Your first boss understood, “After all, he has physical limitations which aren’t his fault, and he does a good job, so we’ll all double our efforts and work something out when he can’t come in.”
But, the new boss didn’t see it that way. Even though you had well-documented reasons for sick days; you were let go. What about the nearly two decades of dedicated service and countless times you’d stayed overtime to get the job done? More important, how are you going to pay the rent and meet other financial obligations?
For a year, you found less strenuous part-time jobs, strung them together, got by on savings, and then moved in with friends. But, your health got worse and absenteeism increased. The writing is on the wall: You can’t hold down a job.
Church or civic groups raised money and you managed for a while; but in this economy their revenues are down; clearly, you need to do something. But what? Your minister suggested that you might want to look into Social Security. What is that?
To provide assistance for the seniors, disabled adults and destitute children, President Roosevelt signed the Administration Economic Security Act in 1935. Funded by payroll deductions, it became known as Social Security and approved members receive monthly checks. But money from this entitlement program does not ‘come easily.’
To receive benefits, Social Security requires that you meet certain requirements and the following are take directly from a Disability Planner published BY Social Security
- “You cannot do work that you did before;”
- “We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and”
- “Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.”
The application process to receive benefits can be long and frustrating. Information about the Social Security Adminstration can be found at http://www.ssa.gov and the application is at http://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/. There is an electronic publication that explains much of the process at http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10550.html.
Besides providing Social Security with all the documentation they request, be prompt and courteous. If your Disability Reviewer (your contact person at Social Security Administration) contacts you requesting clarification or additional information, don’t send it piecemeal; instead, provide it all at once if you can and as promptly as possible.
It’s a good idea to keep a diary of medical visits, lab tests, what doctor ordered what med and test and on what date so that you’ll have this information at your fingertips.
Some individuals are immediately granted benefits, while others need to appeal several times; I obtained an attorney who argued my case before a judge after I had been denied benefits twice. Attorney fees are paid by Social Security out of the settlement you receive and then you begin to receive monthly benefits.