How I Navigated the Social Security Disability Process

FaFoD

I’m on Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). Okay I said it, and, I’m also very thankful for it. I might sound somewhat perplexed, because it’s all new to me and isn’t what I had expected to deal with in life. Yet, I am realistic and understand that “things happen” to all people.

You hear about the horrifying, multi-year process involved when applying for SSDI benefits. These stories are in the media and everywhere, but I didn’t have to pay close attention, because I never expected I’d need SSDI.

I’ve always strategically planned for the unexpected. I’m a former corporate vice president of operations and international business leader of more than 30 years’ experience. My husband and I, together, had a significant income, owned a home in a country club, guard-gated community in Southern California, and were extensive travelers, etc. Then, the season changed – unexpectedly.

In 2012, I started to show medical symptoms from an old auto accident that had caused a brain injury. I had difficulty walking, memory loss, etc. My neurosurgeon explained what was occurring, and that major brain surgery was required for me to continue living. My first brain surgery was performed in July 2012; my second brain surgery in September 2012; and between 2012 and 2014, I underwent five brain/skull surgeries. My husband became my full-time caregiver, and our financial safety net was all compromised due to my health.

With that said, it was time to apply for SSDI. Friends recommended that I hire an attorney, but I went directly to www.ssa.gov and read the disability application requirements, and felt strongly that I could do it on my own via the website. I wasn’t in the best mental state to tackle an extensive application (I was in between brain shunt implant surgeries), but, was determined to apply for SSDI to help exercise my brain. When I got to the site, I found the SSA disability determination website amazingly user-friendly! I was able to, independently, apply online with the easy step-by-step instructions.  When my mind needed to rest, I was able to save my information and, the next day, continue from where I left off.  I did everything online — not once having to step foot in a field office to complete my application; and I received my disability benefits in four months!

What a decision to make! I always said that if I could work through the disability determination process successfully on my own, I’d publicly share my story to assist others.  I continue to fulfill that promise every day, and as it turns out, I’m not an anomaly.  The risk of disability is larger than we think: A 20-year-old worker has a 1-in-4 chance of needing disability benefits before reaching full retirement age!  So, after 30 years in the workforce and contributing to the Federal Insurance Compensation Act (FICA), I sure am glad my disability insurance was there for me in my time of need.

Honestly, I get tired of hearing the negative stories about SSDI. It’s time for everyone to hear a good truthful story about the Social Security disability determination process and how it works in favor of claimants and truly serves the public.

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335 thoughts on “How I Navigated the Social Security Disability Process

  1. My experience with the application process was similar. The site is very user friendly and uncomplicated. Those with negative stories are simply (from my experience) trying to buck the system with dx not sufficient for one to obtain SSDI. SSDI does need an overhaul with better checks and balances for recipients, but the process of obtaining the benefit is very simple, straightforward, and doable on-line.

      • My situation was totally wrong to me I have yet to understand, I had brain aneurysm and was denied disability like I was nothing, no I didn’t live in big house on the hill so I was treated different, flat out NO

        • Bonita I fully understand how you are feeling right now. I am a 62 year old man who never took short cuts who always did it the right way who always took care of his family who always worked hard who never took hand outs, free stuff, always paid my taxes and was never once late on our house payment in over 25 + years. My beautiful wide and I have been in love and married for almost 36 years. In 2005 I was diagnosed with Peripheral Neuropathy, which is NOT diabetic nerve pain. This disease attacked my feet, hands and back, which I was already dealing with sciactic nerve pain in my lower back and down my legs and sometimes both legs. As the years came and went my disease became worse and worse and worse. I also had cardiovascular issues, a couple of bad heart attacks, half a dozen stints I’m my arteries. By the spring of 2011 I just could not take it any longer. I could not drive, I couldn’t feel the gas and brake pedals. So my wife and I talked at length and we both decided I needed help so I filed for State disability benefits. This was the very first time in my life that I said, I need help, will you help me. I paid into this program for decades, boy was I naive. I was in for a huge surprise. Of course you know the outcome, I was denied. I filed in May of 2011. So now what do I do. My wife and I lost everything, our home that we raised our children in, all our savings, her car, all our material possessions. We then hired an attorney. My condition became worse were there were days I could not even stand up straight let alone walk 10 feet. My wife and I had to move in wife our oldest son, his wife and our two grandsons in July of 2015. 2013 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Of course our attorney filed an appeal. We had to see the States doctor. My doctor I had been seeing for 25 years. The day came that I saw their doctor and it ended being a really bad day forecast me physically, my neuropathy has moved up to the middle of both legs, my sciatica had been bad, I was all bent over, my doctor had me to the yearly blood test to see what my actual diabetes was reading on a daily average, it was at 275 daily average. Their doctor nurse took my blood pressure twice 195/165. He could not believe I was still walking with my cane. He said I will be surprised if you are able to leave my office and make it to your car without having either another heart attack or stroke. I got my letter from them 3 months later, denied . They said everything I had was completely under control. My wife and I both broke down together and just wept. We had no income and it was not fair for my son or other family members having to financial support is. My attorney files the third appeal, this time in front of a judge and my attorney says this will be the longest wait, between 12 to 18 months. April 2017 will be the 18th month. During this wait other things have happened to me. Fortunately the Las two years I was having issues with my balance and so I kept falling down. I just thought it was because of all that we had gone through. When my wife and I moved in here other symptoms began happening. My balance and falling down got worse, but I started having dizziness and headaches, forgetting things and stuff like that so my doctor had a brain scan done on me with an MRI. The saw I had had multiple Lacunar Strokes on my right side so now I talk with a really bad stutter, everyday I have headached, Dizziness and balance issues, I have vertigo, forgetting getting a lot worse my wife now is my care giver she had to do 95% of everything. So my attorney was shocked. Oh, this past July 2016 I was having a couple Chester pains, I sent to the ER. They ran tons of tests, even a stress test using a CT and all the test came back negative so my cardiologist asks me if that has everything happened before and I said yes in 1996. He said I going to do an angiogram on you because u feeling in my gut something is going on. He did the angiogram and he found 13 separate blockages he found some many he had to work on me that dat Wednesday and then again 2 days later on Friday.

    • i think this is kinda’ judgemental, dismissive, & inaccurate, “Those with negative stories are simply (from my experience) trying to buck the system with dx not sufficient for one to obtain SSDI”.

      • A clear definition of “ANY OTHER SUBSTANTIVE WORK” needs to be made. What does that phrase ACTUALLY MEAN??? The problem with a lot of people requesting SSI, is they want a CHOICE of what THEY THINK IS SUITABLE WORK FOR THEMSELVES. Some simply do not want to work in a job they feel is “beneath them”. That is, if it is below in work AND PAY. Have you ever thought that some might be making MORE on SSI than their previous job????? That is WRONG.

        There needs to be an overhaul of training for the SSI officers who are making these serious monetary decisions that affect ever taxpayer not on SSI.

        Also, stricter, rigorous rules must be made regarding if an SSI, SSDI recipient has a CHANGE IN MONETARY STATUS. (i.e. inherits a SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF MONEY which SHOULD AFFECT HOW THEY FILE THEIR TAXES). A lot of this goes unreported to the SSI and SSDI Boards. TAX RECORDS SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO BE SUBMITTED TO THEIR ASSIGNED SSI, SSDI OFFICER on a YEARLY basis as a strict monitor. If a change in substantial status, SSI or SSDI should be eliminated for that individual. THERE IS WASTE IN THIS SYSTEM BECAUSE THIS CLAUSE IS NOT BEING ENFORCED. I know first hand because of a member of my own family!!

        • First of all, SSI is totally different from SSDI. So you aren’t even talking about the Social Security Disability program when you hurl your accusations. Another point: how would YOU know what anyone else submits or doesn’t submit to Social Security, or how anyone but yourself reports income and files their taxes? Clearly you are repeating rants you’ve “heard,” and frankly, this information is false.

          SSI is a form of welfare for disabled persons who are extremely low income and have never worked enough to have paid into Social Security to qualify for SSDI. It comes out of the General Fund, NOT Social Security. And for your information – this can be verified right online on the government website (usa dot gov) how much per month an SSI recipient receives. I seriously doubt that anyone would “fake” disability so they wouldn’t have to work because “SSI” pays them more than working would. The maximum SSI payment for 2016 is only $733 per month; for a married couple who are BOTH disabled and extremely low income, it’s $1100 – for TWO people. Google it, I just did to confirm my numbers. Now, do you honestly still want to claim people “make more money” on SSI than working? Yeah, man, I’m sure I could live like a king on that kind of money – NOT.

          And “or any other substantive work” means exactly what it says – ANY other work besides the listed conditions for which a person either receives pay OR would receive pay for – like driving as a volunteer for some non-profit; if they do that, they do NOT qualify for SSDI because that proves they can work.

          Regarding “submitting” tax information, they do not have to because all the government entities automatically share that information. If you receive any money that has to be reported, and you do report it, that information is already at Social Security, and just lying about it isn’t going to help you. If you do manage to not report income and the IRS finds out (and an inheritance will ALWAYS be found out because tax returns are required to be filed on all estates, even when you don’t go through probate. Social Security numbers are on all government documents and computers – ever heard of those?? – catch matching numbers and automatically send the information to all. In other words, you can [try to] run, but you can’t hide. In the unlikely event someone does receive income and you had received SSI, you have to pay it back. As far as SSDI, that is an EARNED BENEFIT taken out of your paycheck that you paid into your entire working life, it is NOT “welfare,” so it doesn’t matter how much your assets are. You are either disabled and unable to work, AT ANY OCCUPATION OR JOB THAT MAKES ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY, or you are not disabled and you don’t qualify for SSDI. It has nothing to do with means. It’s an insurance program, that’s why SSDI – it stands for Social Security Disability INSURANCE.

          You have to be examined by a doctor on behalf of Social Security before you can be determined disabled too, by the way for SSDI. Perhaps a few people are on SSDI who could possibly work, but “fraud, waste, and abuse” are NOT running rampant, they are NOT characteristic of the program, they are NOT causing any shortfall or adding one penny to the “national debt” or the “deficit,” and the program has been going on for decades without a hitch. It’s the people screaming for “smaller government” who cause cuts in personnel and office closures, which obviously will add to the time it takes to process your claim.

          Nobody is getting rich of either SSI or SSDI, by the way, and nobody is on it that just “chose” to scam disability because they don’t want to “take a job that’s beneath them.” This is nothing but political rhetoric, and if people like you would bother to check the FACTS at the SOURCE – e.g. the government website for facts on how government programs work instead of Fox news or ranting talk show hosts, maybe you’d stop spreading false information and misinformation. That is asking a lot of people who prefer to jump to conclusions and think the worst, but it’s the only way to get the truth. In your case, not one word of your rant is factual, not one. The fact that you don’t even know the difference between the two programs (SSI and SSDI), and clearly you don’t because you used the terms interchangeably, proves that you are merely repeating this false information that you heard from someone else who is presenting false information.

          • Very well said! I have Lupus and spend 6 months+ in the hospital or in bed. I also suffer from a whole laundry list of other illnesses that come with Lupus. I have been denied SSDI and am on my last appeal. We just filed bankruptcy from $250k in hospital bills only and yes we have insurance but no other dept. SSDI says I am not disabled but 7 doctors that have treated me for the last 5 years disagree. I am going to die because we are running out of money and will not be able to care for me in a couple of years. I have honestly given up and just want to enjoy whatever time I have left with my family.

          • You are mostly accurate. But, some on SSDI can and do work, but not at the SGA (substantial gainful activity). And it is usually very short duration, temporary, and sedentary, and/or below,- and still at or below the considered Disabling mental/physical RFC’s (residual functioning capacities). – Also, SSI stands for supplemental security income.

          • You only hear about all the “fraud, waste, and abuse” from people who have listened to other people (sometimes politicians) who would like to see the end of Social Security all together. Take it with a grain of salt.

          • Well done! I’ve worked for 31 years before having 4 surgeries ( the last being reconstruction of bladder and both ureters that has left me with hydronephrosis and recurrent kidney infections) and being diagnosed with Hashimotos, PAD, Peripheral Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, Narcolepsy with cataplexy, Kidney disease, OA, Sicca syndrome, Severe Anemia, Orthostatic Hypotension and Carpal Tunnel in both wrist. I suffer with chronic pain and swelling throughout my entire body, dizziness, nausea, panic and anxiety, extreme exhaustion…and the list goes on. I worked 2 FT jobs, Lockheed Martin and Delta airlines. I literally got about 3-4 hours sleep a day but my bills were always paid and my kids were clothed and fed. I had to give up Lockheed during recovery from my last surgery in 2012( surgery lasted 6.5 hours, recovery took 3 months …2 months totally bed bound), and held onto Delta as long as possible until Aug 2013. I missed too many days; used all of my VAC days, PTO, sick days, STD and was denied long term. I made about $5000 a month working both jobs and had great insurance from both…especially Delta. There are so many people like myself that would rather work and make the money they need to live the life they have built for themselves, than rely on the pocket change from social security…but we have no choice. Right now I have no insurance and am in the Appeals council stage of my social security journey, and wish to God I didn’t have to go through this but unfortunately….I am ill. I did not chose to be or want to be…but I am. So when people make loose, demeaning comments about people that have to rely on this system, it really gets on my nerves. I am so glad that you posted that response. We are not all system suckers.

          • My son ,23 years old was denined SSI because he didnt work. Well he is Paranoid Schizophenic and socially unaccepted because of his behaviors. Hes lived on the streets and in jail. Now hes home and we are trying to help him get assisstance. We adopted him in 1996 at 3 years old, he was born addicted to Heroine and Alcohol. It caused seizures and brain damage with mental illness. we thought we were doing good so we got him on Afforable care act insurance,$57.00 month. What a terrible mistake that was, any services we could afford like 2.00 for mental health clinic was denied because he had private insurance , they sent him to a psycharist at 100.00 an hour, we couldnt pay so now we are without any treatment for him ANY SUGGESTIONS ???

          • YOU GO MARC !
            Thank you for your post…
            These people that “know a guy” and are suddenly experts on the system are really hard to take sometimes…
            Scary.
            Thanks again.

          • Nicely Stated! Thank you kindly for articulating your comment so gracefully & factual.
            J.J.
            from AZ

          • Bravos. I can not say enough about your intelligence and knowledge and obvious compassion for people.

            Absolutely NO ONE wants to be sick.

        • What about all the people who die before they ever collect social security ssdi or ssi? That happens a LOT unfortunately, especially in my gene pool.

      • Ive been denied 3 times. The judge said that my Dr and I where not credible. They sent my records to 2 Dr’s I’ve never seen.They wrote that my Dr and I aren’t credible. I’ve been trying for 3 years and soon I will be homeless. The SSD is broken and all that work there should have a turn around time for a claim. Get out the middle man.

        • I agree. I applied three different times and got denied every time. This third time was just yesterday but I’m not going to wait to reapply. I’m doing it ASAP. I hear everybody gets turned down the first time and sometimes 2 but never 3. I’m just sick of the system. If my doctor has deemed me disabled and gave me a permanent handicap sticker and tag in my car, I think he knows more than those folks who think I’m asking for money from thei pockets. I worked for this money and I don’t get it that the send you to their doctors who know nothing and judge your future based on their little 15 minute office visit. Then the ssa has the nerve to tell you their people had not input on the determination. LIES, ALL LIES! If I didn’t need it so bad, I wouldn’t be applying. I have a right to this and I’m going to keep applying until I get the right judge to finally give me what I’ve worked for since age 14.

          • I have had the same experience, and have been trying for 15 years now! I have lost everything I owned three times now, and been debied a total of 11 times. All the Dr. reports they demanded, were given, and then they said – on EVERY OCCASION – they were not going to admit them as “evidence” in my case! EVERY TIME. Denied me everything I asked for, such as asking people that have known me all my life to attend and speak on my behalf at my hearings, letters from them, etc. They denied me everything at every turn, and no I am not trying to “milk the system”. I worked as a nurse for over 20 years, and factory and nursing home work before that, and now am unable to work due to a chsonic illness. They act like I am lying, and have even said as much in the denial letters I have received over the years.This system is skewed and unfair, and I have also been homeless on many occasions. I am not a bum, and I deserve better than this. I just received that 11th denial about a month ago and the lawyers I had said they would no longer represent me as they thought I will not win. But they do nothing to help people, except gather paperwork. They don’t want to do any actual, REAL work on their client’s behalf. I ave had three different firms ver the years that are “specialists” in the disability area. Binder and Binder, Brown and Margolius and this time Hoglund, Chwialski and Mrozik, all disability “specialists”. Every hearing I have had, the attorney did not even show up, they sent paralegals or their newest, “green” attorneys that said absolutely nothing in my defense. They have said I “exaggerate” my symptoms, and several other things, basically calling me a liar! This system sucks and has not been there for me AT ALL!!!!

          • No, everybody does not get turned down the first time. When I began to apply, I took the usual route and hired a legal group allegedly specializing in helping people get Social Security Disability.
            Two months went by, and no word from law group. I called them and was told they keep trying to get through to Social Security but the line is always busy, so they’re having a hard time with my case.
            That sounded fishy to me, so I immediately called Social Security and got right through. While on the phone with SS, I asked about the status of my petition for benefits. They had nothing on record for me.
            I fired the law group, and did all of the paperwork myself, with my doctors’ help, and along with seeing SSA’s doctor.
            I had wasted two months on that law group. When I took on the whole thing myself, which was very painful mentally, by the way, within 3 months I got my award.
            I understand that these law firms for SS claimants say they collect nothing UNTIL you win. Yeah, UNTIL you win?
            Well, you know that the SSA determines the actual date of onset of your disability, which may be a year or two in the past by the time you get your award with the help of a law group.
            At that point, the SSA will award you all the back payments you are due from the time it decided you became totally disabled. That could mean you are owed an entire year of back payments.
            But if you used a law group that told you they collect nothing until you win, guess who gets all that year or more worth of back pay (could be in the $12,000’s or more), well, it ain’t you. It all goes to the law group.
            My advice. It hurts, but do it yourself. Make sure you have followed all instructions, included all paperwork, doctor reports, etc.etc., and see if you don’t get a faster response like I did.
            Good luck!

          • I applied before taking early retirement at age 62. I have suffered from Meneire’s and rheumatoid arthritis. To lower my cost of living I moved out of the country. That prolonged the process but I have been informed that my file is complete and payment is being processed. Took nearly 2 years but thankfully approved on the initial application.

          • It’s a hard fight – mine started in 2011 – but I finally won last month.
            I worked for 34 years until 2011. I’m 60 years old. Don’t give up – I know the moments of wanting to just give up. But keep fighting. And if you haven’t gotten a lawyer think about it. You might win.

        • You need to get a lawyer. There are no up front costs; they’ll be compensated via settlement, not out of pocket, after the case is won, and no cost if lost.

          • Please see my reply just above yours regarding “getting a lawyer.”

            Nonsense. A waste of money they do not even really work to earn. Do it yourself. You can. You just need to follow instructions explicitly. I did, and within 3 months received my award letter. Forget the lawyers. They’re only in it to take your back benefits owed after they’ve fooled around and fooled around and caused your award to be delayed to where the SSA owes you a bunch of back pay that all goes in the lawyers’ pockets; not yours.

          • I hired a legal office to help me. I agree they are a waste and essentially have all the work done by assistants and interns. They screw stuff up and cost you a lot of time. The attorney’s office was akin to having a mule you must pull along rather than carrying any weight.

        • “The SSD is broken” because your claim was denied? I can’t believe what my eyes are seeing – no wait, yes I can. Every day on these blogs all I see are complaints and blame. And I do have one question for you – “get out the middle man” – exactly WHO are you referring to as the “middle man” here? It sounds like Social Security took a look at your claim TWICE, meaning they gave you a second chance. If you were not credible, well, find out the reason and FIX it! They always tell you what the problem is, and you can easily find the information you need to maximize your chances of approval on the website. It states very clearly exactly what conditions qualify a person for SSDI, and what must be submitted. Usually when one is denied because your doctor’s information is not “credible” it means there isn’t enough proof that you cannot work AT ALL at ANY job because of a qualified disability. Headaches don’t do it, a doctor’s note doesn’t do it, and your doctor’s records didn’t contain enough information that indicated total disability. Jeez, lady, take a little personal responsibility! And it’s worth repeating, just because everything in the world doesn’t go the way you want it doesn’t mean it’s “broken.”

          • I agree the system is not broken. What surprised me was 3 different law groups, and still lost!!?? – Something amiss. Important Medical Information missing, or not received by attorneys; process Not followed accurately, so-called lawyers lacking, or previous person not truthful. – !!??

