Thursday, December 11, 2014

I Just Need A Minute Or Two

The call came in yesterday in the late morning. The call was from our disability advocate, Autumn, who has done a stellar job of taking care of our case. The news she called about was that Thomas has been approved for SSI (Disability). After stopping the evaluation of Thomas by one of their doctors they wasted no time in going through all of the medical records I had provided and that his doctors had provided and from that they determined that Thomas is, indeed, disabled. This is good news on many levels which I will talk about in a minute. The thing is, though, I just need a minute or two to let this sink in.

You'd think that was a call I really wanted. It was one I really wanted. I have waited for this decision for months but somehow when the call came in, it fell like a big boulder dropped in front of me just about landing on my toes. Where I felt it the most, though, was in my heart as I heard the words that he had been determined to be disabled. I asked a few questions one of which was,

"Is this considered real disability because he only got SSI because doesn't he need SSDI to be considered truly disabled?"

Then the answer came,

"Melanie, Thomas is now considered disabled by the federal government."

Ouch!

Maybe you don't get it but as a mom who saw an entirely different life for her son, this is pretty tough news to hear.

He's disabled.

He has schizophrenia. He really does. He's sick. End of story.

Oh. okay.

"Thank you Autumn for all of the wonderful work you have done. I really really appreciate what you have done."

The truth is, I am indebted to this woman for all that she did. All of the calls she made, the forms she filled out, the personal time she took with me to answer my barrage of questions. She did her job well and earned her 20%. She did good but by no fault of her own, she had to deliver the news that Thomas is disabled to a mom apparently still hanging onto some modicum of denial about this illness in her son.

So, if you all don't mind, I just need a minute or two here to accept reality.

(one 1000, two 1000, three 1000, four 1000.........2 minutes)

Okay, so then let me focus on the good things here.

--Thomas now has a steady income.

--He will have this income even if he is unable to work.

--We're looking at the possibility now of him actually living independently.

--This will be the perfect opportunity to teach him about cost of living and how to budget.

--He will have lifelong health insurance backed by a lifelong secondary insurance from his biological dad so we'll never see another medical bill.

He will qualify for numerous programs--local, state, and federal.

There are so many great things that come from this news that I received yesterday. There is a lot still to learn. Medicaid to set up and calls to doctors to make sure they'll still accept him as a patient even though he is now on Medicaid. I'm sure there is much much more but what I have listed here to begin with are pretty great things.

So this morning, as I type this, I am awaiting a call from our local Social Security office to finalize things. Thomas wants me to be his payee and manage his money so I imagine that will get talked about. I'm sure there'll be an appointment made to sign papers and then we'll go from there. It's a morning of mixed emotions here in the Jimenez household. Thomas, of course, is happy. He doesn't understand the magnitude of what has happened by having this determination made. He sees only the best things and I thank God for that. To him, he's just him. He's the him he's always been. Now he's him with a monthly check that signifies independence. He sees only the good. As his mom, it will be my weight to carry, the realization of what being deemed disabled means.

I guess that is just the way it should be. Thomas has enough weight to carry just living with this illness. My job, as always and forever, will be to clear his path, light the way and pray.

This thing with SSI is a good thing. Now let's see what's next.

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