Disability

How I Navigated the Social Security Disability Process

October 19, 2015 • By

Last Updated: October 19, 2015

screen shot of the faces and facts of disability page

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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Jarita (J.D.) Davis, Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiary and published author and blogger

Comments

  1. burrell.k.allen

    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.

    • Martii

      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

      • burrell.k.allen

        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.

        • burrell.k.allen

          I’d like a good excuse for a reply Mr . Fernandez the local office hasn’t given me a answer, now that I’ve just lost my VA benefits to the IRS I’m not too concerned about the bullshit that just keeps my time occupied by paperwork and documents doctors and Lawyers, I remember when I first started having trouble with PTSD all I wanted was to be left alone and I wish I had never gone to get help, it done nothing but ruin my life.

    • bettyg

      burrell,
      THANK YOU for serving ALL AMERICANS by going to war when needed; for your sacrifices, and those who gave the ultimate gift…their lives.

      contact your state’s FEDERAL SENATORS/HOUSE REP about your not getting your pay in timely manner; SSDI folks have to REPLY to them monthly and be ACCOUNTABLE!

      good luck; YOU should not have had to go thru this BS.

      again, thank you for your personal sacrifices and your families to keep us all SAFE and our FREEDOMS intake.

      bettyg, iowa
      aunt of a nephew in iraq also….

  2. Sheila McInnis

    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!!!

  3. james

    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.?

    • Sandy Klevorn

      I have planned to go back to work, but RA has paid me a visit. Can I still apply for disability at 62c

      • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

        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.

    • carmella

      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

    • Cjb

      That sounds really harsh. Not everyone is able to “get up off their butts” hence the application for SSDI.

    • Harvey Johnson

      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.

      • lee

        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.

    • David

      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

  4. Lewis Tagliaferre

    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…

    • Denis K.

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

      • Martii

        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

    • Martii

      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

      • Marie Pepin

        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.

        • I did it my way

          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.

        • La Rue

          How long did it take for your retroactive check?

          • Emory Schroeppel

            In my view, blog.ssa.gov does a excellent job of handling topics like this! Even if often deliberately controversial, the material posted is more often than not thoughtful and challenging.

            http://swish.st/28150

    • Angela

      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

      • Annie

        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.

        • lee

          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.

  5. carolyn

    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.

    • David

      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 !

      • David

        You should also consider a Medicare Advantage Plan for your husband once he has his Medicare Card.

        • molly

          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.

    • Janet

      This link for Medicare websit will answer you questions: https://www.medicare.gov/people-like-me/disability/disability.html

    • Joyce

      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.

      • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

        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.

    • KIRBY MARCHAND

      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.

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      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!

  6. Robin Knopf

    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.

  7. Bob Blanchette

    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.

    • Tamara McSwain

      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.

      • Howard Vernon

        It’s her money bob, Ssdi is not welfare. You need to know the facts before you start talking bob!!

        • sandra

          good i’m glad you said it bob needs to understand better…

      • Harvey Johnson

        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!

        • Annie

          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.

      • Len

        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.

        • Marc

          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?

          • Megan

            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.

    • Linda Goguen

      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.

    • Caden

      Thanks for writing such an earuyto–ndesstand article on this topic.

  8. Avonelle

    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.

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      Thank you for using our online services! We’re pleased we can help. We will continue our efforts to meet your requirements and expectations in the years to come.

      • Jasmine

        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

        • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

          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!

          • Michael

            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.

      • Isabelle

        I have a question for you. Why the denials are always never truly explaining why you are denied. Why is it I have to beg for monies I have earned and put away. Why am I so broken that loving is not worth I. When you sleep I am awake , the same pain, fear of the unknown for the says to come that you have no clue. Tell me why is it that negative comments just doesn’t go down too well. Tell me why the ugly truth does not mesh with your conscious.

  9. Annette Nielsen

    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.

    • Armando

      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!

