Have you ever been on Social Security Disability (private poll)? Advice needed.

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Have you ever been on Social Security Disability (private poll)? Advice needed.

- Kira - - Kira -
A little back story and a poll (because I know you guys love polls).

First off, I want to apologize for not being around as much as I used to. For those that don't know, I have Bipolar I (link to WebMD in case you don't know what Bipolar is). I've been in a bad episode that have progressively worsened over the last six months and I just haven't been able to contribute like before. I'm going to try to come back to at least the forums and hopefully reviewing after that.

Anyhow, I've been on medical leave from work for a little over three months. We've made three major medicine changes with no luck. Even when I'm "stable" I still have smaller mood swings that cause me to be unreliable at best at work. I have a lot of absences and I can't deal with changes well. Stress is a huge trigger for me and will send me off into major mood swings. Due to all of this and given my two most recent serious episodes, my doctors have suggested that I go on Social Security Disability.

Now, I was working at a fairly high power job. I made good money and put a lot of weight on my success at work determining my success as a person. Failing at that made me feel like a failure at life in general. The thought of going from that to staying at home living off the government is scary to me.

The process of applying for SSD is even more overwhelming, especially because I'm so sick right now. My mind just isn't in a good place to be filling out forms. I also hear that everyone gets declined the first go round and then you have to get a lawyer to appeal. I'm told the whole process can take a year or more.

I'm terrified. I'm overwhelmed. I have a thousand emotions running through me and I just don't know what to do.

So I figured I'd come to my Eden friends. Have any of you ever been on SSD? If so, what has your experience been? Did you have to go through the appeals process? How did you deal with going from working to being on SSD? What do you do with your time at home so you don't go crazy with boredom? What emotions did you go through during the process and how did you deal with them?

Any advice is much appreciated. Thanks, guys!
Answers (private voting - your screen name will NOT appear in the results):
I have been on SSD.
4
I have not been on SSD.
47
I have been on SSD for a physical condition.
4
I have been on SSD for a mental condition.
3
I had to go through appeals.
2
I did not have to go through appeals.
3
Other?
9
Total votes: 72 (60 voters)
Poll is closed
05/22/2012
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Kindred Kindred
I have no experience with SSD and little to offer except my support. I know how debilitating depression can be. Please do everything possible to get well.
05/22/2012
romstomp romstomp
My Mother is on SSD for Diabetes, and I have a mentally challenged older brother who is as well. My brother was placed on SSD many years ago and while there was some red tape, he was accepted within a few months. My mother was in fact denied on her first try, and did have to hire a lawyer. It took a little over a year, but once she was accepted she received payments retroactive to the date of the original filing for both herself and my younger brother who was under 18 at the time. It is a pain in the butt, and they provide enough hurdles to make you want to give up your claim, but please stick with it. If you need the help, you should seek it. If you have a supportive doctor who will certify that you need SSD you stand a very good chance of qualifying, even if they deny your initial claim, please stick with it and get the help you need. I hope this helps.
05/22/2012
sexxxkitten sexxxkitten
I haven't ever been on it.
05/22/2012
quackbuster quackbuster
Quote:
Originally posted by - Kira -
A little back story and a poll (because I know you guys love polls).

First off, I want to apologize for not being around as much as I used to. For those that don't know, I have Bipolar I (link to WebMD in case you don't know what ...
I've never personally been on SSD, but my mother is (she has shoulder/back issues that prevent her from working), & she did not have to go through appeals. If I remember correctly, it took a couple of months to get accepted, & now she has to fill out forms every year or so & get doctors' signatures verifying that she is still unable to work.

I think she gets a little lonely because she lives alone & really enjoyed working/being around her co-workers, but she has two dogs & those take up a lot of her time since it can be hectic to clean up after them & get them to the vet, walk them, etc.. It takes her a little longer to do basic tasks like showering, going shopping, or cleaning up the house than it would for a non-disabled person, so just keeping up the house is enough to keep her occupied most days. She watches a lot of television & loves Netflix. She'd probably use the computer a lot if she were able, but it hurts her back to sit at a computer chair for that long.

Sorry that I can't be more helpful with any personal stories, but best of luck to you.
05/22/2012
P'Gell P'Gell
I'm sorry you've been so sick.

I've never been on SSD. I almost considered it once, due to severe, intractable migraines and fibromyalgia and the fact that my husband's insurance wasn't covering what they were supposed to. The co-pays and out of pocket costs are so high, we can barely afford it, but I can't stop treating it.

I decided not to, as I still am able to work, part time, though.

