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StarTrekker
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16 May 2018, 3:41 pm

I've reached burnout point at my job. I can't handle the stress any longer, and it's making me suicidal. I'm thinking of quitting and applying for SSDI (I finally have five years' worth of work experience as of yesterday). I'd like to hear from those of you here in the US who are receiving SSI or SSDI, and how difficult it was to do, as well as how long the process took.

I did some research on the requirements to meet the definition of disability, and I think I would, given that I can't work at a "competitive pace" (and have performance evals to prove it), I have violent, self-injurious meltdowns in the office that have sent me to the ER once, and had the paramedics called twice. My processing speed is so slow that I struggle to follow instructions, cannot adapt to a fast-paced work environment, and struggle to remember what I'm supposed to be doing.

I can't work anywhere with noise, bright lights, strong smells or crowds, as the sensory overload would be almost immediate. I'm also 4'11" and weigh 90lbs, so moving heavy objects and reaching high shelves are also both impossible.

I have my diagnostic eval, as well as tests performed by my job coaches, occupational therapist, and an adaptive functioning expert which all corroborate my diagnosis and subsequent challenges. I'm on Medicaid, and have been approved for Long-Term-Care Medicaid to get support with cooking and cleaning, which I can't do independently.

I know none of you are experts, but I'd appreciate any input, advice or information you have on the subject. I'm nervous because I really need to get out of my current work environment, but I can't afford to unless I'm reasonably sure that I'll have some financial assistance available to me after I go.


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kraftiekortie
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16 May 2018, 6:05 pm

I've read a considerable amount about people applying for SSI/SSDI. Many people are rejected at first, then get a lawyer on contingency (you don't have to pay unless you're successful), then seem to get approved at least somewhat often, with backpay. Alas, they have to give the lawyer about 1/3 of the backpay as a "fee."

With 5 years work experience, it should be a slam dunk that you get SSDI, instead of SSI.

There's one person who's really knowledgeable about this: BlazingStar. I hope she comes to WP today.



Redxk
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16 May 2018, 6:40 pm

I am on SSDI, but I have it for major depressive disorder, not the ASD. The first try they pretty much reject everyone, but the second try, especially if you have a lawyer by then, they send you to a psychiatrist of their choosing. By that time I had had two hospitalizations within three months and had shut down completely at work. It went very quickly from the time of the psych eval. The whole process for me was about 8 months. It may be helpful for you if you have comorbid diagnoses of anxiety and/or depression, to apply under all of them, along with the ASD and SPD.



Redxk
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16 May 2018, 6:59 pm

Sorry for the double post, but one other piece of advice: if you drive, never drive yourself to anything having to do with SSDI. They use it against you as proof of competence. In my case I was terrified of driving at the time, so people were driving me places anyway.



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16 May 2018, 7:48 pm

Find a good lawyer to help you. It is much harder since you were diagnosed as an adult. I was rejected the first time, at my hearing, and also at the appeal. We have been applying for over a year. The main reason I am being rejected is because they say that I cannot prove that I was disabled before my last year insured which was 2009 even with mountains of evidence proving that I was. If I had been diagnosed as a child and had any psychiatric or psychological medical documentation before my diagnosis, I would have been approved. I am old enough that the diagnosis did not exist when I was a child and even with seven pages of evidence by my psychologist who diagnosed me in 2014 and has been treating me every since then, even with a ten page affidavit from my lawyer, even with letters from friends who have known me for over thirty years stating how impaired I was, even with evidence from my childhood stating how I was impaired then, even with documented job and school histories that clearly show how impaired I am, even with testimony from the person who first discovered my ASD, even though I am an athlete in both Special Olympics and Easter Seals, I continue to get denied. The judges deny me because I was not diagnosed as a child and there are no psychiatric or psychological medical records before my official diagnosis in 2014. So I just hope that the judges in your state are not as corrupt as the judges in mine. The judges in my state literally broke the law on at least seven different counts to deny me and other than continuing to appeal until it reaches the Supreme Court, which could take over a decade, there is nothing we can do about it. But try anyway. It is pretty much guaranteed that you will be denied in the first step but hopefully, if you have a really good lawyer, you might get approved at the hearing. But because you have had successful work, you might get denied there as well. I have never had a successful work experience and I have no chance of getting approved no matter how disabled and impaired I am because I was diagnosed as an adult. Since you were in the hospital recently, that may help you. Unfortunately for me my hospital stay was in January, too late to help me. I hope you have much more success than I am having.


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skibum
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16 May 2018, 7:56 pm

If you lose your income, apply for food stamps and help with your utilities if you pay them. Also apply for unemployment right away. I just got food stamps. I have been eligible for over four years but literally just got them this week. I am still trying to get help with the utilities. Hopefully soon. I have a small job now but I am only grossing $500-$800 a month. I am literally living off of that with a mortgage, insurances, utilities and credit card debt. If you leave your job, apply for welfare right away because it takes time. Because of the extent of my disabilities I am incapable of working full time. But welfare can declare you disabled even if SSDI does not so make sure you get on that right away.


