First off, I discovered this board today, and have read a lot of posts, and everyone seems so helpful, supportive and friendly....
That's kind of why I decided to post... for cyber moral support I guess.
I filed for disability in December 2010. I realize, first off, that many people have waited much longer than I have to find out about benefits, and many have to go through the judge process (which I am hoping I do not have to go through).
I am a single mom to a teenage son (who is amazingly wonderful). His father is very much in the picture, however, he has chosen to not see his son in almost 2 years (they talk by phone every few months), so I am a full time single mother, no breaks for me. I don't mind though. My son is receiving SSI, for severe depression. He got approved in 3 months, first time out. We should all be so lucky. I had delayed applying for him because I kept hoping he would get better, but it reached a point where I had to apply for one of us... and applying for his meant I didn't have to accept my disability as being permanent, if that makes sense. Right now, we are surviving (if you can call it that) on his little 367 a month payment, plus child support when it comes in, which isn't a whole lot.
In October 2006, I went to bed one night with perfect vision. I truly had no concept of what low-vision people suffered, and figured if you were legally blind, how were you able to still read anything, right? Because blind is blind is blind. Then I woke up and learned through experience. I apparently contracted a super rare eye disease. It mimics Macular Degeneration, but it is not MD. In October 2006, I no longer saw straight lines, there was a bump. I figured I had something in my eye, and ignored it for a few days, then saw my doctor to flush it out...she took a look inside the eye, and sent me to an opthalmologist (or optomotrist? Forget which, an eye doctor, not an eye glass doctor). He took a look, and made an emergency appointment for me with a retinal specialist for the next day, and he specified the doctor, because this particular dr he sent me to is one of the leading experts apparently in this rare eye disease. I learned that the few people who get this eye disease (Retinal White Dot Syndrome) usually have no long term issues if it is treated. But a lucky few get permanent damage to the retina. I was one of those lucky few.
I put off filing for disability, despite working less and less because I couldn't see well enough some days. My vision fluctuated wildly those first few months, literally one day I would wake up and have total blindness in one eye, then a few days later, it would be in the other eye. In January 2007, for 2 weeks, I was totally blind, scariest 2 weeks ever outside of one other thing in my life.
I played a game with myself (which hurt me for disability I think), in that I would guess at the eye chart....My goal was to have better vision on my chart than what I really had. So if I wasn't sure if it was an E, B, D, C, etc, I would guess. And you only have to get one letter right on the that line for your vision to be considered that line. 26 letters in the alphabet, not hard to have better vision on paper.
Finally, I filed for disability for myself in December 2010. I have done work for my adult working life as a secretary. My boss was very understanding, but his business was going under, and I could no longer pass a typing test.
I got a denial in March or April of this year. So I located an attorney in my area (I live in a small town), and took the bus to meet with him, and am in the reconsideration stage. SS sent me to an eye doctor in March or April, and that is what prompted the denial I was told. That eye doctor was rude, and I admit to screwing it up by guessing when he told me to guess. Like I said, eventually, you will hit on a letter that is right, and your vision becomes 20/100, instead of 20/200 or 20/400. (20/200 is legally blind).
For the reconsideration stage (which is where I am at), I got sent to a doctor for my back (childhood abuse, fractured back, difficult to stand or walk for any length of time over about 5-10 minutes), a psychiatrist for depression, and then eventually, in early October, an eye doctor (different one, and my case worker was good, she worked to find one that was different, and asked if I had someone that could drive me further out than the first eye doctor). That eye doctor not only changed my vision (my left eye is all but useless, that is Can See Fingers - a diagnosis I did not know existed until he told me that, and my right is 20/200, but may actually be 20/400, because the same chart, I kept missing different things on). He actually recommended I get clear glasses, because if I am out walking and I get hit in the right eye, I will no longer be able to see at all.
So, I waited 2 weeks, and called the state disability worker, who told me that a decision had been made and my file was closed on October 14. I was happy, as this was just a week later, and said ok, do I call the local SS office (the first stage, a decision was made and a denial letter sent out the very next day, so the fact that I had not gotten the denial letter gave me hope). That's when she told me no, that my case was chosen to go to the Quality Review Board. I beat the odds again, lucky me.
So now, here it is, almost 4 weeks later, and I call the local office every other day, and nothing. It is still there. I have read (what pretty much seems to be the same person, just being quoted over and over again) that it typically takes 2-4 weeks, and in a few rare cases, longer. Well, i seem to beat those rare odds on a regular basis and am stressing out. Big time. I am fighting an eviction right now, thankfully my landlord put the wrong amount I owed. I keep juggling power and phone, my son has not had new clothes in a year, in fact, the clothes he is wearing a person gave us when I called a local church for help - her son had outgrown some, but my son has grown 3 inches in the last year. We survive, barely. Our Section 8 list here? closed, and has been since 2006. They expect it to open in March 2012, but they expected it to open in September 2011, and that did not happen. I have exhausted the Salvation Armys help with rent, too. I'm truly at the end of my rope.
