Author Topic: are there any disabled Mustachians on here?  (Read 2647 times)

FLA

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are there any disabled Mustachians on here?
« on: January 04, 2016, 04:59:52 AM »
I became disabled and completely unable to work at age 45, in Sept 2014.  I loved my job (hospice nurse) and refused to believe I would not be going back to work even though two of my doctors were urging me to apply for SSDI, I kept telling myself, "one more month and I'll be back to work."  So stupidly I waited 9 mos to apply for SSDI. I am living on a shaky Long Term Disability policy that is known to be cut off after having it for several months.  I've had it since July 1.  So for the first time, I can't plan financially the way I did in the past. This is driving me crazy, the unknown.  Plus, I feel like I lost my life's purpose in that I can no longer do a job of service that I took seriously. 

Ironically, just before getting sick, the employee 403b planner and a financial planner at Vanguard told me I had plenty to retire at 55.  I had never ever thought something like that would be a possibility (I did not know about here).  So now I'm trying to think of myself as retired at 45 and I just need to make my retirement money last 10 more yrs without being able to contribute anymore.  They both told me how much I could take out while disabled and still never touch the principle but I am not touching that money any sooner than I absolutely have to. 

Just wondering if there is anyone out there who is experiencing or has already experienced this whole process, waiting for SSDI, worrying about LTD, plus just dealing with being ill decades before you thought you would be, etc. 

Tami1982

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Re: are there any disabled Mustachians on here?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2016, 03:45:49 PM »
My experience is not the same, but I qualified for SSDI in 2006 at age 24 due to a chronic, degenerative condition.  I had never made more than $13,000 so my monthly pay out was $620.  I had no choice but to live with my parents at the time.  It's hard.  But one thing you can know is they will back pay out the date of original disability, plus once everything is all said and done you can do a little side work.  Usually under $5-600 to help supplement.

I'm past my trial work period.  My ssdi has increased to $852 and I'm allowed to make up to $1,000 a month without losing my benefits.  I usually come in around $600-$800.   I live on about $1,600 a month.  With that I've been able to pay off debt, buy a car, have a mortgage and live my life.  Don't think you can't make it on a lower income. 

I know it can be hard, seeing people making six figures, or even $50,000 a year (I'm like, SO MUCH MONEY, lol) But I'm making it and living pretty well on poverty dollars.  You can do it.  You just have to be creative.  I don't receive any gov't assistance.  I won't apply.  I have enough.  Just because I qualify doesn't mean I need.

One thing to look into, once you have your official letter of award, is your property taxes if you have them.  Most counties will allow for reduced rates if you are disabled and have a lower income.  In my county, there are there tiers, and reduced rates start at an annual income of $35,000.  My property taxes dropped from $1,700 to $100 a year and they are locked, and cannot increase even if my house value does.  It's designed so disabled/seniors don't get priced out of their homes.

If there are any particular questions I may have answers for or I can help with let me know.  I was approved in under three months including being pulled for a state audit for SSDI, and what I did was just blast them with paperwork.  The more doctor supported documentation I had the better.  Be prompt.  Be respectful.  Everyone I interacted with was very kind or at least polite.

Tami

FLA

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Re: are there any disabled Mustachians on here?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2016, 04:01:22 PM »
thank you for sharing your story and showing that it can be done.  I moved into a handicapped accessible home with my parents before I got sick with the plan that my kids were launching and I did not need or want my large townhouse and their house would need retrofitting to be wheelchair accessible and I would have to bounce back and forth between work, kids, and taking care of my mom. So we bought a new house, I'm on one end, they're on the other.

Then a year in I get sick. And I was a burden (still am in that I can't drive).  I needed to be picked up off the floor countless times.  I have no idea what I would've done if I had still been in a 3 story townhouse unable to do stairs.  So this worked out like through divine intervention.  We got my mom the help she needed so that was taken care of.  But I still feel guilty and like I am a waste of space. 

I will look into tax discounts for the disabled, that would help a ton. I know what you mean about accepting resources just because you qualify for them. My lawyer paper bombs, too.  She gets every test result, every doctor's note, anything I can give her to help, I will.  She has never lost a case with my doctor because she knows how important detailed documentation is and she takes the time to do it.  Fingers crossed.

I'm sorry you were disabled so young, I can't even imagine.  Thanks for your help

Tami1982

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Re: are there any disabled Mustachians on here?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2016, 08:02:43 PM »
Also, once you have an award letter, if you have government backed student loans that are in your name, they can be discharged.  Takes three years, but they will discharge them.  Unfortunately, the one's my parents took out on my behalf didn't qualify.

I didn't use an attorney, didn't even know most people needed one.  I was pretty ignorant of what I was going up against, and was pretty lucky.  It's an insurance, just like health insurance, that we pay into that should pay out when we are injured permanently.  It shouldn't be such a fight, nor carry so much stigma.

MerryMcQ

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Re: are there any disabled Mustachians on here?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2016, 09:32:20 PM »
Quote
I still feel guilty and like I am a waste of space.

I totally understand how you feel! I feel like this all the time!

I'm going through the SSDI process right now. Just over a year ago, at age 40, I had a sudden, unexpected illness that made me lose most of my hearing and destroyed my vestibular system. Before that I was healthy, low-weight, active - jogged 3+ miles almost daily, rode horses, rode my bike, swam, ate a very healthy diet... (so for everyone who is thinking, "I'm healthy, I don't need insurance..." OMG! Get it today!!!) There's no cure, and no way to regrow the dead vestibular nerves, and the best the specialists can tell me is to hope the last 5% of my nerve dies, which will - maybe - stop the terrible vertigo spells and falls. Or it might make things worse.

