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Old 05-13-2010, 08:21 PM   #1
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Running out of COBRA, no job, thinking of SS Disability but need advice

good evening. I am almost 61 and have been unemployed since April of 2009. I have 2 more months of the discounted COBRA insurance and then 3 months of the regular priced insurance and in November I need to have another type of insurance. I have diabetes, inject 2 types of insulin per day, suffer from depression, I find it hard to sit for too long and hard to stand or walk for too long. I plan on seeing my doctor in a week or so and asking her if it might be possible for me to apply for disability and would she agree and, could she refer me to a psychiatrist who also could check me out.

I am still collecting unemployment from the District of Columbia, but moved back to NJ to live with my 87 year old mother when I was laid off because i could not afford my apartment. My mother is giving me housing for no money but I buy my food, and pay for my meds and insurance. The problem is that when my unemployment runs out I will not have any money to pay for any kind of insurance and will need to find agencies that can provide me with the meds that I need to live.

I have heard that because of my age it might be easier to apply for disability but also have heard that since i have an advanced degree that it might adversely affect me -- but I realize that I could not even greet people at Walmart as a job because I could not stand for that long and would need to check my blood sugar levels...

Someone else, whose advice i respect, told me that the process for SS disability has been made faster from the 1-3 year time it used to take, but also suggested that I find a SSD Forum to find out.

Does anyone know or have any advice regarding my situation and/or is there a disability forum that you know of with people who are knowledfgeable about my situation??? any advice would be appreciated ---

thanks ---

 
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Old 06-14-2010, 04:01 PM   #2
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Re: Running out of COBRA, no job, thinking of SS Disability but need advice

I see that this was posted a month ago...but in case you are still wondering.

The application for SSDI often takes quite a while, though the older you are and the more disabling medical conditions you have the more likely you are to awarded. Two years after the SS benefits begin you get medicare. So if you apply in May 2010 and they find you disabled as of April 2009, then you'd have to wait 5 full months before benefits begin (May, June, July, August and September) and you could be awarded as soon as October 1, 2009 making you eligible for medicare October 1, 2011.

Keep in mind it just can't be a diagnosis of diabetes, but it must be disabling in that you are unable to work due to the condition(s). The diagnosis means nothing without substantial medical records to show you are disabled from working at any job.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:20 AM   #3
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Re: Running out of COBRA, no job, thinking of SS Disability but need advice

Thank you for the reply. Can you, or one of you reading this, tell me what the percentage, or likelihood is, of a law firm doing all the paperwork for you and ending up getting you disability? My diabetes is severe along with overweight, numbing of the legs and arms, can't sit for long periods of time at a desk, short attention span --- but I also don't drive and don't have the money to take cabs all over the place to go to doctor after doctor to build up medical records. My internal medicine doctor is aware of all of this and wants me to check out my eyesight because it is becoming blurry and says that she will support my application for disability. I know that I can't work an 8 hour day competently, nor can I stand for more than a few minutes nor can I sit for longer than an hour --- this might be a long shot, but does anyone know enough to hazard a guess as to eligibility on those symptoms alone???

Thanks for your responses...

 
Old 06-15-2010, 03:19 AM   #4
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Re: Running out of COBRA, no job, thinking of SS Disability but need advice

Unfortunately there is no way to provide a guess as to likelihood. Decisions by SS are unpredictable and I can only say that what I've seen (used to work in the STD/LTD industry) is the older the more likely..

BUT, I believe a good SS attorney, from the initial application, can only help. Many take on the task of submitting everything that is needed (and gathering records) and thus take that burden off of you. So make sure they'll take the whole process and run with it leaving you only to review and sign the submission (you still have to tell then if they have it all, what more is out there, what symptoms you have, etc)

I am probably applying for SSDI soon (out a work just over 1 year and my LTD carrier will make me do so to continue to receive LTD). I will use an attorney from the very beginning. Make sure the attorney ONLY does disability law and has tons of experience doing these kinds of cases.

