Warning you in advance, this is a long response
Be prepared for a long and drawn out process, in the end it will be worth it but while you're going through it you will feel like your loosing your mind.
My Husband qualified for SSI disability last June. It was a royal pain in the butt with all the paperwork and questions. It took 5 months after the first interview with social security to get an answer. He was one of the very lucky ones who got it on the first try. About 70% of applicants get denied the first time. He has Parkinson's disease and had worked as an auto mechanic for 30 + yrs.
When you call to make the appointment they will send you a huge stack of papers to "prepare" for the initial interview. I made sure we had all our bases covered, from making sure all of his doctors knew he was going to file to keeping 100% accurate records of when and why he was seen by each MD. He had seen many specialist, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Neurologists, Orthopedics, and of course his Primary Care. All of these Docs will be sent letters requesting your medical information and input on how you rank on the disability scale. When you go in for your interview make sure you have all your doctors names, addresses and phone numbers. Also include what medications you are on, who prescribed them and what they are for. I typed out a list, it went much quicker, the interviewer just had to enter the information into the computer.
They ask a lot of questions that you wouldn't even think of unless you have gone through the process. Such as what percentage of your day at work is spent walking/sitting/lifting etc.. How does your disease prevent you from performing your job and why (they want specifics) How much pain are you in on a scale of 1-10 ect... How far can you walk? How long can you sit? How many lbs can you lift & carry( I think you get the picture)
After the interview most of the time they will send you even more paperwork to sign, make sure you don't miss a thing and mail it directly back to them ASAP. Most of the claims are rejected because someone has forgotten to sign something. ITS MIND BLOWING to say the least.
The final step is usually an examination by an MD chosen by social security. His evaluation is probably the most important one in this process. Most of the time the MD is retired from private practice and just does SS evaluations so he absolutely is very particular about his recommendations.
We managed to go through the process without a hitch, but you have to read the fine print and above all stay organized.
I hope this has answered some of your questions, If I can be of anymore help just let me know
I got my SSDI for MS the first time I applied. From what I have heard this is unusual.
I attribute this to having all the documentation and talking to my Dr.'s first so they knew they would be contacted.
Thanks for your replies. I am only on shots (avonex) and stopped taking pain meds cause they were messing with me. To look at me you would never know I have MS...but boy does my body know it. Do you think this will effect me if I decide to apply for SSI?
I was denied once, re applied, had a hearing w/a judge, 6 months later I was approved it took 2 years for that approval.
Someone told me to go to the local SS office and fill out the papers there, that I had a better chance of getting approved, I didn't, I used a lawyer, and as KT says have all of your documentation with you, dates, addresses. phone numbers, rx names and doses, what ever you don't have that is needed will hold up the processing of your application.
Yep. I look totally normal too, well until I stand up and walk then maybe you can tell that something is not right.
I just got approved for SSDI but not SSI (that is based on your assets and such). I first applied in 2003, got denied and didn't appeal (dumb!) so time passed, I got worse, and reapplied in 2005. They wouldn't considered my initial date of disability since I had worked for a few months between applications (had to, you know). As it is, I lost my car, had to declare bankruptcy, but -- I lived thru the waiting! So... it's a long process. Be prepared. Keep appealing until you're face to face with a judge!
Seems like the more info you find the more confusing it becomes huh? The monthly amount you get from SSI is based on what you have made. The more money you have paid into social security the more you are entitled to.
I can't remember how many years they take into consideration, possibly the last 4 or 5.
One more thing I had forgot to mention in my last reply is that they go through your employement history. If you have a year that you didn't work and thus didn't pay taxes they ask for an explaination as to why. My husband had worked "under the table" for his Dad for a couple of years and there was nothing reported as taxable income to social security for those years. They questioned that. He was honest about it, but it was all the way back in 1976! (talk about big brother watching you! WOW)
Well, from what I read at the social sercurity website, SSI checks fluctuate according to your income and living arrangements. (I was disqualified because I had assets of more than $2000.) It's kind of like Unemployment benefits -- if you earn a certain amount, that amount is deducted from the payment you receive that month but goes back to normal next time. SSDI, on the other hand, is a set amount that only changes with the annual cost-of-living increases-- THAT one is like an insurance policy, your payment is your payment.
Your right about the fluctuation in amounts for the supplemental social security income. You can't make or have over a certain amount to qualify, and the amount you can have is so small its no wonder people can't make ends meet. The actual social security benefits are based on what you have made. I think they calculate it at around 66% of what your gross income used to be.
The system is supposed to be here to help people who need it but by the time you cut through all the red tape its almost too late for a lot of people to financially survive. *sorry venting a bit*
There's a difference between SSI and SSDI. Based on your assets (houses, cars) you'd probably be refused SSI, but you might qualify for SSDI based on your employment history and health. If you go to the SSA.gov website you can learn much to help guide you.
I was approved for SSDI first time around, and I credit my doctor's very specific and complete records to SSA.