    • Marc

      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.

  10. Rebecca

    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.

    • burrell.k.allen

      My name is Burrell Allen my status isn’t so rewarding it below a little ways down

      • Bonita

        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

        • Bryanhellman

          Hay I fail 21 feet and Brock my back and I can’t get my ssdi and I can’t even walk no more and I have lost everything and living on the street in Colo springs and snow is coming and they don’t give a fuck now how so what do I do now

        • Donna Krumbholz

          Did it seem you disabled? You have to have supporting documents that state you inability to work.

          • Donna Krumbholz

            I meant DEEM

        • Jon A Ciotti

          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.

          • Dee flores

            This is terrible and to have stupid people with their opinions of others tragedy is mind blowing.Social security sent incomplete docyments unsigned documents that are required to be signed and dated and forged documents I never submitted yet cant get not one atty nobody to review my case file.
            Many documents I never recieved for my doctors to return as SS claims yet somebody took liberty to fill and put in case file.I couldnt refute anything I had no access to file till now.So the search is on to find atty to help me.
            This is hell if I dont do as told denied or cut off.When SS falsify documents who going get involved???
            God bless you

          • Jaxton

            You said State Disability. What about Federal/Social Security Disability? If you’re going to be permanently Disabled States have to have you to go to Social Security and apply for that. State Disability is maximum usually 12 months unless you get an exception. Did you seek the help of a social worker? Liike if you apply for food assistance or a form of welfare. The term sounds terrible because it’s been painted so negatively but it’s there to help who don’t have any income. I’m in Califonia and there are a lot state was to get help if you have no or disabled with no income. I don’t if you’ve gone that route and you have a letter from your doctor starting you’re unable to work and will not be able to work for more that 12 months due to whatever illness you have that should be sufficient to get Social Security Diablility. If you have done so already I would contact your local social services and get their help. They usually know navigate those waters better than anyone.

          • Jaxton

            You said State Disability. What about Federal/Social Security Disability? If you’re going to be permanently Disabled States have to have you to go to Social Security and apply for that. State Disability is maximum usually is 12 months unless you get an exception. Did you seek the help of a social worker? Liike if you apply for food assistance or a form of welfare. The term sounds terrible because it’s been painted so negatively but it’s there to help those who don’t have any income. I’m in Califonia and there are a lot state sponsored programs and ways to get help if you have no income or are disabled with no income. I don’t know if you’ve gone that route. If ou have a letter from your doctor stating you’re unable to work and will not be able to work for more that 12 months due to whatever illness you have that should be sufficient to get Social Security Diablility. If you haven’t done so already I would contact your local social services agency and get their help. They usually know how to navigate those waters better than anyone.

        • Kathy

          Two heart attacks applied denied from 2008 till 2013 fully disabled awarded.got call denied hadn’t worked in 5 yrs they say I fell thru cracks in system

          • C.j

            What state are u in ? How long did it take for ur check to start

        • Goldbach Law Group

          Thank you for sharing your story Jarita, Many people like Bonita has a bad experience from SSDI and I know it is very frustrating when you are denied. This could be more interesting to hear more positive feedback from claimant.

          • Jarita D

            Many thanks for your feedback Goldbach Law Group. Sincerely hope my story will help many people to trust the “online” disability process for their richly-deserved SSDI benefits.

          • KC

            My experience was both negative and positive. I applied 2 times and got turned down two times.. On the third time I was denied originally and then approved for benefits at my court hearing. Instead of having to wait months for a decision the judge told me I was approved at the end of the hearing. That was awesome!
            My attorney said people don’t get turned down at the application point for reasons you would expect.They get turned down for missing records or aren’t sure of the time you were disabled. Its crazy you have to wait 18 months and go to court to clear things up. My best advice is to get a lawyer and don’t give up!

        • Steven

          No big house on the hill is always a flat out hell no you have money in the bank. You need to let it run it course and get an attorney and GET YOUR DR TALKING FOR YOU IN HIS NOTES.

