I’ve Been Turned Down For Social Security Disability, now what?
During the years I worked as a social worker I saw the Social Security Administration do some truly amazingly hard-hearted things to people with disabilities.
They routinely denied social security disability claims for people with serious health problems including one man with terminal lung cancer who was undeniably dying. In fact he did die just a few weeks after they denied him disability. He was out sick from work for a considerable time before the doctors knew what his problem was, had no medical coverage and never worked another day after his diagnosis.
Of course he would not have been eligible for Medicaid payments for medical care until he had been on disability for 2 years after he had been approved for a check. He did not live long enough to reapply or to get any help. Medical insurance companies often play this game, too. It’s cheaper for them if people just die before they have to do anything.
Other people who have applied for SS disability have had similar experiences.
One strategy for getting a better outcome is to reapply and keep reapplying until you get the approval you need.
Another is to ask for a hearing when you get the denial of your application. The advantage with this strategy is that your 2-year clock for medical coverage starts with the initial application if you are eventually approved.
The test for Social Security Disability is that a recipient must be totally disabled and unable to work at all. If you are in a wheelchair but feel able to answer the phone at a place of business you may not be eligible for disability.
Their list of rules is very long and constantly growing, but your own persistence can help you get what you need.
The big complication is that it’s difficult to muster that kind of persistence when you are ill.
Families and friends may be a resource for you if you lack the ability to handle this problem yourself. The workers at Social Security are generally unhelpful probably based on what their bosses require of them. You will need to be pretty pushy and demanding. Having to ask for a hearing is somewhere in the paper work they give you, but they probably will not offer if you don’t demand it. Be ready to demand what you need or get someone to help you through all the difficulties. They make it hard for you on purpose so maybe you will give up. The key is to NOT give up. If you ever hear anyone say “I’ve been turned down for Social Security Disability“, tell them to keep trying. Persistence often pays off.
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