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Applying for Disability revisited

puppymommo

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I followed with interest PJrose's thread on applying for disability knowing this day would come. Yesterday DH and I filled out the online application on ssa.gov for disability for him. He loves his job but has been on sick leave (w/o pay) since 1/10 this time around and has to wait at least 2 more weeks for another evaluation. DH has schizophrenia and this is the 3rd time in the past 5 years since being diagnosed that he has had a major break (hearing voices telling him to hurt himself). Yes, he does take his meds faithfully and still gets sick.

We know that the minimum time for being approved is at least 6 months and that many (if not most) people are denied the first time they apply. We are also going through this with our SIL (step-daughter's DH) who has COPD. He was denied and they are now working with a lawyer.

Back to DH. He loves his job and he would love to go back to work. But he is also scared. He really does not want to have a major breakdown AT WORK.

One thing that is unclear is if it is better for him to resign or to be fired for not coming to work. He already missed 6 weeks of work in the fall for an unrelated problem and it will be at least 6 weeks before he can go back, if at all. As soon as his employment is terminated, we can withdraw his small amount of retirement benefits (under 10k) which could help us survive until disability benefits kick in (or we find out he is denied).

One good thing I discovered looking around the disability website is that schizophrenia is one of about 100 "fast track" diseases that are usually approved; right up there with pancreatic cancer. :ignore:

Another good thing is that if he gets disability payments, he can still work part time and earn under $1000/month. That would be perfect for him to find a low stress part time job. Stress of any kind really throws him off balance.

Someone once said, "Mental illness is not a casserole disease." When you loved one goes into the mental hospital, no one brings you a casserole.

Ain't it the truth.
 
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pjrose

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Oh boy, I certainly feel for you and your DH! The disease is bad enough, but to have to deal with fear of a breakdown at work AND the bureaucracy of applying for disability....that extra stress surely can't help. (Above, I think you mean "back to DH" not "back to DD")

If he is initially denied for disability but later approved, he will get the back payments. If you use an attorney they'll take a percent of the back payment and also some (e.g. the ones who heavily advertise) may intentionally go slowly so as to stretch out the amount of the back payments. Try to go without an attorney at first.

DD's claim is on the back burner for now; she has been doing well for about a month; not working or exerting herself, but in school part-time on-campus and part-time online. If her condition can be managed then she may not need disability. We also still have a parade of specialists to see if/when she has problems again.

The ability to earn ~$1,000/ month is great, so people with disabilities aren't just sitting around feeling useless and of course to add to their income.

Keep us posted.
 
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SOS8260456

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A friend of mine used an online service for his initial application. I don't remember the name, but I know it pops up frequently. It is made up of people you used to work for SSA and they knew exactly how to word the application. He had back and knee problems and was in his early 50's. He got approved on the first round. Don't know if it was because of his age, because they do say that you have a better chance if you are over 50, or if it was using this service, that got him right through.

One of my FIL's closest friends was dying of cancer and he was denied. The poor man passed away before his case came up on appeal, so his wife received nothing. Sometimes I think they just put all the applications on a wall and through darts at them to decide which ones will go right through.

Anyway, hope things work out for you guys.
 

glypnirsgirl

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Someone once said, "Mental illness is not a casserole disease." When you loved one goes into the mental hospital, no one brings you a casserole.

Ain't it the truth.

It sure is!

My heart goes out to you and your husband. People that have had no experience of mental illness just do not get that IT IS AN ILLNESS. It is not a personality defect or a lack of character: it's an illness. And like most illnesses, sometimes it responds well to treatment and sometimes not. And sometimes resistance seems to build up so what used to work doesn't work any more.

I hope that you have a positive outcome from the application.

elaine
 

Carol C

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I sent you a PM since I don't want to post publicly about my hubby's situation and experience with applying for SSDI. My heart goes out to you and your DH...I hope for the best for both of you.
 

