Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Insurance, Benefits Programs & HIV

Hard question to ask. Disability?

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I'll try to keep it short.

HIV+ since 1986.  Diagnosed with AIDS 1999 with 22 t-cells and 250k viral load, pneumonia, esophageal candiasis.

T-cells up to the mid-300s now.  Undetectable viral load.

I've been wrestling with weight loss for years.  Given growth hormone and testosterone.  Still underweight.  Some diarrhea (probably more than I admit to). Lipo/facial wasting.  I'm guessing the diagnosis of cachexia is pretty much the same as wasting.

47 years old this year.   Had a heart attack this year and stent placement in my LAD (the widowmaker).  Ejection fraction at 50 percent.

Chronic migraines and depression as well as anxiety attacks.  (Can't take imitrex anymore because of the heart disease).

I'm on Atripla, Effient (anti-coagulant), zoloft, ativan, pravachol, metoprolol and lisinopril.

I'm tired all the time and anxious and stressed.  I find myself taking long naps despite getting lots of sleep.

To add to that equation, I am going to be laid off from work at the end of the year.

I am really giving some serious thought to trying to get on SSDI.  I'd rather be healthy, but that isn't in the cards.  This is my new normal.

I'm even embarrassed to ask, but do I have any chance to go on permanent disability? 

I don't even know where to start.

Don't know what to tell you except that I tried for it and got rejected.  I have an AIDS diagnosis with Bipolar Manic Depression and anxiety attacks.  I also have some chronic back issues and long standing fatigue.  It's said that nearly all first requests are denied.  You might have a better shot since you have the heart situation, but I don't know.

I was told that if I had made a go of it when I first got diagnosed I probably would have gotten pushed through, but since I tried to recuperate and eventually got my t cells up I look fine enough on paper.  And the thing is...I don't really know where I even stand on it personally - because at the moment my psyche issues are doing well.  Yet, as has happened before, that is subject to change drastically and without much notice.  Fatigue tends to be something unseen and therefore not given much credit.  And apparently my mental state was deemed fine since I could figure out how to place tiny blocks together to form patterns or something like that. 

I'd still say go for it.  What have you to lose if you don't feel you can keep up as it is now?  All they can do is reject you, and then you can appeal however many times it might take.  You can also get a lawyer to help you, but they operate on retainer and will probably take about 30-40% of whatever your initial award is - after that the money is all yours.  That initial award is from the period of time when you first apply until it gets granted.

Hi Lib,

Sorry to hear that you're having such a rough go of it.  Apparently the SSA has been trying to keep up with the times and make it easier for people to apply for disability.

You might want to start by taking a look at their site in order to get an understanding of how the process works in order to get the ball rolling to apply.

I would eco what's been said.  It can take up to 2 years, so you should start on the process now.  If you find you don't need it later, you can stop the process.  Most are denied on the first application and the first appeal.  Many have to go before a judge to finally get it.  If you do make it that far, your chances are much better. 

A lawyer can be helpful for complicated cases.  However, a friend appealed the fee his lawyer got.  His lawyer never did anything.  They did show up to the court hearing, but my friend did all the talking.  So, the judge gave him back half of the lawyer fee-- $3,000.  So, it can be done alone, but not recommended.

Miss Philicia:
On the other hand, my application was pushed through and approved in a matter of 3 months. This was in NY state and a decade ago though.


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