          • The originators of the idea that “the system is broken” all work in DC. Not all of them say the system is broken, mostly, the ones who’d just as soon see Social Security go away entirely because….well because just think of the profits for somebody if Social Security was privatized. Why shouldn’t our capitalist society allow anybody to make a profit off of anything, they’ll argue.
            Me? I prefer an entity such as our government be the intervening body. Our government is not “in it” to make a profit. Everybody else? You bet. You think your monthly FICA taxes in your paychecks for Social Security benefits are high now, just wait till Social Security goes private and some CEO needs $17 Million a year just to make do. Where’s his salary going to come from? Your privatized Social Security benefit contributions, that’s where.
            Please people, let the impartial government, the entity not in the business of making a profit handle things, okay?
            All you CEO’s and would be millionaires looking to privatize the government go take a walk, would you? And stay gone.

        • I was denied when I first filed, but I appealed their decision, hired an attorney and carried my case to an administrative law judge, and won my case there.
          I can’t stress the importance of hiring a GOOD attorney, that is well organized, thorough in preparing your case, and filing an extensive briefing to the judge.
          I see those “Lawyer in a box” lawyers advertise on TV all the time, and everyone I know of that have used them LOST their case because they never even communicated with their attorney until the day of court….. and then the lawyer had NO real new evidence to prove their disability.
          My attorney and I BOTH worked on my case together, organized our evidence, made sure we had everything we needed for the day of court, then filed the briefing. The court then only lasted about ten minutes because all the evidence was put forth BEFORE the hearing to the judge so that he could see my actual disabilities, and with my testimony, he agreed that it was all accurate and my medical records matched my testimony.
          Always Always Always be proactive in your case, don’t expect to file ans sit back to see what happens, sometimes you have to do a little groundwork to make sure it’s all done 🙂

          • I was denied for 15 months from BC.

            SS sent me a list of attorneys & I hired (stephanie l., esq).

            I waited additional 9 months

            I went b/4 the administrative judge who asked me a few ?

            2 weeks later I rec’d my award letter. The judge wrote me a letter stating an injustice had been done to me.

            My attorneys rec’d less than $3K (SS determines the $$$ lawyers can charge from you). my the remaining $$$ was deposited in my account.

            It’s been a year & I know I’ll be okay.

        • Get a lawyer, a good one. They are not paid by you but receive payment via government. Make sure they have a good record of winning in this area. I tried it alone for years, don’t put yourself through the pain and agony. I ran a support group for awhile, and rarely saw anyone make it without legal representation, unfortunately.

          • The lawyers receive payment via the government for helping you get SSDI? What government money do they get? What they get is YOUR money. Suppose your first appeal is denied. So you try again. It is denied too. On the third try, you get your award, and by this time, you’ve been totally disabled for a year or more. When the SSA determines you are indeed totally disabled, it looks back to see when your state of total disability actually began. Often, that means it began some time in the past…maybe a year or two.
            When that is the case, the SSA not only awards you all future monthly benefits, but all of the months and months of back benefits you are owed, going back to the date the SSA determined you actually did become disabled.
            Think about that. If you were to get what the SSA says is the typical monthly benefit ($1200), and the SSA decided you became permanently disabled 12 months ago, that means the SSA owes you 12 back benefit payments of $1200 each. Do the math: that’s an additional $14,400 the SSA owes you.
            But guess what? If you think you get that money, think again. That $14,400 is what becomes the lawyer’s fee and the SSA, knowing who your law group is, will send that law group the check for $14,400 NOT YOU!

            So when you hear that these SSA lawyers won’t charge you a penny if and until you win your case, the bad news is on its way when you find your back owed benefits will go to your law group.

            My advice? Do the leg and brain work yourself. I started out with a law group that lied to me. After two months, I fired that law group and painful as it was, along with my doctor’s excellent help, I carefully followed all instructions, just like when filing my taxes, submitted everything, had my meeting with the SSA’s choice of physicians, and three months later, got my award letter on the first try.

            Do not let these law groups fool you. It is my opinion they will drag their feet, submit incomplete information, anything in order to delay when you will get your award.

            Most certainly, these law groups fairly well know when they’ve got a new client whether or not that client has a chance of being awarded or not.

            If you want to know more about what these lawyers know by way of the SSA and the Federal Government what rules they must follow in determining who will and who won’t get awarded benefits, Google “The Social Security Blue Book of Impairments.”

            Social Security “goes by the book” (that book) when determining whether or not a benefits petitioner has a disability that meets the requirements found in that massive book. It’s there, online, for you to read too.

            It may take you some time to get used to the book’s format and language, but if I could do it, so can you. In it, you will find sections addressing all impairments by type. Therein, the impairments are broken down by symptoms, and in most cases a person needs to have “x” out of a total of “x” symptoms in order to be awarded. Also, that book will often list what medical records, diagnostic tests, physicians’ notes, etc., that had better be included in the application, or you will find yourself going back through the process a second time.

            No, the SSA Disability application does not necessarily provide you with all these details as to what to include, but if you are looking for the fastest, most successful results, study that Social Security Blue Book of Impairments as regards your condition so you know EXACTLY what the SSA is looking for the first time around.

            In doing this (the process, as I said, was mentally and physically exhausting being already disabled, but my doctors helped a bunch — for a price). All the same, it was worth it.

            I submitted my completed application with all required attachments (even the ones I found only by way of the Blue Book) and had my award letter in July.

            Just think of it as doing your taxes and not wanting to have to resubmit corrected tax information over and over.

            Good luck to all!!

          • Just to clarify. Social Security assumes than an attorney or an appointed representative will charge a fee when representing a claimant, unless the fee is waived. Under current law, when the Court issues a favorable decision, we withhold (up to) 25 percent of the claimant’s past-due benefits. The fee agreement you sign, also limits how much of a claimant’s past-due benefits an attorney can collect: No more than 25% of your past-due benefits and that includes any children in your account, but only up to a maximum of $6,000. Also, to learn more about the process we use to decide if you are disabled under our rules, visit our Disability Planner: How We Decide If You Are Disabled. Thanks!

        • It took three years for my disability to be approved. I found out from the person who helped me during the appeal hearing that I was denied because I referred to too many different doctors. I also found out my medical records were not completely read until they got to the appeal hearing and the doctor there read the complete file. One of the denials said they felt I could do work that required heavy labor. My medical records state I have a herniated disc in my back and also have a genetic condition called Ehler Danlos which is a collagen disorder that causes severe osteoarthritis and joint and spine injuries. Anyone with Ehler Danlos have to be very careful not to hurt themselves by spraining a joint because it becomes permanent and doesn’t repair itself.
          During the three years I was waiting on the hearing before a judge I tried working several different types of jobs and ended up in the hospital every time. I really was trying and it was very discouraging to feel that useless. Previous to when my disability started I had a very stable job history. I had worked for one employer for over 12 years. I wanted to work but couldn’t and it made things worse. Once my case went to the judge he was very kind to me. The doctor was nice and I felt comfortable during the hearing. I told the judge I was going to school trying to get retrained in something that I believe I may be able to handle and go back to working. He awarded me full claims and even awarded me the full time when I became disabled even though I had received unemployment benefits during it. I feel fortunate the medical examiner in the appeal hearing took the time to read all the records and the judge explained why the two denials were incorrect. I know some people don’t have a good outcome with the appeal hearings but for me I did. Three years is a long time to wait for benefits though. I really struggled.

        • I cannot believe our system. First of all I have worked for 2 companies over 25 years with no lapse of employment. The first company for 15 years and the second for 10 years. I became ill after having an allergic reaction to a medical device implant,I have been to over 20 Drs and have had several MRI’s X-rays CT scans all stating the severity of the damage. The device contained nickel and titanium in which I had a severe allergic reaction to it caused severe swelling that resulted in complete disc collapse and marrow abnormalities, among several auto immune disorders, endometriosis, a complete hysterectomy, arthritis, anxiety depression, and the list goes on. I was the breadwinner to the family due to my husband becoming a quadriplegic. We have 3 children 2 still under 18. I actually made great money, we had 2 rental homes, an annuity for retirement, and a savings account. I worked long and hard hours paying into the system I never imagined that I was going need until retirement, until I became sick. I was turned down after 3 months and was told that was normal and then was told to obtain attorney to appeal the decision. At the hearing the judge was absolutely rude and disrespectful to me as if I was lying, he also said that he had not looked at my records and randomly pulled exhibits and questioned them.. My attorney told me not to worry, I have sufficient medical records to support my claim. I was told to expect the decision within 6 weeks and it took over 3 months with an unfavorable decision. After reviewing his reasons he obviously still didn’t go over my file and have two doctors I have never seen giving their opinion as a credible source for the decision. Now I am told it will take two years to have another hearing. So now everything I have worked toward has been exhausted, we have to sell our home and now do not have the college funds we had been saving up for. The system is downright unfair and unjust to the hard working people that deserve the money that came out of our earnings. Now there are two of us that are limited but have to worry about how and where to move. It’s just not right that one person can decide what I can and cannot do when I have strong medical evidence. Trust me, I want my healthy life and the wages, I don’t want to downgrade to what I am having to fight for, its unbelievable!

      • Yes thank you! When your husband who has been the soul provider finds himself unable to work and files for disability and you are denied and wait for your turn wth an alj, only to have that alj disregard medical evidence, therapists and even his own vocational expert, it sucks! Unfortunately life hasn’t allowed us to be so well prepared…we have barely kept it together while I work two jobs to make up for the one he can’t…My children have suffered. I ball my eyes out at least once a week then I suck it up and keep going and meanwhile it’s been 18 months since the alj denied him and the appeals council hasn’t even touched his file! People lose everything waiting on social security to just do the right thing. I’m glad it went smoothly for you but there is way to much inconsistencies from claim to claim and alj to alj and state to state….They had no problem taking my husbands money all those years he was working but now want to give him the runaround….it is a nightmare that we can’t wake up from!

        • Advice for your husband’s repeat denials.

          Go online and Google this book:

          “The Social Security Blue Book of Impairments.”

          This is the ‘bible” that the SSA uses to determine whether or not someone’s condition or collection of conditions satisfy the requirements listed in that book, which lists every possible disability for which an award is possible.

          As a bonus, that book also lists all of the medical information, diagnostic tests, x-ray copies, blood work results, all doctors’ opinions, all doctor’s historical records from every visit your husband had with each doctor, any hospital or ER visits, etc., and the more of all of that historical data you can include in your appeal, the better.

          This “Blue Book” is massive, to say the least. It may take you some time to get used to its format and language, but don’t give up. I figured it out and you can too.

          And when you do it will give you information on what additional information the SSA would like to see to help them make their decision than you can ever find in the SSDI application doc.

          I started out using a law group for SSDI claimants, and fired them 2 months later for lying to me. From there, I went it alone. I did have the help of my doctors, but I had to be the one to tell them what information, tests, historical records, etc., I needed from them to submit along with all the other stuff I had to fill out.

          I was a mentally and physically painful process, but I had all my data and the application ready to send in May and got my award letter in July. On the first try, too.

          I’ll bet you their are law groups out there that don’t know what the “Social Security Blue Book of Impairments” is, and I’ll bet most doctors don’t know either, so in both cases, they don’t know what to provide the SSA in order to get you the fastest successful response.

          As I said, it wasn’t easy. But a month of “not easy” and then just two months of waiting for that award reply was more than worth weekly cries one obviously needs to have month after month, waiting for someone to do something and nobody does.

          So, do it yourself. Even if it means having to research and learn more about the whole process and all the needed documentation then I’ll bet some of those at the SSA even remember to consider in making determinations.

          It’s not about how smart you are, it’s about how much you can teach yourself. In this case, that couldn’t be more important because we’re talking livelihood….money….losing it all…and possibly all because someone else doesn’t know what you do — what you had to take the effort and time to learn — all on your own.

          God bless and good luck!

          • You may find our listing of impairments useful. The Social Security Act sets out a very strict definition of disability, much different than the requirements for other government programs. We pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. To learn more about the process we use to decide if you are disabled under our rules, visit our Disability Planner: How We Decide If You Are Disabled. Thanks!

        • Oh, one other bit of advice I was given: write to your governor, explaining everything. Some have said that has seemed to do the trick to get people off of their behinds and start doing their jobs whether at the SSA or elsewhere. Worth a try!

      • If you want to know what disabilities will automatically get you awarded Social Security Disability Benefits, do a Google search for the Social Security Blue Book. At first, you may find it difficult to read, but you’ll catch on, and when you do, you will find exactly what conditions will immediately qualify you for Social Security Disability Benefits, and what disabilities may need further review or will be outright denied. Save yourself some time and learn what exactly Social Security considers a verifiable disability. Believe me, Social Security ‘goes by the book” when one is talking about the Social Security Blue Book. Warning: It is massive, but is split into sections that address various different types of disabilities. Within those, you will find that there are multiple disability symptoms listed per disability, and often, a person has to satisfy some number out of all of them to be considered disabled. If they do not, they may indeed be referred to the agency that helps people find alternate work. As far as not wanting to do work that you feel is “beneath you” how much do you think you are going to get monthly in your Social Security Disability check? Probably, it will be quite a bit less than if you can find some work you can do. And don’t think too much about trying to work AND collect Social Security Disability checks. You are allowed to earn an additional approximate $1010.00 GROSS on top of your monthly SSDI check, but if you earn any more than that, you can say good bye to that month’s SSDI check, as I understand from what I’ve read on the SSA web site about this. Just be careful and think twice. Working…just about any job…is going to earn you more per month than you’d get in your SSDI check. So be sure you absolutely cannot do ANY work before considering applying for SSDI. It’s not a program that replaces income lost when you have to leave a job (particularly one not “beneath” you). In fact, it is barely enough to subsist on. Take that from someone whose SSDI checks are much more than 1.5 times as much as what Social Security says is the average monthly benefit check ($1200) sent out to the majority of recipients.

        • Special rules make it possible for people with disabilities receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments and Medicare or Medicaid. Social Security calls these rules “work incentives.” A person may still be eligible for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program if they work. However, their earnings cannot exceed a certain amount. This is called the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit. In 2016, the SGA limit is $1,130 per month (or $1,820 for blind applicants). To learn more about the process we use to decide if you are disabled under our rules, visit our Disability Planner: How We Decide If You Are Disabled. Thanks!

      • Those who have get More Easily. Those who have not “get lost”!
        It’s never easy. Never quick and painless, It’s obscure and humiliating….
        Experience s Vary!!!

    • I am happy to see that some people have successfully been awarded benefits. I have Cancer and other health issues including brain abnormalities that will not allow me to work. I worked for over 30 years and paid into the system, however, I have been waiting for a disability hearing and determination for over 2 years. I applied online, hired an attorney, contacted SSI Disability for status updates. What makes my case any different from yours or anyone else that causes me to wait for help? Are the rules the same for all or is it based on the type of job I had, where I lived or do I actually have to die before I receive a response? Your opinion is yours and I thank you for your honestly, but not all people are trying to buck the system.

      • Hi Barbara! We are sorry to hear that your application for disability did not go the way you had hoped. The good thing is that your claim is still open and waiting for a decision. We care about our customers and are working as fast as we can. The length of time it takes to get a hearing may vary depending on our case volume and availability of the judges. Visit our Hearing And Appeals web page for more information.
        Also, you should know that we use the same five-step process to make a decision on each application. You may find our listing of impairments useful. We hope this information helps and that your claim is resolved very soon. Thanks!

        • I worked for forty years. My goal was to retire at the age of 66.5.

          At the age of 62 I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer with metastasis to the brain.

          I started the application process online one day, but saved my material to finish later. The next morning, I got a call from our local SS office. The lady on the line was so kind. She said my diagnosis was on a list that could be expadited. She stayed on the line for about 15 minutes collecting info she needed and that was it.
          My claim was approved and the checks have come in every month without a hitch.

          Martha Fowler

          • What planet are you from. Im sorry its a blessing for s o me of us. Congradulations to you and hope. Your doing well. God be with you

          • Thank you for sharing Martha! Social Security is committed to providing world-class customer service today and in the years to come. We value your feedback!

          • Glad you got it.. Mine was the same way. I filled out the app. Got a call the next day. Got 3 more calls from social security asking questions.they sent me to a couple doctors and i started receiving benefits in 4 months…. As long as your honest and truthful you will get it. (glad i have spell ck on this).

          • Wish mine had gone that easy. I also had a compassionate allowance non hodgkins lymphoma on chemo out of work. And the auditor did not give me mine. Did not deny just said he had to wait 6 months to see if chemo helped. What??? Well I am still having problems and now Neurological problems from agressive chemo. Still no word. Still out of work. Going for stem cell evaluation next week. Sad.

          • In my opinion, if your lawyer hasn’t seen fit to help move the process forward, fire him. Now.

            I had to do that. Then, even though already disabled, I took on the job of filling out the application myself. I also researched the “Social Security Blue Book of Impairments” Google it online, and found that there were a whole bunch of other things I could include to move the process along.

            I believe if you fire your lawyer, you won’t even have to wait for that never-ending wait for the appeal. You can start fresh.

            After firing my lawyer, and resorting to the additional info the “Blue Book” provided, I discovered there were additional diagnostic test records, scan copies, doctors’ opinions, historical medical records written by past doctors and all kinds of things one can include to help speed the process because if the SSA has all that documentation too, they can make a much quicker decision.

            I did have to ask my doctors to dig up the filed diagnostic tests, scans, historical doctor notes, etc., so I could include them because not even the doctors knew I needed this stuff to help my case.

            That done, I mailed off my SSDI application and all supporting docs in May, and in July I got my award letter.

            Forget using a lawyer, in my opinion. They earn their portion from the back benefit checks you are owed after the SSA makes its determination that you’ve actually been disabled for 1, maybe more years, and the SSA owes you each monthly benefit payment from that date forward as well as all future benefit payments.

            CAVEAT: Don’t think you will get your back payments if you’ve got a lawyer working for you. Your back payments are the fee they earn for having “won” your case. So suppose you are entitled to what the SSA says is the average monthly benefit check amount ($1,200), and you are owed a year’s worth of back payments.

            That’s a total of $14,400 you SHOULD get, but guess what? That check goes to your lawyer, if you are using one, not you. I don’t believe you see one penny of all that back owed benefit money.

            Good luck!

          • Just to clarify. Social Security assumes than an attorney or an appointed representative will charge a fee when representing a claimant, unless the fee is waived. Under current law, when the Court issues a favorable decision, we withhold (up to) 25 percent of the claimant’s past-due benefits. The fee agreement you sign, also limits how much of a claimant’s past-due benefits an attorney can collect: No more than 25% of your past-due benefits and that includes any children in your account, but only up to a maximum of $6,000. We hope this information helps.

          • This is the MOST ABSOLUTE definition of a miracle if I must say myself!! So with all do respect,Mr. Fernandez, please don’t bow that chest and ruffle those nice white feathers as if “the system ” worked!perfectly. That was the definition of an ABSOLUTE FLUKE!

        • I am certainly not trying to take advantage of the “system”. I am, however, deeply concerned about the amount of time it is taking to get a disability hearing scheduled, much less a determination. My attorney has submitted a small book of medical information. Working causes my stress level to remain at a debilitating level which affects my health. But, I have to work, against my doctors directives, because there is no one else in my household to pay the most basic of bills. What has been accomplished on my case? I have my very own bar code.

        • My disability IS on the list, yet I have been denied eleven times so far and called a liar, despite all the evidence I had to get myself, even though I had attorneys for every case I have filed, three so far over 15 years. I lost my home, and every little thing I owned three times now. I don’t believe a word you have said int hat post, and have waited and waited for nothing but DENIALS and been called a liar more than once in my denial letters. Things that I DO have they say I do not, and so on. What kind of crap is that!? I have been treated very unfairly and been forced into homelessness more than once over the years, and am sick to death of all your “rules and regulations” that SSD doesn’t follow at all!!!

      • I feel your pain, my husband worked for 40 years straight- received unemployment once in his life for 3 months. 4 years ago he became really ill was not able to work, applied for SSI denied applied for 2nd time denied, we had to hire an attorney for us to be able to get his benefits. Even now since I work he does not qualify for full Medicare, his medication a month is over $500.00 and he does not qualify because I work. It is sad to see this, there is people who have not work one day, but they get full benefits. What is wrong with this?

      • Im in my 10th year and now I’m filing a claim against my SSDI attorney with the Supreme Court of Missouri! What a screwed up system and the people making the initial denial has no medical background! I could go on and on since I’ve struggled now for 10 yrs and still not finalized!

          • Debbie,

            That sounds horrible! I am so sorry that you are going through this, and I am shocked to see that it’s gone on for this long! What could have possibly happened for it to take so many years, and what the heck happened that you need to take the lawyer to court all the way up to the Supreme Court of MO!. I understand that you may not be able to tell us all that happened due to privacy & since this is an active case.

            I am really appalled. I have heard & read about hundreds & hundreds of these horror stories, and honestly, I am afraid that something like this will happen with me.

            I wish you the best of luck. I hope this gets resolved for you very shortly. Wow. still shocked.

            Best wishes,

            Rose

          • FIFTEEN YEARS and waiting! Now, I have to appeal to district court myself because my attorneys said they don’t think I will win! If you like you can read my comments above about specifics of my case. FIFTEEN YEARS!!!

