Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Rationality of Disability

450 mm by 450 mm (18 in by 18 in) Handicapped Accessible sign, made to the specifications of the 2004 edition of Standard Highway Signs (sign D9-6), Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation, US Government. Colors are from (Pantone Blue 294), converted to RGB by The outside border has a width of 1 (1 mm) and a color of black so it shows up; in reality, signs have no outside border.Image via WikipediaOk - well after years of contemplating the idea, my doctor and I decided to submit the paper work for disability. There was do doubt in my mind that it would be approved and I would no longer have to worry about the stress and mood swings that all to often come with trying to hold down a job. I had 3 Psychologists and Psychiatrists behind me who believed wholeheartedly that I could not work.

What I received instead was a letter from the SSI people that - now pay attention - "You have not worked enough to collect Disability." I sat and read the letter again - I have not worked enough? WELL DUH!!!! That was the point!

So, here we find a Catch 22 situation - in order to collect disability I have to work,
but I can not work, so I can not collect disability until I work.

And they think MY mind is confused! Ha!

So what do I do now? Work part=time for a friend of mine who understands my illness and will work with me when I need some time to regroup and get my feet back on "solid ground." It is frustrating and I know I could fight it - my brother-in-law is a lawyer, but do I want to go through all that crap?

I am trying to understand the stupidity of it all.
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  1. That is strange, the wikipedia article you linked to specifically states that "However, unlike social security benefits (Title II), earned work credits are not a requirement for SSI." I am not exactly sure what that means, but it certainly sounds like one does not need to demonstrate a work history to be eligible. In any case, it also lists specifically the requirements, which do not include such a thing.

    Of course, wikipedia is not always an accurate resource, but if I were in your situation I would certainly look into the exact legal requirements. Good luck!

  2. Hi, my name's Chica. I came to your blog through Blog Land.

    I feel your pain about this disability issue. I'm currently going through the same thing. I called a lawyer and they told me that there was nothing they could do. *sigh*

    I'm off to find part time work. Good Luck to you!

  3. Hi there-
    It is true, SSI does NOT require you to have a work history. SSI is Social Security Income and is often received by those whose illness has never allowed them to gain "work credits" --i.e. work gainful hours.
    However, SSDI--Social Security DISABILITY Income--is for people who have had a career, gotten sick, and are no longer able to work. These people have paid into the social security system (you know, those lovely taxes taken out of our paychecks) while they worked, and therefore they benefit from those hours and payments if their work is interrupted due to illness.
    So perhaps you may need to apply for SSI instead of SSDI. The catch with SSI is there are income limits, and they are not high. But, then again, it is NO PICNIC to rely on either SSI or SSDI to live. Trust me!
    I would encourage you to get connected with your local social security office or a local social worker who can walk you through the process. It can be confusing.
    But also, I would not fret too much, for with all the other vocational things it appears you have going on, both SSI and SSDI would likely be more of a HINDRANCE than a blessing! You see, once you are receiving benefits, there are also strict limits on how much you may earn per month, and again, it is not a lot. So, you may be quite fortunate NOT to qualify...
    Just another perspective to consider from someone who has been there!

  4. Oh wow. I had never even thought of that before. My DH just started working this past week, for the first time in two years. I'm not sure how I feel about that, I guess...happy about the money, scared that he's going to decompensate, excited about the possibility that things might get back to normal....if this job doesn't work out, disability might be his lot, too....I'm sorry to hear that it's proving more difficult than it should.