Hi all! I know I'm a newbie but I'm definitely not a stranger to these types of boards. Some of you know me on Neurotalk as cherry33778. For those of you who don't here's my story from Neurotalk:
I was diagnosed in June 2008 with Myasthenia Gravis and I have been on oxygen since September 2007, a rare constant symptom of MG.
I applied on August 4, 2008. I believe my first denial was around October/November that same year. I then hired an attorney Novenber 2008. My second denial was around Spring of 2009. We then filed for a hearing on May 1, 2009. I was really surprised when I got a notice in April 2010 that my hearing was going to be May 26, 2010.
On the day of my hearing I was met by an attorney that I had never met, my guess is that something happened to my attorney and he could not be there that day. This attorney seemed somewhat familiar with my case and he "prep'd" me before going into the hearing.
When I entered the room there was a long table that covered most of the room. The judge was seated at the head of the table that was closest to the door with the reporter on his right and the vocational expert was to her right. My attorney was seated across from the VE and to the left of the judge. I had to sit at the end of the table all by myself which I must say was kinda scary.
After my lawyer asked me questions such as my symptoms and limitations, the judge then asked me questions like what I go through on a day to day basis. After those type of questions he then started asking me about my previous employment, my wages, did I quit my job, etc.
A little background...I worked as a part-time supervisor at UPS and was terminated. Since my termination was unfounded I was award unemployment. According to Florida's unemployment it is not neccessary to look for full-time work and since I was not employed full-time prior it wasn't even expected. Even though I did look for part-time work I was always passed over, assumability because of medical reasons.
The judge then stated that since I received unemployment he would award me right then if I changed my onset date to January 1, 2010 giving up 28 months of backpay and medicare eligibility. He excused me and my lawyer so we could talk about it. My lawyer pretty much told me it was up to me, but I needed to know that if I changed (amended) the onset date I could not reverse it, and the judge may still amend it himself. I told him absolutely not, according to the law I did not do anything wrong.
We went back into the room and my lawyer told the judge No, I did not want to change my onset date. My lawyer then stated that he would argue that I was not trying to get substantial gainful employment. The judge then asked me why was my onset date in September 2007 when it showed that I had worked until June 2008. I told him that it actually was not the case. My job, as part of their benefits package, gave me my full salary while on short-term disability. I had returned to work at the end of February of 2008, but had to stop the first week of May 2008 and UPS then paid me short-term disability until June 2008. My lawyer then stated that he would argue that it was an unsuccessful work attempt.
After that I believe he asked me one more question then we moved on to the vocational expert. He asked her three question by which she answered No to all and stated that there were no jobs in the national economy that I could work. The hearing was then concluded and the judge said that I would receive a decision by mail.
On the way out my lawyer said that he was happy that I refused to amend the onset date and that he was optimistic.
So, over 2 months later I finally get the FULLY FAVORABLE decision. The total wait time was 1 year, 51 weeks and 1 day. August 4, 2008 to July 29, 2010.
I have seen that many ALJ's are now trying to "deal or no deal" these decisions if claimants agree to amend the onset date, but I feel that my life is not a game show. I understand many people are in dire straits, but giving up the entire backpay is outrageous.
In conclusion, do not let the wait defer you from filing and don't just settle even if the decision is "in the bag." Also, do not believe other people when they tell you that you cannot receive unemployment while waiting for SSDI. As long as you are looking for part-time work, and as long as that is the minimum requirement in your state, you CAN receive it. Just keep your ground with the judge and have your lawyer argue that you were not, nor required, to look for substantial gainful employment.
I have heard countless times that my age, being only 26, it was going to be almost impossible, but as you can see it wasn't.
Now my questions......
1. My monthly benefit is $926 and to qualify for medicare QMB it has to be under $923. I would like to know if ANY of you have had a similar problem and the state made an exception or if they are strict with those income limits?
2. After receiving SSI backpay how soon will I receive SSDI backpay?
3. When you received your first check did they automatically take the retro medicare premiums? See, I was fortunate enough to get my oxygen supplies, medication, and doctor visits for free so I do not have any bills since January 2009. My medicare eligibility date is March 2010. If I knew that I was going to have to pay for insurance then I guess I would have used it
but since I didn't should I still have to pay 5 months of part B premiums?
Thanks in advance!