Discussion Topic

should i hear something?

Posted on 12/22/09, 09:50 pm
Hi everyone! I have a few questions about this whole SSI process that I was hoping those of you with more experience might be able to answer. First, I applied for SSI on September 1st, over the phone (they told me i HAD to do it that way, not in person, not sure why), and then they mailed me a release form to sign to get my medical records... I mailed that back to them, along with a more comprehensive list of my doctors over the years (over the phone the woman only wanted my CURRENT doctors' info, but i spoke to her supervisor who said to send them the whole list). And that was the last thing that has happened with my claim. Oh, I did immediately receive a denial letter for SSD, but that came with the relase form and a summary of my claim. So, what I am wondering, is should I have heard SOMETHING from them by now? Like at least an acknowledgement that they received the information to add to my claim and the release form. They haven't requested any medical records from my doctors yet, at least not from the doctors that I currently see. I'm starting to wonder if they ever even got the release form that I sent back to them... is this normal? I know things move slowly in the social security world, but it's been 3 1/2 months.... so I'm starting to worry.

Ok, onto my second question. I moved into a new apartment recently, and I was wondering if moving will impact my claim in any way? I'm having all of my mail forwarded... but I haven't been sure if I should call social security to give them my new information or if that could just slow things down even more. Or if it would look bad- like if I can move, I can't be disabled....? Or like I don't need money if I can afford to move? We moved because we had to, our landlord was about to completely gut and rebuild the house we were living in to rent to college students... so we obviously had to move, and I just kinda supervised while my boyfriend packed, moved, unpacked, etc. In the end, it turned out to be a great thing- I'm much happier in this new place AND we got a new bed as a housewarming gift from my parents... after sleeping on a mattress that was at least 20 years old, it is SO nice to sleep on a new mattress that is better for my back- I don't wake up with nearly as much pain as I used to... the pain comes quickly after getting OUT of bed, but at least I'm not waking up totally unable to move. And since I'm stuck in bed so much, it's a good thing that it's comfortable. I can't say enough about the importance of a good mattress... I never realized it before! Lol... anyway, end mattress endorsement. ;)

Ok, thanks so much, in advance, for reading my questions and for getting back to me! I know most of you here know more about this than I do... which isn't necessarily a GOOD thing, I guess that means you've been dealing with this for way longer than I have, so while it's helpful to me that you have information to share, it makes me sad that so many people have to get to know this system so well because of dealing with it for so long. Good luck to everyone! and Happy Holidays!

~Jennifer
Showing 9 Replies
  • Reply #1 12/29/09  7:06pm
    I would call them and see what the status is, make sure they have everything and all that. Personally I would give them all your current info, you don't want to ever look like you are hiding anything from them.. Also, you will be able to get SSI for the 5 months that disability does not cover and they take into account how much rent and utilities you pay so you wan it to be sure what place you are living at. You need to be honest with them about everything..but that's just me....

    good luck
  • Reply #2 12/30/09  6:57pm
    If you recieved a denial you have a deadline to appeal. I would check into it ASAP
  • Reply #3 12/30/09  10:40pm
    Thanks, ChefJess, that's what I am going to do. I just get so anxious that I spin all of these possibilities into more than they are in my head. I thought telling them everything was the best approach... I think I just wanted to hear it from someone else. :) I mean, it's not like i did something to disprove my disability- I moved, that's it, that's part of life. I will give them a call tomorrow and make sure that they have my current info and to see what is going on with my case. Thanks again. :)

    Waitingforhim- I received a denial for SSD, not SSI... I knew I wasn't eligible for SSD- I've worked for maybe one full year total if you add up everything throughout my life. I injured my back when I was 19 and that was the end of that. Seven years later, I finally decided that it's time to apply for SSI because my back has gotten progressively worse, not better, and the doctors aren't offering much hope for improvement and I've been told I'm not a candidate for any kind of surgery... so that leaves me pretty much assuming that I'm never going to finish college and have a career. But they say that when we make plans, God laughs... so I guess I just have to adjust to things and live the life that I DO have. It could ALWAYS be worse, right?

    Thanks for the replies.

    ~Jennifer
  • Reply #4 12/30/09  11:13pm
    Oh, and I wanted to share an observation on how ridiculous some of our government programs (or maybe it's just the employees) are... this occurrence is one of the things that has made me nervous about changing my address with social security.

