Topic: Hypothetical SSDI question....

Forum: Employment, Insurance, and Other Financial Issues — Employment, insurance, and financial concerns are common. Meet others here to discuss and for support.

Posted on: Jun 1, 2011 06:07PM

Posted on: Jun 1, 2011 06:07PM

Fearless_One wrote:

So tell me if I understand this correctly.   If a single person living alone who works full-time and makes around 24K a year gets diagnosed with mets - would not be eligible for SSDI for 6 months?    Expedited cases are only if you are given a year or less, right?   

I do not have mets, but this really concerns me, if it ever does happen.   I don't know what I would do.   I would lose my car, the roof over my head, etc.    I can't just not work for 6 months.

I thought if you were stage IV, it was automatic.   I didn't realize you don't get approved unless you have been out of work for 6 months.

Do I understand all this correctly?

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Jun 1, 2011 06:17PM - edited Jun 1, 2011 06:19PM by AnneWisc

Please ask for an appointment with your hospital social worker, or your state or county human services office.  Most localities have stopgap coverage that would kick in before SSDI does. Also, knowing the ropes for SSDI makes a huge difference, vs. going it alone (even with attorney).

If you are sitting on a big bank account, many of these programs expect you to "spend it down" before you draw any support, but they don't normally force you to lose your car or housing.  

You may also want to canvass your family/friend network to see what assistance, if any, you could count on there.  I don't mean in terms of financial handouts but rather a place to live, rides, and so on. 

I would hate to see you stressed unduly by these worries.  The "social safety net" is not what it used to be, but I think your fears may be feeding themselves due to lack of information.  

Dx 5/15/2011, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+
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Jun 1, 2011 06:23PM Fearless_One wrote:

Anne, I was unaware of stopgap coverage.   Thank you...

No, no big bank account.   I pretty much go paycheck to paycheck, which is why I worry so much, even though I don't have mets.   My onc said my tumor was "very aggressive" including perinodal tissue invasion, and I just worry, even though I have a good bill of health right now.

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Jun 1, 2011 08:02PM Chickadee wrote:

You don't have to be out of work for 6 months to get approved, but sadly, you still have to wait 6 months to start receiving benefits.  Your approval is expedited due to the Stage IV diagnosis but the checks still don't start for 6 months.  Below is a copy/paste from the SS website.....maybe there is a different definition of "the date we find that your disability began", but my understanding and what is true in my case is that it is the last day I worked.  I don't think you have to wait to that day to apply but it will figure into when your checks begin.   I agree with Anne, you would be doing yourself a favor to talk directly to SS.  However, I have enough experience with them to find that they often give out bad information and I always back it up with lots of reading and research, on their website and on other disability sites.  I've been through this process twice now, once with my disabled son and now for myself.

Here is what is on the SS website:

If your application is approved, your first Social Security benefit will be paid for the sixth full month after the date we find that your disability began.

For example, if your disability began on June 15, 2010, your first benefit would be paid for the month of December 2010, the sixth full month of disability.

Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they're due. This means that the benefit due for December would be paid to you in January 2011, and so on.

I'm in such bad shape, I'm wearing prescription underwear." Phyllis Diller 1917-2012 Dx 9/1/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 1, 2011 08:23PM Fearless_One wrote:

Thank you, Chickadee.   But it also says on their site that if you are working at the time you apply, they will most likely disqualify you.   So I think no matter what, it's 6 months of no work before you would even be approved.  

Where do they get this random number?   It's so unfair.   If I broke both my legs tomorrow, I would have to wait 6 months.

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Jun 1, 2011 09:26PM Chickadee wrote:

It's not approval that takes 6 months, it's the arrival of the first check.  My approval took only about 5 weeks from online application.  

Don't know how the 6 months was determined, whether procedural or legislative.  You could also review the SSI program that provides benefits based on low income.  I've never looked at the process of qualifying for that one but it might be a bridge of sorts given the loss of income while applying for SSDI.  SSI is administered by the states and also qualifies you for Medicaid, but I don't know the time frame for approval and check disbursement. 

