applied for - and actually received - GA-X, more commonly known as General Assistance.

I signed the damn form.

When my approval came, my social worker congratulated me for this achievement by informing me that I would receive $132.00 per month.

I totally blew my stack: "WHY THE HELL DID YOU FORCE ME TO APPLY FOR GA-X? THAT'S NOT EVEN ENOUGH TO PAY MY TRAIN FARE TO GET TO WORK IN DOWNTOWN PORTLAND!" I didn't have a job but I was working on Warp Life from my favorite cafe.

A small but bright light bulb appeared just above the social worker's head. She agreed to recommend that I be discharged.

Tony the financial guy was blowing smoke when he told me I could cancel my GA-X. I required many phone calls and several months before the state human services people agreed to cancel it.

Upon discovering that my GA-X had not been cancelled after my first such call, I withdrew my whole month's allotment from an ATM at Mary's Club then blew the entire wad on stripper tips, private dances and admission to a pr0n theater that was organized as a private club so those men who got really really really lucky might get to screw one of the very few women who were members of that same club.

Two weeks later I told an Administrative Law Judge that "I spent my whole month's General Assistance on prostitutes! And you tell me you can't cancel it?"

I didn't really spend it on prostitutes - $132 is not enough, they go for $200 around here - but that's what really I said to the judge.

She curtly informed me that if I wanted - WANTED SHE SAID - to keep my GA-X milk flowing I had to show up in person for another administrative law hearing.

The fuck? Are you deaf or just ignorant?

Within minutes after my telephone hearing - which commenced when the judge cold-called me without any advance notice - I dropped a dime to the judge's clerk then asked whether my hearing was recorded and if so could I get a copy of said recording?

The clerk made clear that she was desperately struggling to keep a straight face while at the same time desperately struggling to avoid pissing herself laughing.

The CD with my hearing's recording arrived the very next day. I intended to post it on my website but neglected to do so right away. The CD got buried in my storage locker.

I still have that CD. Someday I'm going to publish a transcript in a full-page Columbian ad.

Maybe I can get that recording played on the radio. Rush Limbaugh would be heavily into that sort of thing.

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