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Applying for Social Security Disability


lalalisa
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Hello!

Ok, so I just started the application process for Social Sec. Disability. I'm not even sure where to begin because I have so many questions! So far I've been treated poorly and have been lied to. (and I just started yesterday!) The person at the SS office told me that I couldn't even apply because we have some money in our bank account!!

I think for now I just need some reassurance that some of you have been approved and even are able to get insurance through this program.

How did you gather your medical records? Any tips for organizing them? Also, di I need to contact my dr's or will they do that for me?

Any tips / advice is much appreciated!

Thanks so much!

Lisa

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Hello!

Ok, so I just started the application process for Social Sec. Disability.  I'm not even sure where to begin because I have so many questions!  So far I've been treated poorly and have been lied to.  (and I just started yesterday!) The person at the SS office told me that I couldn't even apply because we have some money in our bank account!! 

I think for now I just need some reassurance that some of you have been approved and even are able to get insurance through this program. 

How did you gather your medical records?  Any tips for organizing them?  Also, di I need to contact my dr's or will they do that for me?

Any tips / advice is much appreciated! 

Thanks so much!

Lisa

Hi,

You shouldnt mention your money really, not to the SS. Put your money into another bank account and dont mention. Im from the UK and im on DSS, i know people who have mentioned there money and morgage value and dont get a penny.

I suppose cus its a disability your unable to work it may not be effected, but just a thought, and some feedback on your post.

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Thanks for the advice.

I was pretty surprised when she started asking specific questions regarding my assets! Now I know not to give her the info.

Thanks,

Lisa

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Guest GayleP
Hello!

Ok, so I just started the application process for Social Sec. Disability.  I'm not even sure where to begin because I have so many questions!  So far I've been treated poorly and have been lied to.  (and I just started yesterday!) The person at the SS office told me that I couldn't even apply because we have some money in our bank account!! 

I think for now I just need some reassurance that some of you have been approved and even are able to get insurance through this program. 

How did you gather your medical records?  Any tips for organizing them?  Also, di I need to contact my dr's or will they do that for me?

Any tips / advice is much appreciated! 

Thanks so much!

Lisa

Hi Lisa,

I got approved in 2001 after being initially turned down. From what I understand that's pretty common. I got an attorney at that point and he helped me get approved.

I got a copy of my medical records and signed a release for SSDI to also get my medical records. I had to make sure that my doctors were in fact sending the records in a timely manner. Some needed reminders to get the records out.

Good luck, it can be a very frustrating process. If you don't get approved the first time don't get discouraged but definitely get an attorney who specializes in Disability.

I'm going through my first renewal right now. It's almost the same process as getting approved the first time. No fun.

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Im not saying i condone lying, but at the end of the day you need to be pay'd as you cant work. They expect you to live of hard saved or earnt money, which is wrong. If you cant work ,you cant work, they shouldnt need to know your bank details, as long as you are who you are and you have a genuine illness they shouldnt need to know anything else.

I hope it all works out, these SS people are tough and ask ALOT of questions, some people get asked personal questions, if you got for an examination they can get deep and some people have to fight for there right to sick pay.

I hope it all goes well and please let us know how it goes :)

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Here are the recommendations I have for you:

#1 Don't do the application online because there isn't as much room to write things (there is a limit of words on each question if you go online).

#2 Contact all of your Dr's offices and try to get the records yourself. If you offer to pick them up sometimes they won't charge you. If you can afford it, it's worth you paying for them just to ensure SS gets ALL of them and you have more control over timing. I called and faxed (I did both so I had documentation--I addressed all faxes to "Medical Records Dept) and I told the Dr's offices I was needing a COMPLETE copy of my medical file and gave them about a two week time frame to get it all done in and then I picked them up. (Some offices had me sign for them). You still have to give SS permission to obtain them as well but it will take them a lot longer to get it done than if you do it (most likely anyway)

#3 Be as complete and detailed as possible on the SS application. It is a draining process but you've got to do to even have a chance of being approved. If you have troulbe sitting, walking etc ....list EVERYTHING you have trouble doing and if you get depressed or weepy or anything like that include these facts as well. Give them the best detailed description you can.

