Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Playing Their Game

Anyone who has applied for social security disability knows all too well the game you have to play with our government to get the benefits that are there for you. Before we applied, we heard countless horror stories of people saying everyone is denied the first time around and that they waited 2-3 years before they got approved. Of course we didn’t have this kind of time to wait for the income (who does?) so we tried our best to do everything we could each step along the way. We initially filled at the local social security office and spent about 3 hours filling out the detailed paperwork they ask you to bring with you. We thought for sure that we had done a good job with all of Vince’s records and would be one of the few people that get approved the first time around. Unfortunately, about 4 months later, we got notice that Vince was denied benefits. Knowing the game from talking to other people, we got a lawyer right away. Without a lawyer, it can be a tough fight, if not impossible to win your case. He filed the appeal and said there is about a 9-10 month waiting period at that time to get a court date for our hearing. We almost fell out of our chairs. How would we ever make it that long with no second income? He instructed us to call him about any medical changes and new prescriptions or doctors so that he would have the most up to date information on file for the hearing. About 8 months later we were notified that our hearing had been scheduled about a month out. This was a relief to finally have a date. A date that we had been waiting for, for such a long time. About a week before the hearing, we met with the lawyer so he could prep us and let us know what will be happening that day and what to expect. The day before the hearing date, we got a call from the lawyer stating the judge already took a look at Vince’s case and records and is going to approve his benefits without needing to see him at the hearing. We were shocked! We had no idea this could even happen. We thought for sure that we would have to go before the judge to explain our case. We were told it would take about 4-6 weeks for the payments to begin. Looking back, from the time we first applied, to the time Vince was approved, it was almost exactly one year. I think we were very lucky in comparison to the time it has taken others to go through the process and we are glad we are finally finished and can begin to move forward.

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