        • 3-1/2 years and waiting. I have one of those disabilities that you can’t see. Chronic pain in my feet from diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and am addicted to methadone because of the excruciating pain. There are other health issues, but if you live in CO, I think they deny everything. Have 2 lawyers, 1) suing SS and 2) reapplying for SSDI. Will have to wait for 8 to 16 months to get answers and/or a new hearing. First judge I got was notorious for denying claims, and treated me as if I was trying to screw over the system. Thing is, I worked until I couldn’t any more, I have a permanent disability with the placards and all because walking, and wearing shoes at all, is extremely painful. This system is broken. I’m so happy you all got your SSDI right away, but for some of us, it doesn’t work that way at all.

          • You got that right, the “system” doesn’t work for some of us AT ALL. I am very angry and disgusted with it all, and now appealing – after waiting a year for them to deny me another ALJ hearing because they agreed with the original ALJs decicion. My attorneys sent me a letter stating they would no longer represent me because they don’t think I will win. Maybe if they got off their butts and did some WORK on my case it would go through. I have had nothing but bad things with attorneys that are suppose to be “specialists” in SSD. And SS itself calls me a liar at every turn, ignoring three DIFFERENT Dr. reports, pages and pages long, stating that I can no longer work and why. It is ridiculous to the point of being laughable.

          • I’ so sorry you’re having such a difficult time. I, too, live in CO. I applied for disability in June, 2015 and started receiving benefits in January, 2016. I have a lot of chronic pain and suffer from disintegrating joints, and I also have several other illnesses, as well. I was told by a young woman at the social security office in Greeley, CO, (who I made an appointment with to help me fill out my application ) that when I receive the paperwork that I need to fill out about my employment and personal life, and how my disability affects my life, to be very specific when I write in my answers. And i was very specific, actually needing to write my extensive answers on additional sheets of paper. I really think that is key and was the best advice I ever received. I actually had to call the woman in Denver, who was the examiner that my paperwork was sent to, and request extra time to fill in my answers. If you rush through your answers, I believe that really can make or break your chances of receiving disability. Good luck and I hope this helps you somewhat.

          • Google the book:

            “The Social Security Blue Book of Impairments”

            It’s massive, but online. May take you some time to get used to the format.

            But once you do, you can see just why or why not the SSA thinks your condition is a disability or not a disability.

            The SSA considers the “Blue Book” their “bible” as far as making determinations as to who is or isn’t totally disabled.

            As far as they are concerned, if you don’t totally meet the qualifications, no award for you.

            Sorry if that’s bad news, but it may not be. Perhaps, and you’ll find this in that book, the WAY you are defining your symptoms is the hold up.

            Each impairment has a list of symptoms and a person has to meet “x” number of symptoms out of “x” number of total symptoms for their disability to be considered totally disabling. Perhaps the way you are describing your symptoms, or the lack of diagnostic test results, or physicians’ historical notes not included with your application is what’s holding you back.

            Give that a try. Worked for me on the first try!

      • My sister was disabled because of her sugar diabetes was affecting her sight and everyday functions. Just living was a struggle. After a 2 year fight she finally won? just to die 2 months later.

      • It does depend on area; some places have a larger population meaning more people applying, and the sequester and insistence on cutting the budget all the time have caused cuts in personnel and hours of operation. Everybody wants everything but nobody wants to pay for it or take any responsibility.

        • What I believe is that there are a fair number “business types” out there looking for any new way to make a profit off of the public. I believe that is why on the Republican (business friendly) side of the aisle, they are dying to see Social Security go private, Hey! That means PROFIT!

          Our government does not exist to make a profit, and any agency within our government that some see as being ones that could be privatized, they are drooling over like Saint Barnards.

          Frankly, if you think FICA taxes for Social Security (what little you’ll get) are too high now, just wait till Social Security or any other government agency is privatized.

          Once it is, those who own it ARE in business to earn a profit…and a bigger profit year after year. Think your Social Security contributions are high now? Just wait.

          Let some ‘For Profit’ company take over what the government does without expecting a profit for doing it and see how happy you are then.

          If you think private companies can do a better job than the government, where’s your proof to back that up? I am always on the phone with one creditor or service provider or another for mistakes or lousy service. But some say privatizing government agencies will make them better?

          Show me just ONE of those privatized industries that is doing a better job. Ask the inmates of privatized prisons about the green bologna sandwiches they get served. Ask your bank about the error you found in your account. Ask the clerk at the store why he or she double charged you for the one item you bought.

          The list goes on. Those who complain about government services do so in an attempt to wrest business away from a non-profit entity (our government) and turn it into a money maker at our expense.

          Tell Congress enough is enough. Prior to about 5 years ago, the average yearly Social Security Benefit increase was 4.3% annually.

          What is it now? Next to nothing if not nothing all together. And why? Because the congress we have has a majority of congress people in it who want to see the end of Social Security.

          So they tell us there isn’t enough money for it anymore. Meanwhile, they are sending Israel (no lie, look it up) the USD equivalent in aid of $12,600 PER DAY. That’s right, per day.

          And you know what? Israel, a nation the size of Rhode Island on a good day is the 4th wealthiest nation on the planet. Israel should be sending us aid!

      • I strongly disagree not all people are trying to “Buck ” the system everyone is entitled to their opinions. But I do believe that the system is broken, l’ve been trying to get my disability for nine years I’ve been denied 4 times as a matter of fact the last one was just a few weeks ago. My problems are on the SSA so called list that says you should qualify. But that does not change the fact that I’ve been denied all these times, I worked many years in a nursing home as a CNA which I was told contributed to back issues. Now let me also say that if I could still work I would, I wouldn’t be begging the SSA for the money I payed in for all those years. Yes I said begging, that is my opinion of what I’ve been doing all these years. And before anyone says it is hard to approved for SSD when all you have is back issues, I have other problems to. I have had a attorney this whole time, because I knew I couldn’t do it myself. I’ve been to four hearing, I’ve had cold heartless judges who just don’t care. Who, if had to be in my shoes for one day would not be so uncaring. I’m in Constant pain, which is so bad at times I can’t concentrate on anything else. My pain medication, makes it possible for me to function somewhat. I’m going to appeal again, because I have no other choice,it’s that or give up. I’m not a quitter. This is all my opinions, no one else I’m not trying to BUCK the system I’m, just trying to survive in the only way I know how. As I said there are my opinions, so I know everyone won’t agree. I’m not trying to Offend anyone,I’m just angry, and tied of all this.

      • In my opinion, if your lawyer hasn’t seen fit to help move the process forward, fire him. Now.

        I had to do that. Then, even though already disabled, I took on the job of filling out the application myself. I also researched the “Social Security Blue Book of Impairments” Google it online, and found that there were a whole bunch of other things I could include to move the process along.

        I believe if you fire your lawyer, you won’t even have to wait for that never-ending wait for the appeal. You can start fresh.

        After firing my lawyer, and resorting to the additional info the “Blue Book” provided, I discovered there were additional diagnostic test records, scan copies, doctors’ opinions, historical medical records written by past doctors and all kinds of things one can include to help speed the process because if the SSA has all that documentation too, they can make a much quicker decision.

        I did have to ask my doctors to dig up the filed diagnostic tests, scans, historical doctor notes, etc., so I could include them because not even the doctors knew I needed this stuff to help my case.

        That done, I mailed off my SSDI application and all supporting docs in May, and in July I got my award letter.

        Forget using a lawyer, in my opinion. They earn their portion from the back benefit checks you are owed after the SSA makes its determination that you’ve actually been disabled for 1, maybe more years, and the SSA owes you each monthly benefit payment from that date forward as well as all future benefit payments.

        CAVEAT: Don’t think you will get your back payments if you’ve got a lawyer working for you. Your back payments are the fee they earn for having “won” your case. So suppose you are entitled to what the SSA says is the average monthly benefit check amount ($1,200), and you are owed a year’s worth of back payments.

        That’s a total of $14,400 you SHOULD get, but guess what? That check goes to your lawyer, if you are using one, not you. I don’t believe you see one penny of all that back owed benefit money.

        Good luck!

        • Just to clarify. Social Security assumes than an attorney or an appointed representative will charge a fee when representing a claimant, unless the fee is waived. Under current law, when the Court issues a favorable decision, we withhold (up to) 25 percent of the claimant’s past-due benefits. The fee agreement you sign, also limits how much of a claimant’s past-due benefits an attorney can collect: No more than 25% of your past-due benefits and that includes any children in your account, but only up to a maximum of $6,000. We hope this information helps.

        • Just to clarify. Under current law, when the Court issues a favorable decision, we withhold (up to) 25 percent of the claimant’s past-due benefits. The fee agreement you sign, also limits how much of a claimant’s past-due benefits an attorney can collect: No more than 25% of your past-due benefits and that includes any children in your account, but only up to a maximum of $6,000. We hope this information helps.

        • It took three years to get my disability. I did get it fully approved at the first hearing I had before a judge. I didn’t have an attorney I hired but a lot of counties in states have programs where you can get help from an attorney at the hearing. The attorney’s don’t charge you anything or collect any of the money back owed to you if you are approved. They are paid by the county you live in. That is the route I went and although it was a long wait I am thankful I got a favorable outcome. It is a bonus I don’t have to have any of it taken from my by an attorney.

    • I’M HAPPY YOU HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE.I’VE WORKED EVER SINCE I WAS 14 AND WORKED UP UNTIL I WAS 52. I PAID MY DUES, AND IF I COULD WORK W/OUT BEGIN IN PAIN AND SWOLLEN KNEES ” I WOULD”. I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW THEY THE ONES WHO INTERVIEW YOU KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. I THINK IT STINKS YOU WORK FOR WHAT . FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T WORK AND THEY TAKE FROM THE SYSTEM..

      • I so agree with you! Worked since 15 until 50, and can’t get this. BTW, I don’t want to sound racist, but if I weren’t white this would have been so much easier. It’s an observation of a fact that will never be printed.

        • I have to agree. I have often joked (maybe NOT so much of a joke!) that if I left the country and became a citizen of another country, and came back as an illegal alien I would be better off!

    • i worked for 35 years and allways filed and paid taxes. in 1999 we started our own business and hired a prof tax prepairer. in 2006 i began what would turn out to be the first of many other health problems. i worked as long as i could . i knew i was defeeted and had no choice but to stop working and file for disability in 2010. it took me 18 months and i even got a hearing with a judge. i was approved for full disability!! then came the bomb shell!! ssd agreed that i was 100% disabiled but they could not pay me because i was missing 4 points from the year 2006. i needed 20 credits but i only had 16. ssd counts the points you have in 10 yr blocks. even if you only work 5 of those 10 years it’s ok as long as you have the 20 credits. this is where our prof tax guy comes back into the picture. he never explained to us that we still needed to pay into FICA evan if you dont owe taxes. the guy was arrested and found quilty for falsifing his clients tax returns and his own. he went to jail but me and several dozon of his clients are left to pick up the peices.
      why should people like me who have worked all our lives be punished for something someone else was responsible for giving that information to us so we could make an informed disistion.this man had been in business in the area for almost 30 years and had never been in any trouble of this kind before. so when i hear someone say you should check out people before you do business with i just get angry because we did but you can’t predict when a person is going to one day just start doing something stupid!!!
      i gave the proof of this ti ssdi and the only answer i got is “too bad” theres nothing we can do. if you don’t have the credits!! it’s been 10 yrs since my first health problem and 6 years fighting to get my disability. my health has gone down hill and i spend a big part of my days sitting in a wheel chair and getting more and more depressed because there is nothing to look forward to any more!! and all the money i paid into my government throgh out my life is for not.
      There needs to be a compasion clause to help me and other people like me.

      • You can always amend your taxes to earn credits. It may cost you some money, but probably not a whole lot. Worth looking into.

      • You didn’t pay in all your life – you said the tax preparer didn’t tell you that you didn’t have to pay FICA so you didn’t – but ultimately YOU are the taxpayer, YOU are responsible to read the information that is on the website. How did you manage to run a business when you didn’t even know to pay taxes???

    • I agree with that. I was insulted by that statement and also thought it was judgemental and dismissive. I also filled out the disability form and was denied 3 times before I had to hire an attorney. Then it took another year before it was finally approved. Not everyone has a good experience trying to do this. Good for you. Just don’t assume that everyone who has not had a good experience is trying to “buck the system”.

    • It is not that straight forward for everyone. The first time I applied I was denied. I have neuroapthy and I also have degeneration of my c-5 & c-6 vertebra so I can’t lift over 10 lbs. But I was denied in the case in front of the law judge. So I reapplied in June 2015 and was denied again. And I waiting on a hearing again. It’s great that you were approved but a lot of people aren’t as lucky. So the “horror stories” are true most people aren’t as lucky as you.

      • My husband has also has back issues which can’t be fixed, neuropathy in both legs and depression. It has been 7 yrs since he’s been able to work and has been denied 2x. We are now at the federal level waiting for a decision. He also has worked since age 15 and us now 54.

    • I believe some revamping needs to be done! I have CAD, CHF, inoperable broken back, Fibromyalgia, and Vascular Disease of the Brain. I have memory loss and am unable to drive. I have been told by 3 different drs not to drive, I get lost and am extremely drowsy due to fatigue and meds, and not to work. I was denied my initial application, with a lawyer, and am in appeal now, with a lawyer. If a Dr states you can no longer work shouldn’t it be immediate? My family has gone without my income now for over a year, causing financial hardship. I have had my power shut off and vehicles repossessed. I asked for a rush due to financial hardship and was denied. The only reason we have a home is because our Aunt is the landlord. So, where is there fair and equitable determination?
      Thanks for letting me vent!

      • Update – I finally had a hearing in November of 2016. I was told that in the system it is marked a decision was made on or about January 24, 2017, but no indication of what it is. I was then told it could take 2 or more months before the decision is written so that I know whether I was approved or not. Again, this seems unreasonable and unacceptable! Is this typical?

        • Hi Melissa. The length of time it takes to receive your “official determination” after a hearing varies. We attempt to resolve all claims promptly, but there may be delays due to the volume of pending appeals in your area. Also, claims are randomly selected for a quality assurance review of the decision. We care about our customers and are working as fast as we can. For security reasons, we do not have access to information about your account in this venue. In your situation, we encourage you to contact your local office or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and speak to one of our representatives. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

    • my time so far dealing with multiple myeloma bone cancer stage 4 wheel chair patient I fell from issues due to the cancer broke my left femur left arm have rod in my leg 2 plates in my arm not looking good at this point to ever walk again and going on my 6 month waiting to get any decision from SSI and I’m almost now used up any and all I can to stay in my home and still make it to my chemo that is almost a 2 hour drive 2 times a week for me and cover what I have to on my meds

    • I have been waiting for nine months for a decision on my son’s disability application. Everytime I’m told a decision is coming soon. I don’t get return calls. I’m a retiree taking care of my son has become a financial burden. Glad your experience was better than mine. Still waiting. April will be one year.

    • The SSA is not fulfilling it’s duty to disabled Americans. I think Congress has their head stuck in the sand because they don’t have the courage to fix the system; we’re seeing the beginning of the demise of this institution. I contracted cancer last year which fractured my arm. Social Security has initially denied my claim (which I have learned is their rubber stamp denial procedure). I’m not saying at this point that I should receive or even want to live on disability benefits for the remainder of my life. However, making me wait 2 1/2 years for a hearing to receive benefits that I need now (and have worked for) is unethical and renders this system obsolete.

      • I agree, the system sucks, and I have been waiting FIFTEEN years and denied ELEVEN times, with disabilities that others have received benefits for right away. Seen many Dr.s and psychiatrists, they have filled out lengthy reports and so on, stating I am no longer able to work, etc. I am sick of them.

      • I was approved the first time. It did take over a year, though, and that was a financial hardship. I lost everything while I waited too; house, car, credit, had to file bankruptcy, etc. But I think I was approved the first time because I met EVERY deadline, made sure EVERY single thing was done that was required, everything, down to the last detail, and responded to every inquiry, went to every examination, provided every document they wanted the FIRST time they asked, in full, gave them EVERYTHING they wanted; every doctor I’ve ever seen in my whole life, every place I’ve ever worked, wrote a long narrative, got letters from everyone who knew me, had medical records from every one of those doctors. This is not an easy process to do that but I did, and that’s what it takes. All you have to do is follow the rules, do what they ask, and of course hopefully be in an area that’s not too busy with applicants. And don’t think just hiring an attorney should make it all good; I WAS an attorney, and let me tell you, they miss deadlines all the time, asking for extensions to get this or that in, etc. YOU have the responsibility to call your attorney, perhaps every week, and ask what the status of your claim is. Ask if they need anything from you, ask when was the last time they had contact with SSA, again, take a little responsibility before you blame, blame, blame the government.

        • wow…it must be nice to have a mind that can listen and follow directions…Find the info and get it back to them…Not everyone has that ability. So maybe before being so callous you couldl comprehend that some people need advocates and helpers…You can’t find those helpers when you don’t remember even where you are going…Its not a workable system for many. Ive called and spoke to SSA person and they give me a phone number.I leave a message and never hear back…I call the State and they are the same way…

    • Obviously you work for social security, or fraudulently received benefits. Getting benefits for disabled people is a truly sick nightmare. Somethings human beings should not have to endure while already severely ill. The process is akin to being in the battlefield against the system.

    • I was injured after I was 65 which meant that I was not eligible to apply for SSDI payments. Imagine that, worked all those years, paid into the system and when I needed it the most could not get it to help me.

    • I have to disagree on that and I apologize. Like the author I have been a hard working and driven young guy. All that great stuff, travel for work, good home, etc. From the means I came from, as a Latin-American and gay, hey…I wasn’t doing bad. Three years later I am in a full swing struggle with Charcot Marie Foot Syndrome. Not well known, unpleasant neuro-muscular condition. So far the SSDI process for me is not entering 2.5 years. I was denied 1x in Colorado, not knowing much, I re-entered the work force thinking I had no other choice or I’d be homeless. Going back to work only made my issues worse and got me fired even sooner. I have now been without work for over a year. I applied for SSDI again here in Florida, was denied again. Mind you, despite the enormous mountain of physical evidence to support my claim. My partner was taking care of me full time and had no choice but to re-enter the work force as well. He needed work right away and now he’s working part time for minimum wage, alongside self-entitled kids half his age. And I know had to appeal the Florida denial and so I still sit here, and sit here. There are days where I have just burst into tears while on a public bus, having had to give up my vehicle and no longer being able to afford it. Food stamps? Sure. Never in my life, but I got them. Now try making a monthly budget with what they give you. So manipulating the system? I am very intelligent, highly confident. I filled out the online application, dotted every “i” and crossed every “t”, and yet here I sit. I am on the verge of being homeless, we have tapped out our families and my only hope for survival comes from a government system that is in now way established to help those in significant and legitimate need. I’m 39 now, they’re talking about raising the age of retirement to 67, perhaps even 70. I’ve had such a clarity befall me, from the seat of this wheelchair. My perspectives, my realities, my hopes… all changed. My negative story perhaps comes from the fact that I am not white, or perhaps I haven’t contributed enough to warrant this need now in my life. Please promise to consider others’ and their trials before making declarations on subjects as tumultuous as these. I am not 0ver 65, I don’t qualify for Obamacare, I can’t afford a car, I research and research… The system is totally manipulated by an opportunistic and nefarious few. But it aint this guy, I tell ya that! Anyone let me know if you have any kind or useful advice. Much love.

      • Powerful lawyer with much good experience in disability field. Research, go to a few heath related support groups to inquire about lawyers and which ones are effective. Consider getting a group together to file lawsuit(s) in court. It worked for me. Wish you the best.

    • Well this has to be a one in a million story. Every person I’ve talked to has the same problem I do…..they take forever. I have had lung cancer for almost a year now, have lost half of my left lung, and then I had eye cancer develop in Feb 2016 and within 5 weeks I lost my sight in one eye and the other eye is 60/30 – and I CANNOT GET ONE DIME OUT OF THIS AGENCY…EVEN THO I HAVE PAID INTO IT FOR YEARS AND HAVE ENOUGH CREDITS OR POINTS OR MONEY IN THE SYSTEM TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS…..THEY JUST DO NOT WANT TO PAY OUT NOW THAT I NEED THEM. I HAVE AND CONTINUE TO HAVE A HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE WITH SSA. I filed a DIRE NEEDS LETTER in May and have still not received a response…..DIRE NEED…..AND IT TAKES THEM OVER 60 DAYS PLUS to respond.
      I have filed a congressional inquiry…and nothing although the congressman says he will have an answer by the 18th of this month – we’ll see. I’m about to lose my home and be on the streets maybe then they will consider my needs dire !!!! I’m totally frustrated with the entire process.