Anyway. I used to manage benefits and wellness at work and loved my career. My boss didn't want me at work (after my 3rd bad fall on the job, the last one in front of a 40 person audience), as I was a "workers' compensation claim waiting to happen."  I'd done what I'd preached, and purchased the "buy-up" LTD plan. I was approved for my LTD plan right away, so I'm getting 60% of my earnings.  The LTD carrier requires me to apply for SSDI, but they are paying for Allsup to do the application for me. I live in fear that if SSDI denies my claim, the LTD carrier will suddenly "re-evaluate" my case and cut off their benefits.

I started my SSDI application in July, and just had an exam thru one of their doctors on Dec 23rd. The doctor told me that I should get a response from SS by the end of January... I'm really worried about it, but I tell myself that my condition meets one of the "listings" and I have tons of medical evidence, including MRI, VNG, & CT scans and a slew of audiologist reports... Still, SSDI denies the majority of claims on the first application, so... *fingers crossed*

We also sold our house, moved to a lower cost of living area, bought a 1 story home by mass-transit, since I can't drive... a lot of changes but good ones as far as lowering costs long-term and being in a safer environment.

Keep us updated on how your claim goes! Who is your LTD carrier?




Tami1982

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Re: are there any disabled Mustachians on here?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2016, 02:13:39 AM »
thank you for sharing your story and showing that it can be done.  I moved into a handicapped accessible home with my parents before I got sick with the plan that my kids were launching and I did not need or want my large townhouse and their house would need retrofitting to be wheelchair accessible and I would have to bounce back and forth between work, kids, and taking care of my mom. So we bought a new house, I'm on one end, they're on the other.

I'm sorry you were disabled so young, I can't even imagine.  Thanks for your help

Your county/area might be different, but their income will likely count if they live with you.  Don't leave that stone unturned, but chances are since you live there together they will be included. 

It's life.  I have about two days a month where I'm angry at the world and depressed and life sucks!  And then I get over it.  It's like I bleed it off periodically.   My early disability is one of the reasons I advocate so hard on here for people not refinancing their student loans into private loans.  You might get better interest rates, but private loans are under NO obligation to drop your payments, work with you in any way, and will not discharge your loans due to disability. Nor are they bankruptable. No one wants to gamble that they will become ill or injured - but clearly it happens.  I could have saved myself two lawsuits, a deplorable trial, a truly ridiculous amount of stress and anxiety that went on for nearly five years, if I could have wrapped my brain around the idea that I was not impervious to life's bad hands.  But we often feel that way when we are young.  Invulnerable.

Best wishes, let me know if I can help. 

FLA

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Re: are there any disabled Mustachians on here?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2016, 03:37:31 AM »

I didn't use an attorney, didn't even know most people needed one.  I was pretty ignorant of what I was going up against, and was pretty lucky.  It's an insurance, just like health insurance, that we pay into that should pay out when we are injured permanently.  It shouldn't be such a fight, nor carry so much stigma.

My doctors told me to get a lawyer.  I should've known on my own because in hospice I had patients denied at the first go round and by the time it was approved, they had passed away.  The families got the back money, but still.

the stigma bothers me, especially since I apply it to myself even though I have 3 diagnoses to help me qualify.  I know I can't go back to work, whatever happened to my memory is getting worse and fast, I'm restricted in walking and I still fall multiple times a week, plus a bunch of other stuff.  I know in my heart that there is no way I could do my job, I worked to earn SSDI in case I ever needed it, well, it's been 23 yrs of contributing and now I need it. I continue to feel like "this is fine for everyone else, but not me."  It's stupid to beat yourself up over it, I have to stop that.   

FLA

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Re: are there any disabled Mustachians on here?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2016, 03:57:00 AM »
Quote
  I was approved for my LTD plan right away, so I'm getting 60% of my earnings.  The LTD carrier requires me to apply for SSDI, but they are paying for Allsup to do the application for me. I live in fear that if SSDI denies my claim, the LTD carrier will suddenly "re-evaluate" my case and cut off their benefits.

I started my SSDI application in July, and just had an exam thru one of their doctors on Dec 23rd. The doctor told me that I should get a response from SS by the end of January... I'm really worried about it, but I tell myself that my condition meets one of the "listings" and I have tons of medical evidence, including MRI, VNG, & CT scans and a slew of audiologist reports... Still, SSDI denies the majority of claims on the first application, so... *fingers crossed*

I tell everyone I know to buy extra long term disability insurance.  I never did because of the cost.  Biggest mistake ever.  You go around thinking nothing permanent will happen to you, you're healthy as can be and then BAM, your whole life changes. My LTD is thru Cigna, the policy has tons of loopholes, neither my SSDI lawyer or my best friend who is a top corporate employment lawyer believes I will get it the way I should, they still can't believe I got it at all. 

Don't get upset if you get rejected the first time, I had a "listings" diagnosis, all kinds of documentation, but the bottom line was I saw a very poor MD who refused to let me tell him what is wrong, he just cursorily examined me (you really could not say it was a real exam, it was that bad) and sent me on my way.  So I lost of course. I got upset but my lawyer said there was no need to worry about the first denial.  My appeal should be heard next Dec before a judge (this is where my lawyer says the real work is done, and she would not have taken my case if she didn't think she could win) and then get his decision by 2/17. 

I am fortunate to have any LTD.  I think it's terrible that truly disabled people usually wait two years to get SSDI. What would you do if you had no LTD? I understand the need to prove what is wrong and weed out fraud but to leave people with no income for 2 years seems pretty harsh.  Especially those who paid into the system.

oh and my lawyer said age is a factor, under 55, they are digging deep to find out  if you really qualify.  I am 45. 

ETA: for some reason I am quoting myself, sorry!
« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 03:58:32 AM by FLA »