When will I become homeless?

A year and a half ago, I wrote to Social Security and CMS:

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/risk-is-stressful/

About three months later, I received a postcard saying my letter was being referred to another office (in New Mexico):

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/my-response-from-medicarecms/

Yesterday in the mail, I received a letter from the Social Security Administration in Kansas City, Missouri:

“We sent you a letter telling you that we were going to review your disability case. However, we do not need to review your case at this time. Therefore, we will not contact your doctor now. We will keep any information that you have given us. We will contact you later if we need to review your case…”

Uh, no, you didn’t send me a letter saying you were going to review my case. I sent you a letter and I never received a response to any of the issues discussed therein. Nothing. Nada.

I always feel anxious when I receive anything from Social Security, just like when I received letters from Unum, my ex-long term disability insurance provider. Since Unum terminated my benefits, I keep waiting for Social Security to do the same. See, disability providers believe that if you’re not taking medications (and seeing a doctor regularly), you’re not disabled:

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/my-worst-fears-coming-true/

The DEA and CDC have taken away the most successful treatment for chronic pain. Doctors will no longer treat many pain patients. Medical cannabis programs, where they exist, are too expensive for many of the disabled. So, who has the money and access to see a doctor regularly? Is that a requirement to be disabled? And if you aren’t seeing a doctor, you get kicked to the curb?

No wonder so many people believe in conspiracy theories. Use the drug war to kick people off of disability. Genius.

Checking my mail is a stressful activity. When will I get that letter cutting off my disability benefits? When will I become homeless?

Go ahead, screw me over

Thu, Feb 25, 2016 8:39 pm
Re: Letter dated 2/25/2016
From: painkills2@aol.com
To: vistasmanager@crhmi.com, vmanager@corerealtyholdings.com
Cc: customercare@crhmi.com, egoodman@crhmi.com, dmorehead@crhmi.com, dougmorehead@crhmi.com, info@corerealtyholdings.com

Dear Ms. Buchman:

I am in receipt of your letter dated 2/25/2016, regarding my request for an extension of the Notice to Vacate. Funny, even at this late date, you have refused to cite the reason for serving me with this notice. I guess it would be hard to state for the record that you have no adequate reason for throwing a disabled, paying tenant out onto the street.

And now you’re demanding that I pay a doctor to complete a Reasonable Accommodation Request Form in order for you to consider an extension. Let me remind you (from my email of 2/14/2016):

“Even though my long term disability benefits were recently terminated (because I couldn’t afford to see a doctor), and my Social Security Disability benefits did not increase this year, I had no choice but to accept Ms. Buchman’s renewal terms (because of the cost to move).”

You know that I am unable to satisfy this request, which is undoubtedly why you made it. Unless you’re offering to pay for me to see a doctor to fill out your 3-page form? Because even Unum (my former long-term disability insurance carrier) refused to do that. And we all know why — because it saves them money. But this isn’t a question of money, is it Ms. Buchman?

I spent 25 years being addicted to the medical industry for pain management, and breaking those chains almost took my life. And now you (and Unum) want to push me back into this quagmire of expensive and useless doctor visits? I can’t tell you how much I want to describe, in full detail, what you can do with your form.

I also can’t tell you how painful and long the process is for receiving disability benefits. And yet, Social Security’s decision isn’t good enough for you? You require more proof that I’m disabled?

Do you remember, Ms. Buchman, when we used to be friends? When I brought you and your staff Crispy Creme donuts and home-baked goods? I’ve tried to make this relationship work, but it’s not my fault that you refuse to do your job. (And I have the photos to prove it.)

I had a dream that I was living in another apartment while I took you, CRHMI, and CUBS to court. (And considering the amount of additional pain and agony that you’ve made me suffer, I’m thinking about suing you personally, too.) It was an awesome dream, and I have to wonder if it’s a portent of things to come. Wouldn’t that be just freaking fantastic?

Go ahead, Ms. Buchman, screw me over. I can’t wait to take pictures of the police removing a poor, disabled white woman from your premises.

Johnna Stahl

Dear Mr. Corporate America

February 14, 2016

Mr. Doug Morehead
CEO and Vice-Chairman
CRHMI Management Group
1600 Dove Street, Suite 450
Newport Beach, CA 92660
info@corerealtyholdings.com

Re: Vistas at Seven Bar Ranch Apts., Albuquerque, New Mexico

Dear Mr. Morehead:

I am seeking your assistance regarding a Notice to Vacate, which I received a week ago from your Community Manager, Kara Buchman.