    • YOU WOULD NOT FEEL THAT WAY IF YOU HAVE WORK SINCE YOU WAS 18 AND PAID IN THE SYSTEM WAS PAID UP WHEN YOU REACH 48 GOT SICK AND HAVE HAD 2 STROKES BECAUSE BLOOD CLOT TO THE BRAIN AND THEY KEEP DECLINING YOU CAN’T WORK IT IS HARD TO PAY YOUR BILLS AND YOU MAKE A STATEMENT LIKE THAT . I KNOW SOME TIMES PEOPLE HAVE BEEN NEGATIVED AND HAVE TRIED TO BUCK THE SYSTEM, BUT EVERY ONE HAVE NOT I HAVE NOT YOU CAN’T PUT EVERY ONE IN THAT BUCKET

    • Yes,and look what they got in the White House too. They took my SSDI because of a similar thinking SSA rep telling me a lie that I believed.So, please don’t tell me about (how good they are). While you are thinking they love you,they are only waiting on their chance to accuse and lie on you,in order to keep your benefits,and continue lying. They can really make up sone humongus lies too, while knowing you can’t defend yourself. I think they are upset with me also,because I didn’t die in the accident,or maybe my religion is wrong. Eitherway,the SSA is not your friend, unless, you like ccinnivin and lying. Try speaking with 5 reps and you get 5 different lies!

    • I have found becoming congnitively disabled horrendous. Its been years, and because Ii don’t look disabled I have been unable to find help. I lost my home, all relationships ….. After years of trying, I found someone to file for me. It is still upsetting because I am cognitivelyi c unable to process things. I don’t think people get that if you weren’t born mentally disabled or weren’t in a car wreck and suddenly your diagnosed disabled, you wander and wander trying to find help….To this day, I still cannot get adequate medical help because they don’t stop and listen to the fact that I cannot understand what they are saying..Not all disabilities are visible. I have contacted all sorts of people who are assigned to help people. Yeth, I always walk away with the sense they think I am scamming…I finally had a neuro psych eval that explained it, but still my record doesn’t put anhyone on notice that I have medical cognitive deficiency because the report went to a dr who referred me to another institution….What seems straight forward to some, is very scarey and confusing to others….So, to those who say its easy to get disabilty, think again…I don’t even know if the fact that I worked since I was 16 will matter because for years I couldn’t work and it took so long to find help…And I didn’t find it. They turned me away because while the websites say there are programs, there is not funding. Iin reality you cannot find what you need unless someone inside the system decides to actually help you…I still don’t have a n advocate.

    • While the part of me that struggles to hold on to my faith in a higher power & also help myself in alternative methods, a little at a time, reducing stress, anxiety, & so forth in coping w/ my mental health, I try to be happy for those whom achieve most from the beneficial success afforded them. However, I am one of the forgotten multitude of ppl, for whom your success was practically achieved from the horrific experiencesuffered from the illness having peaked prior to the availability of the knowledge & vast amount of meds as well as everything else offered presently. Those of us that endured the full effects of an illness that preceded today’s recognized data & having taken it to heights of a profitable commodity we weren’t so luckkky. You see back when as a young adult it reached its peak shortly after I was finally benefiting from the career that you couldn’t begin to imagine the childhood trauma & horrific experiences that were a primary factor in the development & acceleration from one to 4 mental Dx ultimately diagnosed accurately. But not before being misdiagnosed & ingesting meds later found to cause more damage but were the usual med prescribed for what was thought to be manic depression. It wasn’t enough that I had scraped & clawed out from poverty hell of abandonment force to go from birth to adult taking care of two younger brother while sleeping in cars at 8 then becoming a baby w/ baies. MY sheer determination aided me w/ not giving up but rather dragging those kids to where possible so I could continue my education. My feeling of so justly deserving all I had accomplished despite those obstacles of rare occurrence was short lived. My feelings for which I still feel are just, as is my resentment after working so very hard only to begin a journey to the deepest depths of Bipolar Hell & when I finally saw the light I learned it didn’t shine so bright from my view. Why? b/c Bipolar 1 had excelled to paranoid & Personality Disorder Schizophrenia, Severe Anxiety around the ripe old age of approx. 30, my life & career destroyed by the voices after what literally felt as if my spirit was ripped from my body using my children to cause panic & cooperation w/ engaging in the criminal activity after self sabotaging the best career of anyones lifetime. All witness but unable to intervene in my own destruction. But, since depression was not deemed by society as a real illness not to mention all the treatment was the same as being untreated also a contributing factor in the worsening of the illnesses even further. I not only could not collect my SSA benfits immediately, by the time I could I had no credits & eligible only for SSI. Now w/ my spouse having dead in August, I’ve had no alternative but move in w/ my daughter after all who can afford to rent even a room w/ all that money. But having sought help voluntarily b/c of the ego’s all Dr. seemingly grow w/ their belief they are GOD & therefore dare not admit not know risking the Rep. so it was better to experiment at my expense w/ prescribing one antidepressant after another when the previous one stopped working until finally they had enough research & data from controlled studies to render treatment that was never to be to my benfit. I still endure the consequences of everything that occurred & were worsenened by the experts but neither society nor the professional give a dam about why or my bein a vitim of circumstance worthy of their offering some sort of aid. So enjoy reaping your SSA success while way over here I barely survive. Perhaps you can pray & thank me & the multitude of others that suffer still so you can be tired of hearing the negativity about SSA b/c I am tired too of fighting battle after batfle for the countless selfishness from ppl who give little thought to life not beginning w/ them. . .

    • I take offense that if you have issues when applying for SSI its because you are trying to dupe the system. I have a TBI with retrograde and anterograde amnesia and aphasia. I had to relearn all skills including writing. I asked and asked for help in filling out the applications but was advise there was no help, had I been deaf or some other physical prob there would be help, but for cognitive deficits there is no help. For 15 months, every three months I go in and am told wild stories, like my file was hidden by a disgruntled employee, the file was lost, the file was not in the computer. DSHS attorneys and doctors told me I was eligible and gave me one year to get on SSI. After 15 months they cut my benefits, but SSI still was hoarding my case. I explained to SSI that my cognitive disability was a barrier to understanding and doing all the paperwork. No help, nothing. Every time I go in they say there is nothing in the computer and I have to apply again, and again and again. When you have brain damage and cognitive disabilities the system can be hard to navigate. I can not afford to hire an attorney as I now live on the DSHS allotment of $197.00 per month. Homelessness is looming. The only SS employee to help me was Mrs. Ali out of Burien, WA. She really cared, she researched, she asked supervisors and really tried. She wrote the forms for me from information I was verbally able to give. She really made me feel that there was hope. Going on month 16 now, hopefully I will hear something. If your given trouble its not that you are not disabled, its that the SS system is hard to navigate.

  2. Agreed – the SSDI was not cumbersome or horrid. The most “difficult” part was making sure that I had all the documentation to support my claim gathered and ready. I, too, was able to handle the whole process on my own. As long as one has a legitimate case for claiming disability, a lawyer is unnecessary.

    • Again, have a strong legitimate case. Still have enormpous physical evidence, My own attorney tells me this system was not made to help but to discourage ethnic folks from applying. And she’s white!

    • Agreed, and you said what is the bottom line – make sure you have ALL the documentation to support your claim, that it is a legitimate claim, and that your disability is one that is covered.

  3. I applaud you for this honest story,i too applied online and was succesful.I did not have to leave my home for anything.Thanks for your encouragement and for SSDI.

      • What is the difference between SSDI and Long term care insurance? I work n pay social security all my life, do I also need to buy LTC insurance? Thanks

        • Hi Jasmine, the Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI pays benefits to people who become disabled prior to reaching their full retirement age. Those who cannot work due to a disability that is expected to last at least one year or result in death, but worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes are “insured” and may be eligible to receive Disability Benefits.
          The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services can provide information about long-term care. We hope this information helps!

          • My wife is 55, and she has worked since she was 16. She applied for SSDI through an advocate, and was denied twice, and has been waiting 8 months for a hearing date. She has fibromyalgia, type 2 diabetes and neuropathy in her hands and feet, She is to the point where she can barely walk at all, and when she does, she has to use a cane. It is going on 3 years since she initially applied. She is on a ton of meds for her medical issues, and she has no social life because she is in constant pain. She pain into our wonderful system for over 35 years. The system has failed her. It makes ME hurt everytime I watch her struggle to walk, and I am so disappointed in the system. She also suffers from depression now, because of all of the things wrong with her, and the fact she has to fight for SSDI so hard, when we see people every day, on SSDI, and living it up. I know a guy that started receiving SSDI because of a bad back, in his 20’s. He has been on it for over 20 years, and plays hockey 3 nights a week! The system is totally messed up.

  4. If you are making good money, better think about medical insurance and not rely totally on the taxpayers to solve your financial problems. Maybe the gov’t needs to set up a catastrophic fund for cases like this. It would keep premiums down.

    • Wow Bob,
      Prayerfully, you won’t ever need to rely on the taxpayers to solve your financial problems. There are some taxpayers who deserve to receive their funds back when necessary. I’m glad she was able to do so after working for so long.

      • Medical insurance covers only medical care; not financial compensation for being completely unable to work. Perhaps we would be better off being allowed to use our money to get disability insurance rather than being forced to pay for government disability insurance which then refuses to pay when the insured persons become disabled. Educate yourself Bob Ignorance is bliss!

        • My son-in-law paid for disability insurance through his employer. When he became disabled to due a severe chronic illness, his employer agreed to accommodate his needs When that was no longer possible, they recommended he apply for temporary disability (my son-in-law at that time hoped to improve so he could go back to work). The private insurance approved him for one year. But when it became clear that my son-in-law was not going to be able to return to work, they decided they didn’t want to cover him anymore. They changed his classification (in spite of the fact that his employer still recognized his situation), and began doing all the things that private insurance does, including hiring a private investigator to spy on him and his family. THAT is standard practice for private disability insurers. Their staff is paid to find ways to deny benefits. Ignorance is dangerous. My son-in-law had to hire lawyers, my daughter had to take a minimum wage night shift job with random hours just to bring in some money. All my granddaughter’s college fund is gone. The lawyers helped my son-in-law apply for SSDI, which has been approved, but will not start until late this summer because he is under 55. The question of health insurance is still unanswered, as we live in a state whose health insurance system is seriously broken. I don’t know when Medicare kicks in now, but (for reasoning only Congress could come up with) recipients of SS disability had to wait 2 years before they got Medicare. That’s not SS’s fault. It’s Congress.

      • Seriously? Between my employer and I we’ve paid in excess of 126000 into this fund, 63k of which was my share out of MY pay check. This is insurance we all pay into. If SSDI refuses a person they should immediately have to cut them a check for the amount they paid in. Get your facts right.

        • You only get denied if you don’t qualify. Why should you get ANY money for being disabled if you don’t qualify as “permanently and totally disabled” and unable to work at ANY gainful employment? It’s DISABILITY insurance. You have to follow the rules, and if you can’t you are denied. Simple as that. Why can’t people understand rules and guidelines and follow them?

          • Poor children of today have no idea what their parents and grandparents did to make their prefect world possible. Isn’t it funny you think everyone just wants their car paid for? One day, when you get into a situation where you can’t move your hands, back, feet or head, or you have heart, lung, kidney disease, or diabetes, MS, Parkinson’s….or any of the other hundreds of crippling diseases out there, and SS denies you a return on the insurance policy you paid into your entire life, I hope to see you back here with your questions of why they think you can work, when you clearly can’t, just so I can watch you squirm.
            You see my friend, Karma is a powerful force bigger than you and I, and what you give, so shall you get back.

    • She paid into the system for 30 yrs. she deserves to be able to draw from it. It’s not the tax payers money it’s her money that she paid in.

  5. Your story, albeit, an item most people do not discuss or wish to acknowledge, but there for the grace of G-d go I, was a very positive and uplifting message. Firstly, for your genuine determination and secondly, thankfully the “system” works. I normally do not write comments on these type of things but for some reason your story hit a chord in me and I wish only the best for you and thankful that we live in the USA. “Go Mets!” I do not know if you are a New Yorker or not but it has been a drought for our Metsies.

  6. my husband is on social security disability, he has been on this almost 2 years and is going on medicare now – he is 53. i still work and have always carried the family insurance

    where do we have to register or make sure they know what he has for hospitalization (or do they just assume?) they don’t just automatically impose hospitalization if we don’t get in contact with the right people, right? I know we are going to get charged for medicare now. Wondering who to contact with questions.

    • 24 months after going onto Disability your husband qualifies for Medicare Part A & Part B. You may wish to inquire at your Local Social Security Office when your husband gets within 90 days of his 2 – year anniversary, if Medicare does not contact you first. The Part B Premium is $104.90, unless you have a higher than average income. Also ask for a copy of the “Medicare and You Handbook” if they do not send it with the Medicare Card. I hope this helps !

        • SSA/ Medicare will be in touch with your husband about starting Medicare.

          You should contact your insurance provider. There are rules whether Medicare is primary or your DH or secondary coverage.

    • I have almost the same situation as you. My husband is retired and I still work, all of our insurance is through my work. When we received the information in the mail we had the option to choose Medicare Part B which we turned down because of my insurance. Now he will have Medicare Part A this is a given and at no cost to your husband. As long as your have proof of insurance then there is no penalties to your husband and he can be put on the Medicare Insurance at any time if needed.

      • Thank you for sharing your comments Joyce! We just want to clarify and make sure that everybody understands that a beneficiary may refuse Medicare Part B, during his or her Initial Enrollment Period, if that beneficiary or the spouse, actively works and has coverage under a group health plan based on that employment, then he or she doesn’t need Medicare part B until the work activity ends or that health care coverage is dropped. However, we always suggest that individuals speak to their personnel office, health benefits advisor, or health plan to see what’s best for them, and to prevent any penalties or delayed enrollment in the future. To learn more about the Medicare enrollment periods visit http://www.Medicare.gov.

    • I went on SSDI at age 58, and was automatically registered for Medicare 2 years later. They automatically register you for Part A (free) and Part B ($105 per month) and you have to opt out of Part B if you decide you don’t want it. I decided to keep Part B, so didn’t do anything. Medicare sends you a form to fill out to tell them what other insurance you have. I filled mine out incorrectly, so they assumed it was primary and Medicare secondary, so some claims were initially rejected. I was able to get it straightened out with one phone call. I called my regular insurer and with me on the phone, they called Medicare and Medicare made the necessary changes and in a couple of months everything was working as it should be.

    • Thanks for your question Carolyn. Medicare starts 24 months after a person receives disability benefits. When a person becomes eligible for disability benefits, they will automatically be enrolled in Medicare. We start counting the 24 months from the month the person was entitled to receive disability, not the month when they received their first check. If you or your husband have specific questions about his Medicare benefits contact your local office or call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and speak to one of our representatives. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Hopes this helps!

  7. My daughter aged 56 has the opposite experience…although she has not been able to work for five years and has a medical history of bipolar and other mental diagnosis she has been denied SSDI twice and is trying again with the help of a lawyer…the system may be rigged to benefit certain kinds of physical disability while it is rigged against those with mental disorders which are no less disabling….just saying…

    • Going through the same problem with a lawyer . It’s been over 3 years for me . The mental way has been excruciating for me .

      • DENIS. THE MENTAL PART IS THE WORST
        IT IS A UNSEEN DISABILITY NO TO MENTION ALL YOU LOSE IN THE PROCESS IT MAKES THE MENTAL EVEN WORSE. GOOD LUCK

    • MY WHOLE EXPERIENCE WITH FILING SSDI SSI. HAS BEEN A NIGHTMARE FOR ME ITS TAKEN A YEAR AND A HALF AND I HAVE ONLY RECIEVED 3. REGULAR CHECKS I HAD TO GET A LAWYER BECAUSE I SUDDENLY FOUND MYSELF UNABLE TO DO THE JOB I HAVE MADE WHAT I THOUGHT TO BE MY LIFETIME CAREER UNTIL I TOOK A BAD FALL DOWN SOME STAIRS. AND A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN
      THIS IS WHAT THEY REFER TO AS UNSEEN DISABILITIES WENT TO COURT GOT FULLY FAVORABLE THAT WAS MAY20,2015 WAS DENIED
      SSI. AND THEY PUT MY MOTHERS INCOME AS MINE AND I HAVE HAD NO INCOME SINCE JUNE 2014
      LIKE TO PEOPLE CAN LIVE ON 900.00. A MONTH NO WAY I HAVE LOST EVERYTHING HOME CAR DIGNITY AND STILL FIGHTING DEPRESSION OF COURSE DEALING WITH SSDI HAS ONLY MADE MATTERS WORSE MENTALLY AND FINANCIALY
      I HAVE TO FILE BANKRUPTCY BUT DONT HAVE THE MONEY TO DO THAT, PAY MY MOTHER BACK OVER 5000.00. JUST SO I WOULD HAVE A ROOF OVER MY HEAD.. ITS BEEN 5 MONTHS SINCE I WAS APPROVED. AND HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR MY BACK RETROACTIVE. PAY
      I STILL HAVENT BEEN ABLE TO GO TO THE DOCTORS I NEED TO BECAUSE NO MONEY. SO IM REALLY HAPPY FOR ALL OF YOU THAT YOU FOUND IT REALLY EASY FOR YOURSELVES. ITS BEEN A REAL BAD NIGHTMARE FOR
      ME SO ITS NOT SUNSHINE AND RAINBOWS FOR EVERYBODY JUST SO YOU KNOW THAT. WAITING

      • I was approved finally, after 3 years, in June, 2015. Still waiting for retroactive, my lawyer, however, had already gotten paid. I keep being told the check ‘s in the “processing center” and they arevwaiting. For what I have no idea, just letting you know I am still waiting also.

        • For your lawyer to have gotten paid means that Social Security HAS issued the check for your lump-sum back benefits…to your lawyer as your legal representative. So he/she has taken their cut and it looks like they are sitting on the rest! They can take 25%, I believe, up to $6000 only. The rest should be passed on to you immediately.

          You need to follow up with your lawyers office. Make sure they are not screwing you over.

    • Use your Congress man they are over disability board. I did my check came right away. My congressional person was John Boozman. Reach out to them they are there to help you

      • Amen to that. I contacted my congressman’s office, and asked them to please keep tabs on my application to make sure it was handled expeditiously (I was very ill and paperwork over my head). An aide called me and took my information. Even if all they do is write a letter, SS is aware that someone is keeping an eye on things.

        • Used this one too. Also, my lawyer sued the system and won. Use local support groups and find the really good lawyers. Best wishes to all trying to find justice and receive their benefits, which they paid to receive when needed.

  8. My process was not hard at all i was 55 when i got sick and couldn’t work i just stayed on top of every move and ask a lot of questions and ask for a name for each phone call . just dont give up and remember you paid it in your whole adult life and you deserve your benefits you dont need a lawyer just do the leg work yourself. Its not alot of money but it helps, get off your butt and do it yourself.😄

      • Hi Sandy. Social Security pays only for total disability. We pay disability benefits to people under their full retirement age who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or end in death. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. If you think you are disabled, under our rules, you can file for disability online.
        Also, you can apply for reduced retirement benefits at age 62. We would pay retirement benefits while we consider your application for disability.
        See what you can do online, or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday for more information. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. We hope this information helps you.

    • not everyone gets social security so easily. I know a few people who had to have an attorney to get it. eventually they got it and it was retroactive

    • Hey James, I do need a lawyer because I DON’T TRUST THE SSA. When they automatically denied my claim I lost faith in this system and prefer to have competent legal representation to stand with me before a broken institution. There are too many people now receiving Social Security, the system is going broke, and now the SSA just plays games by trying to beat a clock, hoping that most people will just get discouraged and forget about ever getting their disability benefits; they’re trying to demoralize people into going away. I trust a lawyer more than I trust the SSA.

      • My lawyer and another group sued them and won. He claimed they were waiting for people to die or get discouraged and give it. He baes on several statistical facts gathered from real cases. Things really changed around here for a few years. Now it is back to the same way it was prior to lawsuit.You can try it on your own once, after that get a successful lawyer in the field. It may cost a little, but you usually pay on the backend after you get your check that includes back payments. Best wishes.

    • It’s all about that age once you get over 55 it really relaxes but up until then they will deny you deny you even if you’re missing all your limbs

  9. To Mr. Blanchette’s reply: The Social Security
    system is there when needed, that would mean a
    permanent disability /proven by the government for
    a period of 12 months or longer.

    Your comments regarding a 30 year employee with
    a brain injury are totally inappropriate ! This
    women has been throught it and has had FICA
    taken out of her paycheck for 30 years.

    Shame on you!!!

  10. I’m a 100 % unemployable disabled veteran was on disability insurance and have had them terminated I’ve reapplied 2 times since January in march they lost track of my records and me, again in June I reapply and have done everything again and I found out that I was approved in less than a week but they failed to forward the file to the payment center. In September after a very impatient visit they realize that my file was on a desk the whole time. So It’s coming up on November and I have yet to receive a payment and I am out of ideas and have lost almost every thing I had. I feel like I have been treated like a second class citizen, by the way I live in St.Louis and after being in Iraq it’s nice that we are receiving the refugees that look like the terrorists I am familiar with no children or women. They are getting a new home and 5 years of service pay they call it, free money. Is this still America? I don’t want respect but I don’t deserve to be disrespected either.

