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LadySera
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02 Oct 2011, 10:13 pm

I am so scared and worried. I have my Social Security Interview tomorrow. I've only been seeing a therapist since earlier this year so I don't have a bunch of medical documents and they are making some super old psychologist (looked him up online) interview me. I can't take anyone in with me. My parents have their own issues and can lie. I think that I would revert to letting them take over, due to my social anxiety, and they would try to tell him what they think he wants to hear. I've repeatedly mentioned to my therapist that people usually need lawyers to get this but for some reason she keeps telling me not to get one. So I have to do it on my own. I put this off for years. I kept hoping that one day I'd wake up and be someone better.

I only figured out about Asperger's earlier this year. For years I couldn't understand why I was ostracized in school. I didn't understand what was so different that made them hate me and tell me that everything that I did was wrong. I had only had 2 single appointments in the past, 1 with an ill equipped (too young IMHO) therapist when I was under 21 (still covered by my parent's medical) and 1 with a guy who sexually harassed me. Yeah, I wrote in and refused to pay his bill. That was the only place for help in this small town & I couldn't go back. It was crawling with truly scary patients, people who were very far gone & then people who were druggies & were now just getting the government to give them their equivalent. I couldn't have afforded it anyway.

I just don't know how I'll deal with this. It's someone I've never met & in a building that I've never been to. So I'm going in with even more apprehension than usual. I've read that some get SSI for autism & some do not. I think that my main thing is my social anxiety and depression. If I were ever awarded it my plan would be to try to get intensive therapy (that I can't currently afford) and then (when I can move past the scariness of a school atmosphere) go back & get a degree or certification in something that I could do that wouldn't be the high stress environment of the minimum wage jobs I could only hold for a few days/weeks at a time in the past. I know that I have to do something as my parents are very old and could die at any time. I couldn't put up with living with other people in my family and I fear becoming a hobo.



ToughDiamond
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03 Oct 2011, 5:50 am

I sympathise. When I was on social security I used to worry a lot every time they called me in.

It sounds as if you have nothing to lose though, and something to gain. So perhaps it's mostly the thought of the interview that's scaring you, rather than the outcome? I woudn't be surprised, after the bad experiences you've had before, and of course Aspies often do find authority figures scary in the first place. I know you've said that you're concerned about what will happen to you when your parents can't support you any more. But if you don't get awarded the SSI, you can probably appeal or re-apply later. That will give you time to get help and to work out how to present the best possible case.......I believe it often takes an extensive (and somewhat cynical) understanding of how the system works to get one's entitlements.

Anyway, if I were you I'd just do my best. Don't imagine the one interview is your one final chance to prove that you can access services. Don't feel bad about yourself if you don't crack it first time. They're quite likely to reject you as a matter of routine if they think there's the faintest chance they'll get away with it. They don't know how tell the genuine cases from the fraudsters, so they use the rather blunt instrument of making it as difficult as they can, in the hope that the ones who don't really need it give up. Persevere.



Tawaki
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03 Oct 2011, 8:29 am

LadySera wrote:
I am so scared and worried. I have my Social Security Interview tomorrow. I've only been seeing a therapist since earlier this year so I don't have a bunch of medical documents and they are making some super old psychologist (looked him up online) interview me. I can't take anyone in with me. My parents have their own issues and can lie. I think that I would revert to letting them take over, due to my social anxiety, and they would try to tell him what they think he wants to hear. I've repeatedly mentioned to my therapist that people usually need lawyers to get this but for some reason she keeps telling me not to get one. So I have to do it on my own. I put this off for years. I kept hoping that one day I'd wake up and be someone better.

I only figured out about Asperger's earlier this year. For years I couldn't understand why I was ostracized in school. I didn't understand what was so different that made them hate me and tell me that everything that I did was wrong. I had only had 2 single appointments in the past, 1 with an ill equipped (too young IMHO) therapist when I was under 21 (still covered by my parent's medical) and 1 with a guy who sexually harassed me. Yeah, I wrote in and refused to pay his bill. That was the only place for help in this small town & I couldn't go back. It was crawling with truly scary patients, people who were very far gone & then people who were druggies & were now just getting the government to give them their equivalent. I couldn't have afforded it anyway.

I just don't know how I'll deal with this. It's someone I've never met & in a building that I've never been to. So I'm going in with even more apprehension than usual. I've read that some get SSI for autism & some do not. I think that my main thing is my social anxiety and depression. If I were ever awarded it my plan would be to try to get intensive therapy (that I can't currently afford) and then (when I can move past the scariness of a school atmosphere) go back & get a degree or certification in something that I could do that wouldn't be the high stress environment of the minimum wage jobs I could only hold for a few days/weeks at a time in the past. I know that I have to do something as my parents are very old and could die at any time. I couldn't put up with living with other people in my family and I fear becoming a hobo.


You will never get someone you actually know for a SSI interview. The ME (medical examiner) is usually a MSW, PhD, or some shrink that is doing these reviews as a side gig. Hell, it might even be some random GP.