    • Debbie

      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”.

      • burrell.k.allen

        What war did you get wounded in, or if you weren’t then you might look into the status of disabled veterans who aren’t receiving the benefits they have earned. As of today I’m losing my VA benefits to the IRS because I wasn’t able to make my agreed payment to them after losing my ssdi benefits. I’m sure that you have done everything right and I’ve probably been bucking the system and I deserve to be treated like a piece of shit but don’t get too comfortable with the life you have earned because it’s getting really close to being turned upside down and everyone will see how much freedom really costs, unfortunately most won’t be able to buy it and will be in the soup line. Good luck

      • SL

        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!!

        • Marc

          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.

          • MOLLY

            Thank U 4 your great comment!

          • MeMe

            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.

          • Joe

            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.

          • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

            Individuals receiving disability benefits and considering returning to work should read our publication “Working While Disabled – How We Can Help” for more information.

          • Deb L

            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.

          • Ang

            Thank you for this great comment… Thank you

          • alize

            u gave me goosebumps preach on teacher 🙂

          • Bonita

            So true

          • LNR

            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.

          • Bev

            Amen!

          • Lauri

            You said exactly what I wanted to say to that ignorant person. Thanks

          • Mom

            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 ???

          • Tee

            Awesome!

          • Terry

            Oh wow! Well thanks for your input, you just taught me something!! I appreciate it?

          • Laura

            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.

          • J.J. in Phoenix

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

          • Mery

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

            Absolutely NO ONE wants to be sick.

          • Isabelle

            Don’t be too harsh. Everyone has a right to voice their opinion. Not every one is as smart as you. First you need to understand ssi and or ssdi ., these agencies have conducted with no consequence behavior. Why because they can. People that have put into the system should not be for it back. That is unconstitutional. .people who have not earned it should not get it. There is no happy medium . The system is broke and no politician or the goverment cares what happens to you. By the time people go through this nightmare most are broke, homeless and so on. So do not sit there and act mightier than though, because you don’t live their lives. Humility goes a long way. So does empathy. Not everyone is out to get the man. Not everyone is a crook. Being shaded to a point that they are ruining people’s lives is criminal. We can try to fix things, we can shout, scream and frankly no one cares. As long as their pockets are full , so you can just starve. Or can’t pay you bills or meds well not their problem. Because they can. You can do whatever it takes but remember at the end of the day you the powerless because they will do what they want and nk accountability. Stop attacking the same people that trying to live. I thought is was called security,,? Well I guess the ugly truth is we are all played by the system

          • G Stephenson

            Well done Marc! We are truly in an age where misinformation is what feeds people desire. Sad.

          • Rose R

            Marc,
            Bravo! Your reply to SL was spot on and factual. It’s a shame that there are so many like Sl who spread their propaganda around and their ilk who swallow it hook line and sinker…SMH.

          • Crystal

            Omg, Marc, I think I love you….
            U just said a mouthful, a very intelligent, knowledgeable, and factual mouthful, all of which most of us reading were either thinking, or wanting to say, but you said it splendidly, and to the point!
            Thank you. Thank you for educating the masses. It was like reading the finest of poetry reading your post. BTW, are you married?
            😉 Seriously… think I’m in love ;p

          • Tammey Keyes

            Thank you for taking the time to clear up misinformation.

        • Jackie Simpson

          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.

          • Deb L

            Do you have a spouse? They will collect your SS if you pass away.

            Do you have young children? If you pass away before they turn 22, they will receive a portion of your benefits.

          • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

            Please visit our Survivors Planner for more information.

          • misty

            Amen

        • Jaxton

          There is a universal formula for Social Security that is applied across the board to everyone. It’s based on how much you’ve paid into it. So if someone is getting more money on SSI or SSDI than their last job than their previous jobs had to be paying much more to make up the difference. The formula is the same for everyone.