    • MR BURRELL
      IM PROUD TO SAY TO YOU I HONOR AND RESPECT YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
      AND THANK YOU. MYSELF AM WONDERING IF THIS IS STILL
      AMERICA ITS AS IF WE ARE LIVING UNDER TYRANY AND ALL THESE REFUGEES AND ILLEGAL PEOPLE ARE COMING HERE FOR FREE MONEY FREE HOMES AND WHATEVER ELSE THEIR HANDING OUT. I BELIEVE WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN FIRST ESPECIALLY OUR VETRANS. I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SEE THE DAY WHERE WE THE PEOPLE DONT MATTER ANYMORE. I HAVE LOST ALL FAITH IN HUMANITY
      HOPE YOU GET YOUR MONEY SOON
      GOD BLESS

      • Thank you, I’ve been in a dozen Arab countries and they have a closed door policy to let western people in to live although I don’t think I would consider it. We shouldn’t have to adjust to the needs of others especially those who we have been at war with. I’m not bucking the system as you my have seen others are under the impression of. I was injured in the Philippines during a long range jungle operation and still completed the mission and after almost 2 years there I was deployed to Iraq with a marine amphibious assault unit for 8 months.I was med evacuated to the states and spent the last 6 months of service in the Navy hospital in physical rehab for a reconstructed shoulder and tissue damage from my back to my upper shoulder so if I’m bucking the system then those who have the freedom to say so you too are welcome.

    • Yes, SSDI payments are facing a 19% cut in 2016. If you receive $1000 a month now, you would loose $190 a month at 19% decrease in benefits. This is not a done deal as of yet. Congress and Obama are trying to avoid this happening, but everyone should plan accordingly to the real possibility of the lost income.

  11. My son never had the chance to see the ADJ because his attorney decided to not represent him anymore. Ever since he graduated from high school he has not been able to work because of having to inject himself with insulin three times a day. He is now 24 years old and has to live with us and who knows what will happen to him once I, and my wife die. We have to take him to the doctor, order his medication and call in to set up his doctor’s appointments. He can’t do any physical work even at home, so I know he would never make it as an employee in any job.

    • albert,
      your son can STILL have his admin law judge hearing even if his lawyer quit him like mine did 4 yrs. into this.

      i represented myself at it. i spent 7 months reading thru each paper and looking thru the list of APPROVED LIST OF ADULT IMPAIRMENTS and giving the section no. that applied to my various drs. medical files in my chart! I WON!!!!!

      since you are familiar to his claim, see if YOU could serve in a non-lawyer capacity to help your son since it appears he’s unable to do this himself.

      bettyg, iowa
      took me 5 yrs. to be approved;
      i have 3 out of 4 drawers full of medicall records to date!

      • I just wish he had let me walk in with him when he talked with the attorney. I know I would have convinced him to at least be there with my son, but my son just signed the paperwork that kept him from being represented. I might do what you said, but I have to gather all his medical records and that may take months, but I’ll do it for his sake.

        • YOU don’t have to “gather all his medical records”…you just need to list all his medical and mental health providers and the approximate dates he saw them. SSA will order all the records at no cost or effort from you!

          That part should have already been done when the lawyer was working with him. Check with SSA to find out if the case is pending or what.

          If you need to, you can apply/re-apply online and fill everything out yourself as your son’s designated representative.

          BUT–ask your local SSA office for the CD of his file…all the records they’ve received. Then go through it and check everything off against the original application to make sure SSA received ALL the records. If I hadn’t been curious to read my records, and been the detail-oriented nerd that I am, I would never have discovered that the two CRUCIAL records my case depended on weren’t there! There was a mountain of other (irrelevant) records from various hospital stays and injuries, but not the records for the condition that disabled me!

          If it feels like too much, just find another lawyer who specializes in Disability claims.

          • I have had THREE DIFFERENT attorneys over FIFTEEN YEARS. They are worthless and do NOT advocate for you! If your case is not “cut and dry”, don’t expect them to do anything that requires any effort on their part. Even WITH attorneys they had ME taking the forms in to my Dr.s to fill out, etc. And almost every one of the ELEVEN denials I have received so far have basically called me a liar. I have had it with them, and ready to sure them AND the attorneys I have had over the years. It is just ridiculous and I have had enough!!!!!

  12. I think the process is horrible. My nephew has cancer – he has gone through surgery and chemo – problems with his lungs, heart and kidneys. Denied twice for disability – he has 2 little girls to support. This will be a year end of this month.

    • get his state’s FEDERAL SENATORS/HOUSE REPS involved in his case. ssdi has to reply to those people monthly what is going on, etc.

      good luck; that’s NOT RIGHT!!

      bettyg, iowa activist

    • YES I DO BELIEVE IT IS RIGGED BUT ONLY THE PEOPLE THAT WORKED SAME JOB FOR 30YEARS AND EARNED 9 + SALARY
      SEEM. TO GET THEIR SSDI APPROVED MUCH QUICKER
      DIDNT EVEN HAVE TO DO THE MANDITORY 5 MONTH WAITING PERIOD. SO YEAH ID SAY ITS RIGGED FOR THE RICH. AND THERE IS NO MIDDLE CLASS ANYMORE.

      • That’s bull. There aren’t that many people that made over minimum wage. I was never rich. I worked my butt off. I was a single mother raising two boys by myself. Physically, mentally, and financially. Worked two and three jobs at a time many times to make ends meet. I understand the system is not fair and never will be.. They need to weed through the ones on disability that take advantage And not just disability. Welfare and all. I am on disability for very good reasons and people think they support me because of it. That’s bull also. I worked since I was 15 and paid taxes just like others. If I wasn’t eligible for it I wouldn’t have been accepted. I’d much rather work then to live like this. I loved working and miss it.

  13. Raymond at SSA: My husband just got his medicare card and is retiring in april. IS it recommended that he get a medicare advantage plan? is there a cost? im an adjunct professor and PhD student.

  14. I have applied for SSID twice and been turned down. I am 68 and have been on regular Social Security since 2009. I first applied in 2006 and again in 2008. I have multiple conditions that add up to what I think makes me disabled, but I think that the process turns me into a blind man and the elephant problem WRT doctors. I cannot get the physicians to see my condition as a combination of different effects. I am blind in my left eye and have reduced vision in my right eye in which the best acuity I have ever had was 20/70. Now it is 20/100 or less due to cataract. I also have a mild case of spastic diplegia, a form of CP, but it and aging has reduced my mobility so that I can’t walk very far especially if it is below 65 deg. I think that the process to get SSDI suffers from medical malfeasance. I can’t function, that is take a job and get to it and have the money on ordinary SS to pay for expensive transportation, yet SS doesn’t consider me disabled. I blame the medical profession, the doctors I have had, and am willing to go the lawyer route to get the $75,000 dollars I may be entitled to.

    • bruce,
      you’ve been on SS since 09; you are NOW 68.

      fyi, when i turned 66, i was informed my status was changed from DISABLED TO RETIRED. NO change in $$ received.

      looks like since you’re 68; you are OVER the limit to APPLY/BE APPROVED for ssdi benefits.

      IF YOU CONTINUED TO PURSUE EACH DENIAL without any delays meeting THEIR DEADLINE DATES, you mIGHT be eligibe if you had the 20 quarters worked in last 10 yrs.

      good luck

      bettyg, iowa

    • Bruce you can NOT double dip….the government will NOT pay you both your retirement and disability. I am not sure who you have talked to BUT you are NOT entitled to get any more than you are already receiving. Someone should have informed you of this. Good luck. BE glad you are getting a check.

  15. I would like to add one thing. When you fill out the application on-line, copy and paste everything into a Word document or other word processor. Once you submit your application, you cannot get it back. If your application is rejected for any reason and you need to resubmit, you will have to retype the entire thing. If you have copied everything into a Word Processor like Word, you should be able to copy/paste back into the new forms.

  16. I am actually happy you had an excellent experience and thank goodness you did not have to wait for years to get your benefits. However that was your experience and most do have to wait for YEARS to get there benefits as the illnesses become progressively worse and they incur financial debt because of being unable to work. I’m only speaking from experience and of the experiences of people I know. I have been personally fighting SSDI for 6 years since September 2009 with an attorney and with the case going pass the hearing phase on to federal court and of course still denied. Still have an attorney. Had to refile. Denied again and waiting to get a hearing date of which SSD is PASSED their own time-frame in which they are supposed to give me a hearing date. Again I am truly happy you did not have to have an experience like a great deal of other people. Please don’t discount others experiences just because you had a good one.There IS a reason why SSD has a bad reputation. I live in California.

    • Back around 1981, while living in Brooklyn, N.Y. my wife, who was severely disabled & handicapped was told by her case worker that the only reason she could not get SSDI [formerly SSI]was that she was not a minority!!! #WHITE LIVES MATTER TOO! She has since passed away.

    • It only took me 5 months from application to check. I am 58 years old and have diabetes and neuropathy. My main problem now is having to wait TWO YEARS for medicare to kick in.

      • Where do you live Gayle. I have the exact same thing plus other health problems and have been denied 4 times. I’m now suing federal government AND starting all over again. This has been going on over 3 1/2 years and I’m still waiting on everything for another 8 – 16 (or more) months. I’m 54 years old and live in CO.

        • Here’s the deal until your age 55 and not a day sooner and less you’re literally crippled and on your deathbed they will deny deny deny deny you will have to wait for a hearing which in my area is 480 days from the day you apply after the last appeal is denied then they will run that all the way up until the day they have to make a hearing date and waive their hearings at the last moment and most likely own word you but this will not happen until you’re at least 55 it’s part of their grid that they use pretty screwed up system thing that really irritates me is when I hear people call this an entitlement the fact is the federal government we never had any right to it they were never dip into it but ever since the Vietnam War and I believe Johnson amended it and allow them into it for their war just the governments been dipping into it to the tune of about $2.1 trillion they only Social Security back this is why it is so hard for us to get what we need when we need it because they have used it and can’t replace it

          • You mean they have STOLEN SS funds that were for that and nothing else. Keep it simple.

  17. wife is 46 and on SSDI. I will be 66 (FRA) will I be eligible for a spousal benefit at FRA? I have not taken SSI and do not plan to until age 70.

    • From what I have read….YES, you should indeed be entitled to get 50% of what your wife gets….if she get $1000 then you will get $500…..Be sure and check with your Social Security Office or go on line to get the information on what you need to do. GOOD LUCK.

  18. I was a driver of tractor trailers had yearly checkup every thing the doctor said look good at age 43 started to get sick from Diabetes started testing 4-5 times a day and taking Novolog Insulin now I am 51 and I am on a pump and I take shots with meals about 495 units of Novolog with pump and shots a day. I put in for SSDI twice on Internet when I first got sick and turn down and not feeling so good so I hired a Lawyer to do the Dirty Work and two years after I started this I got my SSDI thank God just wan’ted to drop a line to let people Know your not alone I went in front of a Social Secuity Judge and two months later I had a check and Medical.

  19. I have not seen.sny reference to.
    .medical record summary or.earliest onset date supported by a brief. Residual Capacity is a stumbling block to many and they are denied on assumption they can still do substantial gainful activity level work at.lraxt sedentary because people don’t know what that is
    .more complex conditions require professional expertise.of experienced advocate with ability to create thorough summaries and training to.write briefs,.reconsideration level.as well

    • RFC is residual function capacity form stating how long you can do each thing daily for:

      0-2 hrs, 2-4 hrs, 4-6 hrs, 6-8 hrs.

      sitting ,standing, lifting, climbing, bending, crawling, using your hands, etc.

      your SUPPORTIVE DRS. should fill this out on how you ARE TODAY when you visited the dr.

      NOT how you were on your LAST DAY OF WORK!! huge difference.

      then that your medical records indicate the same things that THEY commented on and are PRESENT in medical chart files.

      good luck,

      bettyg, iowa

  20. YOU and many of the above are LUCKY ones with your disabilities being spelled out in list of APPROVED LIST OF ADULT IMPAIRMENTS.

    many of us have INVISIBLE symptoms that average person can NOT see, but our bodies are a 24/7 construction project going on inside…many detours, pavement ends, bumpy roads, 1-lane roads going thru this stressful procedure for many years on end.

    took me 5 yrs. of hell to be approved; my claims were each 2-3″ thick of medical files!!
    *****************************************

    bettyg, iowa

  21. My question is if someone is receiving social security disability and they find an ecommerce business that they would like to get involved with that could substain them financially what is the process of being removed off of social security disability.

    • Hi Selma. You can try to return to work while receiving Social Security disability benefits. We have special rules to help you get back to work without jeopardizing your initial benefits. You can learn more about how work can affect your benefits by reading our publication, “Working while Disabled- How We Can Help”.
      Keep in mind that whether you are receiving Social Security or SSI, it is important to let us know promptly when you start or stop working, or if any other change occurs that could affect your benefits. For specific questions and to report changes and update your benefit records, please contact your local office or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. We hope this helps. Good luck !

      • I’m upset. I havn’t been able to finish my application and when I went to the Minneola office to get help, they said I had to wait till December for an appointment. Can you please help?

        • We are sorry that you are having difficulty processing your application online and in getting an earlier appointment. You can also call us at 1-800-772-1213 Monday to Friday Between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and ask a representative to help you. If you cannot continue your application on line, even setting up an appointment weeks in the future will establish a protective filing date, so we urge you to get on the calendar, even if it’s in December.

      • Nice. Reply right away to someone that wants to get OFF SSD. I would like to know where *I* can get help? 15 years, 11 denials, and I DO have a legitimate disability, AND had attorneys, that were obviously as worthless as SS is.

  22. I’ve had 2 denials for Disability hired an attorney went before adj in 2015 , went to ce exam, now waiting on decision from SS They said I was eligible for ssdi and ssi How far back can you get back pay for Ss?

    • I applied in 2008, i was diagnosed with several things. Fact’s are now that i have stage 4 liver cancer. Through this whole process ive been drug through the mud i suffer with fybromiralgia anxiety, i have hypertension severe panic attacks. And now what could of been treated in 2008. It will kill me. Had a ripoff attorney who stated the longer the wait the more money she makes. Obviously not considering ME?
      misdiagnosed and finally diagnosed with cerosis of the liver. Everything i described in 2008 were all symptoms of cerosis. I went to court this past march i was given only a partial favor. To the date i was fonslly seen by a resl DR. From the doorway he told me what was wrong with me. I was given medication since 2008 and due to the combination of meds they were destroying my liver. It cant be reversed. My attorney asked the SS DR who testified at my hearing if my client waz diagnosed on 9 -12-2015 on 9-11-2015 she did not have cerosis. I almost fainted. Well i got partial to the date i finally had a answer myself. The date i was diagnosed with cerosis of the liver meld 12 and 60 percent function. Ive suffered for years but because i was seeing quackass Drs who cared nothing about me.? And up to the date i requested another Dr. (“This dr stated to me that my liver and kidneys were fine”) 2 months later i have full blown cerosis. Less than 2 months. I am stll waiting for my backpay. I still owe so much out. and them not going back to the original date filed i dont think ill ever repay everyone who helped me. Where is my backpay ?? (why is it taking so long. ) ive been more than patient. I call ive been to office so i dont know what to do. How much longer do i have to wait. I get very lil my monthly income bearly gets me to the end of the month snd a week out of that i go hungry…. I dont know why the wait i think theyre waiting go me to die. This whole process has killed me years ago.
      I feel DEAD…..March i won it is November now.. My Attorney should be Bard from her practice. Its been a Total Nightmare.
      I didnt ask to get sick. i was trying to find out wat was wrong with me. Theropist and drs on there side should be changed immediatly id question there credibility…

  23. I have applied for SSDI twice and was denied twice. Can having a degenerative disc disease, neuropathy, carpal tunnel, muscle weakness on left side and stiffness sitting and getting up, etc would qualify for social security disability? Appealing for the third time.

    • I have everything you have and more and I just applied. It’s sad hearing how people are suffering and struggling and being denied what they’re entitled too especially when you see people everyday getting everything they can get and lie and get away with it. At the end of the day, they have to answer!!!!

    • Hi Jean. You may find our listing of impairments useful. Remember that Social Security only pays disability benefits to people if they have a medical condition that has prevented them from working, is expected to prevent them from working for at least 12 months, or is expected to end in death. We use the same five-step process to make a decision on each application. For more information on the appeals process, please visit our Appeal Processing publication.

  24. I was diagnosed with High Function Autism at age 21 and I been employed at a job for 5 years with help of a non-profit organization who helps adults with disabilities get jobs through companies that work with them. After 5 years I make $13 an hour. In April they cut my benefits stating my disability “has ended” and that I am doing “substantial gain activity” work. Since they cut my benefits I had to take out a loan through my 401K to cover May and Junes rent, which wont be paid back till the year 2020. July and on my parents have been helping me with half my rent. I only have a high school education. My $13 an hour job is now only covering half my rent, my basic bills and leaves me with a little left for food, gas for my car and living expenses. I am a single male with no kids or friends. I am struggling to make sure I have money for food every 2 weeks. On 10/22/15 at 7:41AM PST I have about $50 till 10/30/15. When I got paid on 9/30/15, I ended up ending the 2 weeks with only 20 cent before I got paid on 10/15/15. I have appealed there decision and still have not heard back even when I got Senator Feinstein’s Office involved and the White House. I have sent my bank statement, pay stubs and even my bills and rent checks. If my parents couldnt help I would be living in my car or in a hotel. I dont even have any extra money to have any sort of social life and my disability has to do with socialization. I work Monday thru Friday and I go home and try make myself workout at home and on the weekends I stay home alone and I am 95% of my time I am alone 5% I am at work. They keep going by my GROSS pay and not my NET, since I pay almost $500 a month is taxes and that is almost the amount my parents are helping me with half my rent. There taking there time and they don’t even ask me in any redetermination forms, how much i pay in rent ($1,096 with utilities) and how much I pay in bills (almost $500). About $300 a month in food give or take. I hope they realize that I have a disability that wont end, and I have only a high school education that I received through Special Ed and that I got live off $13 an hour. Appealed in May and still waiting for a decision. If you got this far, I thank you for reading my complaint about Social Security and they rules of who gets government help and who doesn’t

    • I truly understand where you’re coming from and how you feel. Reading your post is why I shared my story. Like you, I’m more than struggling and forced to work part time at $9 an hour trying to keep my head above water and at the same time, not loose the benefits I’m currently receiving. I PRAY AND PRAY and will certainly keep you in my prayers!

    • There are many people who are not disabled who only make $13/hr or even less. Your problem is your rent and living expenses are too high for a $13/hr income.

      First thing you should do is call your local 2-1-1 (free call…it might be something different in your state) for “emergency/social services” and ask about “low income housing”. Also research it online. There is HUD-subsidized housing that will cost 30% of your income, whatever your income is. You will qualify for that, but you must get on the waiting lists for all the places that offer that type of housing as there is a huge demand (lots of poor people struggling with high rents). The wait time can be 6 months to YEARS.

      Also, look into “Tax Credit” apartments–these are lower-than-Market-Rate units, usually capped at around $825/mo, but could be as low as $400/mo. The rent is fixed (not based on a percentage of your income), but the rent will be lower than you are paying. They may have a waiting list also. Private landlords and nonprofits have these “Tax Credit” units–you just have to find them and apply.

      It is possible that your Disability benefits would be higher than your net pay (especially now that you have earned and paid in for a while). You can claim that you are unable to continue working full-time and ask for expedited reinstatement of your Disability benefits. You will need to prove it though by asking your employer to reduce your hours due to your condition/stress/whatever, taking a part-time job instead, leaving the job, or getting laid off.

      Once a disability has been established, it is easier to get back on benefits if you are once again unable to work full-time because of it.

