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The SSA office is right across the street from my apartment, so I got up the guts and went in. They interviewed me right there. I protested that I didn't have records, but they used my SS# to pull up all my jobs (WAY more than I remembered I had!) and we talked about my medical history. They looked up all my hospitals and MDs in their database and entered them into my application.

I protested that they would not have enough information (despite a DX of BP1 w/psychotic features and PTSD, more than 20 jobs in 6 years, and all my meds), and the guy assured me they did indeed have enough info. I wanted to give him info on all my hospitalizations, not just the ones in '05, but he only needed those.

SHOULD I write up that other stuff, like the other hospitalizations, my grades as a student with letters from professors, testomonials from my family and friends? What can I do to make my case more complete and show that I need SSD/SSI and qualify on the first round? I really can't wait. I'm desperate over here.

---------loon-----------

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You should receive a form in the mail (and the docs etc. on your list should too) that will ask you questions about your lifestyle, i.e., what you do during a typical day, and what you now can not do due to your disabilty.  There is plenty of space (you can add pages for answers!) to flesh out what you went over in the interview.  The interbiew is, as an educated guess, primarily *to* get that doc etc. info (which you will also put on the form) and to give the interviewer a chance to make note of the condition you are in (i.e., if you really *are* missing a leg...)

Don't sweat the relative paucity of info you gave--they will soon be inundated with records etc..

You may also end up getting a consultative exam; if you get a good examiner (and as Bryan says, you may insist on your own pdoc or tdoc) they will ferret out even more info.  And by good examiner, well, my fiancee's exam took 3 hours.  We even broke for lunch!  (You may wish to bring along someone that knows you and can fill in the blanks for things you may not think of or remember--it was amazing how much my fiancee couldn't remember)

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Yes, as CNS aptly says, you want as many hospitalization---voluntarily and otherwise-- records as you can get---as many doctor records as you can get---and, to the extent possible, the entire employment record (if possible, do you remember reasons for leaving?)  for the 15 years prior to the date you became disabled.  You want to get addresses (with zip codes) and phone numbers of hospitals---and attached legible sheets of papers, and make photocopies of everything.

If possible, you want to follow through with the SSA, or the DDS (Disability Determination Services---the division who processes your claim) and make sure that they get all of your records.

Good luck on your long journey---and don't give up!

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The SSA office is right across the street from my apartment, so I got up the guts and went in. They interviewed me right there. I protested that I didn't have records, but they used my SS# to pull up all my jobs (WAY more than I remembered I had!) and we talked about my medical history. They looked up all my hospitals and MDs in their database and entered them into my application.

I protested that they would not have enough information (despite a DX of BP1 w/psychotic features and PTSD, more than 20 jobs in 6 years, and all my meds), and the guy assured me they did indeed have enough info. I wanted to give him info on all my hospitalizations, not just the ones in '05, but he only needed those.

SHOULD I write up that other stuff, like the other hospitalizations, my grades as a student with letters from professors, testomonials from my family and friends? What can I do to make my case more complete and show that I need SSD/SSI and qualify on the first round? I really can't wait. I'm desperate over here.

---------loon-----------

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Good luck, as I said on the other thread, there is a lot of wait time. If it drives you crazy feel free to pm me if you need to vent.

Sending out good thoughts for a speedy and obstacle free approval. I hear your pain, I was there last year. I thought I was going to explode waiting. No income, no home, mental as hell, broken body. It has gotten better for me, I will believe the same for you.

Stay strong,

Suze

p.s. Like I said before, and crazynotstupid said, you will have an opportunity with the questionnaire they send for YOU to fill out to provide as much info as you feel is necessary.

I would take it as a good sign that your application process went well initially. So much of it with the caseworkers is reading between the lines, and their body language, because they are duty bound to not say anything until something is final.

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I was actually embarrassed by my behavior at the interview. I never made eye contact and sat there shaking, playing with the table, doodling, and otherwise looking ADHD. Now I'll probably get a new DX ;)

So this is great. I will get forms to fill out. There is so much I don't know and don't remember. I feel like just crying at the sheer volume of info they need. Do they want a urine sample too, perhaps a piece of my liver (sorry for being sick)!?

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Heya Loon,

Good for you, taking these big steps.

Having all your records can only help.  When you *do* receive a bunch of forms to fill out, you'll be able to attach things you think are relevant too.  And knock wood, you'll get a good examiner.