      • Laurie

        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.

        • Joyce

          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.

          • Michele Settle

            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!!!!

          • Deb L

            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!

          • steve

            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.

          • Anj

            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.

        • Mandy

          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.

          • Deb L

            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.

          • steve

            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.

          • Maria Burchfield

            Thanks for hope, I wouldnt b hre if ivwasnt fighting so hard for my son the love of my life that I want so much more for,!!!! I hurt soo bad it sucks! I hate meds thy almost kiled me or im a mashmellow high as hell, cant d that, ya niw, my son I need to b oborer,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, alert!! Safty firts, I cant type my hands head shouldrs knees and toes everythinb hurts and my heart, im sick of life
            Like this, gd it what do they want, I just got my licence suspended for dmv waiting for dr paper work saying ok to drive, I am sometimes, but not alot, not far, depends on time day place people,,,,, my disability is in like super ie court, do you think thatscwht ghere waiting for, I was waiting for anothe deniak on the 13th, havent heard nything,,,,,,,,, wth,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

        • Marc

          “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.”

          • MOLLY

            Aaahhhh Awsome again!
            “Ditto”

          • Joe

            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. – !!??

          • Deb L

            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.

          • Isabelle

            You are not only rude but a broken human being.

          • Maggie

            When I finally went to court for my claim they have a person with the judge to determine what type of work you could do. In my case the person said to the judge there isn’t anything she’s able to do because of her condition and what meds she’s on. The judge still denied me and it was all because she read what a doctor told me and claimed I said it to the doctor and because I had $800 left in bank from my last job ( which was 4 1/2 years prior). Go figure.

        • Dave

          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 🙂

          • Laura

            If you don’t mind me asking, who was your lawyer?

          • robin

            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.

        • lee

          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.

          • Deb L

            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!!

          • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

            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!

        • Amy H

          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.

        • Kelly

          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!

        • Paige

          I’m with you! Praying things work out, I’m in the same position as you are!

      • Kat

        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!

        • Deb L

          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!

          • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

            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!

        • Deb L

          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!

      • Deb L

        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.

        • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

          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!

        • Isabelle

          People like you and comments is the reason people like me have to wait. You are in a nut shell advising to look at the Blue book high make me feel like a car not a human and ring some condition that sticks. Thanks I rather get my money the honest way maybe I read into this wrong. Again is comments like these that makes people look dishonest.

          • Rose R

            Isabelle,
            It’s people like YOU that don’t have a clue and clog up the system with “wait” times. The advice Deb L gave is exactly what one needs to know and learn. The “Blue Book” is the gold standard rule of medical criteria for medically qualifying for disability, as is knowledge of the DOT for RTF and work eligibility.

          • Camie

            I think what Ray was saying is read the Ssa blue book. Your condition could fall under the blue book. But instead people just rambling on and on about there disability and problems. Their blue book is precised and to the point. Just one word can describe your impairments that may as well fall under the Blue Book. Most judges and ssa employees dont want to read a ten page letter of your disability. One -two words or just a sentence.can sum it all
            I feel suicidal. I cant concentrate. I see things thats not there. I cant walk 10 steps without fainting. Most conditions has a blue book and tells you how to word it on your application

          • Summer

            Why would anyone have to see which conditions are considered disability eligible? What are we doing here, putting the names of our preferred conditions in a hat and drawing one out to see what doctors we can get to agree we can fake it enough to win disability?

      • Norma

        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!!!

      • Sharon

        Well you are wrong

        • Rose R

          Sharon,
          Who’s wrong? It helps if you add a name to whom you are replying or leaving a comment for. ?