Passepartout

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Puppymommo, DW, as you may know, is a family law attorney specializing in SSDI claims. She says that schizophrenia is NOT a 'Compassionate Allowance' condition on 'Fast Track' for review. That doesn't mean it has any priority for approval. But there is a 'listing' for schizophrenia that defines criteria for automatic award. Because the records maintained by the psychiatrist don't always address the criteria, it is imperative that he find an experienced SSDI attorney who will work with the psychiatrist to develop the evidence to support the award. Not (usually) an attorney you find advertising on TV. Those guys take many, many, cases in the hope that a percentage will be awarded. Your case is unlikely to get the individual attention it deserves. Best: either one suggested by the psychiatrist that he works with or www.nosscr.org

We wish you well.

Jim
 

funtime

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How about STD and LTD?

Obviously there are several paths. If he is terminated and is able to look for work he can apply for unemployment. You might want to use a lawyer to determine if it is possible to go this route because the two routes - unemployment and disability may be inconsistent.

If he does not know if he really wants to leave work, have him apply for a six month leave of absence without pay - that way, if he feels better he may have a chance to go back. I am sure the doctor might recommend the same if asked. Also have him look into short term and long term disability policies of his employer which may kick in. However, just not showing up (e.g. quitting by omission) is not recommended as he leaves a bad taste at a long term employer when he searches for a less stressful job and he may be out benefits like the STD and LTD policy if any.

Most large employers are covered by the ADA and they are required to make a "reasonable accommodation" to a person with a disability. Your husband's disease would qualify. So I would be upfront with his employer and maybe search some internet sites (just gueessing here) as to what others have done in terms of reasonable accommodations. Maybe one would be a transfer to a less stressful position or time off.

As to lawyers, while I am a lawyer, they are regulated state by state. I do not do SSI or SSDI. You usually need to have an expertise in one particular area of the law more than a general assessment. Does your state bar have a website that shows those specializing in elder care or SSI/SSDI? That would be best in your hunt for a lawyer. Janette aka Funtime
 

Pat H

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Does he not have short term/long term disability at work? Where I worked, STD kicked in on the 8th day and that included weekends. Depending on length of service, you could receive up tp 100% of your pay for 6 months. In most states you can't collect unemployment if you are not able to work. If he resigns that could keep him from receiving unemployment also.

Good luck. Schizophrenia is a terrible disease. I have a nephew who suffers from it.
 

puppymommo

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Puppymommo, DW, as you may know, is a family law attorney specializing in SSDI claims. She says that schizophrenia is NOT a 'Compassionate Allowance' condition on 'Fast Track' for review. That doesn't mean it has any priority for approval. But there is a 'listing' for schizophrenia that defines criteria for automatic award.]

Thanks for the clarification. I did not read far enough on the Compassionate Allowance section of the website. Schizophrenia was CONSIDERED to be added to the list but was not added after the latest round of hearings. Thanks also for the info about the attorney. We were thinking we could probably do this w/o an attorney but perhaps not.
 

puppymommo

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Obviously there are several paths. If he is terminated and is able to look for work he can apply for unemployment. You might want to use a lawyer to determine if it is possible to go this route because the two routes - unemployment and disability may be inconsistent.

He cannot get unemployment because he gets military retirement and in Missouri they deduct that amount from whatever he is due for unemployment. The last time he was unemployed he applied and the net was $0.

The issue is not so much can he get work as can he keep it. He is very personable and has many skills and extensive experience including 20 years in the USMC. But he cannot take any kind of stress at all or he falls apart; starts hearing voices, etc. Also his paranoia can cause problems at work as well, and that is not as easily combatted by medication.
 

puppymommo

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Does he not have short term/long term disability at work? Where I worked, STD kicked in on the 8th day and that included weekends. Depending on length of service, you could receive up tp 100% of your pay for 6 months. In most states you can't collect unemployment if you are not able to work. If he resigns that could keep him from receiving unemployment also.

At his job STD is an option that you pay for via payroll deduction. A few years back we decided to opt out. Hindsight is 20/20. I think we opted out because it did not cover mental illness, or there was a strong pre-existing conditions clause. It would have helped last fall when he was out for 6 weeks from leg pain subsequent to hip replacement, but we didn't have it.

I've never heard of the employee having to pay for temporary disability insurance out of their own pocket, but that's the way they do it.
 
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