I can understand the frustration but I also understand the need to make the program requirements stringent to try to ensure that limited Social Security funds go to those most deserving.

Your bio says that as of now you are Stage IIA.  Small comfort but at least you aren't IV and I pray you never reach this scary place.  Of course none of us wants to be any Stage, but you are wise to start asking these questions and looking for all the probabilities that might occur.  If your employer is large enough, start looking at all the possible benefits from work and then start researching any state and local programs as well as Cancer organzations that may be able to help bridge the gap.   I agree, those 6 months can be devastating financially for many of us.

I'm already retired and living off savings so the SSDI will help me stretch those savings out longer........and I hope for longer.

I'm in such bad shape, I'm wearing prescription underwear." Phyllis Diller 1917-2012 Dx 9/1/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 2, 2011 12:49AM petjunkie wrote:

In my case, the date of my disability was not the date I was diagnosed stage IV, but the date I stopped working. So for me, that was Nov 1. I was eligible to receive benefits starting in May, so my first check arrived in June. It only took about 3 weeks for my application to be approved-- but if I had been working, they wouldn't have approved me. You have to be totally disabled-- unable to work-- and then there is the waiting period before benefits begin.

I think that SSI is supposed to help bridge the gap for people who qualify. I had savings and a retirement account, so I didn't qualify for SSI, so I don't know much about it.

The other bummer is that there is a 2-year period before you are enrolled in medicare. So I had no income for 6 months, then got only social security income (which in my case was about 20% of my former salary), and with my small social security income I'm paying a ton for COBRA coverage and in copays for medical stuff. It's crazy.

The only way I could do it was to get help from family and also to cash out my 401K to pay off bills and cover me for that 6 months. Even now, I would be struggling terribly if my parents weren't helping me out. I'm 36, single, and hadn't paid into the system long enough to have my Social Security payments be very high. I can't get insurance through a spouse. It's hard on single folks, for sure.

I did get my student loans forgiven because of permanent disability. If you can plan now, try to get the best handle you can on current expenses and sock away every dime for an emergency fund that i hope you never have to use. I cut down as much as possible on my spending and am now trying to learn how to get good deals through coupons, etc. It's a whole new life, for sure... 

Dx 10/2007, DCIS, 6cm+, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Dx 10/2009, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 2, 2011 02:36AM hopeful34 wrote:

Just out of curiousity.....when you ladies have to wait six months, do they give you a check for 6 months, or do you only get a normal monthly check when the grace period is over?  Sorry if that sounds confusing.

Allison Dx 4/9/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/20/2010 Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Dx 6/22/2015, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole), Faslodex (fulvestrant), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Chemotherapy TAC Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jun 2, 2011 07:06AM Fearless_One wrote:

I disagree it's for those who most need it.   I know people who have gotten it for back ache, depression, etc.   If I got stage IV cancer, I would not be approved because I currently work.   It is designed for people who are able to quit their jobs - and not every ill person can just walk away from their jobs.   I don't have a 401K or a spouse to support me or disability through my workplace. 

Chickadee, were you not working when you applied?   I do believe you will not be approved if you are working.    I do not expect to be getting paid while working.   But it's unfair one should have to be unemployed for 6 months to be considered.  

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Jun 2, 2011 09:40AM Chickadee wrote:

I had stopped working and two months later got my progression report which turned my world upside down.  That's when I applied.  I've been a temp worker when I can for the last 2 years, so technically I'm still employed, but I won't seek or accept any work until I see where this progression is going.  It just made sense for me to secure the benefits now in case this beast decides to take me to the mat.

I'm in such bad shape, I'm wearing prescription underwear." Phyllis Diller 1917-2012 Dx 9/1/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 2, 2011 12:00PM Fearless_One wrote:

Chickadee, that is good you had stopped working.   Even at stage IV, if you had been working full-time, they would have denied you.   Assuming that income had been more than 1K a month, which is their cut-off.

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants

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