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Author Topic: Confused -- please help !!  (Read 3348 times)

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Offline 30308

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  • Posts: 12
Confused -- please help !!
« on: August 17, 2011, 10:17:26 PM »
Ok. The situation is that I was diagnosed with HIV in June 2010. My CD4 was 134 but it's now 882. I've been pretty healthy with the exception of developing ulcerative colitis (i think because of Kaletra) and I was in the hospital for about 6 days. My question is.... I may lose my job in the near future and right now have great insurance. I know I could go on cobra for a while but that may be pretty expensive. I've been having issues where I can't concentrate and sometimes have a weird neuro cognitive issue. Do I qualify for SSI disability? I'm trying to figure out how to keep up with the dr's visits and medication cost. Any information that can be provided will be greatly appreciated.
06.25.10 Tested Positive
06.29.10 CD4 134 10.3% VL 61820
07.20.10 CD4 179 10.5% VL 38720
07.23.10 Bactrim; Truvada/Kaletra
09.17.10 CD4 346 14.4% VL 160
11.30.10 CD4 422  13.6% VL UD
03.18.11 CD4 574 18.5% VL UD
Started Truvada / Reyataz - had negative reaction
Started Atripla
05.18.11 CD4 882 19.6% VL UD

Offline hurricane

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Re: Confused -- please help !!
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 11:07:56 PM »
I can't give you a positive answer. A lot of it is determined by where you live. You have to apply and the people who work for SSA make a decision. If they decide no, then you can appeal it. Then someone else looks at it and makes a decision. If you get denied, you can get a lawyer (you don't have to pay for this) and appeal it again to appear before a judge. Then the judge makes a decision. If you get denied, you can still appeal. The problem is that each step takes a long time, from 3 months to 20 months.
Generally your diagnosis isn't enough. What they base their decision on is your ability to work. When you first apply, you provide as much information as you can to prove that you can't work. The best thing is if your doctor will write a letter saying you can't work and why.
The reason I said that it is determined by where you live is that if you have to go before a judge, some counties are more likely to grant it then others, and you are also at the mercy of the judge that you get.
The most important thing to do is get started because the longer you wait, the longer you will have to wait to get approved. I think you can apply for the whole thing online but if you need help go to the Social Security office. That might be a good idea anyway, because the people there might be able tell you how to word things so that you will be approved. Remember to provide as much proof of your inability to work with your claim.
Also, there is difference between SSI and SS disability. SS disability is for people who worked and paid Social Security taxes. You have to have enough work credits in order to qualify to SS disability and the amount you get is based on your previous earnings. The maximum credits you can earn in a year is 4, but if you didn't earn as much, you may have only gotten 2 or 3 credits. You have to have a certain number of credits within a 10 year period, but I can't remember how many that is. I'm sure you can find that out on the internet.
SSI is for people who may not have ever worked, are disabled and earn under a certain amount each month. This is mostly for people who were born with a condition that makes it impossible to work, like Down's Syndrome.
If you qualify for SS Disability, then you might be able to qualify to get Medicare early.
I hope this helps you.

Offline JR Gabbard

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Re: Confused -- please help !!
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2011, 03:37:54 PM »

You can always apply for Social Security disability, and you probably have a long-term disability policy you could tap for benefits.  Whether you actually qualify for benefits will depend on the overall state of your health.  You mentioned that your CD4 count was low at one point.  Did you have any OIs?  Or any condition named in the Social Security Listings?  If so, you might qualify.

One important point about an LTD is that your disability onset date will need to be during the time you're working, ie. before you lose the job.  Social Security disability can go back 1 year from the time you apply.

As for your insurance, when you lose your job you will be offered the opportunity to elect a COBRA plan, which will be the same as your current plan.  They are expensive, but most states have a program to pay them for people with HIV.  If you get on Social Security disability, 2 1/2 years later you will qualify for Medicare.
It goes like this
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The baffled king composing Hallelujah!

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