  25. I have a question – I have started my joint application for early social security (at age 62) and when on the phone w/ a representative, he suggested I also apply for disability based on the fact that I had been receiving disability benefits from my employer but that was depleted and was going back to work mid Sept, which I have and have been working. I tried to get an appointment with my neurosurgeon who did my cervical spine surgery end of May, but next opening not until Dec. I have no current records to support the need for disability at this time. I am working out of financial necessity even though I am still having a fair amount of pain using the computer. How do I move forward w/ my application w/ no supporting medical documentation? Or is it best to withdraw the disability application for now and if so, how can I do that when they are both together. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Sherri! Our representative was correct in advising you to submit both applications. You can apply for both Retirement and Disability benefits at the same time.
      If you have been disabled, unable to work, for a period of 12 months or longer, you can still apply for disability for that period of time. Please keep in mind that the Social Security Act sets out a very strict definition of disability, Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. Disability benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. We will process your application for disability and we can begin paying retirement benefits at age 62, while we wait for a medical determination. You only need to provide the medical information and we will contact the doctors and medical facilities where you have been treated to obtain medical records. We suggest that you apply for both programs as soon as possible. For more information, please contact your local office, or call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday to Friday between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  26. Wow, I just finished reading through the stories and comments. I need HELP!!!!!!!!!!!! First and foremost, I’m a one man band and have absolutely NO ONE, NO FAMILY, FRIENDS OR ANYONE who can help me with at all! I’ve not been able to worked since the end of 2012. I went to an urgent care because I had reflux so bad (and still do) and was told to follow up with a primary doctor which I had to find one. Made the appointment, asked to have blood work done just to make sure everything was in check. Low and behold, I had high cholesterol. At the same visit, I complained of chronic fatigue, pains in my feet that went through me from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. I also had problems with two fingers on my right hand which turned out to be trigger finger. I continuously complained of pain and the fingers getting worse to where I couldn’t hold anything in my hand, had no grip nothing. During this time, he put me on medicine for the pain in my feet and which had to be increased in no time at all. I had xrays of my hand and was referred to a surgeon. Had trigger finger surgery and from there it’s been one thing after another. I had absolutely NO feeling in my hand at all for 3 months, couldn’t stand air touching it. Went to physical therapy and all I could do was cry the pain was so horrendous. Finally the physical therapist said he couldn’t help me anymore and thought I would benefit from stellate ganglion blocks as my sympathetic nervous system was traumatized. All along, I was already referred to and been seeing a rheumatologist and on more meds and pain meds. Next thing I know, I’m being stabbed in the neck with an almost 5 inch needle because I’ve been diagnosed with CRPS by my surgeon, rheumatologist and my physical therapist agreed as well. The doctor at the pain clinic said yes you have CRPS. For those who never heard of this, it’s a rare chronic pain disease. My only hope for my hand to ever work again was the stellate injections. The side effects were horrible and I had them all but death; obviously. I had two of these injections and was in chronic pain and the pain specialist recommended a pain pump, which I refused. My hand ended up working slightly. Now I’m back to physical therapy after these injections and dealing with the cold intensified the entire ordeal. From here, everything began to happen. I now have a primary doctor, rheumatologist, pain specialist, physical therapist, hematologist, neurologist, have had several more stellate ganglion injections, been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, osteoporosis, cervicalgia, severe carpel tunnel in both arms, have had an MRI of my brain and spine, nerve conduction extremity study upper and lower, L3 – L6 medial branch blocks and still going through those injections in the neck and after the last series, I’ll have the nerve burnt, leukopenia; diagnosed with severe anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorder (from childhood I might add), go to physical therapy every week and that order has 5 different diagnoses alone, inflammatory arthritis and take methotrexate for that, the bone density test has me -2.5 severe range, COPD, have an appointment with a pulmonologist the end of November, severe headaches, optomologist told me he’s putting silicone punctual plugs in my eyes in January because I have CDE (chronic dry eye), been to the ER multiple times, have had walking pneumonia in May, I literally have a safe of medicine, my physical therapy now consists of tens unit, moist heat, massage, statm which is scraping of the tissue to help with the blood circulation, then iced down, I have a tens unit I use everyday to get my hands working because the joints are so stiff and have a neubulizer. That’s only touching the surface. I had to fight tooth and nail to get my tens unit as I’ve had no other choice but the mercy of the state for which I’m most grateful. I’ve had several reactions to medication including the Fosamax for osteoporosis and now I’m suppose to start daily FORTEA injections. As you all can see, I’m fed up!!!!! I’m 52 and applied for disability last year after my surgery but when they called to do my interview and start the process over the phone, I was so heavily medicated I didn’t know what I was doing or saying and I told them I didn’t want it because I didn’t understand what was what. I just reapplied again this week and was told I wouldn’t hear anything for 3-5 months. I’ve been forced to work as I’m about to be evicted and no money for nothing and no help from no one. Having been told by my therapist last week of my mental disorder, I don’t know what to think or do anymore. I’m confused by this process and how it works. Technically, I’ve had the mental disorder all my life, everyday I’m in chronic pain and basically living on injections to prevent surgery. Does anyone or can anyone give me any advice??? I CAN’T AFFORD A LAWYER PERIOD!!!! I’ve been told they can or may go back as far as January 2013 for my benefits. Then I was told by another no. Can anyone PLEASE HELP ME WITH SOME ADVICE OR GUIDE ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION????

    THANK YOU FOR READING AND YOUR TIME,

    • I forgot to mention I was also diagnosed with neuropathy. I read a post where someone had diabetes and neuropathy and it took 5 months. I can only hope and pray it’s that easy for me.

      • don’t hold your breath. I have multiple spinal issues and was denied. I can only sit or stand for very short periods of time and can only walk short distances. I have to lay down for short periods in between for a little relief. My son does almost everything around the house because I was given a weight restriction for lifting, pulling and pushing (which is more than I can even do) of no more than 10lbs. I am on multiple medications (pain killers, anti-inflamatories and muscle relaxers. My medications make me feel as if I am dislexic (sp).Some days I can hardly move because of pain and stiffness. I was denied.

  27. I get it i never believed in depending on the US GOV although if you work and pay your honest taxes you should be in titled to your money and not watch the feds give it all to the undocumented and refuges with no questions asked if we went to another country we would be imprisoned or deported and or killed !!!same thing for the birth right we keep them then they file to bring there hole family and they collect as well if we did that in any other country no hesitation you and the child kicked out with no provisions to get back home your on your own.i spent the last two teas care giving my in laws dad inlaw 91died 5 months after falling and breaking his hip mom inlaw 89 has allstimers i worked 33 years heavy construction for only two companies 25yr for 1 and 8 yr for the other as a field foremen and super filed for PFL got denied did not think much about it my in laws bought al the food and housed me with all the aminities then i became very run down and was diagnosed with typ2 diabetic and hell the very next day sever nerapathy sets in a1c was14 norm is 6 to 7 glucose was 465 norm is 70 to 110 a few months later could not take care of my mominlaw so my wife and i put here in a home and 3 months later she dies renavated the house for it to be a rental and when i got a renter moved in my wife files for divorce says i left here when i went to take car of her parents witch i dont have anything bad to say about her except she never came to help with her parents always at the casinos any way i just filed for my ssd myself now that no contractor is or will take on the liability on someone that works hights of 100 to 1000 feet off the ground its all ive known since i was 14 1/2 years old and i got denid so i hired a firm called binder and binder got denied again the attorney told me what would happen and it did i think the ssi just expects us to go away after we get denied well dont you must meet or beet there dead lines and push them most people will just give up i now am state disabled with my perm blue handycap placard witch will help tell your doctors what you want they are there for you they just dont want to get involved doctors are practicing medicine even after they get there degrees and they will be till they die so to listen and do some of the work with you dont let them just give you a prescription and say come back for a follow up i believe with my docs help and filling out and sighning some forms and my attorney it wont get denied again sssecurity has a listing of handy caps and illness and mental problems on there web page that say this is a qualification for ssd then dont give up make them stand to there word for there words are really lies but if it is in black and white there should be no dispute

    • I am a veteran us army paratrooper who deployed to Greada in 1983. in 1985 my unit deployed to Hondourus where I hd my 1st simtoms. I was sent to Panama for 2 weeks to see a neurologist in which he coldnt figureout was wrong. For 35 yearsmy MS went dorment. It came back with a vengeance.,. I’m in a wheelchair .nowever I deal with it with loyalty and keep my head up. I will battle thid till the day I die . I thank God for theVA. They have done wonders for me. When I first arrived, I could not spak, walk etc they . I now speek. Wonders I say.

  28. Hello Mr Fernandez or SS rep
    Glad i found this site because i was in a bad car accident on Feb 19, 2015 when a drunk driver hit me and my husband’s car. It left me with Lumbar Stenosis with nerve root compression, PTSD, and Tachycardia plus extreme migrane headaches. My lumbar stenosis over the months got so bad i had to start using a cane which i’ve been on for the past 5 months. I have a neurosurgeon and he recommended spinal shots which i’ve done two so far and will get another one. I notice for this disability SS says an orthopedic report, is my neurosurgeon report just as good because if the 3rd shot doesn’t help i will be applying for SSD becasue my pains from my lower back to toe is resurfacing. Not to mention the chest pains i experience and was so debilitating until they put me on 2 meds to keep the pain down. Thank you for your help.

  29. Hello,I must ask to forgive my spelling,I signed up on disable social security last March , had a stroke during March i,m a vet,59 years old I have suger,I don’t know how to spell it but it is due to diabetes my feet kills me they hurt to walk on them,I have no side vision due to the stroke,my right hand at times will not hold things when I pick up something,the tips of my fingers feel funny like they are asleep,my va granted me 100 per cent due to my hearing I have lost 80 per cent in my right ear,90 per cent in my left ear,due to my mos in the army. I can’t sleep at nite due to my feet and legs hurting I get around four to five hours of sleep a nite some time not that, they said I might be able to be retrained to do other jobs if I read it right,they told me that I have some what hearing lost and with earring aids I could work ,but I’m sorry if I can’t stand or walk a long or short. Ways,if I’m at almost 100 per cent hearing lost,and I can not see to the right side of me if I can’t hold something at times how can I hold a job. I started work at 12 years old up until last March I have repel my case but I’m I wasting my time I hope to hear from you if you get time. Thank you Clyde

    • I,m sorry I forgot to say that I also have 40 per cent black lung during winter months I have to used a breathing machine at times due to cold air hardens the dust in my lung,I do have hearing aids but they have what is called a amperfier that I wear around my neck to boost the sound but when you at in a crowed place you can not tell to much what is beening said,.I can, not go up ladders steps are hard to. Thanks clyde

  30. Thankfully the website process is actually easy to navigate, as the author states. It is really worth making the effort to look into the process via the website and you don’t need an attorney to get through the process. This results in needless expense – it is something you can do on your own and you can get the benefits you need.

  31. I applied for SSDI way back in 1997 and was rejected,went back to work part,part time and did have a lawyer but I applied on east coast but in between I moved back to Colorado.I did get another court date but when I arrived my lawyer never showed up.I finally got a hearing with an Administrative judge,he asked many question and seemed to know my whole life.Think is was only a couple weeks that I received a fully favorable judgment.Now I’m almost 64.Do I have to report when I retire?I thought I was told at 65 but a bit confusing.Thanks.

    • Thanks for your question, Virginia. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are paid based on your previous earnings and are not subject to income and resource limits. Receiving anything from an estate should not affect your SSDI benefits. Benefits paid under the Supplemental Security Income or SSI program, on the other hand, are subject to other income and resources.

  32. I think I’ve read every comment. My 3rd hearing is tomorrow. It is definitely not easy for everyone who has a legitimate disability. I was diagnosed (even by SS own Psychiatrist) with PTSD, Anxiety, and Agoraphobia. I was denied, had a hearing, denied again, appealed, denied, sued in District Court, won, got new hearing, denied again, appealed and won, and now going to third hearing. It has been 7 years! My attorney decided to stop representing me so I’m going alone. The last decision from the judge made me feel so horrible about myself that I considered suicide. I’m not faking. I would give anything to be normal again. The judge said the psychiatrist could be wrong because I could be lying! The judge is not a psychiatrist, that’s not how it works. Why bother paying their own Psychiatrist if they don’t believe them!? I feel like, because of my condition, they want to bully me into giving up. We lost our house, my kids have grown up poor, my elderly parents have had to help with shelter/food/etc and my condition is ruining everyone’s lives!

  33. Dear Mr. Fernandez,
    I asked a question on November 6th and you have yet to reply but i see you have replied to another who asked a question a month after my question. I simply wanted to know since i have lumbar stenosis and it’s very debilitation will a neurosurgeon’s report suffice b/c i did not go to an orthopedic for my problem?

    June

    • Hi June, our apologies if we missed your first question. We may ask you to complete forms, provide documents and medical information to apply for Disability Benefits. You should not delay applying just because you do not have certain documents or lack medical reports. We will help you get them. If you think you are disabled, you can apply for disability online. Please remember that Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. Disability benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. Please call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday if you need further assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks!

  34. I wish I knew why it is taking so long to get the hearing before the SSDI judge. I was denied initially in… I think it was June or July of this year (2015), and after a while, some folks said to get an attorney. I did, and was told that it will take approx. a year and a half to see the judge. Maybe it’s because there are a lot of people applying, so the wait is long? In the meantime, I can’t work & have no income. I’m too old (60) to have to face living in my car. I have quite a few medical issues and some mental issues (my memory has been failing for a number of years, and that’s scary), along with anxiety & panic. I’m on pain mgmt (morphine x3 a day with percocet for breakthrough for a nasty case of Fibro, as well as pretty bad arthritis, and osteoarthritis, CFS,.. horrific pain in lower back and all my joints. I’m a fall hazard too, and I walk with a cane (prescribed). There’s more issues on the list….

    Anyway, I’m glad for those who were able to get their SSDI in a timely manner, and hope that the rest of us will have our turn soon.

    In the meantime, I am going to get another attorney (my current one is not really responsive to email etc), and seems kind of rude, and well, doing this alone is kind of scary.

    Best wishes to everyone!

    Rose

    • Hello,

      Questions below:

      I think I forgot to mention that when I applied for SSDI, the man on the phone asked if I had also applied for SSI. I wasn’t sure what that was, and he explained, and suggested that I apply right then and there on the phone with him, so I did.

      QUESTION: One of my questions is, when I was denied SSDI, did that mean I was denied SSI too, at the same time?

      I’m still waiting to get in front of the judge, but it would help me a great deal if I had at least been approved for SSI so that I can at least have a small income instead of zero.

      I also have other recent diagnosed conditions that I hope my attorney has added to my case.. the latest dianoses is COPD/Emphysema, and Bilateral Hearing Loss. I finally had a bone scan done (my first) and they said I have Osteopenia, which is right before Osteoporosis. Unfortunately, I will have Osteoporsis by the time I have my next scan, which is in a year, they tell me. Back x-rays show degenerating discs, and the pain is horrible. And Fibro pain is life-changing.

      QUESTION: Is there anything else I should do while I am waiting, regarding SSI or anything else?

      Thanks in advance.

      • Hi Rose. Generally, when you apply for either or both programs, we review your medical information and make a decision about whether or not you meet the Social Security’s definition of disability for both programs. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured,” meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. The Supplemental Security Income is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled individuals based on financial need. Disability benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. To add new medical evidence or a medical source to your pending claim, you can mail or take the information to your local Social Security office or hearing office.

        • Hi Mr. Fernandez, and thanks for your reply.

          With regard to sending new information & diagnoses to SSA as I get them, I gave that information to my attorney, so I presume, hopefully, that he has give the new info to SSA! I can contact him and ask. I guess the QUESTION (sorry about the caps) is, since I was denied, was that denial for both SSDI & SSI? Was I denied for both at the same time? I do believe I understand the difference, I think, but the whole process is pretty darn big & confusing, and feels quite cumbersome. 🙂 I’ve only been denied once so far & now we wait for our appt. with an ALJ. Thanks for your time, and thanks in advance if you can shine any further light.

          Best regards,

          Rose

  35. My mother is severely disabled after her last stroke. She was disabled from the first few strokes when they started a couple of yers ago and applied for services. Somewhere along the way we were told, after the fact, that she was denied, but we had never rec’d an actual denial. February this year she had a major stroke leaving her completely dependent on my father. We hired an attorney who said she was being told due to moms work history she didnt qualify for SSI and due to dads disabilty check she disnt qaulify for disability unless she got divorced. I cant seem to get any clear answers. She doesnt qualify for medicaid without a huge shared cost so she has no medical coverage at all. They cant afford her prescriptions much less doctor visits and dads not so great himself after cancer treatments, open heart surgery and his own series of strokes. How do you get the right answers to get anything done when noone is willing to give any clear answers. Very frustrating.

  36. I have diabetes, fibromyalgia, carpel tunnel, have had several surgeries for different body issues, I am working at the moment because I have too many medical bills to pay, I can hardly get out of the bed each morning, go to work and I am so tired and in pain that I am falling sleep at work, does that qualified me to get social security benefits? I am only 55 and working but dreading each day. Do I have a chance to get help at all?

  37. I can do to make my parents HAPPYNEES and all the requests I should be able to see if I had a family until everything is broke, I am must be single parents from two daughters and must be a stranger to be a great finally to make a sure If rich never should’ve how much y

  38. My life was going well enough in the past. I was on SSI wich ment I could buy my own food, hire a driver to take me to a store. I had Tenn Care and a long term Dr. After my father died a family realitive produced some kind of trust fund I had been told became the pernimet property of a bank in Dayton Ohio. I was suprised he had the documents and he told me f I sighned it I would Get $15,000 and it wouldn’t effect my SSI, ensurance or stop me from seeing my long term Dr. After I sighned it and only after he revealed to me I would have to report the trust fund and already I had a bad feeling at the back of my mind. Once I reported it I lost my SSI and was declared able to work, even after the money was spent. I don’t under stand how $15,000 is a cure for mild cerebal palsy, irregular heart beat and I’m slow in many areas like math, spelling and judgments. (I can not drive and I don’t like navigating, walking through traffic alone but its hard to keep up with other people when I cross the pedestrian walk way) I had previously been on SSI for 5 years and was declared disabled. I don’t have a Dr at all any more since 2003 I think. I missed two hearings because I can’t drive and the drivers didn’t show up both times. If I had 40 dollars they use to drive me. I sometimes eat only once a day. Lately my hands scruntch up so it makes writeing, typeing and other task difficult but I have good and bad “hand” days.

    • We are sorry to hear about the inconveniences that you are experiencing Jason. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a needs-based program that provides cash assistance to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources.
      In some cases, a trust can be consider a resource. Moreover, the value of the trust could put you over the resource limit. See the SSI Spotlight on Trusts or more information on how trusts affect SSI eligibility, or contact your local Social Security office if you have more questions about this topic.

  39. My advice, if you get ssdi, do NOT try and go to work unless you are 100% cured from your health issue. I managed to go back to work after 25% improvement, and a job that I could do–but worsening health, and changes in the job, made me unable to work. SSDI wouldn’t give me back the disability! Plus they told me now that I have the recent work experience for 7 years im overqualified for disability and need to work! unbelievable!. so I lost my relationship, I lost my credit, I lost my home, and sleep In my car in the middle of winter because the homeless shelter had naked people sleeping an inch from me and 6 people in small bedroom …this is my life. The government will end up paying 40 grand a year to prison me, when ssdi was only 1300 a month!

  40. I cannot say anything good about this process. I applied in February 2015. I was approved at the local level back in May which takes 5 different people which includes two supervisors and a medical officer. It was then sent to state level and approved again, including 2 different supervisors and medical officer. Then it’s sent to their Quality Review Board. They take 60 days to review it, never contacting me for any more information. And low and behold on the 61st day, I was AGAIN medically approved (for the third time) to receive benefits. BUT, they requested paperwork about my 15 year past work history, so they could see if I can work in some sort of other field, since I’m only 61, not 65. (retirement age) WHY didn’t they ask for this information during their review? Because this is one way they can prolong the process. I sent it back within 7 working days. I will now have to wait another 60 days for them to let my paperwork sit on someone’s desk for 59 days and then make a decision. They have medical reports up the gazoo showing I have more then 1 life threatening heart condition including Hyper-trophic Cardio-myopathy, ACS, unstable angina, CHF exacerbation and aortic stenosis. Which are all on their list of QUALIFYING disabilities. For 40 years I paid into this GOVERNMENT Program. For 40 years my so called GOVERNMENT used MY money and collected interest on MY money and now I need MY money to survive and they don’t want to give it to me. What is wrong with this picture? My opinion is, the only sure way to get disability is (1) Be blind or (2) Be a mental case. In other words poke your eyes out or become a vegetable doing the thorzine shuffle all day

  41. I have a friend who is unable to do her job in a medical office due to her own permanent health issue caused by cancer. She has been told to apply for SS Disability. She did and was turned down. We’ve heard you will be turned down at least twice and will need legal representation. Is this true? Thank you,

  42. Starting this process again for the second time. Denied the first time. My problem is bipolar with memory problem and confusion. I was an RN. This is such a humiliating process i just wonder from reading these posts if its even worth it if they deny mental conditions 🙁

    • Yes. I am on SSDI for being an emotional basket case, so you CAN get benefits on just your mental health status. Best of luck to you!

  43. Hello,

    I forgot to ask in one of my other comments… but.. Can someone tell me why there is such an incredibly long wait to get a hearing with the ALJ (administrative law judge)? I was told my wait is approx. 1.5 years. If that is the case, I have 8 or 9 more months to go.

    Now, I do understand that there’s probably a lot of disabled folks waiting, so I can see how it would take a while, but it just seems that these waits are longer than they need to be? How many applicants a day do the judges hear? And do they hear these cases all day, kind of like a 9 to 5 sort of thing? I would be appalled if only a few cases are heard a week. I think there are at least 2 judges in my city, but there might be a couple more than that. I don’t know.

