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(8,986 posts)
Mon Sep 7, 2020, 06:09 PM Sep 2020

Getting SSDI

Hi all. I'm trying to get onto ssdi I the next year. I'm 55. I suffer horribly from stress, anxiety, and have been doagnosed as bipolar. My cutrent job has great benefits, but is the main source of crippling anxiety.

So much to say. I assume I'll be turned down when I first apply. Then a lawyer I've spoken with comes in to assist. It could take a year. I'm unclear if republicans have made it more difficult for people to receive ssdi. I don't have enough savings to live on for a year. I do have a short-term disability insurance policy from work if I went out (third time) on fmla. Then my employer has LTD they pay for. I could perhaps, live on these while awaiting ssdi. I also anticipate being turned down for both STD and LTD. i was for the short term, although I pay premiums for it. LTD is employer paid.

The SSD attorney said they can help with insurance denials.

I just feel trapped and unhappy. I've worked over 30 yrs and really need ssdi, although it'll mean losing 50% of my income.

Anyone have any opinions, etc, personal experience? I feel mental disability is not taken as seriously as physical.

Getting SSDI (Original Post) XanaDUer2 Sep 2020 OP
From my understanding you will have a better chance for SSDI Sherman A1 Sep 2020 #1
From experience... 2naSalit Sep 2020 #2
As has already been said, you need to document everything. PoindexterOglethorpe Sep 2020 #3
Thank you XanaDUer2 Sep 2020 #5
The attorney being willing to represent you is very good. PoindexterOglethorpe Sep 2020 #6
Here's another link that might prove useful. PoindexterOglethorpe Sep 2020 #4
Thanks! XanaDUer2 Sep 2020 #7
I do want to caution you that the attorney PoindexterOglethorpe Sep 2020 #8

Sherman A1

(38,958 posts)
1. From my understanding you will have a better chance for SSDI
Mon Sep 7, 2020, 06:20 PM
Sep 2020

if your medical condition is serious enough that you cannot work at your present job, that means getting a Doctor(s) to document the needed information along with the Short and Long Term Disability. As to the particulars of your situation it would be hard to say based upon the post, but it is not an easy path and if you don't qualify for Short Term or Long Term plans through your work, I would believe that it will be a very steep climb.


(82,012 posts)
2. From experience...
Mon Sep 7, 2020, 06:36 PM
Sep 2020

Get lots of documentation of your health problems and be able to explain at great length what they are and how they inhibit you from working.

There's lots of paperwork. You won't need to get a lawyer until after the second rejection.

You will have to be out of work for the reason of your malady for a while and then, ultimately, at least a year. After your first interview/application, it will take a minimum of 90 days to the first rejection. At that point, request a medical review. The least amount of time that can take is six months but often takes much longer. They will look at your medical files and ask more questions. If you are rejected after that, you can get an attorney but you will have to give them a chunk of the initial $$.

Then, depending on any favorable determination, they will tell you when your condition will be reviewed. You have to comply with all requests and stay on top of it all. See of there is an advocate to help you with the application process as it takes some navigating of the system to be successful. There is one at the clinic where I get my medical issues handled, she was an angel, she knew exactly what I needed to do and what to expect and when. I may not have made it without her help.

The younger you are, the harder it is to get.


(25,279 posts)
3. As has already been said, you need to document everything.
Mon Sep 7, 2020, 07:37 PM
Sep 2020

A decade ago I did a paralegal internship with an attorney who handled SSDI appeals. Much of my job consisted of photocopying very thick files to support the need for SSDI. The clients usually had years and years of medical records.

Someone else has already mentioned that you actually need to be out of work for a period of time, and your condition needs to be such that it prevents you from working for at least a year or will result in death.

It is a bit of a myth that people are invariably turned down at first. The problem is that people don't have the correct documentation. Or they think it's easy to get. I used to have a co-worker who'd say she should just go on disability. She did have some health issues, but not ones that kept her from working. You need to be truly unable to work in your field, and there is nothing else appropriate that you could do. The barriers are pretty high. At the risk of sounding somewhat callous, have you considered getting a different job? Even if you take a pay cut, continuing to work will ultimately improve your Social Security amount.