Ms. Buchman and I argued about a renewal increase that she told me was mandated by your company. Even though my long term disability benefits were recently terminated (because I couldn’t afford to see a doctor), and my Social Security Disability benefits did not increase this year, I had no choice but to accept Ms. Buchman’s renewal terms (because of the cost to move). Along with my acceptance of the renewal terms, I reported an old maintenance issue (still outstanding as of this date) and my intention to send a more complete list. I also requested a response to my constant and unanswered questions regarding CUBS and how I’m being charged for certain utilities. More on that saga can be found on my blog, here:

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/community-utility-billing-services-cubs/
https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-cubs-saga-continues/

Two days after I made the first payment under the renewal terms — and before the lease was prepared and signed — I received a Notice to Vacate taped to my door. No explanations. No complaints of rules being broken, now or in the past. It has taken me this whole week to get over the shock and prepare this letter.

My first thought after receiving Ms. Buchman’s notice was that I was going to be homeless. I believe homelessness is also a problem in your state, so in case you’re wondering how it happens, now you know. It’s a fear that many of the disabled live with, and one that increases pain and stress levels.

Perhaps two months is what the rental industry calls a reasonable amount of time before beginning eviction proceedings, but I’m not the average renter. I’m disabled. In light of my disabilities (and deeper slide into poverty), I am requesting more time under the Notice to Vacate.

I suppose Ms. Buchman thought that the Notice to Vacate would scare me enough to stop complaining — stop trying to encourage her to do her job. I’m also guessing that Ms. Buchman believes my removal will keep her from having to respond to the CUBS issues. However, there is a dispute over the balance on my CUBS account, one which I intend to fight. As far as I know, the discovery process in a lawsuit is the only way to obtain the information I’ve requested about my CUBS bills. And since I can’t afford an attorney or filing fees, I’ll just look forward to responding to the lawsuit CUBS will undoubtedly file against me.

I am also requesting that the monthly rental amount remain unchanged — if not restored to the previous rate before the renewal contract was broken — until I’m able to move. I promise that I’m doing everything I can to find another home and move as quickly as possible. After all, I don’t want to live where I’m not welcome.

I think I’ve been pretty reasonable in my responses to dangerous activities on this property, like the unleashed dog that attacked me last year. And years ago, when Ms. Buchman put out a newsletter requesting that tenants report outside hallway lights that need replacing, I did so. But to this day, the light I reported has yet to be fixed. Because Ms. Buchman has been understanding about my reduced circumstances up to this point, I’ve let a lot of things slide. Since I told her this would no longer be the case, I believe the Notice to Vacate is retaliatory in nature.

So, I don’t think I’m asking for anything unreasonable — maybe just a little compassion. And speaking of compassion, if you’d like to donate to my moving fund (which will get me out of your hair that much quicker), a nice friend of mine set up a GoFundMe site for this purpose, which you can find here:

https://www.gofundme.com/of4oms

I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day, Mr. Morehead. I appreciate your time and consideration and I anxiously await your response.

Johnna Stahl
Albuquerque, New Mexico
painkills2@aol.com
(No phone)

copies to:

Kara Buchman, Community Manager
Vistas at Seven Bar Ranch Apts.
CORE Realty Holdings Management Inc.
vistasmanager@crhmi.com

Also posted at https://painkills2.wordpress.com/

Link for blog post inserted in contact form at:
http://www.crhmi.com/contact.html

Addition:  Error message found when trying to post link at CRHMI website:  “Not Found. The requested document was not found on this server. Web Server at crhmi.com”

In my search terms

“will medical marajuana hurt my unum disability claim”

No one really knows the answer to that question. I asked Unum for “all documentation which shows Unum’s position on medical cannabis.” But the corporation refused to respond. I would have to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit to have access to the documents I requested here:

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/unum-letter-10242014/

However, if I had to guess, I would say that, considering the effort Unum expends to deny benefits, it would definitely use your treatment choice against you —  not that they would ever reveal that information. But since Unum requires medical updates, you have no choice but to tell them. Unum has access to all of your medical information, so if you want to keep your marijuana use a secret, just don’t tell anybody (including your doctor).

Problem is, how are you treating your medical condition? Without proof in your medical file that you’re being treated by a doctor, insurance companies will question if you are really disabled. So, keep seeing your doctor if you can afford to, just tell him or her about all the other treatments you’re using, leaving out the use of cannabis.

The Blame Game

How did I get here? Shall we play the blame game?

I guess I would start with blaming 5 years of competitive gymnastics — a sport that taught me a lot, while punishing my body.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/internet-flips-over-college-gymnasts-sophina-dejesus-almost-perfect-routine_us_56b8faa2e4b08069c7a85806

I blame the medical industry and insurance companies for their ignorance about conditions like TMJ and chronic pain.

