I haven’t mentioned it here, but a few months ago I received a letter and questionnaire from the Social Security Administration stating that they are reviewing my medical condition. If they decide to go to the next step I would have to see a doctor of their choosing to keep my benefits.
It completely freaked my shit out.
This happened right after I bought my car and I’d been feeling as if I were in a remission of sorts for the past 9 months or so. The vertigo had not hit hard in close to a year and when it did I had warning signs so I knew when it was going to happen, so driving was once again possible. I was able to clean my house, go on short grocery shopping trips alone, go to some appointments by myself….I felt a new sense of independence. (as long as I wasn’t having debilitating migraines but that’s not what I was found disabled for) We had just recently moved to Tucson and I had a number of stressors that came with that move, add on this worry and I crashed! Not only did I crash physically, I crashed mentally, and I wasn’t even sure if I should get better if that meant I’d loose my disability and Medicare.
This past month I simply stopped thinking about it, well mostly, and I focused on getting back to a good normal level for me. I want to get into that remission state again, but if that doesn’t happen, I’m hoping for a better normal than I have right now, and I think I’m headed that way. I’d like to say I’d just accept how I am and be okay with it if that’s how it turned out, but I think I’d have to go through the whole process of grieving again to get there. Mindfulness is hard, that’s why we must be gentle with ourselves.
Do I blame the Social Security Administration for my flare, in part, yes! I believe this flare was caused by an accumulation of the stress I’ve been under over the past many months. The review of my disability benefits pushed that stress even higher. I felt like I shouldn’t be better, that I might have to prove I’m still as sick as I was at the time of my hearing to a doctor of their choosing. How is that fair?
I won’t defend why I deserve disability assistance here, I did that to a judge and a room full of people who were all trying to find a reason that I was not disabled. This post is simply to point out just how broken this system is.
I get letters saying they have good news that I can possibly get training to work and I may still be able to keep my benefits after I am employed. That sounds great doesn’t it? But then when I took the time to read it in it’s entirety I found out that if I make over a certain amount I would not only get my benefits cut I would also lose Medicare even if I could not get healthcare. I’d also have to see that doctor they chose to make sure I’m still disabled before I could start training for a job. There’s some great incentive for people to actually do that isn’t it? I’d love to try to learn something new and work some, but only if I could keep my healthcare, and I do not want to see their doctor first. That’s just scary. I should not have to do that over and over. If they want to review my case, they should ask MY doctor. That is the only voice that should be allowed to say if my condition has changed. Not a doctor of their choosing.
When I’m not flaring I don’t feel as ill as I did during the time I applied for SSDI, however, there is no way I could hold down a job. Not that I don’t want to. I’d love to be able to work. My hearing, or lack there of, and my physical limitations do not allow me to hold a job of any sort that I am at all qualified for, or any other that I know of. Now, why do I feel I need to defend myself even to you, my friends who know what my life is like, and know that holding a job would put me at risk of always being in a flare? Why do I feel ashamed that I have to depend on the government to help me? For anyone to help me? I believe working helped stabilize my moods. When my mind and body are more engaged then my mental health is more stable. Of course, I’d like to work again, who wouldn’t given the circumstances?
I do wish I’d seen this; 10 Facts About Disability Review, before I got so very stressed out. I would have still been stressed, but not quite as much.
A few days ago I received a 2nd letter saying they were not going to further review my case. It’s all good. At least for now, they could decide to review it again, but for now, everything is as it should be. I just forgot to mention that little bit in the original post. duh.
I’d love to know….Are you on disability? Has your case been reviewed? What happened?