Read these 8 Staying Organized and In Control Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Disability tips and hundreds of other topics.
While waiting for the answer to your disability payment request, don't let your guard down and allow these priorities to be "put on the back burner"...
Take that period of waiting time to make sure that you have everything you will need to keep the application process flowing.You will need detailed information regarding every single doctor you have seen from the time your problems began, even if it is not related to your the illness that you are requesting disability payments for.
Find a table top, desk, or shelf that you can keep all of your x-rays, doctor statements and bills,
release papers from any hospital or doctor's visits.
It is just as important to maintain a special notebook, designated for your "disability" notes. You should be keeping a legible listing every telephone call you've made, how long you spent on the telephone (holding or not), with the date, time, person's name that you spoke to, person and department you may have been transferred to, and results of the telephone call. You will be very happy you've kept these records when you recieve a bill from your attorney, if you should decide to hire one, billing you for each quarter of an hour increment!
Social Security sends forms to you with a self- addressed, no postage needed, envelope. (Which I used, and I guess I was really lucky that my forms weren't lost!) If you use this envelope and they say they never got the forms, you will have no proof that you mailed it. I strongly suggest that you take it to your local Social Security office, where they stamp everything "received" with the date while you stand there, (at least they did when I went to my local Social Security office). If you mail in your forms, send them "return receipt requested' from the post office. That $1.65 or so that you spend may save you from many days spent having to get new copies of doctor's letters & test results, not to mention having to fill out another LONG form you filled out applying for Social Security Disability!
Please remember this very important tip: ALWAYS make a copy of EVERYTHING you turn into Social Security! It is very possible that Social Security could lose all of your paperwork, with the thousands of applications that they receive everyday. Also remember to make a zerox copy of the Social Security forms
that you fill out. Make a folder for yourself and keep EVERYTHING, including all correspondence that you receive from Social Security, in one SAFE place. I strongly suggest getting a fire-proof box or container for these documents. Your entire future livelihood depends on this paperwork.
All forms, letters, or documents sent to Social Security should be sent by certified mail, "return receipt requested" or taken in to your local office in person. If Social Security loses your application for SSD along with ALL of those doctor's letters, forms, & receipts, you will have to have proof that you turned it in on time, or that you turned it in at all. Can you imagine having to start from scratch and get copies of all of that AND filling out the application ALL OVER AGAIN??! If you take something in, in person, or if you send it in the mail, make sure you get a receipt.
The process of applying for disability benefits has become much easier due to expert organization at the Department of Social Security. Whether you use the telephone, the website, or visit your local Social Security office, you will find everything you are looking for easily, due to a thorough, posted listing of departments and topics.
First and foremost, remember that patience is a virtue. There are many individuals who frequent the Social Security office for applications for lost Social Security cards, retirement benefits and due to one's inability to work. When contacting them, have your Social Security number and notebook handy, and write down who helped you and what date and time you called or visited. The application is very long and can be picked up at their local office, or sent to you in the mail.
It is much easier to take it home to complete it and take it back to turn it in, if you can get the time. Once completed, make a copy of all pages for your own records. Regarding your doctor's bills and letters: keep the originals and mail the copies, or vice versa ONLY IF they absolutely require originals. You will need them again.
It is possible to obtain any x-rays you may have had done just for the asking, as it was you or your insurance company that paid for them. Most times, you will have to physically visit the office to sign a release form to get them. The doctor or hospital keeps a copy of the x-ray report in your record. Simply follow instructions on the Social Security application while filling it out, step by step, and be sure to double-check that you did not miss anything. One missed answer can add on processing time. Allow at least eight to twelve weeks for them to receive your application, to review it, and for them to get a letter regarding your status back out to you, unless your local office tells you it will be longer. Follow up with the person you submitted it to if you haven't heard anything after the suggested amount of waiting time. Be aware; the process has taken two to three years for many applicants. If there are any major changes to your health in the meantime, notify your Social Security office regarding the changes. Any errors could cost you many months of added waiting time.
