Social Security Insecurity

I’ve been getting a little bit of… forceful encouragement from a couple of my family members to apply for Social Security Disability Income, or SSDI as it is more commonly referred to.

This has been a pretty tough year, and the six-ish months I spent on state disability was a real eye opener.

Nobody wants to be on disability (though there are the apparent small number of folks who take advantage of the system so that they don’t have to work), and there is a terrifying question out there for people who are faced with this possibility:

what am I going to do with my time?

When I had a full time job it felt like I worked far more than I did anything else. I had no time to do anything I wanted to do. I was consistently overwhelmed and had frequent meltdowns. This spring I was faced with the opposite problem, and even severely depressed I found myself concerned that I had too much time on my hands.

I was really hoping that when the depression abated I would feel well enough to be able to work, if not full time then at least a few days a week. Right now I am feeling better than I have in the last calendar year (if not longer) and working two days a week is all I can seem to muster.

Applying for SSDI is serious business, and it can take years for it to be awarded to you because of the nature of the application process. Success stories I’ve heard usually involve lawyers, a very serious suicide attempt, or both.

The push I’m getting from my family is because the system is retroactive, meaning if I apply now and get denied, sometime down the road if I am approved I will be awarded benefits from the date that I originally applied.

I understand the concept, but the burden of taking on this process (and what it ultimately means, that I am 26 years old and cannot work full time -which I admit is true, but has been difficult to cope with) and having the elements of my various disorders scrutinized only to receive my initial rejection and knowing full well that I will have to keep applying, well frankly it is considerably unappealing.

I spoke with a professional that helps out cases like mine out of charity, she basically laughed at me (because of my age) and then wouldn’t return my phone calls.

The whole situation is a little disheartening, but at this juncture I can’t exactly expect miracles to happen. Science has no cure for bipolar disorder, and the months of intensive prayer by various congregations on my behalf have been just as effective. Which means not at all. If I’m lacking in miracles on either end of the spectrum, I guess I’d better just buckle down and start working on a realistic future for myself.

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4 responses to “Social Security Insecurity

  1. It is serious business. I hear what you are talking about. I’m in your age group, and I have had difficulty in the past working a full-time job. I’m not sure if it was because I was working rotating shift hours or what. I haven’t really had a normal 9-5, you know?

    I thought about it for myself. The last time I checked the rules, they stated that you had to be out of work for at least a year to be considered. Who can afford that? I suppose they would say that if your illness was bad enough, that you could be.

    Personally, I only wanted to apply for partial disability. I know that I can work a part-time job for sure. Something under 30 hours has always worked wonderfully for me. Right now, I can’t work more than I already am. My son has ASD, and I’m at home with him for now. When he was in EI, he required a lot of in-home therapy that would have prevented me from getting a full-time job, even if I wanted one.

    In my opinion? Apply for partial disability. From what I understand, many disability lawyers will work for you until you get your backpay. How much they take, I don’t know. But, if you can’t do it, then you can’t do it. Really, what do you have to lose?

    And there’s no shame in it. I know that it is difficult to accept that it is a disability. But remember, it may not always be the case. There may come a day where you feel well enough to go back into the work force full-time. And if not, then no worries. I spend some of my time volunteering. Volunteering is great. It still allows me to keep activities on my resume’ while giving me the flexibility that I need. Because I do intend to re-enter the workforce full-time at some point in time.

  2. I had the exact same thought, who can afford being out of work for at least a year? The only way I was making ends meet earlier this year was because of the state disability program I was on, and that got cut. I’ve been forced to work now (even if just 10 hours a week) to be able to survive, so requiring unemployment for a year seems ridiculous.

    I had a few 9-5 jobs, it was the most draining situation I’ve encountered so far, and it sent me into a depressed tailspin quicker than any other job schedule I’ve had.

    I’ve always loved volunteering, and that’s one of the reasons I joined the Seattle Weaver’s Guild. The thing that really gets me is that in Seattle, most volunteer positions are in as high of demand as regular jobs -because everyone volunteers! It can be just as challenging getting an unpaid position here as a paid one, but I suppose that boasts good things for Seattle.

    • Does that mean consistantly out of work or completely job hopping? My (now ex) friend’s baby’s daddy ended up with SSDI because of BP. He wasn’t able to hold a job. He would be employed for a short time, and then he wouldn’t. I don’t know the specifics, but I know he was awarded it, and in pretty good time too.

      And who does the government expect is going to take care of you while you’re all laid up? Should you be in long term inpatient? Because unless you decide to haul off, get married, and live off of someone else (which is impossible at this point, because there is no such thing as a single income family anymore), then there’s no way possible. I guess they figure that you’ll run back home with your parents. I never had that kind of resolve. You can’t force me back there. I’d rather go into inpatient.

      I can’t believe volunteering is so difficult there! You’d think there would be plenty of opportunities in a huge city like Seattle. Pittsburgh is different. We have all kinds of non-profits everywhere. Did you try Salvation Army and Red Cross? Personally, I prefer non-profit activities that churches have. They are mostly nice folks. And they don’t mind if you come and go. And if you’re there long enough, they really become invested in you. It’s pretty cool. This is from a woman that doesn’t really claim a religious affiliation!

  3. The system is a lot like a rape trial. You have to prove you didn’t want it, (SSDI) to get it, (a conviction). “The weak suffer at the hands of the mighty; of this there shall be no end.”

    Sweetie, use your cunning and work the system. If there’s anything that’s full of holes it’s the U.S. government bureaucracy. We may be mentally ill, but we’re not stupid. Start now. Find the holes. Receive what is your birthright as a U.S. citizen.

    There is no shame in taking back what has been stolen by “the apparent small number of folks who take advantage of the system.”

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