Re: how do i get on disability?
ctbo, you can call Social Security and ask for an appointment, that way you will know what time, and they'll take you to a private area to fill out the paperwork. It will lessen your time in their waiting room. Sometimes, they will even let you apply over the phone, and you can file on the internet.
Also, if you get denied (like most do at first), when you make it to the ALJ it isn't like you see courtrooms on tv. I'll describe my hearing with the ALJ - it was in a big building downtown, there was a good sized waiting room with doors to small rooms all around it. We had to go through a metal detector. The people who had hearings were there (not many at once, some had a spouse or friend with them.) My lawyer came and got me early and we went to a small room with a desk to talk about my case. Then we went into a larger room which had a large conference table. In this larger room was the judge, someone taking notes, someone from Vocational Rehab to determine if I could do any work, the lawyer, and me. That's all. No jury, no people watching and listening. And it wasn't like they were cross examining me, it was more like carrying on a conversation. The judge looked through my papers, and asked me questions based on what was in my paperwork. He wanted more details of some things. I got to describe how my mind thinks (or doesn't do it well, actually), how reading technical material is like greek to me now (but that used to be my job). I had to talk about my depression and how it affects me. Just saying what was in my application, but in different words. He wanted to know why all of a sudden after having a good job for years, now I couldn't do it. So I described all my meltdowns at work, how I hid them from my co-workers for so many years, how I'd go driving around at lunch screaming my head off, or to the bathroom and cry. How they would catch me sometimes and be shocked. And it just got worse and worse over the years and I couldn't make it to a private place before the meltdown hit. So he had a better understanding of what was going on with me than I was able to write down on that sheet of paper.
You can take someone with you if it will help you stay calmer, you don't have to go alone.
1st step - call social security and make an appointment, before the end of January if possible, so your benefits will start with this month. Good luck!