It is frustrating me to no end that a decision was made. Social Security made a decision. But no one will tell me what it is because of that stupid QRB. And no one can tell them to hurry up on my file, either. The local office said that given my financial situation, they would fast track a payment to me when it was authorized, but it may be too late. Seriously, most people who lose their homes can go to family or friends, or sleep in their car, and I don't have a car, and my family? Not much help. Friends are few and far between, I have shut down over the past 2 years, and rarely leave the house, it has gotten worse in the past few months actually. Which isn't good for my son to see either.
I am truly at the end of my rope. ...and if it comes back a denial? I have no idea, truly, what I am going to do.... my son will have to move to his fathers (who doesn't really want him in the house, since my son does not get along with his new wife and her slightly older son, plus my ex-husband was never really there, he puts himself first, work is second, and family ranks down there quite a bit...even his current wife has asked if he was that way with me, so it appears he hasn't changed much).
Any suggestions besides just the hang in there? AGain, I know...some people have been battling this for years, mine has just been a month shy of a year....and I am hopeful that the Social Security doctor saying I am legally blind helps in this case with an approval... but it is frustrating! Why can't I beat the odds on something like, the lottery? Instead I get these less than 1% eye disease, around 1% QRB.... argh!!!!
Ok, I am frustrated.... big time.. and stressing, which ironically is making my vision worse than normal, and the change may end up being permanent. Plus the state stopped my health insurance because the case worker didn't get my sons bank statement that I sent in (he has a whopping 2 dollars in the account), so I don't even have health insurance now (My son thankfully does), so I can't even go to the doctor if I wanted to... I just want to sleep until I get a decision...but I can't, obviously.
Anyone have any recent experience with the QRB? I am really hoping I get a decision this week..my son and I really need it....we need a roof over our head, for us and our 3 cats...
If you read this far, thanks....you are a brave person
First of all, welcome to the boards!! There is a lot of support given
here so I really hope it helps ease your mind by coming here. As far as I have read about quality review cases, MOST of those are APPROVALS. So, I think you have good news coming your way. I know the wait is the most frustrating part!! But I think you will have good news any day now!! Be sure to come back and keep us posted!!
The Following User Says Thank You to NElady For This Useful Post: BlindMom (11-11-2011)
Geee I'm so sorry you and your son has to go thru all of this I hope you get an approval this week also I really think its an approval. Hang in there Try hard to be postive in the mist of all of that I know its hard. Something is bound to come your way. I wonder if there is support groups for you like the council for the Blind. Hang in there I really think you will get an approval. This site is wonderful and people will respond Yes Welcome to this board. I wish I could tell you more about QRB. Hang in there we all care. Wish we could do more. Others will respond and maybe able to help that have been to QRB. Good Luck. We will be praying for you.
The Following User Says Thank You to jgrangran For This Useful Post: BlindMom (11-11-2011)
Hi there, Welcome to HealthBoards , their is a lot of support and really good feedback on the Disbabilites fourm.
my claim actully did go to quality review. This is what I know about it, After DDS looks at a claim the person either denies it or approves, I was told that social security randomlly pulls claims and sends them to Quality Review, this is to make sure the DDS worker did everything correctly and made no mistakes. A claim sent to Quality Review means that a claim has been approved, their is a slim chance it can be deied after it is looked at by Quality Review , but it is not likely the desision will be overturned. Because if it is that means the DDS worker screwed up.
Whn my claim was sent to Quality Review I had to wait 4-6 more weeks. Everything turned out fine , and I have now been on SSDI since '07. Depending on how old your son is, he may qualify for dependant payments off your SSDI record , even though he recieves SSI . Or if he is older then 18+ he could get a adult childs benefit.
The Following User Says Thank You to mscat40 For This Useful Post: BlindMom (11-11-2011)
Thank you all 3 for posting I spoke to my lawyer (well, his secretary/paralegal actually, she is mostly my contact there) yesterday afternoon, mostly to see if there was anything she could do to speed it up (she knows about the eviction pending, and how we are not even making it really). She told me that it went to QRB because the DSS worker originally approved it (on the reconsideration, which is the stage I am at), but her boss said no, send her to the eye dr one more time. That I did not know. I was under the impression that after a letter I wrote to SS regarding the first eye doctor (who was just flat out awful...completely and truly... he completely proves the theory that SS doctors will find any single reason to disqualify you, and he got too personal on issues that had nothing to do with why I was there), and her attempt to find an eye doctor in their system that I could actually get to (because I no longer drive, I rely on either an unreliable dad to get me places, or the public transportation which is very limited here, and to get to a town/city that has a doctor that SS contracts with is an hour drive easily, bus ride would take about 3-4 hours). But, i am hopeful.... from everythign I have read, the QRB files are ones that got approved...so I am keeping hope. And my son is under 18, for a few more years yet. Not yet old enough to drive, but that will be next year (and another set of worries - like how to get him practicing and with whom hehe). Nothing I can do until Monday though anyhow... so just thinking positive.