      • Tyler

        That is correct. There are bad Judges out there and SSA will do anything to shield them. I got one that was mean from the get go of the hearing. With a mean tone he starts off by saying that it will be very difficult to prove your case. This is with a medical file over a foot high at that time – over a year ago – and it still continues to grow – not a single medical professional I see can believe I was denied – SSA has refused for over a year to provide Audio Recording. The judge misrepresented so many facts and even outright lied and refers to the recording that SSA does not want to produce. I am going to go with 9 MD’s and 3 Nurse Practitioners that all agree I should be found disabled.

    • eric klehbold

      Everyone has these glorious stories, I’m a victim of the corrupt ssdi system…. Three years I have been waiting for my ssdi, meanwhile suffering and losing everything but my self, they could care less bout you, lawyers take their sweet ass time cause they get 25% of your money. Also my race isn’t a minority yet. Kudos to those who know the system, and use the race card.

    • BarbaraC

      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.

      • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

        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!

        • Martha Fowler

          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

          • teresa

            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

          • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

            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!

          • Bob

            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).

          • Angela Dyer

            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.

          • Deb L

            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!

          • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

            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.

          • Deb Dz

            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!

        • Sharon

          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.

        • Michele Settle

          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!!!

      • Hector

        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?

        • Michele Settle

          They are biased and unfair, that is what is wrong with this. Don’t even bother with attorneys because they do nothing to really help you. In my FIFTEEN YEAR experience, all they do is gather paperwork and send it in. I am sick to death of it all.

          • Deb L

            Google the book:

            “The Social Security Blue Book of Impairments”

            It is a massive book, hard to read at first, but will sure teach you a lot!

          • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      • Debbie

        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!

        • J

          10 1/2 yrs and waiting

          • Rose

            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

          • Michele Settle

            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!!!

        • Teresa

          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.

          • juanita elmore

            I have been through the disability process going on 3years had three attorneys I have worked at the same job over 30 years I have had 2 back surgerys and about to have the 3rd one after 3 years I finely go approved now more waiting for my back pay it has been over 5 months now they say it is beening processed does it take over 5 month to write a check there dam system sucks….

          • Michele Settle

            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.

          • Jeni

            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.

          • Deb L

            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!

          • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

            Please visit our Disability Planner: How We Decide If You Are Disabled for more information.

      • lora

        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.

        • Black Goblin

          So sad …the system is really disgusting…sorry to to hear that.

        • M

          I am so sorry for your loss!

      • Marc

        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.

        • Deb L

          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!

      • Diane

        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.

      • Deb L

        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!

        • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

          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.

        • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

          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.

        • Amy H

          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.

    • Marie Williams

      Applying for or Appealing a Social Security Disability Case can be very challenging. It was very challenging for me, especially the first time my application was denied and I had to file an appeal. I completed an online Social Security Disability Appeal form and submitted it. Little did I know that it would take up to two to three years to even get a court date scheduled. I said to myself, “I can’t wait two to three years just for a court date because by then I will be homeless with no money, no food, and lose everything I ever owned.” Also, going back to work was out of the question because I was not physically or mentally ready to return and would eventually get terminated from a job.

      So I started doing intensive internet research for nine months to find a way to get my Social Security Disability Appeal Case approved without waiting two to three years for court date to be scheduled. I utilized the information I found and won my Social Security Disability Appeal on my own without a court date. I did not have an attorney because I did not want to lose 25% of my back pay to attorney fees and I wanted to decide my own fate. After going through the whole process, that’s when I decided to write this book to explain in detail what documents and tests you need to try to win your Social Security Disability case the first time around or appeal without a court date.

      I do not want anyone to go through what I experienced in trying to get approved for my Social Security Disability for a whole year. It is hard for someone to get approved when they do not know what to do or what documents and tests you may need in order to prove you are indeed disabled.
      This information really helped me get approved for a Social Security Disability Appeal without a scheduled court date. I recommend that you download “How To Win Your Social Security Disability Without An Attorney” so you can start utilizing this information for your Social Security Disability Appeal or the first time you apply.