When calling Social Security on the telephone, keep in mind that there are hundreds of people all across the United States most likely calling at the very same that time you are. Be patient. Make sure that you have your Social Security number right in front of you before you dial the phone. When you call, they advise you how long yout wait will be, so you can place the call on your speaker phone if you have one, and do to things while you are waiting.The toll-free nationwide phone number is 800-772-1213. The best time to call them is either right at 7 am, or to wait until after 5:00 pm. The office is open from 7 am until 7 pm (as of April 2009 anyway). Many folks assume that the Social Security office closes at 5 pm, so that will give you an advantage in calling, since you now know that they are open till 7 pm.
Keep in mind that your initial application for social security disability will have to be done in person or on the computer. If you are not physically able to pick up an application, you can call them and ask them to please mail you an application.
After you have been off work for a period of time, you may find that depression starts to loom it's heavy head.
Fight it as long and as much as you can.
Once it sets in, it's very difficult to get rid of. You might feel like "what's the use of even getting out of bed, all I have to do is clean up the house (or whatever)?" If you smoke, you might find yourself smoking more because you have too much time on your hands. You might sleep more because you may feel that you have no reason to get up and get dressed. You're stuck at home with much less money than you had to live on as before, and you aren't needed as much anymore.Then you could start to isolate yourself and start letting your answering machine catch all your calls.
Try to stop this before you get too deep!
Get on the telephone and find a counselor to talk to ASAP! Volunteer for something you are interested in but that doesn't make your illness worse, if you can get out. If you can't get out though, you have to make a routine for yourself to give yourself a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Whether it's reading the paper (it's fairly inexpensive), enjoying your coffee, exercising and taking a shower, catching a favorite early morning program then making yourself get moving, just think of SOMETHING. If you sink into a deep deep depression your illness will get worse, much faster, and/or your pain will increase because you are being too sedentary. Your life is a gift - think of the reason you may have been put here for and take some action to make yourself feel better. Thinking positive will not only make you feel a little better, but may actually heal some of the pain you have.
Once you are deemed "disabled", you will probably find that there will be some good days, some bad days, and some really bad days. Due to whatever stopped you from working, there's bound to be a feeling of being unproductive,incapable,and insufficiency.
There may be jealousy by a spouse that feels that you are "lucky" to be home all the time while they have to go to work every day. After a while, even your kids may start to show signs of disrespect, being incapable of understanding your plight, and wondering why "all their friends" have things that you can no longer afford.
These are all things that counseling may help get you through. If you can't find an understanding psychologist, then you may have to talk to yourself.
Remember to make notes to yourself to count your blessings, even if you have to tape a note to your bathroom mirror.
Feel free to comment here for an understanding ear..
Although you may wonder how you'll make it: paying for your home, utilities, food, and even your sanity, you must trust that there are ways. Sometimes the stress alone of being in so much pain could make you not want to get out of bed and sink into a depression. Your inability to be a useful part of your family and community may, at times, overcome you with feelings of inadequacy, you have to push on.
Trust in your Higher Power, talk to people who really do care about you, a family member, real friends, a counselor, or a minister. You can survive, and with help, you can still be somewhat happy.
Check at your local United Way office. They can give you valuable resources to contact that will provide links to where you can get free or low cost food, & help with your bills.
Contact the Department of Human Services (or welfare), though you might cringe at the thought, they may provide you with medical and food resources.
If you cannot continue to work, that is the test. If you CAN work, then that will be your challenge with Social Security Disability, and they will expect you to find any way you can to support yourself and earn money. If you can earn money, it might hurt your chances of being approved for SSD benefits.
But, if in fact you truly cannot work, or are advised by your doctor NOT to work, because working will worsen your condition, then you have no recourse but to contact these resources that are there to assist you in circumstances such as this; and then you can pursue the disability benefits that are entitled to you.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|