I don't know what is involved in applying to SSD, but I hope things work out for the best for you. I know it's sometimes difficult to get accepted, but I don't know any of the details. I have had a number of patients who have been on it, so some people are definitely getting it. I don't know what the process is, though.
05/22/2012
Lickable Lollie Lickable Lollie
I am in the same boat as you. After taking weeks to actually apply, it took forever for me to find out that I was denied. Then I was afraid to appeal it because of all that it would take. Eventually I ran out of time, and had to start over. Now I'm waiting to me denied again so I can actually appeal it this time. Being bipolar sucks, I know. If you need to talk, feel free to message me.
05/22/2012
Antipova Antipova
I don't have any experience in social security, so I won't be able to help you there, but I have a heck of a lot of understanding as far as "judging your success as a person by your success at work," and how much it hurts your sense of self when your job performance isn't where you want it to be, and I really feel for you.

As far as filling the days---I would probably try o volunteer at some place where the gears won't stop turning if you miss a day. I've volunteered at a library near my house before just to have some continuous interaction and a reason to leave the house---and somehow the fact that it wouldn't be a big deal if I missed a week means that there's no stress so I rarely would get stressed out and skip going in.

Also, I don't know the state you're in personally right now, but I've found similar things can work for employment---when at the low point of depression, I convinced myself to get a job at a coffeeshop. It's way beneath my skill level---but that's good, because at the end of a day I can look and say, "wow, I didn't mess anything up today. I guess I'm not as much of a failure as I thought." Kinda self-esteem-building babysteps. And having my coworkers/bosses thank me when I go above and beyond and fix something that's broken (as opposed to being yelled at for not fixing it faster)---anyway, depression and bipolar might or might not be similar in that respect, I don't know much about bipolar, but that's something that's worked for me in the past.

Also, welcome back, I've missed you.
05/22/2012
Beck Beck
Hey sweetie! I'm just going to text you. It'll be easier for me to explain what I know about SSD.
05/22/2012
- Kira - - Kira -
Thank you all so much for the advice and support! Keep it coming!

Housework and volunteering are great ideas. Those things have sounded overwhelming lately, but maybe getting out and doing something would be good for me. Plus my new meds have made me swing manic, so now I'm pacing around my house going nuts.

P'Gell - I get migraines too, so I feel your pain. I hear fibromyalgia is terrible. I'm sorry your insurance is being a pain. I have much hatred for insurance companies. I'm considered "uninsurable" so they can just all go to hell. lol
05/22/2012
ViVix ViVix
Quote:
Originally posted by - Kira -
A little back story and a poll (because I know you guys love polls).

First off, I want to apologize for not being around as much as I used to. For those that don't know, I have Bipolar I (link to WebMD in case you don't know what ...
Sorry I can't be of help. I've never gone through the process. My sister is bipolar, and I do see how difficult it is to maintain a normal lifestyle. Good luck.
05/22/2012
Beck Beck
I wanted to comment for those who want to know about it. As I have a little knowledge about SSD.

The first step is just applying. Everyone is denied the first time. The next step in getting a lawyer. You need to compile a bunch of medical reasons behind why you are not able to work. Be sure to include all of your medical conditions that contribute to making you disabled. (My father left out being depressed for over a year. They declared him only disabled up until the point depression was added. That screwed him out of a lot of money. His lawyer should have known that from the start.) In my father's case he waited over a year to actually be approved. The dates are very backed up for the approval meetings there are so many delays someone is allowed and so on. It could take you over a year to receive your approval. (Once approved payments just don't start pouring in either. They take their time.) In the meantime you don't get any payment unless you are able to try for a parcel. You will be paid from the date "they" find you disabled. Whatever your payment is they will get it to you. They can also require you to fill out applications for jobs that "they" think you can do. (My father was having to do 16 a week.) It's a long irritating process.

Also if you go down to apply for food stamps, medical, and the like in the meantime. That office can require you to donate time for the stuff they give you because you aren't working or going to school. (My father had to do time at goodwill. They pick the place for you too.) And not having a car or license is not an excuse. They WILL come pick you up. (From the best of my knowledge this usually only applies to single people without children who live at home below the age of 19.)
05/22/2012
michael scofield michael scofield
im on ssd thru my mother been on it for a few years im 22 now spend it all on sex toys lol
05/22/2012
unfulfilled unfulfilled
Thanks Beck for giving us all the information.

Stinaedclear- you're in my thoughts and I hope everything turns out for the best for you. I'm here to support you through this process if you need me.
05/22/2012
indiglo indiglo
I am currently on it, yes, for physical issues. Like Beck said, 99.999% of all applications are denied the first time through automatically. After that you refile once. 95% of the refiled cases are denied again. After that you have a court date to appeal the decision. That is where most cases are won or lost. I got accepted during my refile, so never had to have a court date.