I have noticed, and this is just me being me... when I tend to get any substantial money (like when I got a bonus at work, or my sons SSI backpay) it was usually when I wasn't able to do anything for a day or two... and I won't be in town Wednesday or Thursday, it's my final work project, and boss has stuff in Sacramento, so I figure if I get the call from SS, it will be one of those 2 days, when I am not at home Power of positive thinking and all that though
Thank you again.. my son pointed out I also had not slept well for about 2 weeks...still have not slept much, but it is getting a little better Stress stinks! LOL
i also have a son who is disabled as well as myself/and a single parent. so I know how you feel When ihad to take my son to a CDR it was over a hour away . And it took most of the day .I am wondering do yu have a sight dog? If not would this help you? their ar ea few programs out there that trains dogs to be service animals for the blind/or legally blind, and make it affordable. QR is a pain to have to go through, but it is a good sign, hopfully the wait time will be short and you will no soon.
The Following User Says Thank You to mscat40 For This Useful Post: BlindMom (11-11-2011)
I do not yet have a seeing eye dog/guide dog. I plan on going through that process in about 1 1/2 - 2 years. For me, it is more like that is the final final tihng.... I do know that my vision is not coming back. That what I see right now is the best it will be until I die, hopefully long from now. But....there is still that part of me that is hopeful, and the dog is kind of like the last of the hope going away? I may change my mind....my son would love a dog LOL And I may do that in a few months, depending on if we move or not...and to where, and all that stuff. I have accepted it, but I haven't.... I have been to low-vision groups, but right now, it is just...uncomfortable, since I am the youngest there (and at 41, not like I am a babe in the woods either hehe). But it is mostly people in their 70s and I don't have a lot to contribute. The center is trying to help, but like they said, they have to have the conversations for what the people need... and a 70 year old has different needs than me, who has a teenage son...
I hope everyone has a great weekend.... back to trying to read a deposition, the last thing for work I have before my job goes bye-bye...if it is even called a job, worked less than 10 days this year, but it is something
The following user gives a hug of support to BlindMom: mscat40 (11-12-2011)
I do beleive if you are working thru a local branch of Social Security, my next step would be to contact the person that heads up Social Security in D.C. If you say the right things it will get approval! Tell your contact in Washing D.C. you are not a loafer and would like to get back to work if anyone will hire you with your disability. Tell them you really don't want to live on Government funds all your life but now is the time you need them to follow thru with some aide until you can get a handel on your disability. Hope this helped you I had this situation with workers comp in Ohio with a back problem. After six months of no income or pain releif I contacted the person in charge at the state level, basically told him the same thing I told you. His reply was give me 2 weeks and I get this squared away... Guess what 20 mintues later my phone rang and the local branch said everthing had been cleared for my doctors and I recevied a check 3 days later.
The Following User Says Thank You to tpwolf6 For This Useful Post: BlindMom (11-11-2011)
I am praying that you recieve some good news soon. This whole process is very frustrating. We've been fighting for 2 and a half years and still here I am again......waiting on a decision. Someone somewhere freakin knows, but they're not telling me, hang in there, it's gotta get better when it can't get worse.
The Following User Says Thank You to arkansasbeauty For This Useful Post: BlindMom (11-17-2011)
Just a quick update, I called Social Security on Monday (I call Monday, Wednesday and Friday ), and actually spoke to the person who has been assigned my disability claim. She said, in a whisper, that it was approved. That was all she could tell me, not if it was for SSDI (which I hope it is), or how much. It is still in QRB, and she said normally it does not take this long, but there is a message to QRB to hurry it up because of my dire circumstance (my landlord filed the unlawful detainer, which is the eviction lawsuit, against me), and that as soon as it comes in, she will be phoning me to meet with her. So, at least now I know I have an approval (as long as QRB doesn't turn it into a denial). So now it is just waiting for the local office to get it. I even have the bus route mapped out, since it is 2 different counties and bus systems, but I know which one to take to get to the town the office is in, and now I know which bus to take when I am in that town, and what stop to get off I can't wait for this to be over, that is for sure.
The following 2 users give hugs of support to: BlindMom BlueSkies14 (11-17-2011), NElady (11-17-2011)
I do not want you to be frustrated about this, but I think you need to remember something... When a claim goes to Quality Review it has been approved, The board is making sure everything was done correctly by the DDS worker. more Then likely everything "was" done correctly otherwise it would be the DDS in error. Hang in there, hopefully everything will become official soon and you will know for sure you were approved.
If denied consider immediate change of attorneys to one from a national firm that is fully aware of the larger impact blindness has on SS approval rates. You can call some national blindness advocacy groups for help with this as well. Blind people are often approved more quickly. I wish I could go back in time and say don't necessarily choose a local attorney, choose only one that SOLELY does SS work and has experience is with visual impairment claims.