Do they get paid for how many times they say, “I apologize for your inconvenience”?

Angry woman on the phone

So, that’s not me, but a stock photo of what I probably look like on the phone with the government, if I had blond hair and was somewhat younger maybe. My son, as I’ve mentioned before, has Autism. His father passed away several years ago and on his 25+ year work record, he is slated to receive a stipend. You know those letters you get, “If I die this year, my family will get $___”, well, that. Since we are waiting through month NINE of the “application process” (WARS have been fought and treaties forged in less time), I am in the process of dealing with his medical getting approved and cut off and then approved again and cut off, all with the promise of, “I apologize for your inconvenience”.

My son has, in addition to Autism, deals with several other conditions that are often a part of the diagnosis. In his case, it’s pretty intense anxiety, often severe bouts of depression and pretty strong ADHD. He’s like a bucket of acronyms. He takes medication and sees someone on a regular basis. Having current medical insurance is crucial to keeping these challenges under control with regular therapy and medication management. With these services in place, my son works a job, earns a paycheck and it a contributing member of society. It’s a win-win situation.

Skip to the unadulterated HELL of the phone calls dealing with this mess.

incompetence

As soon as you dial the number, a monotone voice that sounds like “Jack Handy”, the guy who did the “Deep Thoughts” bit on SNL forever comes on. I’m too worn out from making these calls all day to stay up and watch SNL anymore, so he may still be doing it for all I know. This recorded voice will immediately inform you that call volumes are extremely high no matter what time of day or the day of the week. THEY ARE ALWAYS HIGH. Then…the hold music begins. WHY? I do not need to be subjected to the torture of the music. I’m already CALLING THE GOVERNMENT for crying out loud! What ever happened to “press one for silent hold”? Horrifying compositions of nightmarishly garish songs for FIFTY FOUR minutes is not ok….EVER.

I’d rather listen to Zanfir: Master of the Pan Flute for crying out loud. (apologies to his fans, seriously, I’ve never listened to him, I just remember the endless commercials about him as a child)

panflute

Seriously, the hold music needs to go. Then, the music is interrupted by the Jack Handy voice that tells you 19,546 times over the next FIFTY FOUR minutes asking me over and over again if I know that I can find information online at http://www.confusinggovernmentpageyoullneverfigureoutorbeabletonavigate.com or that I can save time by visiting the website to find most services. As my sanity slowly slips away and the second hour of hold approaches: BEHOLD! Someone answers the line. Suddenly, I’m terrified the phone will disconnect and I’ll have to do it all over again.

The conversation this time revolves around (sad thing is this is ALL TRUE) the fact that his original application was received and approved in June. They asked me for income verification. At the time, he was still getting the stipend off his deceased father’s record, so I sent that verification in. By the time they got around to it, he was no longer getting the stipend (remember we are in month 9 of waiting for THAT) and had a job. They changed the date the info was required and I uploaded the info they requested. They said they got it but they never looked at it. “I apologize for your inconvenience” was said like three times during this first part of the exchange.

newlevelofincompetence

So, now, I’m explaining the whole thing while having three call records up on my screen like some angry Italian woman with her hands going all over the place (my whole family is Sicilian so I can’t talk without using my hands let along get angry without using them) explaining the three calls, all the documents, reference numbers, offers to give my soul for my son’s medical to be approved, etc. Finally, she tells me she’s re-enrolling him. My hands go back to the keyboard, but wait, there’s more! While she does “apologize for my inconvenience”, I will need to upload another paystub and the medical approval will become pending, again. By the time this gets straightened out, it will be time for him to reapply again. I can already hear the hold music.

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