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Tips for applying for SSI


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I am applying for SSI on Wednesday at my local SS office, I already have a printed out list of dates of hospitalizations and doctors I have seen with all addresses and phone numbers. I contacted a lawyer about covering my case but am waiting for a call back. I applied in 2011 and got denied but that was before my condition got so serious and have been hospitalized many times since then. I need the money as I have quit my job and am depending on my parents. Any tips on how to be approved?

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If they turn you down at the initial consideration, which they often do, forever and ever appeal instead of re-applying.  You can add info to your case without re-applying, but if you don't appeal then they get to start the clock to deny you benefits all over again, and that is NOT in your favor.

 

Take as much time as you need but get the paperwork DONE as soon as you can.  Make it your first priority after self-care.  Ask everyone for help if you need it; there are spaces on the forms to write in who you asked.

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You need to have a family member (preferred) or friend fill in a form about how they have seen your illness impact on you.

 

You might want to print out two copies of the application: I got confused at several points (which may have just been my problem), and had to scratch out a bunch of stuff, and I wasn't even sure it was legible. So I did a clean copy after the initial form.

 

Make sure your Drs know you are applying: you don't have to give SSA any medical records yourself, they will contact your Drs.

 

If you have a comorbid illness that is being treated by someone beside your pdoc or tdoc, you might want to call them and ask if they will support an ancillary claim, which would show how the illnesses have kind of piled on and made things worse. I am on SSDI for my headaches, but I asked my pdoc if I could include him, and he said yes. He actually said if I had been applying just for a psychiatric disability, he was not sure he would have supported it, but in combination with the headaches, he definitely thought it was significant. You don't want any of your Drs to be surprised when the SSA contacts them, and *you* don't want to be surprised if a Dr. won't support your application, especially if you have other Drs who will.

 

If you speak to someone on the phone, get their name, and right down the date and time you talked to them.

 

You may get a phone interview. My husband had one for his epilepsy, and I could actually hear the person on the other end sympathizing with him, he has such terrible epilepsy. So don't be afraid if someone calls, just give them the full picture. I actually didn't get a phone interview, and after I read my husband's report of how I was doing, I wasn't surprised. Even though I know intellectually I have crazy bad headaches, it was startling to see someone on the outside describe what my life is like, because it really is pretty bad.

 

We both got it very quickly, and didn't have to appeal, but we were applying for neurological conditions, not mental illness. I actually got a little over a year in back pay. But if you don't get it the first time, get an atty, and appeal, appeal, appeal. There is a limit on what attys can take out of your back pay. The clock starts ticking the day they get the application, so if it takes you 6 mo. or a year to get approved, you will get back pay for the time between when you filed and the time when they grant it.

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After you finish completing the paperwork, before you send it in , make a copy of everything in case they "lose" it.  Not that they would on purpose, but they have so many applications to go through that it would suck if you "slipped through the cracks" and had to re-do all that paperwork.

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My ex girlfriend stating how she saw my mental state go entirely down hill to the point where we could no longer have a relationship together as well as a letter from my Mom stating I am unable to engage in family activities even with a very loving family were the two last things that got me approved. I also was hospitilized twice after first denial. The other main thing was through notes from the Doctor and myself that states each of my 6 employment attemps and why they failed. These attempts all occured over a period of a few months. I made it very clear I wanted to work and if I was denied I wanted to know what job, in writing, I was capable of performing. All this rolled up in a nutshell got me approved. Which I am very grateful for - no attorney. Just honesty and a lot of documentation and strong support showing the illnesses impact on my life - which is as far from a lie as it can get. I lost everything. With SSI I am slowly TRYING to rebuild my life. Being self sustaining is a huge part of recovery.

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I hired a lawyer, so I feel better about the process. But today I went in to apply for SSI and got the summary of application papers and some of the dates and ages of my family members don't match up. I asked the man helping me about some of the dates and he said just a generalized estimate. But then the application talks about calling if some things are incorrect. I am confused.

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