Your age plays in your favor as long as you have disabling conditions. Someone with the same conditions at age 30 would not have as good of a chance for rapid approval - but again it's so unpredictable and there are people in their 60's that get denied when they are, in general terms, significantly impaired.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:18 AM   #5
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Re: Running out of COBRA, no job, thinking of SS Disability but need advice

Thanks very much for the fast and really informative reply. Yes, I think the law firm that has been "bothering me" the most is an outfit called Genex -- from what I have read they basically do it all -- I could never (1) afford to take cabs to all these doctors (2) nor could I stand, bend and whatever they want me to do for so long in one day --- but it seems that this Genex will do, as you say, put all my records together, get all the proper responses that are needed, and all that I need to do is sign the paperwork.

I have also heard the fact that the older you are the more likely that SS will be more understanding. I don't want to lie, the last thing I want to do is go to a psychiatrist and lie --- I don't think I need to lie about my condition --- my mind is still sharp, altho I can feel it getting dulled around the edges --- smile --- but to put in 8 hours of high quality work --- it's impossible for me.

I think my unemployment from DC runs out either in September or October -- they're very confused about the process. Subsidized Cobra runs out in July and I have until October to pay exorbitant rates for Cobra, then I have to find some type of other insurance because the 2 types of insulin alone are very expensive --- my doctor was just telling me that she will arrange for me to take meds that are generic and still good but she's at a loss for the 2 types of insulin. But we'll see... As soon as unemployment runs out then that's when I will get in touch with this Genex --- the last thing I need right now, with my head swimming in all directions, is for DC to send me a letter asking for all their unemployment back...

Thanks a bunch --- if you think of anything else that might be valuable for me to know, please share it --- good luck on your case as well ---

 
Old 06-16-2010, 03:13 AM   #6
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Re: Running out of COBRA, no job, thinking of SS Disability but need advice

Genex is a good choice. They often work with disability insurance carriers who do STD and LTD claims to help those receiving LTD pursue SS. They can also provide this for individuals not covered by LTD.

I have LTD through my employer and the LTD insurance company will require I apply for SSDI in the near future. The insurance company will assign me to one of their SS vendors. Often LTD companies have a few vendors for SS assistance so I'm not sure yet to which I'll be assigned.
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Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 06-16-2010, 10:37 PM   #7
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Re: Running out of COBRA, no job, thinking of SS Disability but need advice

Thanks once again. If you don't mind, can I ask your advice please. July is the last month that I have subsidized Cobra unless Congress re-approves it which I doubt. I will end up having August - October paying the regular fee which is about $550 without meds. I found a firm called Xubec or something like that which will send you your medications for a very small fee, up to a year, and then you have to reapply with the help of your doctor. I go to see her again on 7/2 and want to stress how important it is that she be explicit in telling Genex about my ailments. I am also wondering if I should just let my insurance lapse inasmuch as I should be able to get the medications I need and, if unemployment is not extended (or even if it is it will only be for another couple of months) then I have absolutely no money coming in. My mom's on a very fixed income so I can't even think about asking her, so I am wondering if I should just call Genex and tell them to get started, and begin the application process to obtain the insulin and meds either for free or at a very low shipping price. I end up seeing my doctor every 3-5 months as it is, and God willing I'm not going into the hospital, and, if I do then the State will need to cover me because I will be destitute (can't imagine that...) --- but if I only see the doctor 3 or 4 times a year I should be able to come up with the office visit and have the meds supplied by this Xubec company. Then, if I am granted SSD then all well and good, and if not then I can hold on until I turn 62 next year and begin collecting. What do you think??? For me not to have insurance is unthinkable (as is not having a job...) -- but the world is changing... Your input would be much appreciated --- thanks...

 
Old 06-16-2010, 11:28 PM   #8
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Re: Running out of COBRA, no job, thinking of SS Disability but need advice

You should call Genex and get started now. It can take months, or even years, to get SSDI approval (after denial, appeal, re-appeal, etc). Even if your SSDI is approved now, it shoulds like you last worked around October 09 and thus the earliest you'd get medicare is October 2011.

I am a believer in keeping insurance as long as you can afford it for the "what ifs" in life. But if you can't afford the higher premium then before using the company you mentioned call the American Diabetes Association and talk to them first. See what they know about the company and/or other options.