#4 I recommend MAILING everything to the local SS office. I mail everything "Signature required" so I have proof of when it arrived in their office & who signed for it. Again, it cost more but when they say "We never received it" you will know better and you have proof.

#5 Don't exclude bank info or any other financial info you have. Having the assets should not stop you from being approved for disability payments however, it does effect if you qualify for SSI (Supplemental Security Income); if also affects if you qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. However, in today's times (& remember they are the Gov't and have access to info about you that no other business can obtain) if you lie or exclude it they will find out about it. All bank accounts by law have to be tied to Social Security number, Green card # etc. now (I think that law went into effect in 2003) so they will know all of this whether you tell them or not and you will definately get denied if you lie.

#6 In terms of assets/money/investments etc if you can move them out of your name that may help. You may want to hire an attorney to ask some questions. I'm not sure but I believe if you did this you would NOT want to put this in say a husbands name because as a couple they are still "your assets" ...you would have to put them in the name of a parent or sibling etc. You would also need to think about how to protect those assets in the event the person you turned it over to died. (For example, if you put everything under a parent and they die how do you protect yourself as much as possible so that you still get benefit of the money if you need it). The other thing about doing this is if you need to this then do it but wait about 6 months before applying for SS disability. I think they review the last 4-6 months of financial records and if they see big shifts they will deny your claim.

Again..I don't think this really affects SSDI (Disability payments) but it does impact if you get SSI payments or state programs you may qualify for (food stamps, state medical assistance, etc).

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Check out these sites:

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/dibplan/dqualify4.htm

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/dibplan/dqualify5.htm

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/dibplan/dqualify6.htm

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/p...impairments.htm

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/p...ultListings.htm

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/p...t%20arrhythmias

http://best.ssa.gov/

NOTE: UNDER SOCIAL SECURITY-CARDIAC ARRYTHMIAS THIS IS WHAT I THINK MANY OF US COULD POSSIBLY QUALIFY UNDER---

4.05 Recurrent arrhythmias, not related to reversible causes such as electrolyte abnormalities or digitalis glycoside or antiarrhythmic drug toxicity, resulting in uncontrolled repeated episodes of cardiac syncope or near syncope and arrhythmia despite prescribed treatment (see 4.00A if there is no prescribed treatment), documented by resting or ambulatory (Holter) electrocardiography coincident with the occurrence of syncope or near syncope.

Hope I'm not overwhelming you---just trying to help.

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In order to get your medical records, unfortunately, it's lots of work. You must send a letter (or fax) to each doctor you see that's relevant to your case. You must put your signature on each of those letters. In some cases, they are allowed to charge you a nomial fee for copying (up to 25 cents usd per copy).

If you have funds in a bank account, you'll need to close those, or move them to someone elses name.

There's a disabilities issues site that Sophia gave us some time ago, which I think we put in the "help yourself" pinned section.

Nina

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I make sure EVERYTHING is cc'd to my primary. He has 3 charts for me, but he also has everything, so if someone else is slow or screws up, he's got it. I also insist that any other doctors send a report to my primary and stay on them till they do.

You need to put everything down, depression, arrythmias, everything. The more thorough, the better. You will get 3 copies of the same form because it goes to different places. They asked us questions about money, but it had nothing to do with me, just to see if my husband made to much for us to get financial help while we waited. (He does)

You will not hear if you are approved for 6 months, no matter how often you call, or bug them, or when they make their decision. They have 6 months and that's when you will hear. I got a call 6 months to the day and got approved the first time, so it does happen.

People here are correct. POTS is not an approved diagnoses, but arrythmias are. So it's important to be specific on all your symptoms.

Good luck....morgan

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Hi Lisa,

You've had some good replies, so I don't want to repeat the advice given. Mainly I just want to encourage you to keep working at it and don't give up! I was given the run around by SS also - misled, lied to, etc. But persevering paid off.

I would suggest getting a lawyer to help even with the application process. There are attorneys that specialize in Social Security claims. They know the ropes and the loopholes and can make the process simpler for you. And it seems to be that your odds are greater if you have an attorney. I didn't get an attorney from the beginning, but I wish I had. It would have made things easier with the initial application process. I did get one for my appeal and was approved. I'm not sure if I had a great attorney, or a good judge, or if the Lord was just working on my behalf!