    Ok, so I get benefits through public assistance, welfare, whatever you want to call it... I get food stamps, medicaid, and cash assistance... and it is a major pain in the ass to keep these benefits, as I'm sure many of you know, and I have spent years at a time with NO benefits at all because they simply didn't believe that I lived at my address. A LEASE and letter from my landlord wasn't good enough... they had to send an investigator out to my house, which was fine. But he only came ONCE and they don't give you any idea of when he'll be there, of course... so since he came when I wasn't home, my application for benefits was denied... wait six months and apply again. I do that, same thing, investigator comes at like noon when I'm at a doctor's appointment... and I even gave them my weekly schedule so they could see when I was normally home. I believe 100% that it is intentional. That went on for two years until I was assigned to a new caseworker who didn't find an investigation to be necessary. Crazy.

    Oh, and keeping the little bit of assistance that I get is what initially made me apply for SSI. I'm 26 years old, and I really felt like applying for SSI was kind of giving up on my life.... so I resisted for years even though various people were pushing me to do it (I now realize that if I can't work, I still have to be able to live so my age is irrelevant to needing income- so I'm ok with applying). Well, after a few years of receiving benefits from the state, they said my disability had gone on too long for them to continue to give me benefits, that I had to apply for SSI in order to keep my benefits on. I also had to sign a paper saying that welfare gets any back money that I may get if I am awarded SSI.... and that if that is not enough to pay them back for all the money they have given me, that they will get most of my SSI checks until they have been paid back. This seemed REALLY wrong to me, so has anyone else had to do this? Does this sound typical or normal to you guys? I'm going to post this as a separate question... I had forgotten about this, but now I'm really wondering.

    So knowing how insane the welfare department is, I called their "change center" within thirty days of moving as they ask you to do. I gave the woman all of my new information, she entered it all, everything seemed to be pretty routine until she asked if my rent amount had changed. I told her that it had, that the rent for this apartment is $800 a month... she sounded shocked and said she couldn't input that amount because I don't get that much in benefits. I told her that I live with someone, so I'm really not responsible for $800. She said that even $400 was too much (I get $200 in cash assistance a month) so she could not enter that into the system. She then DEMANDED to know how I plan to pay my rent. I was speechless. What I wanted to do was ask HER how ANYONE is supposed to pay rent with $200 a month!! Does she really think I could have found an apartment where my rent would be $200!?! I wish!! $800 was on the low end of most of the apartments we saw... and we spend MONTHS searching for a place, so we saw tons of apartments. I live in one of the largest cities in the country- housing is not cheap here- I mean, it's not NYC expensive, it could be worse, but $200 wouldn't even get me a room in a rooming house (I know- I've lived in one- I had one nasty little room to myself and shared a bathroom down the hall with three floors of people- and THAT was $400 a month). Not to mention that RENT is not my only expense! She seemed to think I should have an apartment where I paid $200 a month so that I'd fit into this neat little box... well, even if I did pay that little rent, how would I cover the REST of my living expenses? Car insurance, gas, phone, electric, internet (otherwise I'd go CRAZY being stuck in the house in bed all day), clothing, food (food stamps usually get me through about three weeks of the month), etc. I was just shocked that she actually believed that anyone is able to live on what they are given by the state. She said she couldn't enter a rent amount into the form (and if my expenses aren't listed, I'm not entitled to the maximum amount of benefits) until I sent them a lease proving what my rent was and a letter detailing how I planned to PAY the rent. I told her that I planned to be in A LOT of debt, like i have been since I first hurt my back. These people are crazy... it's like they never actually think about what they're asking. How do I plan to pay my rent?? I plan to pray a lot and hope that I can do some odd jobs for family members like dog-sitting every now and then...

    Argh, it drives me crazy. Thanks so much for giving me a place to vent about all of this. And I know I am a little bit wordy, so thanks for taking the time to read this! I REALLY do appreciate it. :)

    ~Jennifer
  • Reply #5 01/01/10  8:48am
    I know it all seems too intrusive but that is how the system works and yes, they do need to ask how you pay your bills because if you have a boyfriend or family that helps any they will consider that money with your case.

    Another thing you need to remember is to ALWAYS update SS about any change of address you may have as their mail is NOT forwarded and you may end up not getting some forms, etc. that you need to respond to within a certain number of days and trust me, they do not care that you did not get the mail. They are only going to focus on the fact that you were not responsible enough to update your records with them. Sorry for being so blunt but just want you to understand how important it is to notify the state and SS when you move.

    I hope all goes well for you and it does not take forever to get everything approved for you.

