Thursday, March 24, 2011

SSDI update

On February 4 I was finally determined by a judge to be disabled.  Here it is 7 weeks later and I still haven't seen any money, haven't gotten the paperwork to sign up for Medicare. 
 
Since my file was previously "lost" in the system for 2 years, my lawyer nudged the judge to make sure I wasn't falling through the cracks again. 
 
She says it takes 60-90 days to get the written decision.  I got mine the other day, which had the disheartening news that the approval is now being sent to another office, which can take as much as 60 days to get their paperwork to me.
 
So, on top of the 11 years I had to wait for a judge to agree that I'm disabled, it could be six months on top of that before I see any money or government health insurance, and who knows how long after that before IHSS is able to send someone to help with the chores I can't manage myself.
 
If you're talking to someone who's convinced that all slackers have to do is say "I'm disabled" and government benefits immediately start flowing, tell them my story.  When I first lost my job, I was told "sell your house", and did the math that the money would cover rent and other expenses for only 10 years, so I would have been homeless for the past year if I'd followed that advice.
 
In fact, VocRehab has been saying since the very first hearing that there's no job I could do, and the judge has been substituting his own opinion "you look healthy to me" for their expertise.  A lot of extra expense to the taxpayer to keep having one hearing after another, repeated involvement of government lawyers in reviewing appeals.  
 
And, apparently, there's no recourse against the SSDI judges for discriminating because they don't like the name of my diagnosis; the symptoms and limitations were more than enough to qualify for benefits when I first filed in 2000, but because the judges were looking at the name CFS and assuming I was just depressed or just lazy or faking, they kept turning me down on subjective bases instead of reading the doctors' reports of objective restrictions and limitations and listening to the VocRehab experts.
 
 

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