Also, it is best if you DO tell about all of your assets. If you don't tell the truth on your application you could be denied benefits.

Good luck!

Rachel

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Lisa,

I cannot stress enough...GET A LAWYER right off the bat and save yourself a heck of a lot of time, energy and stress. They can only charge a nominal fee (based on how much you get in retro pay and monthly payment). It's worth every penny.

My lawyer filled out every single piece of paper work and got all of my medical records, so that I avoided that expense and hassle also. Totally worth it. He was at my hearing with me. He will also do my renewal when it comes up (any day now...)...

Even with a lawyer you may get denied a couple of times, but you will eventually win...

Good luck, Emily

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Steph did a great job of explaining the process. The main thing is to understand there are two seperate programs: SSI (Supplemental Security Income)and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance). SSI is for low income applicants who do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. There are extreme financial qualifications for this (little or no savings, cars and other valuables can count against you as well). However, with SSDI you can have any amount of assets as long as you have the work credits. If you have worked, you should recived a Soc. Sec. statement every year that tells you how many credits you have and how much SSDI you would qualify for if you became disabled. You can request a copy of this from Soc. Sec. if you have not received one. I know it is confusing but these two programs are completely different. If you get SSI- you will get MediCAID, if you get SSDI, you will get MediCARE. Again, get an attorney. Find one that charges "no fee unless you win". These attornies usually only take cases they feel confident of winning AND they do all the work. Soc. Sec. will pay them out of your back pay once a ruling and award has been made. You may have to pay your attornies back for the records they obtained. This cost me around $70.00 and my attorney fee was $5300. However, after all was said and done I recieved $12,000 back pay, monthly payments of $631 (3600 back-pay for my kids, $200 a month for the children) and Medicare. I got an attorney after I was initially turned down and had filed an appeal. I should have done that a lot sooner. The judge approved my case withiin ten minutes of seeing me at the hearing. Hope this helps!

Carmen

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Thanks so much for all of your help!!

I wasn't planning on getting a lawyer the first time around but now I'm going to try. It seems like every one of you suggested this. Thanks!

Since I was 23 when I became ill I had only worked for around 1 and 1/2 years full time and then some part time jobs before that in high school and college.

So I'm looking at my SS Statement which says that I do not have enough credits (I actually do but I earned them partially before I was 21 and partially after so I'm not eligible!) :)

My next question is can I still apply and try to get Medicare? It sounds like this will be based on assets??

I'm pretty diappointed - I really thought I had worked enough!

Thanks again,

Lisa

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The rules are different for younger workers who become disabled. You may indeed qualify for SSDI, especially since you state you worked full-time for 1 1/2 years and some during high school. Younger workers do not always have to have as many work credits as older workers so definitely talk to an attorney who specializes in disability law. Another thing is young workers can sometimes by-pass a lot of the waiting and get records based decisions, especially, if their condition is worsening. It is worth your time and effort to find someone who can help you. Good luck!

Carmen

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hi lisa -

i'm a bit late in chiming in but others have already offered up a lot of good info. you may also want to do a search as there have been a number of discussions in the past.

i am actually in the midst of applying (or rather waiting) myself right now as my LTD company from my job stipulated that i apply. otherwise i probably wouldn't have b/c of my trying school (and knowing that will likely count against me), but none the less i definitely know where you're coming from in terms of the run around of the process. for me it's even a bit crazier at the moment b/c i moved in the middle so they reassigned me (b/c determinations are done by state).

i will reiterate what others have said about the necessity of being honest about assets, etc. it's only going to hurt you in the long run if you try to cover something up.

re: an attorney, i don't want to contradict what others are saying, but i do know that many attorneys will not work with you until you have been initially denied. this isn't always the case but just wanted to give you the heads up so that if you encounter it you won't be surprised. i'm not using an attorney initially b/c since i have benefits through my LTD carrier, SSDI won't have a big effect on me either way (until 2 yrs out re: medicare) so for me the urgency of approval isn't as big of an issue as it is for most.