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skibum
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16 May 2018, 7:59 pm

Hang in there my friend, we are in this together. I will totally be here for you. :heart:


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livingwithautism
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16 May 2018, 8:47 pm

I only get SSI because no work history. My case was an exception. I got it on the first try with no lawyer. That almost NEVER happens. I get $750 per month and my mother is my representative payee (she is in charge of it). I also have Medicaid and $192 per month in Food Stamps.



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16 May 2018, 8:56 pm

If you’re applying for SSDI, be prepared to be denied at almost all levels, unless your disability is terminal, and you may get it as a compassionate case, even with a competent attorney. Also, to be eligible for SSDI, you need to have at least 40 quarters of creditable work experience under your belt. Finally, you stand a better chance of being approved for SSDI if you are over the age of 50.

I can’t speak for SSI, since I never had to deal with that program.


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kraftiekortie
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16 May 2018, 9:03 pm

This is a man who knows what he's talking about....



skibum
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16 May 2018, 10:09 pm

Meistersinger wrote:
If you’re applying for SSDI, be prepared to be denied at almost all levels, unless your disability is terminal, and you may get it as a compassionate case, even with a competent attorney. Also, to be eligible for SSDI, you need to have at least 40 quarters of creditable work experience under your belt. Finally, you stand a better chance of being approved for SSDI if you are over the age of 50.

I can’t speak for SSI, since I never had to deal with that program.
I am over 50 and have had about 53 jobs in the 18 years that I worked. My attorney is also one of the best in the area. I still got denied at the first three levels. We might try the fourth level but now we are trying SSI.


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16 May 2018, 10:27 pm

List every condition that interferes with your working, even if it doesn't in itself constitute a disabling condition. An example might be irritable bowel syndrome or primary insomnia. Because a combination of ailments can be disabling even if none of them individually would qualify. I listed ten or twelve ailments, both physical and psychiatric, which in combination qualified me on the first try (but I was also over 50, in fact I was over 62).

Also, you must be extremely thorough on your application, giving exact and complete dates, locations, and provider names for everything you have been ill with for, I'm not sure, about ten years I think, or maybe it's only five.

Even if you do everything right and are granted the SSDI, they will not pay you anything for 6 months from the last date of work, so you'd better have a plan for how you will subsist while this is going on. However, you may earn a certain amount (it's under $1000 or so) and still qualify, so working very part-time hours might be the way you get by during this period - plus handouts from friends or family if you have any.

Don't be afraid to call Social Security and ask them questions. I always wondered if it would prejudice the agency against me, but I see no evidence that that happened.

The application itself is formidable. You can have a friend, relative, or social worker help you with it, if paperwork is not your thing. You will then have a detailed interview with Social Security, but they do allow you to do this over the phone.

I am sorry you have been having such a hard time working. This is true of so many of us. We just can't manage it, with all the issues we have and limits on our mental energy. Remember that you're a good person even if you can't hold a full-time job. Good luck with your SSDI.


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KB8CWB
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17 May 2018, 12:19 am

Meistersinger wrote:
If you’re applying for SSDI, be prepared to be denied at almost all levels, unless your disability is terminal, and you may get it as a compassionate case, even with a competent attorney. Also, to be eligible for SSDI, you need to have at least 40 quarters of creditable work experience under your belt. Finally, you stand a better chance of being approved for SSDI if you are over the age of 50.

I can’t speak for SSI, since I never had to deal with that program.

I can attest to all of this! You must have at least 40 points to get SSDI and also have worked at least 5 years of the last 10. If you go past the five years non-working, you lose SSDI until you again can achieve 5+ consecutive years in the last 10. Be prepared it is extremely difficult. I have numerous conditions both physical and of course being on the spectrum. I also suffer from MDD and a few other conditions sometimes associated with ASD. It took me over 3 years to finally get it. And I had to retain the services of an attorney to do so. You will most likely be denied the first try and probably the second. I had to go to my final hearing with the usual experts and prove I was unable to do any of my "past work". Being over 55 helps as well. I started the process at just over 50 years of age and didn't know I was ASD at the time. I don't think it would have helped to get SSDI in my case at any rate. Good luck and find a good lawyer if you are serious about this.



kraftiekortie
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17 May 2018, 6:56 am

Social Security likes to make it tough on people....in a nutshell.



BeaArthur
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17 May 2018, 7:20 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
Social Security likes to make it tough on people....in a nutshell.

I'd be cautious about making statements like this. It leads to distrust and discouragement, leading to some people not even trying. Also, I found Social Security staff to be nicer than I expected.

Imagine how indignant taxpayers would get if large numbers of unqualified people were drawing this type of disability. There are frauds and cheats out there, but I don't believe most people with autism are among them.


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