I blame 401(k)s, which take more money than they give. And I blame Unum, a corporation that terminated my long term disability benefits just because it can.

I blame politicians for their inability to understand every side of each issue, pleasing some people, while torturing others. I blame them for making laws that favor the rich, while punishing the poor (a shout out to ERISA).

I blame the State of Texas for only offering me prescription medications to treat pain, while outlawing cannabis. (I think the state should have paid for my move to New Mexico.)

I blame those who see disabilities as a quirk of nature, easily conquered by those who are suffering, instead of medical conditions that require treatment.

But most of all, I blame the drug war, because without it, I’m sure that a lot of these problems would not have brought me here — where I am today, in February of 2016.

https://edsinfo.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/opioids-as-scapegoats/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fbi-dea-chasing-the-dragon_us_56b52445e4b08069c7a767a7

Last week, the FBI and DEA released “Chasing the Dragon,” a documentary that paints an honest, unforgiving picture of opiate addiction’s devastating, often deadly consequences…

Johnna Stahl · Albuquerque, New Mexico
I don’t understand how anyone can comprehend the wonders found in the cannabis plant, while looking down at the wonders found in the poppy plant. Yes, cannabis can’t kill you, but pain can, don’t ever doubt it. When you discriminate against one drug, you discriminate against all of them.

Well, it figures…

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/department-of-labor-proposes-lowering-bar-for-erisa-disability-claims-requests-public-comments/

The comment period for the proposed regulation “Definition of the Term ‘‘Fiduciary’’; Conflict of Interest Rule—Retirement Investment Advice” (RIN 1210-AB32) and proposed exemptions (ZRIN 1210-ZA25) closed on September 24, 2015. The Department no longer is accepting comments for consideration…

Department of Labor Proposes Lowering Bar for ERISA Disability Claims, Requests Public Comments

http://thoughtsaboutme.com/2015/11/18/department-of-labor-proposes-lowering-bar-for-erisa-disability-claims-requests-public-comments/

In order for the DOL to move forward with enacting the proposal, it is crucial that it receive comments from the public in support of the proposed changes. Even just a few dozen public comments could tip the scale. If there is no expression of support from the public, that will substantially decrease the likelihood of the proposal being put into place because it is a near certainty that disability carriers and representatives of employer organizations will provide comments opposing these regulations, lobbying to retain the status quo that favors them so heavily. The easiest way to provide comments is by email to e-ORI@dol.com. Comments have to include “RIN-1210-AB39” (best placed (also) in the subject line) and the agency name, “Department of Labor.” Comments need to be submitted within 60 days. Please note that all comments will be published online without redactions; therefore, do not include any sensitive information…

Sun, Nov 29, 2015 12:03 am

Re:  Department of Labor, RIN-1210-AB39
From:  painkills2@aol.com
To:  e-ORI e-ORI@dol.com

Dear Department of Labor,

I’m going to start by saying that I don’t have a complete understanding of the ERISA law. But ever since Unum terminated my LTD benefits (after 7 years), I’ve been trying to learn about this law. Unfortunately, everything I’ve learned has pointed to the fact that since I can’t afford an attorney to fight Unum, there’s nothing I can do.

What’s ironic is that Unum terminated my benefits because I also couldn’t afford to pay doctors to provide updated reports for Unum’s files. All perfectly legal under the contract — even though Unum could have chosen to pay for these updated reports instead of terminating my benefits. If Unum thought it could find a doctor to prove I wasn’t disabled, I’m sure it would have been glad to pay for these useless medical reports. And I’ll just point out that, as a 30-year intractable pain patient, tests like a Functional Capacity Evaluation are not beneficial or healthy for me — in fact, they’re quite painful, as well as being expensive.

All this to say that I find it sadly ironic that I’m too poor to be disabled.

I’m going to rely on the expertise of others who say these changes to the ERISA law will be good for disability claimants. But these changes won’t help me, or the thousands (millions?) of other disabled people who have been kicked to the curb by insurance companies like Unum.

Experts also say that Attorneys General should perform a market audit on the disability insurance industry, but it appears that politics and apathy for the disabled will keep that from happening. Perhaps this is something the Department of Labor can request?

If ERISA was meant to help someone like me, it has been a miserable failure. And I am miserable because of its failure. Thankfully, I’m not as miserable as those who have chosen suicide to rid themselves of both their pain and this whole process. But I think it’s important to add that I’m an advocate for right-to-die laws.

Johnna Stahl
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(Also posted at painkills2.wordpress.com)

EDIT:   The correct email address is e-ORI@dol.gov, not .com.