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This was originally written when I blogged about autism and disabilities. The process of filing for disability
I posted in an autism group about winning my disability case. One person said something about taking ‘handouts.’ Disability is not a handout. Do people think you can walk into the Social Security office, ask for a check and walk out with money? I will tell you the process and the people who think it’s a handout are going to look like clowns when I am done.
Keep in mind that the process will vary.
You apply online or at the SS office. You need to have some sort of disability that impairs you from working. Spoiler alert: autism, mental illness does count. After you apply, you wait like 3 months for a response. You will get denied. After that, you have 90 days to appeal. You will have a better shot with a lawyer. So you have to do hours of research looking for a good lawyer. It’s important to find a law firm that will get back to you ASAP. It’s important when you get a letter from SSI and you inform your lawyers, they get back to you within 2/3 days (business days)
I originally applied again in early 2018. At first, I applied in late 2016 got denied. My mom wanted to add me to her lawyers but by the time her case finished, the 3 months they give you to appeal had expired.
At least when I applied, I had to meet with a doctor from SSI. There is a good chance the doctor who interviews you will NOT have any prior knowledge about your disability. He made it obvious he had not a single clue what autism is. After that, I waited 3 weeks before getting the 2nd denial. Which was in June of 2018. Then in November, I got another denial. After 3 you have to appeal to a law judge. I want to add that everyone’s process is different. Some people fight for this for years. All of this was in 2018.
Wait times between denials are long
Tell me why would I need such evidence for a ‘handout?’ Even with that SS will deny you.
In July of 2019, I got a letter about the potential court date. You see. From November 2018 to July 2019. October I got a letter telling me when the hearing will take place. Which was scheduled for Jan 2020. I got lucky it was before COVID got major and the closures happened. Between denial and appeal, the wait is long. Also, I got lucky we didn’t get the -20 cold weather this year. THE ONLY good this about the crappy year.
Expect to explain gaps in seeing your doctor etc
I met with the lawyer before the hearing. I had to explain why I was not going to the doctor. I explained that the only case where that happens is when the doctor left or the place moved/stopped taking my insurance. I also explained one therapist wasn’t locking in the computer when I came in to see her. I explained to her that they had my check-in history but it doesn’t mean I showed up.
So if you had gaps in seeing your doctor prepare to say that.
There is a 50/50 chance you will get an understanding judge.
My school records may have helped my case
I had my records from the school. Since the 4th grade. Even though they were old, it still was some sort of proof of teachers noticing my behavior. One paper said I scored low on a social skills test. Shocker, autism/ADHD affects social skills.
I started maybe in late 2017. So it took about 4 years. That is a long wait for a ‘handout’ do you think?
I just hate how people call things like this a handout like it’s a walk in the park to get.
When you do get approved the wait time varies. You only get 500-700 dollars. Some folks on SSI have to work from home because some employers do not like hiring disabled people/or properly accommodating them.
Keep it mind that I may have missed a step because I applied for mental illness and I have never had a job so the process most likely varies from person to person.
It’s not a handout. It’s not like getting candy on Halloween. We need to stop thinking it’s OK to put people down because they need help and make them feel bad about celebrating the fact that they are getting the help they had to fight tooth and nail to get. The guy in the autism group did try to make me feel bad saying ‘this isn’t something to look at as an accomplishment.’ I’m sorry but IT IS. Disabled people have to prove how disabled they are to get the help they need. I still had to prove it to a degree. But the fact that it paid off. Maybe my advocacy helped me get it. I explain here how autism keeps me from working. Therefore I told the judge what I said on here. At most working a traditional job compared to something Freelance were it could be 2xs a week. Once a week.
What makes a community? Sticking together. We can’t be a community putting each other down.