Hard of hearing Ulf N. has been in line for eligibility-examination for CI (Cochlea Implant) for 18 months. That is very expensive for the state.
The IT-expert burdens the welfare services approximately 30.000 euros per year. In the 18 months he has waited the welfare costs are the equivalent of a simultaneous CI surgery on both ears. Today he is defined as deaf.
– With CI it is a well documented chance of me getting back the ability to understand speech and to be able to get back to a regular job, Ulf says. The waiting is long. It doesn’t only sap the welfare funds of money, but it also takes it toll on him as a human.
Total cost may become 100.000 euros in welfare benefits
Ulf has been waiting since January 2007. When Din Hørsel visit him in his apartment, the calendar shows 26. of august 2008. He still has a long wait ahead of him. He visited Rikshospitalet the day before and got word that he is now number 44 waiting for that all-important operation. He has received a guarantee for treatment which expires January 2010.
– If I get the surgery just as the guarantee deadline is up, I have received welfare benefits equivalent of 4 single-ear CI operations! Add into the calculation the lost tax-income for an IT-expert in productivity, costs for psychologist and other health-services, you don’t need to be a social economist to understand that it is horribly expensive for the Norwegian state to have people with highly-sought-for skills beneficiaries of welfare.
– as a society it is an economical catastrophe! We are saving ourselves into the poorhouse, so to speak! [my comment: this statement references to the budget cuts in hospitals throughout Norway] It is utter madness that medically disabled are not treated quickly in order to get us back into work. – On a human level it is a constant state of emergency, he states.
Has something to offer in work-life
In 2006 Ulf had to cease practice in his professional life. He was then working for Telenor, the worlds fifth largest telecom-company. He had been there almost two years in a Telenor in-house program for disabled persons – Telenor Open Mind. – I worked as a trainee in the top management of the Norwegian Business division. To me it was fantastic and gave me a much needed confirmation that I have skills to offer in the work-life, Ulf tells us. After a long period of adjustments with fewer meetings and eventually days with home office, he suffered the exhaustion syndrome. He had to take the consequences of it and stop working.
– It wasn’t anything wrong with me mentally, it was my declining hearing that made me exhausted, he says.
…to be continued ….