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View Diary: I was let go too, because I am "sickly" (289 comments)

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  •  I Bin Waitin (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattman, Lashe, kurt, BentLiberal, Katie71, MsGrin

    I have been waiting for a hearing for SSDI since September 2007. I have been on dialysis since January 2008. That doesn't seem to matter.

    Want to be a living kidney donor? I need one from someone with a bloodtype of B or O. Drop a note at riverheart.livejournal.com.

    by Kitsap River on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 04:00:52 PM PST

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    •  Blessing to you (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lashe, bushondrugs, blueocean

      ugh.  I can only hope that things will speed up now that we have a new administration - is your Congressperson helping?  This is outrageous.  Did they at least put you on Medicare?

      Impeachment in the New Year, please.

      by MsGrin on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 04:35:39 PM PST

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      •  How can your Congresscritter help? (0+ / 0-)

        I can contact my Congressman's office - they may actually be willing to help me, despite the fact that I got mad at said Congressman about his FISA vote and publicly refused to vote for him and told them to take me off their list for having a yard sign - but what good can he actually do?

        Yes, I am on Medicare. It is secondary until June of 2010. There is a 30-month coordination period between your other health insurance and Medicare, where your other insurance pays 80% and Medicare pays 20%. I don't know what would happen if I lost my other insurance for some reason (it is through my partner's employer). Would Medicare take over completely? Would I pay 80% out of pocket? If Mr. Kitsap River is unemployed, there is no way we could afford the 80% out of pocket. I'd have to hope that Medicare would cover everything, or that we could somehow afford COBRA. Ordinarily, with him out of work, my mother would cover my share of the COBRA payment, but she's lost so much of her retirement money in this terrible economic downturn that I am not sure she could do that.

        My mother is 73, soon to be 74. She is in terrific health and comes from a very long-lived family (her aunt is 103). She's scared that she will outlive her retirement funds. It's worse now.

        Want to be a living kidney donor? I need one from someone with a bloodtype of B or O. Drop a note at riverheart.livejournal.com.

        by Kitsap River on Sun Feb 01, 2009 at 03:42:01 PM PST

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        •  Why call Congress. (0+ / 0-)
          1. See my other comment of this morning. If you should have "dire need" status but don't, your Congressional rep's inquiry may get it for you.
          1. The basic reason things take so long at SSA is that there are too few SSA employees. Your Congresscritter needs to be reminded constantly that Congress needs to give SSA a bigger personnel budget.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Mon Feb 02, 2009 at 08:46:57 AM PST

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    •  Do you have a lawyer? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      Your wait time is not at all unusual. In fact, in Atlanta the typical wait is more like 2.5 to 3 years (but finally improving).

      If you have a lawyer -- is he or she aware you're on dialysis?

      If you don't have a lawyer -- ask for a referral from www.nosscr.org.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:13:28 PM PST

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      •  Yes, I have a lawyer (0+ / 0-)

        I may have to get a different one. This one doesn't seem to be doing anything to speed up the process. And my contact there does indeed know that I'm on dialysis.

        Want to be a living kidney donor? I need one from someone with a bloodtype of B or O. Drop a note at riverheart.livejournal.com.

        by Kitsap River on Sun Feb 01, 2009 at 03:35:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Talk with current lawyer. (0+ / 0-)

          Most of the time, there are only three things a lawyer can do to speed up an application:

          1. Request an "on-the-record" (with no hearing) decision. And just because the lawyer requests an OTR doesn't mean the judge will issue an OTR. Often the judge will decide he wants to hold a hearing anyway, and your case will stay in line with all the others waiting for a hearing.
          1. Request "dire need" status. If you are about to lose your home, for instance, or to become homeless. And again, the lawyer can request "dire need" status, but the judge may not grant it. And though the wait is shorter for "dire need," it's still long.
          1. Request "TERI" status -- that is, terminally ill. It doesn't sound like you are, thank God.

          If you have been on dialysis for a year, then you probably have a very strong case. But the judge may want a hearing instead of an OTR to deal with "onset date" -- since I presume you want benefits predating when you went on dialysis. Or there may be other issues that are too complex to deal with via DailyKos. Or your judge may just be an SOB.

          At any rate, your lawyer may well have done all there is to do to speed up your application.

          If a lawyer can't speed up the process, then why have a lawyer? Because a lawyer can greatly increase the odds that the process will result in a grant of benefits instead of a denial.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Mon Feb 02, 2009 at 08:43:47 AM PST

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          •  OK, thanks (0+ / 0-)

            Yes, I do want benefits predating my start of dialysis, as I applied - twice - prior to the start of the dialysis. The application has been in "waiting for hearing" status since September 2007 and I got with this lawyer sometime earlier in 2007. I didn't start dialysis until 2008, but I was pretty sick and had a lot of um, interesting side effects from the kidney disease, like not being able to sit or stand for more than half an hour without my legs swelling up to twice their normal size, which made it next to impossible to stand or walk and extremely uncomfortable to sit. (This is edema; I still get edemic sometimes but not like that, thank the Gods.) Add to that the fact that my hands quit working from time to time for unexplainable reasons, the arthritis in my hands, wrists, knees, and neck, the cervical spinal stenosis (a degenerative spinal cord condition that is continuing to degenerate), the chronic pain from the stenosis (which has to be treated by narcotics or nothing, because that's all I'm allowed due to the kidney disease), and the side effects of my medications (currently 20, down from a high of 25), and I'm not likely to be able to get, let alone hold, a job at this point. Not only these things, which were all applicable when I applied for SSDI again early in 2007, but now I have brain fog due to kidney failure from time to time and it has affected my speech! There's a sort of delay in my speaking now, very audible. You can hear the processing delay between the brain and the mouth. I can, at any rate. I can still be understood, however.

            One of the big issues now is that I have to spend 9 hours a night on my dialysis machine and need at least half an hour to an hour on the evening side to set it up and another half an hour or so to take it down and do my record keeping in the morning. That sort of puts paid to any ability I might otherwise have to commute to Seattle or the Eastside, assuming I was still physically capable of software test engineering, and work a minimum 8 hour day. There are literally not enough hours in the day for this and I cannot short my dialysis without it taking a possibly fatal toll. My partner's commute is a good example of why not: he leaves at 5:45 each morning, gets to the dock by 6, is on the 6:05 boat, takes two buses on the other side to get to work, works a 9 to 9 1/2 hour day including his lunch hour, leaves at 5, does the reverse commute the same way, and gets home at 7:30. We live 10 minutes from the dock. This is why I cannot do dialysis and commute to a full-time job, and I have never, in 15 years, seen a part-time job in SQA. Instead, you're usually expected to work a minimum of 10 hours a day (for 8 hours' salary), often more. So I'm going back to school instead via a disability retraining program, and hopefully can get a "permission slip" from my nephrologist or his nurse stating that I can go into the medical profession despite being somewhat immunocompromised. Otherwise, I'm going to have to find a different career path than what I have planned.

            Want to be a living kidney donor? I need one from someone with a bloodtype of B or O. Drop a note at riverheart.livejournal.com.

            by Kitsap River on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 11:08:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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