    I told my lawyer months ago that there was a good chance that I would be homeless before I got to talk to a judge, and he simply said that “if that happens, call me and I’ll see if I can get a hearing sooner.” That’s pretty frightening. Currently, I am not homeless, but it’s still a very good possibility. Imagine spending each & every day wondering if you will be able to get or borrow money to pay rent & utility bills. Imagine every night trying to sleep but you can’t because, well, pain is my # 1 reason, but being so stressed that it takes hours to fall asleep because you’re so worried about what the next day will bring. If it weren’t for my food stamps, I would literally have no food. I am so grateful for the small amount I get, and I am careful how I spend it. My eating habots aren’t the greatest, and I also can’t stand on my feet long enough to cook good food. I try, and I can do simple stuff like scrambled eggs (even that’s tough) but anything longer than that, I have to sit down. I have to do things in shifts, so to speak. Like resting before I can do the meal clean up. So I end up getting inexpensive frozen stuff that I can microwave, or I will make a quick sandwich. It’s rough.

    I’m one of those people who have fallen through the cracks. I’m 60, not quite blind, have no dependents, so I’m out of luck with trying to get Medicaid. This is one of the states that did not take advantage of the Medicaid expansion when Obamacare came into effect. And as grateful as I am for ACA, you have to meet some income criteria or you can’t even *get* ACA. So in other words, if you don’t have a dime to your name, you can’t get Obamacare’s tax credit. Then you end up not having health care, and then when tax time comes, you have to pay a fine. I’m still looking for work, but I am extremely limited for a number of reasons. 🙁

    It’s scary and shocking that I would have to wait until I am living in my car in order to “speed up” the process. Thinking about living in my car, among other things, brings me to tears almost every day. Don’t misunderstand; I would not want to “cut in line” so to speak. The LAST thing I want to be is homeless. I just want to know why wait to get a hearing is so long.

    Anyway, *whew*… I think I have digressed from my original question! Sorry for being so verbose. So if someone from SSA would know the reasons for the long waits (I’m sure there’s more than 1 reason), maybe they can help me understand. If it helps to know my location, I am in Idaho (I really don’t like to give out location information, etc) but I’m making an exception today.

    Thanks for reading, and best regards.

    Rose

    • I also have OCD, and finding typos in my posts and not being able to edit the post to fix the typos… well, It’s pretty upsetting.

    • Thanks for sharing your comment in our blog, Rose. The length of time it takes to get a hearing can vary from state to state. We attempt to resolve all claims promptly, but there may be delays due to the volume of pending appeals in your area. The good news is that we are trying to conduct many of our hearings through video teleconferencing (VTC) to speed up the process. Visit our “Hearing And Appeals” web page for more information, and continue working with your attorney and local hearing office on specific questions about your case.

  44. Im 55 y.o. and have been on ssdi since january 2007. I was divorced after one marriage where i had a child dependent. Anorher child out of wedlock in 1991. They recieved 340.00 each, in care of their mothers. They have since grown and stopped recieving the allotments. I make 1240.00 and really struggle like all hell to make it. Is there any other relief funds i can take advantage of since my full family allotments have stopped(due to my children coming of age?) I have spinal disease with multiple surgeries, emphysema. I cannot work to supplement myself due to these conditions. Please help. Thank you!

    • Hello Mr. Davis, individuals receiving disability benefits may also be eligible to receive additional assistance from the state in which they live. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services or welfare office. You can also visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) web page for more information. We hope this information helps.

  45. why does it take so long to finally get the approval letter and award ? Denied twice had a hearing in December 3 and its February and i still haven’t heard a thing. Applied back in 2013. ADJ approved me at the hearing.

  46. We are filing for my husband with a TBI. I find it key to call in and talk to the person who is assigned your case to ask questions like where are we in the process? What documentation are you waiting on? My husband had to go see a SSD doctor. I called doctors office to see when they sent the report and I called to see if the caseworker on husbands case received it. Low and behold he had it but didn’t know he had it because in his words there wasn’t an alert that it came in. I also called in another time to talk to his supervisor to find out why a 15 page report on my husbands TBI was being overlooked it seemed they were more focused on husbands Arthritis. Talking to the supervisor we were able to clear up what was happening and she informed me she would get on the caseworker to call me to administer a test of sorts over the phone to move to the next stage. Had I not called things would still be in limbo. You don’t have to hire a lawyer…..look in your area to see if there’s a disability advocate in your location.
    I highly recommend reading the website thoroughly. Great information. Stay in contact with your caseworker. Ask questions. Be sure you fall in the guidelines for disability and know what they are.

  47. mr fernandez my wife needs help its been about a 3 year fight already and dont have any answers my wife had her hearing september first 2015 its now been 6 months and no desicion plz explain the hold up here because we truly dont understand we are in jeopardy of losi g our home and possesions and judge will not reply to inquiries my wife has worked from 16 years old to 49 please enlight me of how to get the desicion already or what could possibly be delaying the desicion

    • Hello Mr. Myers. Unfortunately, your question is a bit more complex than we can handle in this forum. For security reasons, we do not have access to information about your wife’s account in this venue. In this situation, we encourage your wife to contact the local office, and if necessary, ask to speak with the manager to see how we can help resolve your inquiry. If she is unable to visit the local office, she can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m.

    • Hello Mr. Myers. Unfortunately, your question is a bit more complex than we can handle in this forum. For security reasons, we do not have access to information about your account in this venue. In your situation, we encourage you to contact your local office, and if necessary, ask to speak with the manager to see how we can help resolve your inquiry. If you are unable to visit the local office, you can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks.

  48. I worked in law enforcement for 22 years and after a couple horrific events learned I had PTSD. I filed for disability benefits because my doctor wouldn’t clear me to go back to work and it has been a year and a half and keep getting the run around. First theres going to be a review. Denied. Then they are setting up a hearing and then I get a letter after 9 months that they are going to review it again. Stalling. Now its been 6 more months and I haven’t heard a word and haven’t had a pay check in over a year and a half. How are people supposed to live? I was raised to work and have and paid into disability for close to 30 years and now that I need it I cant get it. They simply stall hoping you will give up or die one so they don’t have to give it to you.

  49. Traumatic brain injury in feb 2011, approved in 2015…. Lost my home, everything, clothes included.
    Nightmare….. Except i don’t remember being homeless, begging for food.
    One rep actually called me crazy,, said i needed mental help.
    Still waiting for back pay –
    Re: bucking the system…
    Thank you for calling me opportunistic, lazy and selfish.
    I guess 35 years working hard to build a life and paying into an insurance system isnt enough….
    Thanks

  50. I have ra and had elbow replacement done i am 47 and worked in factorys most of my life i cant lift over 5 pounds and have been denyed twice now waiting for the law judge

  51. Isn’t it amazing how our government works? I am also one of “those people” who have been denied. I applied in 2004 and it is now 2016. My FOURTH hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge is coming up this May. I won’t even bother listing all of my disabilities but the two major ones are a Traumatic Brain Injury and a severe hearing loss. Life is so unfair when we work for all those years to pay in and there is never the pay out for what we legally are entitled to.

  52. I find it beyond pathetic. I received a response that my spine fusion was “adequate”?
    If that’s the case why am already set up to get a new one from another surgeon. I never healed and I am in a ton of pain. I have to live on fentanyl patches so I can do much of anything. I am zonked out by the pain killers but the alternative is constant extreme pain. I have a ton of other issues perhaps I should not have mentioned but I suspect because my spine surgeon did not want a blemish he said I was fine. Glad SSA checked with my new neurosurgeon (handles the Denver Broncos) that I am pretty sure is in the know. I can even drive to the appointments as they are too far and the pain is too much. Perhaps my lawyer failed but I only got a lawyer in the first place since it’s a well known fact that the SSA generally shoots down everyone’s first application. Shame on this government. All the money I’ve paid into this system. The little bit of money I would even get is a joke but is better than zero. “Walk a mile (not going to happen) in my shoes”. Shame on this uncaring group of devious and unbelieving people.
    Why did SSA not set up an appointment with me and their doctor? They took a year to get to me and about a month to blow me off. Karma, just wait until it’s your turn.

  53. I wish I had filed myself. I did not know there was an online application. I hired an advocate. I was denied. (Calcaneus fracture and dislocated, broke subtalar joint on five places, tore acl, ruptured disc, ddd of course, have nerve root compression, had three back surgeries, laminectomy , disectomy, bone harvest with internal fixation, tore bicep tendon, gained serious amount of weight after injury, have serious sleep apnea and I’m on oxygen, diabetes, uncontrollable high blood pressure, and depression I think which is caused by never sleeping). The advocate ask me to fill out the application the best I could and he would help use the right language for Social Security. He apparently resigned or was fired so they just sent the application I had partially filled out. The new case manager at the advocates office informed me it was my fault for not filling it out all the way. I’ve had to deal with the advocates inner office drama, whining and bickering. The advocate I hired is extremely rude when I call, he told me to fill out an appeal and he would mail it in for me? I don’t feel I’m being represented at all and when they do represent me it’s half heartedly. I believe they’re stalling so they can to ensure they get the whole six thousand. I called Social Security the “evil case worker” was about the nicest person I’ve ever spoken with. I wish i had filled out my own application and not hired an advocate.

    • So sorry to hear about your situation and not knowing about the online application. Your purpose is to help spread the word for others to have faith and “apply online” and to trust the disability determination process. It does work, and helping others, will bless you. The author, J.D. Davis wrote a book on how to apply on-your-own online successfully.

  54. I am 58. I had a large frontal mengeomia brain tumor removed in October, 2015 which caused me to develop epilepsy. I applied for SSDI, SSI and my SS. I have had two Psychological exams per request of Disability Examiner. The first exam was for memory loss and the second for depression. The disability examiner said she will make her decision once she recieved the report from the last Psychologist. I feel as though the examiner is not taking into consideration that I have epilepsy and my Neurologist has said I am unable to work and cannot drive. BTW, my vehicle was repossessed because I was unable to make the payments. It has been six months. I am so afraid and depressed, that some days, I cannot even get out of bed. Why is the claims examiner not focusing on my epilepsy? SO FUSTRATED!!!

    • We are sorry to hear about the inconveniences Sandra, and we understand your frustration. As you await a decision on your case, you may find our listing of impairments useful. The medical examiner must obtain evidence and investigate all possible causes for disability. Please keep in mind that the Social Security Act sets out a very strict definition of disability. Disability benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition(s) that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. Please continue working with your local office and the medical examiner that is examining your case.
      To check for other potential benefits such as social service benefits or other benefits from the state in which you live while you await a medical determination, contact your local social services office or visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) web page for more information.

  55. My question is, based on all the written documentation in my very thorough medical records, can I legally fill in the RFC and just have my doctor fill approve and sign it? He typically leaves out information but it is all in my records. I’m only trying to make sure nothing is overlooked. Is this acceptable? Or hand him one filled out and he can reproduce?

    Thank you.

    Mary

  56. How come no one answered my question?

    Also, do you have to use the RFC SS has? My attorney has one he says is better.

    Mary

  57. The system is very inconsistent. And needs to be fixed. Many people die while waiting for benefits they have worked for. Yes, there are some lazy people who are trying to milk the system, but they can easily be spotted. They are the ones who don’t have a consistent work history. I have worked all my life, struggling with mental health issues, most of which went undiagnosed and untreated for most of my life. I have been waiting for two years now. The initial decision took a whole year!!! They ignored my history of health records, and even the MRFC completed by my psychiatrist and neuropsychological diagnostical report which was very extensive and included several new diagnoses and a GAF of 40. Even their own psychologist gave me a diagnosis of severe PTSD and they still denied me on initial application. It makes absolutely no sense at age 61, that I was denied at initial application. However, I did get my attorneys to do a letter brief for an on the record decision, which I believe has a good chance of getting approved. I meet several listings and also grid rules.
    Social security obviously doesn’t even follow their own rules when making disability decisions. It’s a real injustice to all Americans.

  58. Reading all these comments is very disheartening, as I am in the midst of the appeal process myself. I,too, have worked in well paying jobs my entire life. I have contributed a substantial amount to Social Security. I would prefer to work and not collect benefits, but now no employer will hire me because of my chronic illness. My lawyer told me I may continue to be denied because I have “too much education”. That really frustrates me. I feel like I am being penalized for working hard my entire life.

    • Hi Malissa. You may find our listing of impairments useful. The Social Security Act sets out a very strict definition of disability, much different than the requirements for other government programs. We pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. To learn more about the process we use to decide if you are disabled under our rules, visit our Disability Planner: How We Decide If You Are Disabled. Thanks!

  59. My husband was denied twice, now pending a hearing date, hopefully before he offs himself, because they found that he could do OTHER work. Explain to me what type of other work is suitable for someone with fecal incontinence, and intractable perineal pain with rectal spasming that takes him to his knees? He can’t drive, sleep or walk for any length of time, and even sitting hurts him. He is frequently ripped out of sleep with cramping, vomiting or an accident, and he is supposed to find a job that he can do??? Would you want to work next to someone with poop running down their leg at unpredictable moments? Someone who has to take 3-4 pain pills and a host of other medications for anxiety and nausea just to exist in their own home? Maybe he should get a desk job at a nuclear power plant or something.. I think not! I am only caretaker, as mom disowned him for saying something nasty after anesthesia….seriously. We are going to lose everything, and this 2 years into marriage. What could you possibly deny here? He worked his whole life, and paid in, and now can’t, and is facing bank levies, legal action from Child Support owed since being out of work. No-one cares. The process takes FAR too long, and is not a

  60. oops cut off…realistic solution for living with impairment. To boot, I was working part-time to take care of him, but ran out of helpful relatives and friends, so in order to not live in a shelter, had to go back full-time to work. So now, we lost our health insurance benefits via MA Health, and are also no longer eligible for food stamps because I make just enough money to not be eligible. I pay rent, all bills, buy all the groceries, pay for all his medication costs, and now health insurance, and yet no help available. And we are drastically behind, further each day, and now I can’t think straight or sleep myself anymore due to the stress….I’m not sure who is going to last longer. AT least he has medical care and attention. I have nothing! And no ability to take care of myself. A favorable disability finding would constitute a miracle right now, but 12-14 months estimated wait time for a hearing!!?? I just don’t know how this is going to work out…help!

  61. Unfortunately Social Security Disability is more apt to approve someone with visible symptoms and illnesses they can see and understand. If you are Bipolar with Conversion Disorder, which causes you to shake and stutter when upset, it isn’t as easy. It took 2 years and going before a judge for me to be approved. At first when I spoke the judge said ” What’s your problem? Didn’t you take your meds today?”. He then laughed. I sat there in tears trying to get the words out while he mocked me. I could see my poor father out of the corner of my eye. His jaw was clenched and one hand was balled up in a fist. If it wasn’t for my lawyer, a man who had just spoke on the Senate floor about Somatoform Disorders, standing up for me, I wouldn’t have received anything. The judge dismissed brain scans, Shock Therapy, suicide attempts, and 2 of the top Doctors in New England that have written books on Bipolar and Conversion Disorder. I had to sell everything I owned in that 2 years. This included items my mother had given me before she passed away. Medicaid was not any better. Mary Hitte actually made fun of my stutter and imitated it. My father had to take the phone from me I was so upset. If these people are so miserable in their jobs, if they have lost all compassion for others, then they need to be removed.

    • Omg that is terrible. I hope you filed a grievance against that judge. I have had one dr say I’m bipolar. To be honest I could be a mix of many mental disorders but unless there is filter to figure it out I may never know if it was caused by the breakdown, the injury, or just born with.
      My heart goes out to you for having to listen to someone say horrible things like that and coming from a person you are suppose to respect and stand when they enter the room.

  62. I just received my unfavorable decision from the ALJ. To say the least, I’m truly hurt and truly in shock. I do know I will be filing an appeal to have it reviewed, because I didn’t know that I should have to lie about things in order to sound believable, nor did I know that the things that came out my mouth were going to be misconstrued, by professionals. Do ALJ normally lie? But anyway. A combat vet with PTSD and depression and anxiety along with lower back issues and topped with fibromyalgia, can’t go back to being a paralegal, but he sure does seem to believe I can sit for 8 hours as a data entry clerk. Yay me! I love that I fought for my country, but it’s a damn shame when your country turns their back on you!

  63. Listen, I have been blind in my left eye since birth. I am not getting better and it is getting worse. I was told that yes… we know you are blind.. but you are not blind enough… to qualify… you can find some company to hire you… so really not sure how SSDI decides who is qualified …. it seems if you try to take care of yourself… you are not qualified…. really not excited to have to get a lawyer to do something that is right … I have worked since I was 13 and paying into the SSI… now at 60, being told that I need to suck it up and take any job thrown at me. It is not below me, but seriously there is a lot of work I cannot do simply because it requires sight and focus.

  64. I just got denied after 2.5 years of going through the process. I had a lawyer and full support of my doctors saying there is no way I can work full time yet still denied. They will find any reason to deny you.

  65. There are conditions that fall within the Compassionate Allowances Program that will automatically qualify an individual for SSDI. The Presumptive Disability category that has a stronger incident of approval. I do not have a negative story at the same time – statistically it is in many ways a flawed process. I had not been able to use my arm-hand for over a year prior to my surgery. I had undergoing therapy, injections & had more than sufficient medical documentation. First surgery did not correct problem & condition got worse. I saw SSA doctor 3 weeks after “second” surgery, and was denied benefits. During the exam, I was asked to perform exercises that no one would have been able to do after such an extensive second surgery-particularly at that stage. My conclusion – my medical records were not reviewed as required. My doctor advised me that 90% of initial SSDI claims are denied (I didn’t believe her). I’m right-handed, how could I be denied?? Had to go through the hearing process (with an attorney). Although it appears to be a very simple process, it can be a failed attempt to apply for SSDI benefits without a lawyer unless you have a condition meeting the criterion of the programs above or immediately meets the five-step analysis of the disability determination process.

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  67. I am in the process of my appeal. I am not sure what else they want from me. I was injured at work tearing my right rotator cuff. Two surgeries (and 3 years) later, I stil don’t have full use of my right arm. My hand constantly goes numb. Now I am having issues with my left hand going numb. I have been seeing a psychiatrist and have been diagnosed as bipolar, severe depression, panoc and anxiety disorders and agoraphobic. I also have osteoarthritis in my knees and back and often am in so much pain I can’t walk. I have been prescribed a psychiatric service dog but don’t like taking him with me because people mock me. It’s not fun to be in this condition and I don’t know what else to do. I have contemplated suicide several times. I don’t have money and am relying on my mom to help with my bills. This is very hard to deal with and I don’t know if I can take much more.

  68. I recently was denied by SSA and I don’t have anything positive to say about them. They ignored most of the medical evidence in my file, including reports from six different doctors, and actually told me, “you have pain and can’t concentrate but you can still do any work.”

    I’m appealing, but who knows how long that will take…and in the meantime, since I really cannot work I have no income at all. I wish SSA would realize that when they take a year to decide someone’s case, and ignore medical evidence as they did for me, they are destroying lives.

  69. The lady who wrote this was an educated executive who had to have brain surgeries due to an accident. Number one, her social status helped her, and number two, she had five brain surgeries… of course they approved her in four months. I have several things wrong with me, but according to the social security people I have to prove I can’t function according to their guidelines… It doesn’t matter that I have been going to doctors for 15 yrs. It doesn’t matter that I’m seeing several different doctors and they don’t take into consideration that with several illnesses, if one’s not bothering you as much 3 days a month, one of the others probably is… I’ve known people who’ve had several back surgeries and had to fight for years to get it. I’ve known people with cancer who had to appeal and appeal to get it… I spoke to an attorney. The attorney told me that I had all the criteria I needed to apply, but I have a full time job right now… even though I’m out on FML right now.. They won’t even consider me for disability if I make over $950 a month. I am not married. I have no family to take me in and keep me up. How can I survive on $950 a month? And, she said the average wait period is 2 1/2 years. She said unless you are blind or are terminal it’s near impossible to get disability the first time you apply. She said most people are turned down twice and then have to go in front of a judge. People say… work part time, get food stamps… News flash.. Adults who are not already classified disabled, are not elderly, or don’t have children can’t get food stamps. They might get $20 a month. You can’t do much with that. They say get help with bills, but the only help you can get is maybe from a church or a community outreach where they pay a utility bill, but they will only do that one or two months a year, that doesn’t help the rest of that 2 1/2 year waiting period. So, this lady’s story is not typical. I think it’s wrong to make people wait this long. I understand they are trying to deter people from trying to draw, but how fair is it on people to do that? Especially people with mental disorders who are trying to survive, but the more they have to wait for resolutions, the more chance they have of committing suicide.. And there’s no help. You would think with the attention suicide got when Robin Williams killed himself, and everybody wished they could have helped him… or you would think with all the people with mental disorders losing it and shooting people, they would try to get them resolved quickly… As to not put more stress on them, but nope. If they are going to deny people twice, why can’t they do it sooner so people can figure out what they are going to do with themselves… In reality, it shouldn’t take 2 1/2 years. That’s just ridiculous. It should be criminal to do people that way. They don’t care how we have to survive. In the meantime, I will go back to work soon because I can’t afford not to. I will hurt, I will get in trouble for being slow, I will probably get fired for having to miss work.. because, let’s face it, even if you have FML, companies have a way of finding ways to get rid of you if you aren’t satisfying them… Good luck everybody! And if you figure something out, let me know on here…

  70. I was diagnose of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 2 years ago, my family doctor told me there is no cure but it can only be controled. Ever since then i have been running heather scepter looking for a solution to my problem because i was going to lose my Job if i dont get better, until i ran into this online testimony of Mrs Stacey who have been cured of COPD by this herbal clinic in Johannesburg (Ejiro Herbal Clinic), i immediately contacted them via their email, to God be thy glory i bought this COPD herbal remedy and was cured within 3 weeks of usage, at last this is a break through for all COPD patients contact this herbal clinic via their email ejiroherbalclinic(at)gmail(dot)com or call +27617403481 (Please write email in right format)

  71. For SSI application status- what is the confirmation number?
    ALSO, as a NYC resident should I try to apply for Food Stamps or will that be part of my SSI benefit?