Any chance you are eligible for Veteran's care through prior military service? If so check with the VA as well.
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Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 06-18-2010, 01:13 AM   #9
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Re: Running out of COBRA, no job, thinking of SS Disability but need advice

Thanks once again. The only reason I have not called Genex, because one of the employees there is waiting to hear from me, is that I am still "theoretically" on the role books in Washington DC for unemployment compensation even though Congress has decided not to deal with the issue right now, and may perhaps go on vacation next week, once again, without voting on it. Something that irritates the hell out of me -- if the Senators' families had no insurance or food you can bet your bottom dollar they'd take really quick action. I have found that DC is one of those entities that if I apply for SSDI while still "not collecting" but claiming unemployment on a weekly basis, then DC will require that I pay back all unemployment that I have received from the very beginning --- Genex can do nothing for me in that respect, they have told me that there are no attorneys in their company who qualify to argue in court about my unemployment vs my disabilities -- they stated that each state is different in the way it perceives this situation and I've found that DC will prosecute me inasmuch as I "testify" online each week that I am willing and able to look for work -- I would thus need to hire a lawyer who expects to be paid hourly to fight DC's claim that I have not been truthful with them. So, even Genex has agreed that I should not begin the process until my unemployment has stopped and I am deemed ineligible (this should happen by September or October). Then Genex expects me to contact them and get the ball rolling. I spoke with my doctor this week and she was very understanding, wanting various tests done prior to the end of my insurance and agreeing to sign whatever papers are necessary to obtain the various insulins I take that are non-generic and so extremely expensive it's almost a joke -- today she called and told me that she would waive the office visit fees for me. By the way, I was laid off from work 4/09 --- so when would I qualify for SSDI? I can see how many medical complications you have --- I refuse to get surgery on my knees even tho I should get my miniscus taken care of in both knees but I refuse to take the chance of becoming even more of a cripple than I am right now (plus surgery of any kind scares the hell out of me) --- I am going to ask that Genex expend their efforts on proving severe ongoing depression that precludes my working, as well as my diabetes, overweight, etc. No, no veterans benefits --- I was 266 in the lottery (and that particular year they only went up to 186) and missed being sent to Vietnam, but still could not vote to get Nixon out of office --- I sort of have the same feeling of helpless frustration as I felt back then when I was young, full of **** and vinegar, felt I could accomplish anything, and in college --- then the government began yanking kids out of school left and right and sending them to Vietnam to die for their country. There was my frustration, I was not a hippie or a demonstrator and loved my country (still do) but seeing that my country expected me to gladly lay down my life for it but told me I was much too young and inexperienced to vote for President made me frustrated in a way I never felt before. In any respect, thanks once again for your understanding and help...

 
Old 06-18-2010, 10:26 AM   #10
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Re: Running out of COBRA, no job, thinking of SS Disability but need advice

After I posted 10-09 I knew I was wrong. If your last day of work was in 4-09 then if you were disabled as of that day you have to wait 5 full calendar months (May, June, July, August, Sept) so benefits could begin 10-09.

And yes, you are right about having to pay back unemployment. I don't know how much you get. I live in AZ where the max unemployment is around $260/wk. I think we are ranked 49th in unemployment compensation. You may be in a situation where you get as much from unemployment that you'd get from SSDI.
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C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 06-18-2010, 10:24 PM   #11
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Re: Running out of COBRA, no job, thinking of SS Disability but need advice

Thanks --- you have lots of information I can use. I don't think that I would want to tell Genex to make 4/09 as the date of my becoming disabled --- I would become disabled when my unemployment runs out. DC is about $385/week not withholding anything. I could not pay all of that back. Right now we're all waiting for Congress to pass the extension, until then I go through the motions of putting in my claims. On 11/2011, when I turn 62, I could collect about $1500/month from SS --- SSDI would be about $1900 per month, so it's a bit more. I think I have decided about the insurance thing, and now I just have to make sure the companies that issue free insulin will accept me into their programs. Unemployment will run out either October or November but it might even be earlier for me, for some reason. Then my only problem is going to be working with Genex to hopefully get SSDI. I don't see myself doing anything else. Thanks for your help and your advice. It's much appreciated.

Last edited by Seadreamer22; 06-18-2010 at 10:24 PM.

 
Old 06-18-2010, 11:10 PM   #12
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Re: Running out of COBRA, no job, thinking of SS Disability but need advice

Genex can help you fight for the SSDI when the time is right, don't let SS convince you all you need is early retirement - if you are disabled fight for SSDI. Let me know if you end up with any questions later in the process.
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C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
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