      If this information was available when I was trying to win my Social Security Disability Appeal, I would have ordered it. But during my nine months of research, I couldn’t find anything like this book out there on the internet. Please take advantage of this information because it takes you step-by-step through how to get your case reviewed without a court hearing and how you first apply for Social Security Disability. This will be the best money you ever spend on a self-help book.

      I created this website to help people better understand the Social Security Disability process. I have also written a book called “How To Win Your Social Security Disability Without An Attorney.” Download this book for $19.99, which is a special limited time offer. Do yourself a favor and purchase this book so you can start trying to get approved for a Social Security Disability Appeal or the first time you apply for Social Security Disability Benefits. To download book click on http://www.socialsecuritydisabilityandyou.com At the bottom of the webpage click on the Cart Tab to purchase the book “How To Win Your Social Security Disability Without An Attorney.”

      Please click cart on the upper right side of the website to place order.

      Good Luck

    • sandra

      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..

      • Teresa

        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.

        • Michele Settle

          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!

    • lea

      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.

      • Ada Isaksson

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

        • lee

          YES, YES, YES!

      • Marc

        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???

      • Hail Expert

        You should take part in a contest for one of the most useful websites on the net. I am going to highly recommend this web site!

        http://dealershail.com/

    • Marie Williams

      Applying for or Appealing a Social Security Disability Case can be very challenging. It was very challenging for me, especially the first time my application was denied and I had to file an appeal. I completed an online Social Security Disability Appeal form and submitted it. Little did I know that it would take up to two to three years to even get a court date scheduled. I said to myself, “I can’t wait two to three years just for a court date because by then I will be homeless with no money, no food, and lose everything I ever owned.” Also, going back to work was out of the question because I was not physically or mentally ready to return and would eventually get terminated from a job.

      So I started doing intensive internet research for nine months to find a way to get my Social Security Disability Appeal Case approved without waiting two to three years for court date to be scheduled. I utilized the information I found and won my Social Security Disability Appeal on my own without a court date. I did not have an attorney because I did not want to lose 25% of my back pay to attorney fees and I wanted to decide my own fate. After going through the whole process, that’s when I decided to write this book to explain in detail what documents and tests you need to try to win your Social Security Disability case the first time around or appeal without a court date.

      I do not want anyone to go through what I experienced in trying to get approved for my Social Security Disability for a whole year. It is hard for someone to get approved when they do not know what to do or what documents and tests you may need in order to prove you are indeed disabled. This information really helped me get approved for a Social Security Disability Appeal without a scheduled court date. I recommend that you download “How To Win Your Social Security Disability Without An Attorney” so you can start utilizing this information for your Social Security Disability Appeal or the first time you apply.

      If this information was available when I was trying to win my Social Security Disability Appeal, I would have ordered it. But during my nine months of research, I couldn’t find anything like this book out there on the internet. Please take advantage of this information because it takes you step-by-step through how to get your case reviewed without a court hearing and how you first apply for Social Security Disability. This will be the best money you ever spend on a self-help book.

      I created this website to help people better understand the Social Security Disability process. I have also written a book called “How To Win Your Social Security Disability Without An Attorney.” Download this book for $19.99, which is a special limited time offer. Do yourself a favor and purchase this book so you can start trying to get approved for a Social Security Disability Appeal or the first time you apply for Social Security Disability Benefits. To download book click on http://www.socialsecuritydisabilityandyou.com At the bottom of the webpage click on the Cart Tab to purchase the book “How To Win Your Social Security Disability Without An Attorney.”

      Please click cart on the upper right side of the website to place order.

      Good Luck

    • Marie Pepin

      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”.

    • Pam

      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.

      • Deb

        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.

    • Melissa Arrington

      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!

