For those of you with severe health problems which prevent you from being able to work 40 hours a week, you may be considering filing for Social Security Disability. If you know anyone who has ever filed, regardless of how bad off they are, you know that it is usually a battle. It’s getting even worse, the applications are just stacking up. The majority of people are rejected on their first attempt and it may take two to four YEARS to get an approval even with a lawyer or advocate. One of the main things you need to understand is what Social Security is looking for. You have to learn how to speak “their language”. Primarily, they want to know what specifically is keeping you from being able to work ANY job 40 hours a week? For example, how long can you sit, walk or stand before you have to rest on an “average” day. There’s a lot of questions on the Social Security Disability application and you have to make sure that you’re truly explaining your limitations because many of us have been taught to “minimize complaining”. The process of “making light of the situation” will not win your Social Security Disability case.
I was very lucky in the fact that another patient in my Dr.’s office told me she had used a disability advocate to file her paperwork for her. When I filed, I was so weak that I had to have someone actually do the writing for me. We filled out most of the paperwork and then took it to Debra King of King & Heinline Certified Disability Specialists for her to include her expert opinion and file it for me. I was approved after the required 5 months waiting period of being unable to work. You can reach Debra or her associate, Amy, at (540) 381-3644, the office is located in Christiansburg Virginia. I don’t know if they handle cases outside of Virginia.
Another good source of information about filing for Social Security Disability, as well as a wealth of information for people who are already receiving Social Security Disability Benefits, is the Disability Digest. They have a lot of FREE (my favorite price) information as well as some books and programs you can purchase. I found several free interviews that I feel are quite helpful. One with Michelle Toole talks about the entire experience of someone who becomes disabled and how it affects the whole family when a person that they used to count on is no longer able to contribute to the family in the same way as before. Often, when you’re experiencing the pain of losing your ability to live life “normally”, you can become caught up in your own grief for what you’ve lost and forget that your family is experiencing feelings of loss also. It’s a time for everyone to be extra caring and supportive to each other.
So, if you’re thinking about filing for Social Security Disability, I strongly suggest that you do some research first. If you’re too ill to do your own research, I hope you have a friend or family member who can help you. I’m not a disability specialist, but I have been through the process, so feel free to contact me if you feel I can be of any service to you.
Here’s to Feeling Better!