What SSI wants to know is why you can't work. Period.

So make a list of why you can't work

1) trouble finding transportation, including trouble reading and figuring out bus schedules etcs. Tell them you are unable to drive for xyz reason.
2) trouble with medication issues. Are you on something meds that make you groggy? Medications that can affect your eye sight (beta blockers, anti seizure type meds, SSIs, tricyclics etc)
3) numerous doctors appointments for your conditions. Many specialists usually only have very specific office hours. Hype that up as it would make it impossible for you to find employment. No employer is going to let you take a day off every week for a medical appointment.
4)school related issues as it pertains you seeking employment. The fact that you got bullied is not so important, as you being unable to
to read the unspoken social cues.

The most important is SHOW ANY DOCUMENTATION of you trying to find work. If you had jobs and were let go for xyz reason, bring that up. Say, you used to work for a research firm, then got canned. The tried working as a cashier, but your AS (give reasons A,B, C) made it impossible. That is what the ME is interested in.

The ME is also VERY interested in what you are doing to get better. Are you currently seeing a therapist "to work on your lack of social issues-yeah, I know, eye roll)"? What special programs did you have at school that made it possible for you to function?

The ME will ask you what you do during the day. Can you shower, dress, activities of daily living (ADLs)? Friends? Can you cook and feed yourself? What do you do for social activities? Do you go to a place of worship? Hobbies? Are you able to go shopping for things like food/clothes?

One thing to be careful of is the hobby question. If you say computer and or internet, I would be very careful not to hype this up, especially if you do things like make web pages for fun , and/or any sort of programming. Why? Those are all considered job skills. My friend's son, with a fairly serious closed head injury put down "works on computers" for his hobby. During the court hearing (2nd appeal), the judge asked him what that meant. My friend son can open up a browser and click on links. That is it. SSI thought "works on computers" was much more than that. Don't lie, but don't give them any more ammo than they need to deny your claim.

Your will probably get rejected the first go around applying. Remember applying for SSI is the reverse of the American Justice system. You are "normal and able bodied" until proven otherwise.

After that rejection letter follow all dead lines for the appeal process to the LETTER. Do not let this slide by or ignore it. Find a lawyer that will take a certain percentage of your first check. All SSI lawyers do not need money up front.

Also "know the enemy". This is what SSI uses to review cases.

1)The board will not let me post the direct links. So google "SSI Blue Book"
2)Click Disability Evaluations Under Social Security
3) Click Adult Listings (Part A)

For autism, it is under "Mental Health" (sorry, not under neurological)

4)Clink Mental Health Disorders 12.00
5) Scroll down to section 12.10 for Autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders

Also read General Information, Evidentiary Requirements, Listing of Impairments Overview


From the SSI Blue Book.
-------------------
12.10 Autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders: Characterized by qualitative deficits in the development of reciprocal social interaction, in the development of verbal and nonverbal communication skills, and in imaginative activity. Often, there is a markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests, which frequently are stereotyped and repetitive.

The required level of severity for these disorders is met when the requirements in both A and B are satisfied.

A. Medically documented findings of the following:

1. For autistic disorder, all of the following:

a. Qualitative deficits in reciprocal social interaction; and

b. Qualitative deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication and in imaginative activity; and

c. Markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests;

OR

2. For other pervasive developmental disorders, both of the following:

a. Qualitative deficits in reciprocal social interaction; and

b. Qualitative deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication and in imaginative activity;

AND

B. Resulting in at least two of the following:

1. Marked restriction of activities of daily living; or

2. Marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; or

3. Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or

4. Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.


----------------------------end------------------------------------------------------------------

So, figure out what is going on in your life and how it fits into this outline. Use the above as an outline, write stuff beneath the questions that related to your situation, and bring it to the interview.

Also, if you have any other disease processes going on, include them. Just check in the appropriate adult listing of impairment and see what is needed to be considered an impairment.

Usually the interviews are pretty quick. the ME gets paid by the case and if he finishes quicker, he gets to leave.

All you can do is roll in as yourself, and let the chips fall where they may. Good luck. My (AS) husband had his interview 3 months ago, and we are now on the 2nd appeal. Ugh. He is spiraling because it is before a judge=authority figures. I'd write more, but that is for a different topic.

Good luck. Will be thinking of you.



Tawaki
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03 Oct 2011, 8:57 am

ToughDiamond wrote:
I sympathise. When I was on social security I used to worry a lot every time they called me in.

Anyway, if I were you I'd just do my best. Don't imagine the one interview is your one final chance to prove that you can access services. Don't feel bad about yourself if you don't crack it first time. They're quite likely to reject you as a matter of routine if they think there's the faintest chance they'll get away with it. They don't know how tell the genuine cases from the fraudsters, so they use the rather blunt instrument of making it as difficult as they can, in the hope that the ones who don't really need it give up. Persevere.