      • alonenow

        If anyone understands the painfull process some of had to go through to get the help we so desperately needed. I also worked from age 16-51 and no way saw my life turning into what it is now. I suffered re-ocurring depressions starting at age 16 i would be treated for a year and then off meds and within a year I be right back in another one only each time they lasted longer and harder to get well again. I continued working just unable to function so would miss days of work during the intial medication start-up. I never saw what was to become my life back then. I worked full time and always the first to pick up overtime in the nursing home, I was making a living for my husband and 3 children. My husband was a small family farmer barely surviving. But the biggest reason was I loved my job, I loved those people and still do. at the age of thirty it was medically decided I would have to take these awful meds everyday for the rest off my life, but I knew that was the only way for me to live life like everyone else.My depressions didn’t stop just had to continuelly increase dose and put on different ones just to live my life. I never told anyone outside my family, I always considered it my DEFECT. I even worked 2 separate jobs twice. I worked my fulltime day job at the nursing home and left there and went directly to my second job of 20 hrs a week at another nursing home. what can I say I absolutely love that type of work very rewarding for me. 2005 I was put in Psycho Therapy for this awful condition. It wasn’t until 2009 I said something to alert my Therapist. I WAS LIVING WITH VERBAL AND EMOTIONAL ABUSE AND THOUGHT IT WAS NORMAL. I married in 1982 and it started with in days. My checks were always handed over to my husband and I had to ask for everything and was denied lunch money even during pregnancies more often than not. my name was on the account but not allowed to write checks. ALL decisions were his, I couldn’t have friends conversations with my family were listened to and mail opened. i never argued because I always thought it would make him mad which meant the silent treatment. I LOVED HIM. I had no idea that my brain was keeping all this stored up even though I always thought everything would be fine and each time something happened which was several times a day I would just blow it off, leave the room and carry on but instead in 2012 I suffered a severe loss and was admitted to a behavioral health hospit once again. had several stays by 2012 I HAVE NO MEMORY OF THAT STAY OF I BELIEVE IT WAS LIKE 2 WEEKS. BUT i was now broken completely, I spent the next several months in bed can’t function can’t even take care of my needs. After 6 months my husband decided I needed to apply for disability we couldn’t pay our bills and the meds and the horrible medical bills I had no income anymore. I COULDN’T EVEN BATH MYSELF! I became very suicidal and I struggled every moment to just exist. I WAS DENIED TWICE. the stress took its toll on my husband so he hired a lawyer. I physically could not leave the house the anxiety from the illness and the depression I had developed a social anxiety couldn’t even handle being around my kids and grandkids and I couldn’t understand why this was happenning and the meds weren’t working at all so had to change all the time but yet SSDI thought I SHOULD BE ABLE TO WORK. I didn’t understand how. THE first appeal (third one so far) the lawyer did was denied. So he went through it again and each time it takes months but finally I got a hearing date with a judge and after he went threw my case he awarded me SSDI without a hearing. But by that time my world as I knew it was over. The stress of money and me not being able to be there emotionally for my husband, made him leave me or I had to leave to be exact. I had to go to the county for help getting a place to live and money for food. I went from earning my life and working the job I loved to a 52 year old divorced woman after 32 years of marriage. I just wanted to get well and live life but ended up losing my marriage and ending up on welfare until finally I started getting benefits. Even though I went through all that abuse for all those years I just wanted to get well and fix my marriage I know we wouldn’t be divorced had SSDI would have just gave a dam about my illness earlier. STILL IN THERAPY EVERY WEEK. AND MEDS EVERYDAY and will be forever.

        • alonenow

          BTW I lost my CNA Certificate because you have to work 16 hours a year after 2 years they revoke it. I had that for so many years and my job was a part of me, Most people want to work cause it’s part of who we are

      • Melissa Arrington

        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?

        • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

          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!

          • Isabelle

            I have a question for you. Why the denials are always never truly explaining why you are denied. Why is it I have to beg for monies I have earned and put away. Why am I so broken that loving is not worth I. When you sleep I am awake , the same pain, fear of the unknown for the says to come that you have no clue. Tell me why is it that negative comments just doesn’t go down too well. Tell me why the ugly truth does not mesh with your conscious. Say something,

    • lisa

      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

    • Linda

      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.