In all honesty, being stressed out because of the job probably won't cut it. You'd be expected to get a job with another company. The bipolar diagnosis is slightly helpful, but if it can be treated with medication, then you won't be deemed disabled.

There are some people who do game the system, but that's not really as common as people think.

I will also add that a good SSDI appeals attorney will not take your case unless they feel very strongly it can be won. When I worked for the attorney, I saw how often she turned down people. She did always tell them that if they felt strongly they should be able to get SSDI, then by all means contact another attorney. But since the attorneys only get paid when the appeal is won, they won't take even marginal cases for the most part. The semi up side is that by the time SSDI is approved, you've been on the clock so to speak, and will get retroactive money. The attorneys have a very strict limit on how much they get of that, so you'd still wind up with a tidy lump sum. Meanwhile, you won't be working and have no money coming in. That might ultimately be even more stressful than your current job.

Here is a link to a pamphlet from the Social Security Administration that tells you everything you need to do to start the application process.


I wish you the best.


(8,986 posts)
5. Thank you
Tue Sep 8, 2020, 06:16 AM
Sep 2020

The attorney sent a letter saying I'm disabled, and that he believes he can sucessfully represent me in my claim. So there's that. No, my problems are pervasive, and I've had issues for years at various jobs, and there are not many other jobs I can do due to a very specific degree. Plus my age

Basically, employees want recent grafs, ie, younger workers. The whole thing is so discouraging and making my problems worse. I kust feel so trapped


(25,279 posts)
6. The attorney being willing to represent you is very good.
Tue Sep 8, 2020, 09:56 AM
Sep 2020

The main reason most people get turned down the first time isn't necessarily they aren't disabled, but they do not present the vast amount of documentation needed. That's where the appeals attorneys come in. However, it's possible to be approved the first time out.

My younger brother was able to get on disability at the age of 50 right away because in his case he went blind from diabetic retinopathy. It happened rather quickly. In just a matter of two or three months he went from having normal vision (although nearsighted and wore glasses) to being unable to see well enough to drive of work. Going blind essentially fast-tracks a person for SSDI.

Also, once you are over 50, which you are, there's much less expectation of retraining for a different job.

I think this pamphlet is extremely useful because it states exactly what you need to do every step of the way.

My only other advice is to start the process immediately.


(8,986 posts)
7. Thanks!
Wed Sep 9, 2020, 06:36 PM
Sep 2020

I'll look this over. I've been reading the social security admin page to see what to submit and what's needed. I have to take a deep breath and try my best. Sorry about your brother.


(25,279 posts)
8. I do want to caution you that the attorney
Wed Sep 9, 2020, 08:00 PM
Sep 2020

sending a letter saying you are disabled will hardly matter. You need to be diagnosed disabled by a doctor. You really, really need to be unable to work, and have unable to work for at least a year, possibly for the rest of your life. You need mountains of documentation.

I will also ask, what is the attorney's track record on SSDI appeals cases? Is that what he normally and exclusively does? If he's simply willing to take this on but normally does other things, that's a huge red flag. If I've misunderstood, and yes, this is what his entire practice is about, I apologize for being so skeptical. It's just that what I learned during that internship was quite eye-opening, especially the part about people don't understand what is really meant by being disabled in the eyes of the SSA, and how much documentation is needed.

My brother was fortunate, in a bizarre way, that by going blind he qualified immediately. He's 70 now, totally and completely blind, and is incredibly cheerful, for the most part, about his situation. My sister and I really wish we could persuade him to move to some kind of assisted living, but he's not willing. The essential problem there is that he can still find his way around the small town house he lives in. He knows where everything is. A new living space could be very difficult. Plus, negotiating the public spaces would be almost impossible, especially as he never learned to use a cane, and getting a guide dog is probably out of the question at this point in his life. Fortunately, he has some good friends who look out for him, and decent services where he lives, in Tucson, AZ.

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