My advice to you is to call a SS lawyer now. Most are willing to spend 10-15 minutes on the phone with you (for free) to figure out if you even could possibly win your case. The benefit to retaining a lawyer from the beginning (as opposed to waiting until you're denied the first time) is that they will help you fill out all the paperwork. I didn't contact a lawyer until after I was denied the first time, but it was so nice to have someone fill out the secondary paperwork for me.

I would also advise you to talk to all your treating doctors. Make sure they back you up on this, because their notes and records will be really helpful to your case. To qualify you have to be unable to work currently, and prove that you'll be unable to work for an extended period of time in the future.

It is a long and daunting process. But, if you qualify for it, it's 100% worth going through. If you are having trouble working, don't wait - go ahead and get the process started. It can take a really long time, and if you go ahead and start the process now you'll be ahead of the curve. Call a lawyer and discuss your concerns, and figure out if the lawyer thinks you have a case.

If you have any other questions, or just want to talk it over with someone who has been there, feel free to message me any time! Best wishes!

I know it feels like it sucks to be in this position, and it kind of does. But you paid into this system, just like paying your insurance programs. If you qualify there is nothing wrong with receiving what you deserve. You still earned this money!
05/22/2012
Lickable Lollie Lickable Lollie
Quote:
Originally posted by Beck
I wanted to comment for those who want to know about it. As I have a little knowledge about SSD.

The first step is just applying. Everyone is denied the first time. The next step in getting a lawyer. You need to compile a bunch of medical ...
I've never heard of having to donate time for food stamps. I've been on them for years and nobody has ever said anything like that. Perhaps that is your state.
05/22/2012
indiglo indiglo
Yeah, food stamps and medicaid are state programs, while SSD is federal. So the food stamps and medicaid stuff will differ from state to state, while SSD stuff will be the same from state to state. When I was on food stamps I never had to donate time to anything, or anything like that either.
05/22/2012
Beck Beck
Quote:
Originally posted by Lickable Lollie
I've never heard of having to donate time for food stamps. I've been on them for years and nobody has ever said anything like that. Perhaps that is your state.
Could be. My father, my hubby, and my sister had to do it for food stamps, medical, and cash.
05/22/2012
PeaceToTheMiddleEast PeaceToTheMiddleEast
Kira I know where you are coming from. I will email you private. I as well have Bipolar and am on medicine for it now. There are good days and bad days. But the bad days are the worse. As for the other part of this I rather talk to you through email.
05/22/2012
- Kira - - Kira -
Quote:
Originally posted by indiglo
I am currently on it, yes, for physical issues. Like Beck said, 99.999% of all applications are denied the first time through automatically. After that you refile once. 95% of the refiled cases are denied again. After that you have a court date ...
Thanks for the great advice! I've called a dozen lawyers and they won't speak to me until I'm declined. I was hoping I could hire one from the start just for the reason you mentioned - helping with paperwork.

I've done the first part of the application. I'm on the second part that's supposed to take 90 minutes now. I'm doing it in pieces because it's daunting and stressful.

My doctors are actually the ones that suggested it, so I know they'll back me up. We've discussed the fact that I'll be applying, so they know to expect the paperwork and such. My weekly doctor did all the paperwork for my medical leave at my current employer and she did a great job with all the questions, so I know she'll know how to answer all the SS questions as well. I also have been going to the same hospital for care since I was 13, so I have records of my illness back to that time. My doctors seem to think this will be in my favor for the case in terms of "she's had this forever and we gave it our best shot."
05/22/2012
Kitka Kitka
I don't know anything about SSD but I'm sorry to hear you've been so sick. I hope everything works out for the best for you hun!
05/22/2012
Falsepast Falsepast
Havent been on it and dont know what it is.
05/22/2012
indiglo indiglo
Quote:
Originally posted by - Kira -
Thanks for the great advice! I've called a dozen lawyers and they won't speak to me until I'm declined. I was hoping I could hire one from the start just for the reason you mentioned - helping with paperwork.

I've done the ...
I'm so glad you have your doctors' backing! That will be a HUGE help!

I know that there are a LOT of lawyers who just won't talk to someone until they've been declined once. (I think that's asinine, personally, but no one asked me. LOL) I used to have a number to a lawyer who would talk to anyone across the country about their disability case. I got his number from a patient support group. I'll see if I can find it, but I'm not holding my breath.

I used the same tactic in filling out that original paperwork. Just did a little bit at a time. The biggest thing you do when applying is that first batch of paperwork, and then lots of waiting. So once you get that stuff all filled out, that will be the worst of it, fortunately.

I remember I had to go to at least 2 of "their" doctors too, during the process. That way they can "evaluate" you and add their "determination and diagnosis" to your paperwork. One was extremely mean and the other was nice. If you have to do that, just remember that their job is to tell you that you aren't sick (so SSD can deny you). So don't let that deter you!

