So, I have had several readers asking about my situation with social security. I was kind of hoping to wait to write about it until something happens, but very little has. Still, I can fill you in on the journey thus far.
After witnessing a few people I know with bipolar disorder receiving and/or applying for Social Security Disability Insurance I called a local attorney to ask a few questions about it.
I told them a little bit about myself and my work situation, and they said I have a fairly compelling case with a good chance of being awarded benefits. This is the first time I’ve heard that (I talked to another advocate who laughed at me and then when I sent her my medical records she wouldn’t return my calls) so I would say that the sort of “representatives” who are out there claiming to work your case for you are very hit or miss. Something to keep in mind if you are thinking of applying.
I decided to work with the attorney because I expect to be denied after my first round of applying (most people are) and I didn’t feel comfortable answering some of the questions on the application without speaking to someone who has experience filling out these applications first. The attorney will also help out with my appeal(s) after being denied, which can be really helpful.
I filled out the application online, and I have to say I was very confused. I am someone who takes joy in filling out forms (I know, I’m a nerd) but between the anxiety I was feeling and the way the questions are worded, I can see how people might fill out the application incorrectly.
For example, in one portion they ask you to talk about the jobs you have had in the last five years (I think it was). In another part of the questionnaire, they ask you to talk about the five jobs leading up to the date you became disabled.
Now, for me, these are not the same thing. I have had a few jobs since the “date of disability” I am using, but I have not been able to maintain any of them (which is my argument as to why that shouldn’t count against me). The fact that they ask about these two situations that may be totally independent of one another (but may not for many people) was one of the reasons I found myself struggling with the application.
I also thought some of the questions were a little subjective, so I spent a lot of time on the phone with someone trying to figure out exactly how to answer them with truthful answers in a way that made sense.
After that I signed paperwork with the attorney, and I haven’t heard anything from social security since (except a letter stating that they know I have an attorney).
The process is apparently long, but I was aware of that going in to this. I see this whole process as something as a marathon, but I am hoping having a professional working on it as well will give me something of a break.
As I mentioned, I expect to at least have to make an appeal once, if not a second time, but I don’t really feel afraid or too nervous. I feel like I am making the right move, so I just need to keep pushing through to the end.