Wednesday, June 04, 2014

SSDI/SSI

Someone asked me how things were going with getting Thomas Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) so I thought I would update you today on that. I'm not going to lie, I tried doing it online and was tripped up within the first few pages of filling out the form and I went back to my decision to hire a disability advocate. My life is filled with so much chaos and trying to wrap my brain around the "fun" that is SSDI/SSI is just not possible. To those of you out there doing it on your own you have my deepest respect and admiration. Normally I have what it takes to work on large projects like this but in the last year that ability has all but disappeared for me.

So for those of you who don't know what a disability advocate is, they are a non-attorney representative that will be taking care of everything concerning the process with the exception of a few things that either Thomas or I have to show our face for at Social Security. They are paid by taking 20% of the back pay of Thomas' award. What this means is that if Thomas is declared disabled back to October 2012 when he was diagnosed with acute paranoid schizophrenia then there will be back payments starting from then until the present. The advocate will take their cut from that or if there is no back award or any approval at all, they will have done it all for free. I know that a vast majority of people are appalled by having to pay anyone to do this for them but Thomas and I discussed it and felt it was the best option for us. God knows Thomas couldn't have done this on his own and with the juggling act that is my life, I couldn't have done it on my own either.

Concerning the advocate, I thought it was interesting when Thomas and I stopped in at our local Social Security office to turn in some documents, the representative there saw that we had this advocate working for us and she told me that because the advocate isn't an attorney that they can't take payment for their services because it is against the law. This piqued my interest and it is something I am definitely going to look into. Personally, I think they should be paid since they are doing what I consider difficult work on my behalf.

When we first went to start the process with the advocate, they asked for everything we had concerning Thomas' medical care among other things. I have got to say, this is one of those times that I am glad I kept immaculate records of Thomas' history and hospitalizations because they were thrilled with the information they got to start the case. They are thinking that they have enough medical information as it stands now to argue Thomas' case for disability. While I think that is cool, I really want SSDI to talk to his therapist and psychiatrist to get a fuller picture of Thomas and what he deals with. None of those records say anything about how Thomas can't work because facets of his illness cause him to either call in sick or to leave work early. There is that and so much more.

For us it appears that the next step is going to be a phone interview for Thomas on the 3rd of July. The lady at Social Security apologized that the date was so far out because they were backed up but frankly I'm just happy that the whole process is finally in motion. I have put off getting Thomas started on SSDI/SSI because I have had some kind of block in me stopping me. I have talked about this before here. There was just a large part of me that didn't want to face that Thomas was sick enough to be considered for disability. I see now that he is and I am happy everything is finally in motion.

So that is where we are right now in the process. I will try to keep you guys updated on where we are and what we are having to do for our part. I know I am bypassing a huge amount of the work it takes to get disability so I'm not going to be the best source for information about what it's like to be in the trenches with this. What I will be able to do is tell you what it's like if you ever plan to opt to use an attorney or advocate.

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