Really what I want to confrim is the docs' end of it.

This is the same across the border.

We get requests for information, forms and forms, and sometimes forms to fill out *with* the patient.

So, all the info they need, they'll get.

I'm proud of you for moving on this.

--ncc--

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how long does it take for an answer

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

As long as 6 months---but it could be longer if they want to schedule a consultative examination.  As far as I know, they won't ask for a urine specimen.  But if there is evidence that drug or alcohol abuse is "material" to your disability, this will make it difficult to obtain benefits.

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Rah Rah Rah! I need to do it!

I haven't gotten the paperwork yet for SSD/SSI for me to fill out my stuff. I'm supposed to call DDS on the 7th. So this happens as slow as Forrest Gump trying to explain something? ;)

Are the books worth it? How abotu a lawyer at this first application stage?

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Personally, I wouldn't hire a lawyer prior to the hearing stage, should it go that far. The initial application is approved or denied based upon what the SSA has on paper in front of them. If you have someone that can assist you with the paperwork, that might help you. Be aware the the questions tend to be a bit... biased towards more physical types of disabilities, but they are pretty straightforward. Answer them honestly and completely, and use additional sheets of paper if you need more room. I found it helpful to sort of answer the questions with a heading for being depressed and a heading for being hypomanic/ manic, as they are completely different.

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I hope for you that you get approved the first time , too.

I hate to say the hard facts,,but I think only the blind, dialysis patients and maybe sever emphysema patients get it the first time. BUT it could very well be different for you, Loon.. ;) I hope it is. Remember too, no matter how nice your caseworker may be..they work for SS. That's advice I am passing along from someone who got approved, btw.

I am at the hearing stage. Meaning I wait a long time for a hearing...crap.

Oh and calling your Congressman can't hurt. It speeded up my first determination..that's all I asked of him and he came through. I didn't want to ask him to do much more at that point..cause it isn't like I needed a transplant or something..( My friends's dad had cancer..his wife had to call their congressman to get SS..no kidding,

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I hope for you that you get approved the first time , too.

I hate to say the hard facts,,but I think only the blind, dialysis patients and maybe sever emphysema patients get it the first time. BUT it could very well be different for you, Loon.. ;) I hope it is. Remember too, no matter how nice your caseworker may be..they work for SS. That's advice I am passing along from someone who got approved, btw.

While it IS easier to get approved with such problems, that doesn't mean things have to be so serious.  My fiancee got approved on her first try (well, not entirely tru, but run with me here...) mainly due to mental probs with some physical ones thrown in to ice the cake.

It's hard, it can be rare, but if it's shown to be severe enough, it can and does happen.

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If you want to claim disability, but are married to someone with a good job, do you even get considered? Do you have to be in dire straits to be more "qualified?"

If I lost my job, we wouldn't be homeless, we could probably pay the mortgage, but not much else. What factors make you less eligible?

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I have no one to fall back on. A friend of mine was in the hospital for 2 months and has recovered from this episode, and now is feeling fine and ready to work. Not all that long ago he was thinking of disability. I'm inspired. I've been "sick" all my life, and trying to "beat" this, and despite the opinions of 3 pdocs I want to try to work. I think I'll at least make it awhile!

It will take me that long to get unemployment anyway...

I'm so confused about it all...

---loon------

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If you want to claim disability, but are married to someone with a good job, do you even get considered? Do you have to be in dire straits to be more "qualified?"

If I lost my job, we wouldn't be homeless, we could probably pay the mortgage, but not much else. What factors make you less eligible?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Your marital status doesn't make a difference in applying for SSDI. For SSI, it does. SSDI is the program you pay into with every paycheck, and you have to work a certain amount of time to be considered covered by it. If you have worked enough, and you are determined to be disabled, you will get SSDI regardless of what money you have laying around or who in your household earns income. SSI is a poverty program that is in place as a safety net for those who didn't work enough before becoming disabled, and for those whose SSDI payments are not enough to live on. In the case of SSI, they look at your financial situation and decide an award amount based upon that. If you haven't worked enough to get SSDI, but you are disabled, I think it would probably be better to get the determination with SSA than to just rely on your spouse's income. You may not get a check, but in the event your spouse leaves, dies or otherwise fails to support you, I think you'd be able to get some money.

There are different rules for being covered under a spouse's SSDI. I don't know anything about those though. :/

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