i'm sorry to hear that you don't seem to have enough credits. it's a system that works for a lot but not for some. i don't know enough without looking it up but there are different rules for the under 30 crowd so do make sure it is those you are looking at. perhaps you could even do a consult with an attorney just to clarify your position re: that? b/c ultimately if you definitively don't have enough credits the SSDI folks won't even look at anything else...essentially that's a "screen" you must make it through. so i would have for you to invest a lot of time & money getting records & applying for no reason. i don't want to discourage you but just think that ultimately that could be even more frustrating down the road. i saw something on one of the morning shows a few months ago about a mother with ALS (no debating the disability) who didn't/couldn't qualify b/c she didn't have enough credits as she had spend some of her adult life in the workforce but some at home raising her children. so unfortunately there are definitely ways to fall the cracks of the system.

re: the medicare issue, it's my understanding that you won't be able to get it if you don't qualify for SSDI. but i do believe some states have programs with different qualifications so that may be something to look into.

like someone else mentioned, the ssa.gov website does have A LOT of good info so is definitely worth the time to wade through. and it's accurate, as opposed to folks on the phone who may or may not know what they're talking about!

good luck sorting through everything,

:) melissa

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me again:-)

i just looked on the ssa.gov page re: medicare qualifications & there are a few exceptions but nothing that i think will apply. here's the link:

http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/ssa.cf...li=&p_topview=1

this may not be good info (i.e. what you wish it would say), but hopefully it's helpful....

:) melissa

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After a date of disbailty has been determined- there is a five-six month waiting period before benefits kick in. My date of disability was 01-01-03. So my benefits were paid back from 06-01-03. Then, there is a two year period of receiving disability payments before you are eligible for Medicare. Thus, I became eligible for Medicare June 1, 2005.

I hope this helps you understand this very complicated and frustrating process.

Carmen

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Hi Lisa,

I am in the process of applying as well. I looked high and low to find an attorney willing to take on my case prior to be denied. I wanted to be sure that I didnt say something wrong on the inital application that would come back to haunt me later. I have finally found someone willing to take my case. He is currently reviewing my medical records and my SSDI application and should be submitting it later this week. Hopefully those of us in the process of applying can share helpful tips as we head down this path. Good luck to you!

Lisa

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Thanks again for keeping me positive and keeping my hopes up!

I did find a clause today on the SS website....

** "A worker who becomes disabled between age 24 to age 31 needs to have credits for half the time between age 21 and the time disability starts. If disability starts at age 27, the worker would need credit for three years of work (12 credits)) out of the past six years between age 21 and age 27"

I became disabled at age 24 and it seems that I do have enough credits in between the ages of 21-24 to qualify.

This is so Meticulous!! I am definitely going to start a search for a lawyer.

Is it hard to find a lawyer to represent you the first time you apply??

Thanks again,

Lisa

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This is just my experience and my opinion.

If I were in your shoes I would do as much research as I could on my own on SS website.

I would go ahead and fill out the paperwork myself being very detailed about everything.

ONLY if I was denied the first time would I then hire an attorney. Although maybe you could hire one for a consultation fee to ask questions about what direction you could take and how to protect your assets. I say this because you have so many facts provided to you via SS website. So you know what they are looking for and what their criteria is. Since many attorneys won't even take the case until you've been denied why try hiring them. The way I view it is, no matter what, it's a lengthy, timely process. I would rather try to win it on my own the first time and try to keep any money I "earn" coming to ME and not ANY of it to an Attorney. Especially since your benefit amount won't be much because you won't have a lot of credits...try to keep an attorney from getting it because you will need it.

This is just my opinion and from my own experience but attempt it first on your own, if you get denied, contact your local congressman's office and ask to speak to someone in constituent services and tell them you applied and got denied and want their assistance. They can then direct you and they are free and many times influential (though they will say they are not but trust me...they are) with the local social security office.

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I didn't need an attorney, but it's up to you. I didn't want to have to pay if it wasn't needed. And it wasn't, and since I didn't receive any back pay, just my first check in the 7th month, I'm glad. But that may not be what you need. It's just a personal opinion you will have to make.

Medicare is automatic once you are accepted. It comes 2 years after in the month you receive your first check. For example, I was declared disabled 3/18/03, but had to wait the six month period, then because my birthday is the 4th week of the month, my first check came in September, so I actually had seven months with no income on my end.

A month ago I automatically received my medicare card, which will be effective 9/1/05. So I got okayed in August, my first check in September, and my medicare kicks in this September. I expect I will be evaluated next March or so. morgan

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