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Need Help for Disability/Social Security

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by Grape Funk, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Grape Funk

    Grape Funk Senior Member

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    I am new to this area of expertise so I thought some you could help. Here's the deal:

    I am 25 years old, male, USA citizen, have had M.E. for about 5 years now with a functioning level of about 3. I have not been in the workforce (other than summer jobs when home from school) as ME destroyed any chance of that at age 21. I can get out and about once a week maximum for a doctor, grocery, etc. as long as i don't push too much, otherwise the bed owns me. I am currently living with my mother in the Northeastern area of the States and she pays for all my care as of now including health insurance, treatment (to no avail) and food. Great Mom, I know. The problem's that i can not be leeching off her and expecting her to continuously provide for me costing thousands a year while simultaneously coughing up her own dough for her own bills. That's why i need Social Security Disability/Supplemental Security Income SSI and your advice.

    Do I not qualify for SS Disability since i have not worked the 10 year minimum/ been in the job force long enough? / Or Will I need to try to qualify for SSI?
    How difficult is it to get SSI and will payments be next to nothing if i live with my mother already?

    I am currently thinking about moving to year round warm weather due to the harsh winters here. If I do recieve SSI will i be able to move to another state and recieve the same government funds, or will i have to do the whole shebang over again?

    I see that 2000 dollar maximum can be had in assets for an individual. I have more than that in my bank account currently from odd jobs and so forth before i got sick. If i plan to buy a cheap one bedroom down south (real cheap) first will that affect me? It says you can have a home and still recieve SSI. On the other hand If i have my money in my bank account just sitting there, I will not be able to receive SSI, correct? Should i buy the home first before starting this process? Reason being is i see so many people spending the majority of their checks on private rentals and barely get by.

    What would be a typical SSI gov check considering my demographics listed above?

    Any other details or general info i should consider would be much appreciated.

    Thank you all.
     
  2. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    There's SSDI and there's SSI. They are different. For, SSDI you have to have worked 20 of the last 40 quarters, and you said you didn't. It's not 10 years total, it's about half of the last 10 years (40 quarters). Also if you didn't earn much, payments would be low anyway. So go for SSI.

    Don't buy the home first because approval is not guaranteed, and if approved it could take over 6 months. Most applicants have to go through getting denied and then appeal it, so some take over 18 months to get approved. Then they get up to 12 months backpay all at once.

    Yes make sure you meet all SSI requirements and don't have assets sitting in your account. You don't want to get denied for something you could have easily avoided.

    I think most SSI checks are about $500-600 a month. It's not much to live on, unless someone has a roommate. You may be able to also get food stamps and heating/cooling bill help and other assistance if you are getting SSI and have little or nothing else.

    You can find FAQs with lots of answers and tips. Be careful, I believe the SSI office is not on your side, and doctors sometimes lie. They say they will support your application but then don't.
     
  3. caledonia

    caledonia

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    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    You apply for both SSDI and SSI with one application. SS will decide which one (or both) you qualify for.

    You can get SSDI if you have enough work quarters. I believe the requirement is less for a younger person like yourself, so if you're lucky you will qualify for that. In that case, it doesn't matter how much you have in savings. You could be a millionaire and still get approved.

    If you qualify for SSI, then that's when the $2000 limit on assets comes in. If you would qualify for SSI except for having too many assets, you have the option to spend down your assets so you can get SSI. So don't spend them now. Wait to see if you qualify.

    You're living with your mom and she's paying for your expenses - this could be good or bad. You may be able to get SS payments based on your parents' SS, if you can establish that your date of disability started before age 22, and a parent is deceased or receiving SS benefits.

    SSI is based on household assets being $2000 or less. So your mom's assets would also be included in the calculation.

    As you can see, it's a little complicated, but the rules are a little different for younger applicants, so hopefully you'll luck out and qualify for SSDI. There is a nifty quiz on ssa.gov that tells you if you're eligible or not. http://www.benefits.gov/ssa

    You're supposed to get a Statement of Benefits from SS every two years. If you don't have your last copy, you can order one (takes about 2 weeks to receive). It will give a summary of all your earnings, and also the amount of money you would receive if you became disabled. (Average for SSDI is $1000 a month and average for SSI is $500; it could be different (less) in your case because you're younger and have less work quarters).

    If you're on SSI there are various programs to help - section 8 rent, food stamps, heat assistance, etc. I have SSDI and still get a discount on my phone bill and free meds from the drug company patient assistance program.

    SS is a federal program, so if you moved to FL, you just tell them where you're moving to and they'll send payments there. No need to re-qualify.

    You can apply online at ssa.gov. The main thing is to get started, then keep appealing any denials until you win.

    Write back and let us know when you've applied. We can help with further steps then.
     
  4. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    I would seriously consider finding a reputable disability lawyer to help you through the process. With a diagnosis that lacks objective testing like ours, it can be very difficult to get through the process. I applied with a massive amount of medical documentation and awesome specialist drs on my side...and still am waiting now almost 3 years later for my review by a judge after my application and appeal were initially denied. It is also more challenging in some respects when you are young as well (as I am). A good lawyer will be familiar with your conditions and be able to recommend testing etc that can strengthen your case. They can also make sure all the paperwork is filed in a timely fashion and gather necessary documentation and statements.

    The attorney fees are capped by law and many lawyers will work on a contingency basis. I would not try to go through this process alone if you don't have to...it's just too complicated and filled with too many ways for us to lose because it is not an illness that automatically confers disability (in the eyes of SSA).
     
    Ocean likes this.
  5. Grape Funk

    Grape Funk Senior Member

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    Cool. You all helped. I also checked out the SS website for more info. Before I apply I've got one more round of questions.

