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Author Topic: Hard question to ask. Disability?  (Read 4832 times)

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Offline libvet

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  • Posts: 327
Hard question to ask. Disability?
« on: August 20, 2012, 12:05:18 PM »
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.

Offline thunter34

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  • Posts: 7,324
  • His name is Carl.
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2012, 12:14:22 PM »
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.
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline Solo_LTSurvivor

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  • Twerk Baby Twerk
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2012, 12:16:26 PM »
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.
don't equate intelligence with lack of masculinity
Jim Phelps, Mission Impossible
____________________________

Seroconverted: Early 80s
Tested & confirmed what I already knew: early 90s

Current regimen: Atripla. 
Last regimen:  Epzicom, Sustiva (since its inception with NO adverse side effects: no vivid dreams and NONE of the problems people who can't tolerate this drug may experience: color me lucky ::))
Past regimens
Fun stuff (in the past):  HAV/HBV, crypto, shingles, AIDS, PCP

Jan 2012: 818/21%
Apr 2012: 964/22%
Jul. 2012: 890/21%
Oct. 2012: 920/23%

Still UD after all these years

Offline tednlou2

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  • Posts: 5,078
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 12:23:57 PM »
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.

Offline Miss Philicia

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  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 01:42:22 PM »
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.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline thunter34

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,324
  • His name is Carl.
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2012, 01:50:24 PM »
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.

Yup.  They are a bit tougher on what qualifies now, though - since they are aware that the meds can do wonders for lifting you back out of the coffin.

On a side note...a woman I know nearby has been a heavy smoker and a total glutton her whole life (like she doesn't eat a slice of cake...she eats the whole cake), and she got pushed through lickity split for COPD and morbid obesity.  She still smokes like a chimney and eats like crazy.

AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline denb45

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  • "1987 Classic Old School POZ+"
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 02:08:28 PM »
she got pushed through lickity split for COPD and morbid obesity.  She still smokes like a chimney and eats like crazy.

Some people never learn  ::)  never knew you could get it for that tho, I suppose you could, if you cannot move very far  ;)
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline nycpoz33

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  • Posts: 14
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2012, 02:48:53 PM »
I would say go for it.  You have nothing to lose by trying.  Waiting till your laid off might work against you though (if you are so sick why wait till you are laid off might be on their minds)..also..if you gain financially from being laid off..severance etc...you might not qualify financially until you use up your financial resources.  End point is you seem to have a lot going on and I know people on SSI/SSDI for far less worthy causes.  Get a lawyer who specializes in social security.  social security will pay for one if you qualify financially as well.  note..most applications are initially turned down but you always have right to appeal and many are overturned on appeal in favor of the applicant.  Stay strong , stay focused, and most of all seek guidance and assistance the whole way through the process.  If you believe you honestly cannot work and it is a burden, go forward full steam!

Offline tednlou2

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  • Posts: 5,078
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2012, 03:11:14 PM »
Some people never learn  ::)  never knew you could get it for that tho, I suppose you could, if you cannot move very far  ;)

We're all human.  Some folks getting it for HIV/AIDS acquired Hep C, after knowing how to protect themselves.  It's part of the human condition.   

Offline Miss Philicia

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  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2012, 06:36:30 PM »
SSDI is based on medical criteria and ability to work. It's not means tested, nor do they look at whether or not you were laid off recently as far as I know. When I applied and was approved within 3 months I had been laid off 12 months previous to that.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline denb45

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  • Posts: 5,051
  • "1987 Classic Old School POZ+"
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2012, 07:03:05 PM »
SSDI is based on medical criteria and ability to work. It's not means tested, nor do they look at whether or not you were laid off recently as far as I know. When I applied and was approved within 3 months I had been laid off 12 months previous to that.

Yeah, well, that was my understanding of SSDI, when you can no long do what your were gainfully employed at, due to any real health condidition, that prevents you from doing so.......and they don't just hand out SSDI to just anyone who thinks they should have it  ;)
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline libvet

  • Member
  • Posts: 327
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2012, 10:32:56 AM »
I thank everyone for the advice.  In the final analysis, I am going to talk with my doctor next month at my appointment.   I was given the "sad face" by my HIV doc and his PA at my first appointment after the heart attack.  I don't really know what to make of that, but it certainly made me nervous.

I think I was doing okay managing with just the HIV related crap (like that isn't enough to deal with), but adding heart disease to the mix has just sent me into a tailspin.

I'm not happy about it, but I don't want to be one of those folks who drops dead at work because I didn't know when to say "enough".

Offline OneTampa

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,310
  • "Butterflies are free."
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2012, 08:54:15 PM »
I can not add to the advice others have given but I do wish you the best with your disability application.
"He is my oldest child. The shy and retiring one over there with the Haitian headdress serving pescaŪto frito."

Offline jaybirdz

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2013, 04:01:38 PM »
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.

My Dr had to write a letter to the main Social Security Branch here in KY, heard back from them with in a couple weeks. Got accepted, if you have prove you can no longer work and need medicare/medaid with ssdi/ssi benefits you better visit the Doc.

Offline hellrider

  • Member
  • Posts: 55
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2013, 04:18:59 PM »
I am on disability, it took me about 6 months to get it. I am not happy about it it is what it is.
Life's a hell of a ride and I still have some ridin to do.

12/8/2010 CD4 693   VL 192,000

Offline livingmmy9lives

  • Member
  • Posts: 21
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2013, 12:29:04 PM »
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!
Diagnosed 1988.

Offline Habersham

  • Member
  • Posts: 317
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2013, 12:55:42 PM »
Liibvet,
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.

H
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 12:59:20 PM by Habersham »
Because I Can

Offline mitch777

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,729
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2013, 04:15:11 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.
32 years hiv+ (oct. 2013) with a curtsy.

Offline darryaz

  • Member
  • Posts: 450
Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2013, 04:16:55 PM »
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 http://ssa.gov/redbook/eng/TheRedBook2013.pdf 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!!!!!

Offline BT65

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Re: Hard question to ask. Disability?
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2013, 05:42:42 PM »
According to the Social Security Redbook http://ssa.gov/redbook/eng/TheRedBook2013.pdf 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!!!!!
[/quote]

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:
WHAT’S NEW IN 2013
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.

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/redbook/eng/TheRedBook2013.pdf
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 05:57:28 PM by BT65 »
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

 


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