There is a myth out there that people get rich off of disability. It's not uncommon for someone to have a new car, clothes or go on a trip. That can understandably infuriate those that work hard in order to enjoy the finer things in life. But you must dig deeper than that
Here are some real inherent flaws.
1- Disability is a Federal Program. Yet it is administered at the state/regional level and there is no consistency to rulings. My case, per people I trust and are experienced, would not only have not been denied but would have been approved 1st time in some locales. This shouldn't ever be the case w/Federal Programs. To allow "regions" to stack the deck with ultra conservative judges is inherently wrong.
a. My judge has/had a 19% approval rate
b. The national average at the level of appeal I was at is 57%.
2- The average disability case is denied two times over 90% of the time. The third stage, or the ALJ stage is the stage I was last denied. My appeal, at best, would be sent back to the same judge. My attorney informed me they always ask the judge to recuse themselves and this one never does
a. My case has "flown through" the system and we are 30-60 days away from finding out if my appeal will even be heard. If it is then they have another 6 months to hear it. That would put my case at 2 years, which again is really faster than average for this locale.
b. During these 2 years, if I make more than $800 in a month, 2 things happen
i. I no longer qualify for disability
ii. My wife and I lose our Medical coverage. Obviously I need that for the illness. KS opted
out of Medicaid Expansion leaving thousands in KS uninsured. To prove their fallacy
3- I "max" out at $2100/month due to wife and 2 kids. I then lose all food help, whole family ends up on Medicare...which is far more limiting than the Medicaid plan. I probably averaged about 50K a year most of my adult work life. We would barely be able to make it.
When I was first diagnosed with Severe depression and Borderline Personality disorder it never occurred to me that disability was an option. After my therapist suggested I look into it I read the disability guidelines and guess what. Borderline Personality was on the list of covered diagnosis' for disability.
So I never really thought I wouldn't get it. We made huge sacrifices to "follow their rules". If you figure around $2000/month being paid in a lump sum after 2 years...well it is a pile of money. I wouldn't be buying new cars but not everyone knows how to manage their money. We are about 20K in debt as loans are acceptable.
I tried to contact an attorney immediately and they all said go ahead and file, you will get denied, appeal, you will get denied, then call us. Things get a little messy here.....
After 15+ years in Healthcare Financial Management I had taken a job waiting tables. I had, after a year, blown up and walked out. That was what helped lead to my diagnosis. The problem was it accelerated my back issues and that got brought in as part of my claim. Never by me....they simply pulled it off my Dr. notes.
So my attorney talks to me 1x, 2 weeks before the hearing. She says get here early so we can discuss anything. As that day approached my father indicated he would be willing to speak for me to the judge. Those that know my father know I need say no more. To the rest of you...when he speaks people listen. He is a Democrat but grew up in small town Kansas with guys just like the judge. Professional, retired CFO.
The attorney comes out 2 minutes before our hearing is to start. My dad is never seen or heard...he was off camera. Both my Psych and my attorney had suggested dressing casual, using small words, don't try to explain anything, etc.....you will look to "high functioning"
I disagreed with it. I told people I did. I do qualify as someone that has a specialized career. You need training to do what I do. The waiting tables was simply to feed my family. I was applying because my BPD is a detriment currently to both getting (no references left) and Keeping (I am the proverbial blow up walk out with indignation guy) a job.
I wanted to tell the judge that I was exactly what disability was for. To help provide a minimum existence as I work on getting better. I don't/didn't see disability as a permanency for me. The evidence is overwhelming though that I need some time. To spend every waking moment on figuring out how to keep my family off the streets just doesn't work well with recovery.
Folks- I'm not lazy. While my father and wife may disagree as it relates to chores LOL you would be hard pressed to find an employer that would agree. I worked hard...partly because I feared every day may be my last. (previously blogged)
So....what do I do? The judge said I qualified to polish eyeglasses. That is not a misprint. I was deemed disabled but not enough to qualify for benefits
I know the system is abused. But our country used to be about doing the right thing and taking care of bad people who break that. Now its simply a presumption of "guilt"
So...when you see my blog and hear my pain about what do I do....maybe this helps. I can't make over $800/month unless I make over $3000/month.
That my friends is one hell of a chasm