‘Something is awry’
Students and seniors have the privilege of flashing their ID to receive a bus fare discount on the Hele-On bus system.
Disabled people, however, must schedule an annual appointment with their primary care provider, who must fill out a form with their patient’s private medical information, which is reviewed by a single Mass Transit clerk — who is NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL — to determine whether they’re worthy of that discount.
They must do this every year, unlike seniors or students.
Seniors, students and disabled people are all assumed to be living with lower incomes — despite the fact that “senior” does not automatically mean “low income.”
How is this even possible, legally or morally?
What prevents said nonmedical clerk from disclosing my private medical information? In what database does my private medical information reside, and who can access it?
Why does the county even need to know the nature of my disability unless I require special support getting on or off the bus? Why isn’t the federal determination of my disability via the Social Security Administration evidence enough that I deserve that discount? Or for others — a temporary need because of an accident, injury or other temporary disability documented via workers’ compensation or other state program?
The rationale for discounts is to ease the financial burden of low income people. Students, seniors and the disabled are folks who should benefit from such discounts. However, when one class is overly burdened to prove their need, something is awry.
The current process for disabled people to certify their qualification for that Mass Transit discount is ridiculously burdensome for a demographic who are daily burdened with proving their need to endless agencies, programs and consumer outlets.
Mass Transit requires disabled people — even those who are demonstrably and documented to be permanently disabled, to schedule an annual appointment with their primary care provider to AGAIN document the SAME information regarding their disability, year after year, for a FREAKING BUS PASS.
No other local or state program requires this level of annual renewal, to be reviewed by nonmedical professionals, without a clear policy that protects my personal medical information.
Unless this policy is reviewed and revised pretty darn quick, I am considering taking legal counsel in order to protect and pursue my rights as a legally disabled citizen who deserves that bus fare discount just as much as the senior who simply needs to show their proof of age.