    • Harvey Johnson

      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.

      • Michele Settle

        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.

      • Marc

        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.

        • cathy

          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…

        • Harvey Johnson

          I do blame the government. First, I blame them for initially denying my claim when that should simply not have happened. Second, I blame them for making me – or anyone else – wait for two years to get a hearing. Third, I blame them for now making me wait for more than three months and counting to get a ruling on that hearing. This is unacceptable, and the only reason it is allowed to go on is because the politicians don’t have to care about this program being responsive to claimants, because society at large (the voters) see us claimants, generally speaking, in a negative light. The voters see this as a welfare program and they see us claimants as lazy people who don’t want to work. Fact is I haven’t received one nickel of SSI, I have returned to work, and I have and always did have a genuine claim for SSDI that meets the requirements of disability, since before it was filed. I did work before I was disabled, and I was a high wage earner who paid into this terrible system, that has wasted tons of money trying to keep me from being compensated for my disability (cancer that fractured and then destroyed my upper arm, leaving me with no muscular cuff around my shoulder and no functional use of my dominant arm and hand), and in the end will possibly end up having to pay it out to me anyways. So don’t tell me not to “blame, blame, blame” the government. This is unacceptable and the general public would NEVER tolerate this amount of bureaucratic red tape from the government for other programs or processes. Imagine how the public would react if it took this much to process a passport, a student loan, or a GI Bill application. But disability – can’t work??? facing mortality??? – get lost!!! We will fight you tooth and nail! And in the meantime, while we fight you and your “so-called” claim we could care less how hard you’ve worked and paid into this system, and we could certainly care absolutely less about how you are going to pay for anything! So yes, this system is a FAILURE, I give it a big fat “F-” grade, and maybe the whole thing should just be scrapped and STOP making people pay for something that WILL NOT be there to help them at the time WHEN they need it!!! Even IF I receive the back pay, it already FAILED me. I already needed the disability insurance and instead other people had to pay my living expenses!

    • Carol Weintraub

      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.

    • R

      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.

    • Armando

      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.

      • lee

        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.

    • L Thompson

      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.

      • Juan Zervas

        6/9/2019 I’m gratified with the way that blog.ssa.gov handles this sort of topic! Usually to the point, often contentious, without fail well-researched and thought-provoking.

        http://www.abcagency.se/75657

      • Art Coak

        Quite a good read. I just passed this on 6/13/2019 to a fellow student who has been doing some work of their own on this subject. To show her appreciation, they just bought me a drink! So, let me express my gratitude by saying: Thank you for the drink!

        http://www.abcagency.se/41535

    • EMMIE

      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

    • Charles W Whitfield

      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!

    • Kathy

      If you apply for SSDI online is there a way to add records to the application?

      • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

        To add new medical evidence or a medical source to your pending claim, it is always better that you mail or take the information to your local Social Security office.

    • cathy

      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.

    • clar-williams

      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. . .

    • Anakka

      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.

    • Janet buzby

      Sorry disagree this many people including myself cannot all be wrong. They play games with your life and do not care. Need someone to overllook this agency they are out of control totally. The rudeness towards the people must stop. Who in the hell do they think they are. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. There is no way in hell it should not take this long. Petitions need to be signed and ptesented about this agency. They need there act cleaned up big time. They treat you like you are a piece of crap. People are sick they do not need to be yreated this eay or talked to in a demeaning manner

    • Sally

      I just got SSDI. My children were not included. They lived with me and now want to live with their dad? What do I do…how will this affect their benefits. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Barry j Stampler

      Oh puhleeez!. I have paid over $250,000 into my Social Security account during the course of my lifetime. I’ve had three heart attacks the last one I went into congestive heart failure was declared dead twice once for 12 minutes I’m not exactly Faking It stop using stereotypes

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