    • Hi Leslie. Generally, you get a confirmation number after you apply for regular Social Security disability benefits (or SSDI) online, you then need to complete the application for Supplemental Security Information (SSI) benefits at a local office. Please continue working with your local office for status on your application. For information about the food stamps program, also called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), you will need to contact your local SNAP office. You will also find a list of States that allows you to apply online. We hope this information helps!

  72. My lawyer stated that ALJs, and folks at the disability offices, are not under ANY incentive to take the time to read carefully through your file/medical records. There are not enough people at SSA to do the job, they are often underpaid (except the judges), and they are expected to push “x” amount of cases through each month. The only incentive they have to keep their jobs is to move paperwork through as quickly as possible. This is also true at the AC level. Unless your case is fairly clear cut, like cognitive damage, brain surgery, severe damage to your heart or kidneys, cancer, blindness, etc., expect long, long delays. It’s only at the federal (judge) level that you may have an excellent judge who will spend the time necessary to really look into your medical records. This is helpful, especially if you have a lot of “lesser” things wrong with you, such that when added together, these problems create a major disability. ( If the judge is in your district, it also helps if you’ve hired a qualified, fair, well known lawyer with a good reputation who is also in your district.) To suggest that perhaps some people who have applied for SSI or SSDI are experiencing hardships because they may not know how to fill out an application for SSDI or SSI correctly, on line or otherwise, is ridiculous. It is also laughable to suggest that some people are “gaming” the system and that’s why they have such negative experiences. There are always a few people that are going to game any system, but the majority of people who are applying for Social Security disability are not doing so. The security disability system was set up to be very difficult “to get” when it was originally formed in the 1950s. It is still that way today. You have to meet a lot of different criteria: such as, you usually have to be over age 50, meet very stringent guidelines about how disabled you are, be unable to work for a year or more due to these disabling conditions, or you have to be expected to die soon in some cases. To get SSDI you have to have worked and paid intro the system, and even then, the SSDI award is designed to be a rather paltry amount. The majority of people, even today, who are awarded social security disability, if you do the research you will find, are indeed often over age 50. Also, most have met the stringent medical criteria necessary for SSDI awards. Most are unable to ever work again and so have given up often fulfilling, lucrative careers for 1200.00 – 1300.00 per month SSDI payments. About 20 to 25 percent of those who do receive SSDI or SSI die within 5 years of their award. And often, most people who apply for SSDI have gone years without any income while waiting to hear from the Social Security Administration. Therefore, they have lost their homes sometimes; they have lots of loans that they have taken out from relatives and others that they have to pay back with some of their award money. They often have back taxes or other sources of funds, charity that they must repay somehow if awarded SSDI, finally. So, it’s not like you’re receiving a great deal of money even if you get backpay when awarded. Why would anyone go through all of that just to scam the system? Yes, I think there probably are some bad apples out there, but not a ton as many people suggest. The negativity comes from the very real frustration of floating through an ocean of bureaucratic rules, regs, red tape, paperwork, unbelievable wait times ( in our technological age), and often dealing with overworked and often underpaid SSA staff—and never expecting this from your own government—not from the applicants’ inability to fill out forms swiftly and correctly, and not from hundreds of thousands of applicants who are clogging the system by “faking it”.

  73. I was born with a neurological disorder. I was not diagnosed until 2011, after my symptoms became more apparent; headaches which lasted for days, neck pain and stiffness, back pain, leg/arm weakness and numbness, balance issues, spouts of vertigo, dizziness, nausea, double vision, ringing in my ears, hearing loss, fatigue, weakness, and other symptoms. I had brain surgery in 2014 to ‘decompress’ my brain. But, the symptoms of my neurological disorder, Chiari Malformation Type 1 are still present. I applied for disability but was denied.
    I truly do not understand how the SSA decided that. They concluded that my symptoms are not severe enough to keep me from working in a different job other than what I was working before. I am trying to do that, but my symptoms are so unpredictable, that it is extremely difficult to keep a steady schedule.
    There’s only so many times one can call in sick. There are only so many times one can get away from not completing tasks.
    I am very frustrated with the system that is supposed to help.

  74. I was told that the judges receive bonuses for the amount of denials they have each year. I have been fighting for 4 years and now must refile because all appeals have been exhausted. Wondering if I should hire a new attorney?

  75. I filed for disability in June 2011 after my life was turned upside down. I had always taken my health for granted, never imagining that I would ever become too ill to work. After all, I was only 33 years old when my health began to fail me. I had given birth to a baby girl in December 2008 and within three to four months of her birth my body started going through some unsettling changes. I was always nauseous, tired and weak. Then I started losing strength on the left side of my body. It was difficult to even prepare bottles for my infant daughter because my hands were in so much pain.
    To make a VERY LONG story short…. I was passed from doctor to doctor for a year and a half until I was finally diagnosed with severe Rheumatoid arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Pernicious anemia, Degenative Joint Disease and Degenative Disc Disease. It was bitter sweet because it was terrible news, but at the same time it was a difficult year and a half of the unknown.
    During this health crisis I continued to work full time as the Head Director of a before and after school child care program. It was my dream job. I worked very hard to advance from an Assistant to the Director to become the Head Director. I thought that I had the support of my staff, fellow teachers, and Principals. But I couldn’t have been more wrong! On February 12, 2010, I was called into the Superintendent’s office and I was fired on the spot. I was told that I was not up to performance any longer. I was devastated!!
    Although I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t able to work anymore, I had my family doctor and my Rheumatologist telling me to file for disability. It took me a little over a year to finally except that I was very ill and could not work. I filed online by myself initially and I was quickly denied. I decided to hire an attorney and start the Reconsiderations, etc. Finally the time came to go before an ALJ. I waited about a month and got my denial letter. It basically stated that I was too young and too educated. (TRY TELLING MY BODY THAT!) My attorney and I filed an appeal….. Denied… I was finally at the Federal level when I fired my attorney. He said “Good luck finding a new attorney who will take your claim to Federal court!”
    After researching attorneys in the next larger city, I found a great one! He took my case and was determined to find justice. And that he did…. We got my case remanded in Federal court. On June 6, 2016, we won a bench decision!!! On June 16th I received the judge’s approval letter and he approved my onset date of February 2010!! Yay!! Today is August 21, 2016 and I’m still waiting for my back pay. I haven’t received a monthly payment yet either. It’s very hard to remain patient when I have been dealing with SSA for over six years.
    I spoke to someone at the Baltimore Payment Processing center on Friday and she said that tomorrow will be sixty days since they started working on my case. She said that their goal is to pay out by sixty days and to watch for a deposit this week. * I’m crossing my fingers!!!!
    #tootiredtobeexhausted

  76. Dear Sir or Madam,

    I have read all of these wonderful stories. But in 3 years I’ll be 66 years of age and will be entitled for Social Security.

    Thank you. I’m still looking for the place on my computer to apply online. I’ll keep scrolling down.

    Take care,
    Diane

  77. The Social Security Administration is totally corrupt. The reason they deny claims isn’t because of a large number of scammers but because they have a vested interest and want to keep as much money as possible. SSA’s own statistics show that only 2% of people are scammers yet they deny 2/3 of claims. Rules are unfair. Does your caregiver use a PA? Integrative doctor? New disease like chronic fatigue syndrome? Denied. Are you young? Denied. I was disabled at 38 with chronic fatigue syndrome and had to fight denials for four years before being approved based on a neuropyschological exam (at my cost) for undifferentiated somatoform disorder (a mental disorder where you are deemed to falsely imagine symptoms). The accused me of not taking medication while ignoring my medical history of taking seven drugs. Reading his appeal was like he had to justify why he approved me to some evil overlord. These people are scum.

  78. Just another experience6 or 7 years ago my Brother had a stoke, got somewhat better with some disabilities that would never go away, went back to work. eventually ended up having 3 Heart attacks, and another stroke, which led to I don’t know how many splints while performing all these surgeries or implants whatever their called they found a aneurysm about the size of a Grapefruit in his stomach, ended up in a university hospital and had to be measured for some kind of apparatus they actually make specific for that person, and it is inserted through this blood clot to help shrink it never comes out, then he eventually had to have Pacemaker and Oxygen he filed for Benefits himself in the beginning after the 3 Heart attacks and stroke and was denied it took apox a year for a decision, he then hired an organization called ALSUP to help and they did help to a point by getting all the records, well basically you have to get Doc names Hospital names sometimes when required you even have to be the one who goes to get signatures, so they don’t do it all, it too pretty close to two more years to go in front of a ALJ and get a decision he is now 60 years old, and was approved, and really no one knows how much longer its going to take before actually to receive any money or checks, if it had not been for me his Sister, he would have been either dead on the streets homeless or who knows what, and then again I know someone who had a heart attack who was just a bout my brothers age and filed once and was approved, had his SSDI way before my Brother, so come on there is a problem some where..

  79. I had a lawyer and it definitely helped me. I had enough trouble completing the small amout of paper work that I had to do. From what I heard and read, I was prepared for the appeals and going to a hearing but was approved without any of it so I am gratefull for that. That said I am confused why it is taking up to 6 months to get my lump sum payment for the months before I started receiving my monthly benefit. Even so I am still grateful for SSDI.

  80. After much research, I recently applied online. Then I did more research and realized that the online app did NOT ask for medication side effects or current limitations! Very important details. There were two big boxes to comment on Dr treatments, but was not asked about this anywhere else. Can I add this to my application still??

  81. According to the judge who denied my case, you would be able to work just by doing this blog. Glad it worked out for you while my children now starve to death after all my years of work and college. Its a great system when a judge can just state they dont believe the doctors reports and deny you.

  82. Checked on my status today. As of 12/9/16…A medical decision has been made and we are working to process your benefit application. A Social Security Representative may contact you directly if we need any additional documents or information.
    What does this mean? Everyone who posted this (blogs I have read) was told they were approved (by the so-called expert/owner of the blog). Each one of them posted another response stating that they had been denied. Does this statement mean denied…or approved?

  83. I have applied for SSDI myself, and was approved in 5 weeks. I have applied for a relative, and she was approved in 6 weeks. I have just helped a friend apply, and he was approved in 13 days. How did we manage this?

    You must prepare, prepare, prepare in advance. Gather ALL relevant medical records, scan them as searchable PDFs if they are not already in digital format, and search them for names of doctors, clinics and hospitals, dates of appointments and visits, purpose of each visit and treatment performed at each visit and dates of upcoming appointments, tests ordered by each doctor and the dates of the tests and where done, names of medications prescribed and who prescribed them and what for. Don’t leave a single one out.

    You must get the full medical terminology for each condition relating to your disability. You must have detailed information about your current job and salary, and previous job and salary, and any sick leave or vacation pay you have received since you became disabled. You can’t guess, you have to check pay stubs and be accurate with figures and dates. Gather all personal information for yourself and your spouse, if you have one, including deceased spouses.

    Write up a detailed job description that details all the things you did at work which it is obvious you can not do now that you are disabled. Stress those job duties. You can add emphasis to those duties, but do not lie.

    It can take a month or more to gather the medical records if you do not live in the town where the treatment was performed. It took me 1 week to gather the records for my friend, because he lives in the town where he had treatment. It took me 4 months to gather my own records, because they went back 20 years and involved multiple medical professionals in 6 different towns in 2 different states. My relative had already gathered her own records.

    Once I had all the records in searchable PDF form, I did a copy-and-paste of all the above-mentioned information to a Word document. Then I organized the information in the Word Document by category – Doctors, Hospitals and Clinics, Tests, and Medications. Then I started the SSDI Application and was able to cut-and-paste from the Word document to the online application. This method avoids making any mistakes or typos.

    At the end of the application they suggest that you gather all the medical records and supporting documents together and mail them, or hand-deliver them, to the nearest SS office. I delivered them the very day after I submitted each application, in person, to my local SS office. I gave them ALL the medical records, including DVDs of radiology images, and a copy of the person’s job description, and any official information related to the disability, such as an accident report or Worker’s Compensation report.

    If you have prepared thoroughly and use the correct terminology and don’t leave out a single doctor or or hospital or test or medication, and get all the dates and diagnoses correct, and provide SS with all the supporting documentation immediately, then you should be approved in less than 2 months. It may be slower in some cities because they have a larger case load, but you have no control over this.

    If you wait for SS to request the medical records themselves, you can wait months for approval, because it takes time for SS to request and then receive and process those records.

    My experience with the online application is that the average person CAN NOT do it successfully because they have not done the prep work. It is a long application, occasionally confusing, and most people do not have their medical records available or know how to review them. Many people do not have good computer skills and get confused by the online application.

    It took me a total of 32 hours or document review to prepare in advance for my friend’s application, and 4 hours over 2 days to fill in the online application, review it and submit it. And 13 days later he was approved.

    You can, of course, hire a lawyer to do this. They could not do it any faster than I did it, and if they charge $200 an hour, then they would have to charge $8000 to do what I did for free.

    I have come to the conclusion that the reason why so many people are initially denied is because the online application is so complicated and lengthy and asks for so much medical and personal detail that people do not know and might not understand. They are not prepared. They are overwhelmed. They may be sick and on medications that cause fatigue and confusion. They may not be highly literate. They may be computer illiterate. The online application is almost designed to get the average person denied.

    • I did all this and was denied. On the front page of the denial, it shows what they used to determine the case. There were only three things used. My hospital stay (for a fusion back in 2006), the CE report and a report from a doctor that did follow-ups in 2007/2008. None of my current information (that I hand carried to the office) was noted. They didn’t even mention the report they had my doctor FAX to them.
      I appealed and uploaded all the information AGAIN. Maybe this next person will actually review CURRENT medical information.

  84. I was diagnosed with Lupus back in 2000 after the birth of my last child in 1997. I worked several years after that as an inside sales rep for a publishing company ;i.e. sit on my a$$ all day while typing like a fool and holding a phone to my ear for hours. After a few years, I couldn’t take the daily pain any longer and applied for SSDI on my own. I did a lot of reading in forums and research before I started the process since Lupus is near impossible to get approved on because most symptoms are not supported with testing! One of the things that I read in a forum is that if you can get a public official such as a Representative or Congress member to send SSDI a letter, stating that they’ll be following your application, it increases your chances, as long as you have a legit illness and claim. Before I even submitted the final bunch of stuff online, I went to the office of my Representative and just told the lady out from that I was applying for SSDI and that Lupus seems to be near impossible to get approved for and wanted to see if their office would be willing to follow by application. Two days later, I was at their office, giving my permission for my Representative to have full access to my application. Although I did wind up seeing one of Social Security’s Doctors, six months later, I received a call from my Reps office letting me know that I was approved!!!!! They let me know before SSDI did. I certainly recommend this.

    Now, years later, I had my second review back in January and they deemed that I was all healed and could go back to my previous line of work, even though they couldn’t determine what it was that I used to do!!!!! Their letter literally said that. I’ve been just about under the bus for the past 6 months while fighting this on my own. A friend has been paying for a policy on the Healthcare Marketplace for me as well as loaning me money in the form of a weekly wage through his company and giving me a place to sleep in his basement. I’ve been praying that it works out and I’m able to repay my debt and get back on SSDI and Medicare. I got a letter last week saying I’m disabled again and to wait for a follow up letter. I believe they’ll owe me 6 months of back pay, which is a blessing. I wish they’d repay the money spent on a health insurance policy but I’m pretty sure that won’t happen.

    Keep applying and fighting!!!!!

  85. I live in Texas, and worked in the corporate finance area for my entire career. I started having severe memory problems in early 2013. I would leave a planning meeting with my notes of “to do” items, but when I looked at the notes later they meant nothing to me. I KNEW something was wrong and quit immediately because I could no longer do my job satisfactorily. I went to doctor after doctor and they found nothing wrong. I still applied for SSDI as they attorneys said I had documented depression for 25+ years and that would qualify me for disability. I refused to apply using depression as my disability because it did not keep me from working. I got a new lawyer and started going to neurologists, they found nothing wrong. FINALLY I got into a Memory Disorder Clinic and they diagnosed me with mild cognitive impairment, potentially a precursor to dementia. With that new diagnosis (that fit my symptoms to a “T”, I either reapplied to SS or “resurfaced” my application – I don’t remember that part. Here we are in January 2017, yes 4 years later, and I had my court hearing last week. I was immediately granted disability, back dated to my application date. It was a long, depressing road, but I am finally there. It will be months before I see any money, though. Hope this info helps someone.

  86. What does the social security medical board need to determine if an individual is eligible for benefits? Is Stage 2 bladder cancer substantial enough?

    • Hi Nancy. You may find our listing of impairments useful. Disability Benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to result in death. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you think you are disabled under our rules, you can apply for disability benefits online. Please call us at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday or contact your local office for further assistance.

  87. I am legally blind in both eyes but worked for 27 years until other health issues caused me to have to leave my job. I applied for SSDI and my latest update was A medical decision has been made and we are working to process your benefit application. A Social Security Representative may contact you directly if we need any additional documents or information. I’ve read this can be an approval or denial but I’ve also read that being legally blind in both eyes is an automatic qualifier. I’m chewing through my savings and getting very nervous. Any idea how much longer I’ll have to wait since I am at this step? Thanks!

    • Hi Misty. For security reasons, we do not have access to information about your account in this venue. In your situation, we encourage you to continue working with your local office or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and speak to one of our representatives. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. Thanks!

  88. I have nocturnal seizures, hydrocephalus and a large arachnoid cyst. I have seizures a few times a month. It basically gives me symptoms of insomnia during the day. Headaches, lack of coordination, difficulty concentrating, trouble remembering, nausia, disorientation, balance issues, the list goes on. Also, it can lead to focal seizures during the day.
    I have been working through all this. There are many days that I feel I shouldn’t be at work. But, I go anyway.
    How do I know if my problems are bad enough to apply for disability?
    How do I just stop working before I apply?
    Do I just stop going to work?
    Do I quit?
    Do I talk to my eplieptologist about relieving from duty at my job?
    What evidence do I need before applying?

    • Hi Kevin. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security disability insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The SSI program is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSDI benefits, on the other hand, are based on earnings and are not subject to income and resource limits. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. However, if a person believes they are disabled and meets our definition of disability, we encourage them to apply for disability as soon as possible. You can apply online, which is quick and easy. A person may still be eligible for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program if they work. However, their earnings cannot exceed a certain amount. This is called the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit. In 2017, the SGA limit is $1,170 per month ($1,950 for blind applicants). In addition to the amount of money you make, Social Security may also look at the number of hours you’re able to work. For more information visit our “Frequently Asked Questions” web page on disability. We hope this information helps!

  89. yes id like to make a comment on the debbie one of first comments thinking someones trying to buck the system, alot of people do try to buck the system and ive known alot of people that have bucked and got away with it THINKING wth cause honestly those who want to buck they do buck and they get theirs on the other hand those who are denied over and over again because not enough medical evidence or a paper trail really do need it ,if they were trying to fool the goverment they’d know exactly what to do in order to be approved a person whose disabled and tried for over 7 years appeal after appeal being denied health deterating so badly cant even hardly get out of the bed watching the whole thing right before your eyes cause they never had anyone to care enough to be sure to go to a doctor or make sure they went ,this person sacrificed his whole being for those he loved ,but to turn around when he had nothing left to give health gone an all to be tossed out on the street ,so those people you think might be trying to buck may be the only ones sick if he was able hed be working instead of homeless no health and awaiting because finally hes got a doctor hes had for 2 years saying hes 100%disabled so as far as im concerned those who get it fast are the ones bucking

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