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Author Topic: gottahavepride -- new & approved..?  (Read 523 times)


  • ~ Copper ~
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gottahavepride -- new & approved..?
« on: May 10, 2017, 01:02:28 PM »
Hello, I go by Pride on the internet.

I'm 24 years old (as of less than 2 weeks ago) and after 5 years of several unsuccessful attempts at holding a job due to my mental health, I applied for disability in February upon the encouragement of my boyfriend. We assumed it would take 2+ years to win an approval and were therefore pleasantly surprised (and also very suspicious and wary, at least on my part) when I received a phone call the day before my b-day stating I had been medically approved for SSI & SSDI.

Today, I received my official approval letter for SSDI. It seems like it is becoming more & more real and I am getting progressively less worried that this is some grand hoax being played on me by the government. My mother is schizoaffective (prior diagnosis was BP I w/ psychotic features) and on top of that suffers from anxiety, emphysema, sleep apnea, some form of heart disease (I forget which) and probably a few others I'm forgetting..... she applied when I was younger and it took 2-3 years to win her approval. I feel as if this is the most common case reported by most people so I am anxious about this being a mistake somehow and keep anticipating a letter or call stating that there was an error and I have actually been denied.

For context... I was diagnosed MDD at the approx. age of 10, rediagnosed BP II at the approx. age of 11, and also received treatment for general anxiety (not specifically diagnosed but likely GAD) at the age of 14. I was very recently (August of 2016) rediagnosed as BPD after a review of my symptoms by a new therapist, something my previous therapist was never interested in pursuing. I have had repetitive attendance issues at almost all of my jobs (as well as for almost my entire school "career") and a record of breakdowns where shortly before or shortly after leaving a job, I would be hospitalized for suicidal plans or attempts, and/or self-harm. If one were to look at my employment record, there is also a consistent history of periods of employment becoming progressively shorter (from 14 months with extreme attendance issues to 2 months with close to 2 weeks of that time missed). I was hospitalized (for the aforementioned suicidal/self-harm related reasons) several times (close to a dozen I would guess) as a child and adolescent and probably close to half a dozen more times as an adult, with consistent care from a psychiatrist and psychologist until I became an adult and was no longer covered under my mother's insurance.

I have a very poor memory and therefore could not recall the names of most of my psychiatrists from the ages of 10-18, nor could I recall specific hospitalization dates for that length of time either, and I had a very vague guess at which hospitals I was even a patient at. My former therapist (the only name I could confidently remember, as she was my only therapist from the approx. ages of 9 - 20yo) keeps paper records and therefore told me it was unlikely she would have my file, since I ceased being a patient so long ago. For these reasons, though I knew there was an abundance of medical and other evidence regarding my disabilities, I thought it would be a long battle.

Because of this, I have a primary question and I'm not sure where else in the forum I would post it. At the risk of looking a gift horse in the mouth -- is there a way to find out why I was approved? I assumed that the burden of providing evidence would be on me, but now I am wondering if they were able to access a full medical history based on some hospital's records (or multiple hospitals' records). It would go a long way toward easing my anxiety about the validity of this decision. I know I am likely being ridiculous and there are so many people who would have killed for an approval that was as apparently easy as mine was, and I am incredibly grateful and beyond relieved, but I cannot help but be very paranoid about it being "too easy".

A secondary question, and I'm not sure where to ask this either, or whether anybody could even give me an answer on here. I thought about calling the woman in charge of my case at my local SSA office but I feel like I've bothered her quite enough. I'm wondering if I will receive SSI backpay from the date of disability (or would it be the date of application?) until the date in which my SSDI benefits start? I won't be receiving SSI once the SSDI kicks in but I'm not sure if I should technically have been receiving it for the 5 month wait period.

I really appreciate all the resources that are offered here and anybody who takes the time to read & answer, or even just say hello. :)


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Re: gottahavepride -- new & approved..?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2017, 01:36:04 PM »
SSI cannot be paid sooner than the first month after application.  There are no retroactive SSI benefits.

SSDI has retroactive benefits.  You can get paid SSDI for 12 months prior to your application date, as long as your Established Onset Date is 17 months or more prior to your application date.

So, when was your application date?  And what onset date did you use?  Depending on the answers will determine the SSI eligibility for the 5 month SSDI waiting period.

SSA is typically only interested in records from 2 years prior to onset (when the condition started causing problems with your work).  So, the records from when you were 10 are not important.

If your onset date is prior to your 22 birthday, you may be eligible for a higher benefit under one of your parent's records.  See link.


  • ~ Copper ~
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Re: gottahavepride -- new & approved..?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2017, 04:11:17 PM »
Thanks for answering so quickly!

According to the MySS site, the "date started" (which I assume is the application date... again... poor memory lol) was 2/10/17 for SSDI and 2/27/17 for SSI.

My onset date was confusing for me to work out initially -- I reported the first official date that my disabilities affected my work, but I've worked since then (albeit sporadically) and they contacted me and clarified that the earliest date I could claim to be disabled would be the most recent date I stopped working. So the letter I received today uses that date for a disability onset date -- 11/24/16. This would be when I was 23, so I'm not eligible based on my mom's records, but thanks for posting that resource just in case.