    Keep us posted.
  • Reply #6 01/01/10  1:04pm
    Thanks... I didn't know that they wouldn't forward the mail from social security... maybe that's why I haven't heard anything from them. I will call them on Monday to change my address. I assume I can't call today since it's New Years Day. I forget who it was, but someone had told me that if I changed my address in the middle of a claim I would have to reapply since the office your claim is assigned to is based on your address... that didn't really make a lot of sense to me, which is why I asked on here. Glad I got the right info. Thaks again. :)

    Wait, I've been going back to my old house to check for mail once a week... so I guess that means they really haven't sent me anything at all since I first applied. January will be the fourth month since I applied... so doesn't that mean they have thirty more days to make a decision? I don't understand why they haven't even contacted my doctors yet. Doesn't leave a lot of time to get records and such...

    ~Jennifer
  • Reply #7 01/03/10  7:29pm
    I would call and see what is going on, I mean my worker only worked 3 days a week and 1/2 days! So, don't expect much...And you only have so long to appeal so you need to be on top of it in case they did already send you a denial and you just don't know about it. They just expect you to move fast ya know?
    I was applying for SSD though and SSI may work different...I got SSI for the 5 months that SSD didn't cover only AFTER I was approved..it would of been helpful then but...whatever...good luck!
  • Reply #8 01/04/10  1:08am
    Yeah, that's so backwards. But they don't even consider how you live when you're not receiving anything. When I was talking above about that welfare worker demanding to know how I'll pay my rent with the benefits that I get... well, when I first got clean in '03 (I'm a recovering heroin addict as is my boyfriend- it's almost like a sick joke to end up with chronic pain after being an opiate addict- and that's how it happened- three months after I got clean I fell down those stairs- at my drug treatment program, no less! ironic, huh?)... well, when we both got clean we were both getting welfare benefits and medicaid (you have no choice- if you want to be in a drug treatment program- especially a methadone program- you have to apply for benefits, they have you do it right through the program) to pay for the treatment program. We started out with nowhere to live, but we were able to find an apartment within a few months and our rent was $400 a month. We specifically stayed in that rent range because we each were getting $200 a month from welfare. So we went in for some kind of annual review and when they asked what our relationship to each other was, my bf made the mistake of calling me his wife (we're not legally married, but we've lived together for so long that it doesn't feel much different)... once he did that, we became a joint household. As individual single people, we could each get $200 a month, but as a household we were only entitled to $300 all together! So right after this moron asked us how much our rent was, he then told us we would only be getting $300! So they demand to know how you pay your rent, yet when you are ABLE to pay it with your benefits, they take away money so you can no longer afford it. And they truly DO NOT CARE.
    I don't know if you just become hardened, jaded, whatever, after working in that field for a long time... it's kind of like people who work for collection agencies- they're equally as cold- I've had one of them harassing my GRANDMOTHER, actually making threats, calling her neighbors and friends, because of one of MY student loans. Anyway, yeah, maybe they just get hardened by their jobs... but I almost feel like you have to be, in general, fairly heartless to do jobs like that- to constantly see human suffering and not feel any compassion! I know that's not EVERYONE in those fields- I've had a very nice caseworker who had been in the field her whole life and was in her 70s- and she managed to be extremely caring and helpful- unfortunately she retired. And I had a friend who worked for welfare and he had to quit because he couldn't do what he was being asked to do. Those people are what make me believe that the majority of people in those fields really just don't care much about others.

    Ok, sorry to ramble on and on there! Anyway, I'm going to call social security first thing Monday morning... and I'll go check my mail at the old house again tomorrow to make sure I haven't missed anything. I just can't believe that they would have sent me a denial when they haven't even requested any info from my doctors yet. Can they do that?? I guess they can do whatever they want... Ugh, I want this to be over! We are barely scraping by right now... my credit is about as bad as it can get (example- tried to get a cell phone plan- they wanted a $1500 deposit! the guy said that was the most he'd ever seen them ask for) which makes all of my bills end up higher- like my car insurance rates are high because they factor in credit score, I've had to pay deposits to have the electric turned on at my new apartment and for the phone company... it's like the less money you have, the more things cost you! I NEED to have an income... I haven't had any income since I was 19 years old! Seven years now!

    ~Jennifer
  • Reply #9 01/26/10  12:28pm
    I am very glad that you are sharing your frustration. Like ChefJess says, it is best to keep them informed. Life is so hard to dot all of the i's when lack of cash freezes one up solid. I advise writing to them to keep them updated of your exact situation: behind on utiltilies or rent, etc. I really hope that you get SSI soon. It is IMPOSSIBLE to live without income!

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This is for any one that has found themselves in the long wait for Soicial Security. Any one that has gone through this process or is in the middle of it. Venting is allowed.