    Should i contact a lawyer before filling out the form online, during the process, or after? I notice a lawyer that specifically deals with me/cfs is 1 hour 20 minutes from my home. Is it likely he will travel(if needed) for court or should i consult someone closer with less experience with our disease? Ema how is it more challenging being young and going through the process?

    With my mother's resources included-bank accounts, cash-I am over the limit to receive SSI. From the way i understand spend down, she could transfer some of her money to her mom's account(third party) and that would be considered legal? As I understand with medicaid, the gov can check your bank accounts from 60 months prior, so i suspect the same, or close to it, with SSI.

    The deal with buying a house is this. I could buy one for around 25 thousand down south. If i live on my own i will most likely get benefits for food,utilities and clothing but not likely shelter portion. That's ok. Here where i reside, it would probably be the same. I would say my mother provides rent, and i need money for basics to survive. All Good. Here comes the problem:
    If i apply before i buy the home (right now), the SSI bureaucrat will most likely ask where i got the money for a home down payment(anything greater than 2000) and/or reject further SSI deposit because the action of buying a home. Therefore if i do not buy the home first (home does not count as a resource) projected outcome will be staying put up north unless i'm up for section 8. Thoughts on This? This is all hypothetical, presuming i gather SSI.

    One Last Note:
    People have got to have more than 2000 in the bank or stashed somewhere on these programs. I mean come on, as soon as you make a couple bucks(unless hidden in shoeboxes), SSI rejects you, then you spend what little you made, and boom, you are right back on SSI with nothing in your account. I am not counting SGA. Chances are you will not topple poverty anytime soon, if ever. It seems with SSI they almost want you to spend everything you got-even if not much-where as SSDI you are OK even if you have hundreds of thousands as well, plus a bigger monthly SSDI paycheck. I know people paid in taxes longer and worked for years first but the system is still is harsh on others.
     
  6. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    Some lawyers don't take a client until after they are denied. Most of the others want to see you before you apply. I believe you can screw up your application if you say the wrong thing or don't include enough of the right details. I know most of them will travel or send a representative, but how far would depend on them. I would definitely contact the one who knows CFS/ME and see if you are too far away. I would think a little about it before you hire an attorney. If you have a clearer head and don't mind doing the work.

    If you can buy the house and your mom can pay on it for years for you, that works. I would be careful because of the chance of a total denial of SSI (unless your case is more clear and you know for sure you will get approved) or the chance of having to wait 18 months or more before seeing a dime from SSI. Otherwise if you think you will get backpay, then use the backpay toward downpayment.

    On SSDI, you can have assets but you still can't make over a certain amount and get full disability payments. When you make over that amount, the payment gets reduced until it's zero.
     
  7. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Absolutely not. Hiding assets to qualify will get you barred from receiving help for 5 years, if I recall correctly. And they will check.

    It's unfortunate, but they really do require recipients become almost completely impoverished before offering any help. Buying a first house or car MIGHT be safe, but you should definitely talk to a SS lawyer first. Same thing with genuinely giving the money away as a gift.
     
  8. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    My lawyer told me that it is more challenging because ultimately younger people are more costly to the system and it is generally believed that younger people have more resources (physical and financial) whether or not that is actually true.

    SSA was very clear in their denial that I am no longer capable of doing my old job (which was mostly sedentary light work) but somehow still thought that I was capable of *other* sedentary work despite being bed and housebound for years. It makes no sense. And this was despite the copious statements from my specialist doctors saying otherwise. I have had to go through adversarial appointments with their examiners and the whole process has been VERY stressful. That is why I suggest getting objective help from someone who knows the system. I would contact the lawyer and find out how they work right away before you apply. Then you can make an informed decision.

    As far as SSI goes, all I know is that they considered my living with my parents as "income" that counted against me. I guess they wanted me to live on the roadside for 3 years while they processed my application. Then I would be dead and would no longer be eligible for any of it. Win, win - right?? Arrgh.
     
  9. caledonia

    caledonia

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    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    I would suggest interviewing 3 lawyers and seeing if any will take your case from initial application. Formerly, lawyers wouldn't take your case until you got denied at least once, but the lawyer I used will now take a case from initial application. I think the reason is competition from disability services such as Binder and Binder and Allsup. These are not lawyers, but they will take your case from the beginning.

    While you're interviewing them, you can ask the question about SSI and buying the house.

    It's good to have a lawyer from your area, so that they're familiar with wait times and judges in your area.

    Objective evidence / testing to prove you can't work:

    1) submit any abnormal labs or tests, especially those mentioned in the 1999 SS ruling on CFS - http://www.cfids-me.org/disinissues/ssa0499.html

    2) Functional capacity evaluation to show how fatigue and pain limit your ability to work

    3) Neuropsych test to show cognitive impairment and any anxiety, depression, etc.

    4) A record of continuing disability which is established by visiting your doc every 3 months and have him document that you continue to be disabled. My lawyer had a nifty form for this. My judge liked this information the best, because I was relatively young (37) and they think you can recover.

    SS should pay for and send you to the FCE and Neuropsych test, or you can set up and pay for them yourself, assuming you have the health insurance or money to pay for them. Your lawyer may know of good people to go to (ones familiar with ME/CFS who aren't bought off by insurance companies).

    5) If you tried to work and failed, or tried to attend school and failed, that's good evidence too.

    In general, what you're trying to prove is that you can't work full time at any job. The lightest form of work is "sedentary", so you have to prove that you can't sit and work for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week consistently.
     
  10. Yogi

    Yogi

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  11. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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