Emily M. DeArdo

writer

Government Incompetence

hearing lossEmily DeArdoComment

(I know, it's Monday, and that means Catholic 101. But y'all are going to get that tomorrow, because I'm using this space to vent a bit. Sorry.)

As we know, I have a cochlear implant. As you may or may not know, everyone who has one has varying degrees of success with it. Some of it is how hard you work at it (like I do with music). Some of it is just....well....blah. 

Like the phone. The phone is hard. If I need to make phone calls, I usually need someone like my parents to relay information to me, so I can answer and understand what the person on the other end wants. 

Some places have excellent chat capabilities, and I don't have to do this. My bank, for example (Telhio Credit Union, giving you a shout-out here!). I can do things without other people helping me, or having to drive to a bank branch to deal with things that other people could do over the phone. Even things like roadside assistance are being done via apps, so you don't have to call. You can just hit buttons and voila! Your flat tire gets changed! 

But then there are places that are ridiculous. One of them is in the realm of state government (which, as longtime readers know, used to be my place of employment). 

The state says it wants to keep its employees information secure. That's a nice thing, right? We want our information to be secure in this age of scams and identity theft. 

But the problem is, if you're deaf, you're screwed. If you have a hearing impairment, you're screwed. Why? Because the State of Ohio doesn't offer a chat window on their DAS or Public Employee Retirement System site. You have to call. 

If you can't make a phone call, you have to physically drive down to the building to reset the password. Let me tell you how ridiculous this is: If you live in, say, Cleveland, which is three hours from Columbus, you have to drive to Columbus to reset your password for the website access, if you can't use the phone. No, I'm not kidding. I cannot have someone else relay the questions to me, and I answer. That's not "secure" enough. Nope, you have to do it in person. 

I'm in my thirties. It's a fifteen minute drive for me to the retirement system headquarters. But what if I was, say, seventy? Or older? 

And in case you're saying, well just remember you password, Emily, the site is stupid. If you try to reset it over email, they will send you a temporary password--which will not work. I just did this. I know. They send you a password that doesn't work? What is that about? Fortunately, my dad, when he called the system, got a nice person who told him the "real" password reset password (real meaning the one that works) and I was able to reset my password without any problem. 

But see, Dad had to call. Someone else had to do it. And some people are not nice, like this person was. 

I wrote awhile back about the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it doesn't really help hard of hearing/Deaf people.  This is just another example of things that people don't think about. In the name of "security," they make life much harder than it has to be for those of us who can't use the phone.