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

Hard question to ask. Disability?

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One thing you should be aware of is that when you go on disability you will probably lose a sizable chunk of your income. I lost 40%. Once you are on SSDI the cost of living increases do not keep pace with the rising cost of living.
I do realize that you may have no choice but to go on disability but I thought you should know about this.
If you continue working I would aim to make as much money as possible because that will factor in on how much money you will make when you do file. Good luck!

My situation is similar to yours and I received SSI in 2011. I was first tested HIV+ in 1987 and besides my HIV I have neurological damage from an antibiotic. I filled out all my paperwork myself in excruciating detail. I also attached copies of every test I had from various specialists. I figured it was worth a try rather than paying a large part of the initial award to an attorney. Is there any nonprofit law group in your area that will assist with applications or appeals?

Also, you didn't mention what type of insurance you have at work. Is there a long term disability policy and how much would it pay? I don't know if you have considered this.

Good luck and if you have any questions send me a pm.


From my understanding an attorney cannot charge more than $6000.00 to represent someone in a SSDI case. If it takes 2 or 3 years to get accepted it would likely amount to a relatively small portion of the back pay owed.

I was approved in just over 60 days in 2012.  I'm told that Oklahoma has fairly stringent approval  requirements and denies 80% of disability claims.  I did learn a couple of things in the process......

First, fill out your application thoughtfully and VERY completely.  Don't just list your health issues, explain in detail why each one of them contributes to your inability to continue working.

It's a good idea to have your doctor(s) and family members (who will be most likely be contacted to confirm your level of functionality) on board with the decision to apply.

Meet every deadline and show up on time for any appointments they make for you.  And courtesy when dealing with SSA or state employees goes a long way.  I made a point of saying "Thank you so much" to everyone I spoke to.

Be persistent.  Some states put up lots of obstacles.  I assume the reason is to "weed out" the frivolous applications.  It's definitely tempting to give up when you're wading through all the red tape.  There were many times when I felt like applying for disability was my full-time job.

It wouldn't hurt to line up an attorney who can give advice and represent you in appeals if it comes to that.  I applied after being unemployed for several years so I qualified for free help from Legal Aid, although I ended up not having to use it.  Also my local ASO has an attorney who assists clients in such things.  Yours may as well.

Your latest Social Security statement lists how much you could be eligible to receive on disability.  Yes, it will be much less than you made when working.  Making 40% less was mentioned earlier.  I actually make 70% less.  According to the Social Security Redbook you ARE still allowed to work without jeopardizing your disability income.  Keep in mind that you can only make up to $749 per month.

Good luck!!!!!

According to the Social Security Redbook you ARE still allowed to work without jeopardizing your disability income.  Keep in mind that you can only make up to $749 per month.

Good luck!!!!!

No, someone on SSDI can make, this year, up to $1040/month (on a job).  SSI has different rules.

Also, this thread was authored last year.  Just to keep in mind, in case one thinks the OP still needs advice.  It's always a good subject of course, to discuss with anyone here.

Edited to add:  apologies, I obviously f*** up the quote function.

From the redbook:
Automatic Adjustments Effective January 1, 2013
Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) The SGA amount for persons with disabilities other than blindness is $1,040 per month in 2013.
For persons who are blind, the amount of earnings that indicate SGA is $1,740 per month in 2013. Details on SGA are on page 5.


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