Getting Off of SSDI, ongoing cost of access technology
Brian K. Lingard
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Dear Glenn & List:
Here in Canada, at least Ontario, you are considered successfully placed in gainful employment if the job is expected to last at least six months. Friends receiving ODSP [Ontario Disability Support Program] payments who have many medical conditions, each with at least one prescription medicine, have told me time and again they are capable of gainful work, however, as a part-time employee, they will not have a Prescription Medicine Plan. ODSP provides each recipient with a Prescription Drug Benefit that covers most, however, not all, prescriptions.
However, if you require a prescription not on the formulary, you may request it be covered for you as your doctor has prescribed it, it is expensive, and often the only medicine licensed in Canada to treat your condition. If this does not work, you may apply to The Trillium Plan for coverage of the drug in your particular case.
Friend of mine's spouse was diagnosed with gallstones. The doctor wanted to dissolve them with an expensive medicine. Their ODSP monthly income was maybe, $1,000 combined for the two of them. Friend takes the prescription to his usual pharmacy, asks what it costs, answer was $300 for a month's supply. He contacts his doctor, who writes an appeal letter to the Min of Health, after a few weeks went by, they approved it. Unfortunately, the medicine did not dissolve the stones.
His wife was diabetic, had heart issues and for these reasons was a bad candidate for surgery.
At the time, Lithotripsy, busting the stones into fine powder, was not available in Ottawa. It was in Montreal, province just across the Ottawa River, and with its own Min of Health, friend of mine called around various hospitals there, found one that did this treatment, gave the info to his wife's doctor, who said I heard they no longer do this! Meanwhile, about a day before, the hospital had told my friend they did do it, have the doctor in Ottawa send them a referral. Therefore, my friend said why run up his phone bill if the doctor will say he heard they no longer do it.
I do not know of a laparoscopic procedure, where they operate through a small hole to the scene of the procedure was an option. Have heard these procedures are much less stressful on the body, compared to a traditional open procedure.
One friend of mine, in Toronto, is blind, diabetic, with MS and probably other issues. Between her various doctors, she is on 32 prescriptions, with the Ontario Drug Benefit, pharmacies may charge a $2 co-pay per prescription. That is $64/month. Many pharmacies will waive the $2 co-pay, others do not. The nursing home she resided at dealt with one pharmacy did would not waive the co-pay. Her entire ODSP cheque of around $700/month went to pay the daily fee for staying the home, except for her $100/month comfort allowance, which was to cover replacement clothes, feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, phone & cable tv if any, she also smoked. After trying to explain to the home the $64 co-pay would be the largest item in her budget, she cannot afford it, and getting the story they only wanted to deal with the single pharmacy as it simplified ordering, she decided the home could bill her all they wanted for the co-pay, however, she refused to pay it. Her prescription medicines kept arriving and she had more spending money.
Having the Soc. Security Admin. Pay for access technology, with scripting and training, to get someone into the workforce, earning more than the prevailing SGA is fine. However, access tech wears out, requires maintenance and can become unusable due to advances in computer technology. Many perfectly good braille displays and synthesizers became obsolete when their makers decided not to make drivers available for them when a Windows upgrade required new drivers, or computers no longer had parallel & serial ports, just USB ones.
The braille displays were well built, however the firm that took over the equipment when TSI went bust, chose to not prolong their working life as they competed directly with the Braille displays the firm designed & built themselves. Freedom Scientific, now VFO Group was one firm that did this. In addition, manufacturers of access tech can go bust, making well-designed displays, however, not with enough market share to make the units and especially the r and d to design newer ones.
There is also the issue of funding equipment maintenance, replacement and scripting updated or new applications. If you work for Government, your department or agency is expected to pay for this. Fine. The scripter says it will cost $75,000 to script the soon to be released update to the main app you use. The department has perhaps one or two blind employees who need the update. If updates are released semi-annually, that is $1590, 000 for the updates or $75,000 per blind employee. If the employee is a Quad or amputee, using a sip & puff system to control their telephone, terminal printers etc. the cost of reprogramming their sit & puff system can approach the Public Debt of the United States of America. This is because sip & puff systems are almost custom-made, as is their programming.
When my employer was concerned over the cost of a PC for me, offered, well, I earn my hourly wage whether I am doing productive work or waiting for the PC to compute. I prefer doing productive work. The boss accepted this line of reasoning and purchased the faster PC with enough RAM and hard drive to handle newer program versions, which seem to require more disk storage, faster CPU and much more RAM.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Ervin, Glenn
Sent: Monday, July 23, 2018 10:35 AM
Subject: Re: [NVDA] VFO not complimentary about NVDA
In VR with state agencies, we are reimbursed by Social Security if we place someone in a job that is above SGA, that is, enough for the client to get off SSDI.
So usually, cost is not an issue for things like adaptive equipment and scripting.
Dear Brian & List:
I thought VFO Group would do JAWS scripting or put you in contact with a certified Jaws Scripter.
I do know that someone wanted a proprietary application for a car rental firm scripted to work with JAWS and was quoted thousands of dollars for the work and advised that every timed the firm rolled out a new version the work would have to be completely redone.
I believe the would- be scripting contractor was the Smith-Kettlewell Foundation of San Francisco.
I can see changes being required for a new version of the App, but a complete rewrite. That seems like someone trying to make a large company pay and pay to support only a few employees.
It may have been a proprietary telemarketing program. However, I think the employer to be was misquoted for the job.
On Thu, Jul 19, 2018 at 12:21 PM, Steve Nutt wrote:
If you contact NV Access, I feel certain they could point you to someone. Alternatively, even ask here. Most JAWS scripters are self-taught, or were at one time anyway. I believe NVDA scripts are done in Python (though I could be wrong) and there are plenty of Python programmers out there.
Brian - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134
A little kindness from person to person is better than a vast love for all humankind.
~ Richard Dohme