If I remember correctly, qualifying for SSD doesn't mean that you can't work at all, it just means that you can't have "gainful employment", which is capped at a certain amount each year. Basically you can still work a little, you just have to make a very small amount. But it sounds like that isn't even an option for you right now either.
05/22/2012
Badass Badass
I am so sorry you're going to have to go through this...

When my father had cancer, in his BRAIN, he had to go through 2 appeals to get SSD.. They make it pretty hard to get. I wish you the best and I'll keep my fingers crossed you get approved.
05/22/2012
Vanille Vanille
I'm currently going through the applying process myself right now. (I have cerebral palsy and depression/anxiety issues.) I've applied at the end of March, and it's just been a complete waiting game. -sigh-
05/22/2012
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by - Kira -
A little back story and a poll (because I know you guys love polls).

First off, I want to apologize for not being around as much as I used to. For those that don't know, I have Bipolar I (link to WebMD in case you don't know what ...
Not everyone gets turned down the first time they apply. I, myself, am eligible and would most likely not need a lawyer to receive benefits. Go ahead and apply...it's best to not wait until you are desperate. You have a legitimate claim if your Doctor is telling you to apply.
05/22/2012
*Camoprincess* *Camoprincess*
Sorry you are having to go through this been there done that but never was approved Hope you get back on track soon being bipolar sucks
05/22/2012
Allison.Wilder Allison.Wilder
I've never been on SSD for bipolar disorder, but I have for postpartum depression. It's the worst trying to get better and deal with all the hoops you have to jump through. Good luck with it all and good luck getting better!
05/22/2012
asphyxia asphyxia
I have a friend that worked for SSDI as a claims reviewer. He was the person that read through the applications and all the supporting medical documentation to determine if the person was eligible or not to receive SSDI. He was actually encouraged to approve as many people as possible. At his office, no one was ever automatically denied. The only people that got denied were either ineligible (e.g.: they wanted disability because they work on their feet all day, and sometimes their back or feet are sore) or the applicant failed to provide additional required documentation within the allotted time frame or missed required doctor's appointments.

I've consulted him and the information he has given me is presented below.

First, he wants you to know that SSDI is an INSURANCE policy that you have been paying premiums for, over your entire employment career. It is specifically for situations in which someone cannot work due to a medical issue. In other words, you paid for it, so you will not be "living off the government." Here is the official definition from the SSA: "The law defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."

To get approved for bipolar disorder, you must provide your medical records from EVERY doctor (he stressed that they MUST be MDs or PhDs, Nurse Practitioners (NPs or APNs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) don't count) that has treated you for it, for as far back as it has been affecting your jobs, but at least the past twelve months. He did say that NPs or PAs can be used as supporting evidence, but not the only evidence. If you haven't seen an MD or PhD, the SSA will pay for you to see one of theirs.

This lists the criteria that must be met. If you meet this criteria, you will get approved. If you do not, there are other factors that will be considered, specifically, your RFC which is your Residual Functional Capacity. This will be determined by an SSA doctor that will look at the Mental Status Exam form that your MD(s) fills out, the supporting documentation in your medical records, and also your age (people under 55 have a VERY hard time getting approved, but that doesn't mean they don't).

One impediment to approval is if the SSA tries to find you a job they feel you are capable and qualified for, this is called skills transfer.

The biggest thing you've got working against you is that you're young, educated, and have had an intellectually challenging career and therefore had to go through the stress to get there. You must show that something changed, and that it is unlikely to improve for at least twelve months.

All that said, don't let any of this scare you! He had an applicant in your age category that was approved for bipolar disorder.

I hope things start going better for you!! If you have any questions, let me know!
05/22/2012
indiglo indiglo
Quote:
Originally posted by Airen Wolf
Not everyone gets turned down the first time they apply. I, myself, am eligible and would most likely not need a lawyer to receive benefits. Go ahead and apply...it's best to not wait until you are desperate. You have a legitimate claim if your ...
If you qualify (ie, win your case), you're eligible. It's not that those of us who have used a lawyer weren't eligible, or found some legal loop hole to jump through and get benefits we weren't entitled to. Having a lawyer is just really helpful when you are so sick you can't even fill out the mountains of paperwork by yourself. Or when you don't have anyone to help you with it (like a friend or relative).

I just wanted to remove any stigma or misunderstanding around talking to a lawyer about this issue. A lawyer can't get you benefits you aren't eligible for, nor can they bend the law. All my lawyer did was fill out the second round of paperwork and send it in for me. And just having someone else do that was a HUGE relief for me, because I was seriously too ill to deal with it again.

I may have misunderstood what you said, so if I did, my apologies. It just sounded to me like in some way "needing a lawyer" meant someone really didn't have a legitimate claim. That couldn't be further from the truth.
05/22/2012
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