From my psychiatrist friend, the only people he has had get SSI/SSDI on the first try are people with stage IV cancers (they are fast track through the system). For mental health issues it is people with very severe Schizophrenia and/or Bipolar disorder with multiple other health issues, on multiple medications, and flat out can't function (doing activities of daily living). He has had folks with AS get SSI on the first try, but it was coupled with diagnosis like Bipolar Disorder. The AS was a secondary consideration. You also need multiple inpatient hospitalizations for your psychiatric condition, minimum being a partial hospital program.

He said he had a few people with Major Depressive episodes get SSI on first try, but then again, they were getting ECT, had multiple health issues and were over 50, and multiple psych hospitalizations.

SSA just makes the process incredible hard. To better the odds, you MUST have a medical doctor on board that agrees you can not do any work. Since AS falls under Mental Disorders, you need a psychiatrist. My husband has a neurologist and a psychiatrist. SSA flat out ignored the neurologist's notes.
Why? AS is under Mental Disorders in their world you need a psychiatrist.

The day of my husband's review, his shrink and I knew he'd get rejected. It was the 1st time in 6 months Jay actually looked with it and put together. :?
Told the interviewer he didn't have OCD, depression or AS. :wall: and all this was a big misunderstand at the work place (they put him on sick leave), and he didn't need SSDI :wall: :wall: :wall:

Then Jay promptly spiraled into a suicidal depression the next day. :(

You are so right. You just have to keep hacking at the brush when that rejection of claim notice comes in. Jay got his 2 month after the initial review. Now we are messing with the court stuff now.



LadySera
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04 Oct 2011, 2:12 pm

Thanks for the info and support guys. I would have replied sooner but the whole thing worried me so much (before/& after) that I've managed to make myself physically ill since I returned home.

I suppose he was nice (compared to some other people). I kind of felt like he was trying to argue with me on some stuff and I don't argue so I just replied "I don't think so". Like he said something similar to "you seem to understand people's motivations" or something like that. Uh, figuring out why I may have been mistreated years after the fact doesn't equate to understanding why people are acting why they are acting at the time.

In fact when I got back home I realized that I had made a social faux pas with him. It was in an office with different doctors and I saw people filling out preliminary paperwork (for new patients) so not wanting any confusion (and not wanting to be ignored & end up being there longer) I went up to the window and told the receptionist "I'm here for an SSI Interview". The guy called me back 10-15 minutes later. At that point I wasn't thinking about that, just the fact that I had (at the last minute) decided to bring my mom because I was so scared and he wouldn't let her go in with me. Once in the room he said about 3X "I don't work for Social Security". I just nodded. It was only later why I realized that he said that. Also, I tend to disagree. If you are doing a consultation and being paid by them then all of us are aware of who you are working for.

The guy even seemed to be putting my depression in a weird cookie cutter box like something you'd see on a sitcom after a character is fired or something. I've been depressed for 14 years, very heavily so, but yeah, I bathe. I don't cry constantly. But yeah, I'm severely depressed.

He also didn't seem to believe me about the asperger's and was asking me why I thought that. I was trying to remember all of the stuff that applies to me but was flailing a little & was really regretting forgetting to bring that list of female asperger traits that I had printed out. He was trying to tell me that my therapist should have officially diagnosed that. Can therapists really diagnose you with anything? The impression that I got from her was that a MD must do that. I'm still on a waiting list for a free MD.

When he asked about past jobs I did try to explain how I didn't know how to act with the fellow employees and how I would get overwhelmed when everything was put on me. It seems very difficult to explain that to someone when they don't know what you mean though.

I avoided the computer thing like the plague as I can't fight with people. I've been trying to find a way to make a living doing what I can online since I was a teen and it's never panned out to any significant money. He kept asking "what I do all day" and I said "I read". (not a lie, I do read a lot). When he asked about TV I did admit that I watch TV but I never ever brought up computers, which I'm a little proud of myself for. lol. I write online all of the time. Writing online because I like it and maybe earning 1 penny every once in a while doesn't equate to a job but I would be hard pressed to explain all of that.



ToughDiamond
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05 Oct 2011, 8:26 am

Sounds much like my experiences with "health professionals." I come away with a number of concerns about what they said, and feel bad because I didn't stick up for myself at the time, didn't argue. If your brain is much like mine, you'll probably find you have to work up to an argument over time, as the culmination of a campaign rather than an impromptu skirmish. I'd need time to soak up the info and chew over battle options. Mostly I'm not in that head space.



LadySera
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06 Oct 2011, 2:25 am

ToughDiamond wrote:
Sounds much like my experiences with "health professionals." I come away with a number of concerns about what they said, and feel bad because I didn't stick up for myself at the time, didn't argue. If your brain is much like mine, you'll probably find you have to work up to an argument over time, as the culmination of a campaign rather than an impromptu skirmish. I'd need time to soak up the info and chew over battle options. Mostly I'm not in that head space.


Yes, that sounds about right. In the moment I'm in like a "fight or flight mode".