As for the records they'd look at -- hearing that makes it even more confusing (and worrisome re: the validity of the approval) for me. After I graduated high school and lost coverage under my mom's insurance, I started work and was insured through them, but after I lost that job I pretty much had no insurance (from 2013 onward, basically). So while I was hospitalized a few times in the past few years, I wasn't receiving consistent treatment because I couldn't afford it. :/ I did start seeing a therapist last August, but I had to stop yet again because of income. I was hospitalized in November after missing several days of work in a row and having an intense "episode" and, after leaving that job because of those issues, I resumed therapy briefly, but income once again forced me to stop... that + the therapist was cancelling and rescheduling every other appointment and I felt that, when I was able to afford therapy, I needed somebody a bit more consistent & reliable.


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Re: gottahavepride -- new & approved..?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2017, 08:19:27 PM »
I was going to edit my post but a double post will have to suffice!

Now that I have full access to the site, I've been reading and have become even more baffled. There are cases almost identical to mine where it looks like people were advised to not even try applying until they have recent, consistent medical treatment. A little more in depth info -- I went to 1 therapy appointment in August 2016, the second one got canceled and lack of income & poor mental health (aka, my inability to make rational decisions regarding my own treatment) resulted in me not receiving further treatment until I entered a Crisis Stabilization Unit in November due to an extreme decline in my mental health. After leaving the CSU, I ceased working (I started work at another location at the beginning of September) and resumed therapy. I had 3 appointments from December to February, as literally every other appointment (starting with the first scheduled) was canceled/rescheduled by the therapist. I ceased treatment at that point again due to lack of income and also because I could not depend on my current therapist to be reliable enough to treat my conditions.

Prior to August 2016, the most recent treatment of my disorders was a brief hospitalization (similar to a CSU situation) in October(?) 2014. No therapy, no psychiatrists, just a continued pattern of unsuccessful work attempts (another thing I am going to address shortly). Unless my memory is completely lapsing and I did in fact attend therapy at some point that I am entirely 100% not recalling, which for me is rare -- I can usually recall an event, if not when it occurred, or where, or with whom...

Basically, what I'm asking is -- how on earth is it possible that I was approved on my initial application if they only consider the past 2 years of medical evidence? I've read articles on a site called Social Security Disability SSI Resource Center stating that they may review things up to 15 years prior, and if so then that certainly could account for it, but... I'm at a loss, here, and it's making me extraordinarily paranoid. I'm probably not doing my mental health any favors by agonizing over this, but I also know that my moods are extremely dependent on what happens around me, and if I allow myself to blindly trust this decision and it gets reversed, it could cause a catastrophic decline in my stability. And of course, that's not even touching on how it would severely impact my ability to support myself.

I almost would want to schedule an appointment with the representative at my local SSA office who has been the one primarily contacting me regarding this, but I am additionally paranoid that if I question this officially they will go "oh, you're right!" and boom, denied. Or that, even if it's a valid approval, if I question it officially they may go "well you seem to doubt that you should have been approved, maybe you aren't disabled after all if you can't trust the decision". I know it's kind of a reach to imagine that would happen and I should probably try to focus on something else, but my livelihood depends on this and I'm also terrified of them coming back with a "clerical error" or something similar and me suddenly owing them however much money they paid me until that point.

And now, ironically enough, I've read about unsuccessful work attempts and am confused about why I was told not to use my initial date as my AOD. I say ironic because my mind is spinning with the "what if this is a huge mistake and you're not approved because none of this makes sense" but at the same time, it's also going "they might owe you more money?"

So, context -- I received a call mid-February about my application and the woman I spoke to seemed rather impatient. When she asked why I had chosen my AOD as January 1, 2013 I explained that as being the date where my ability to work consistently was affected. She told me, no, I can only claim an AOD from the date where I most recently stopped working. I tried to clarify that I had read something about intermittent work / UWA and she cut me off and snapped at me, something I can't quite remember because it immediately severely triggered my anxiety and brought up past trauma experiences (I lived w/ an abusive person for 5+ years) but effectively shut me up about it.

Now that I've read more on the website about UWAs, everything after my first job would potentially qualify, and if not then everything after my second job almost definitely would. My first job I held for 14 months and could have been earning SGA if not for my mental health causing me to miss usually 2-3 days or half-days out of a 4 or 5-day work week -- still I consider this a no-go because the job itself would have paid SGA income. That's why I selected 1/1/2013, as I left that job in December of 2012. Now, here comes the fun part, I'm making it very line-by-line for ease of reading.

Second job: Hired 9/20/13, Left 9/10/14. Was not making SGA Sept - Oct, maybe Nov? of 2013, was making SGA from December - September, excluding one month where work availability dropped.

That would possibly fall under the year cutoff for an UWA. If not, everything after Sept 2014 would, without a doubt.

Third job: Hired 11/2014, Left 12/2014, made less than SGA.

Fourth job: Hired Feb/2015, Left July/2015, made less than SGA.

Fifth job: Hired very end of July 2015, worked only 3 weeks and did not earn SGA. This was a job with variable work availability.

Sixth job: Hired Sept 2015, Left Nov 2015, made less than SGA.

I resumed work at the aforementioned Fifth job when it became available again, and worked only this job from Dec 2015 - March 2016, making less than SGA.

I picked up another part time job (Seventh job) and worked April 2016. That month, from a combination of both jobs, I made SGA. I left both jobs in April however.

Eighth job: Hired June 2016, Left August 2016. Did not make SGA in June or August, did make SGA in July.

Ninth job: Hired September 2016, Left November 2016. Made SGA.

In my "review statement summary for SSI" it states the original date -- January 1, 2013. In my SSDI it says my EOD was November 24, 2016. Does that mean it was only "partially favorable" and I could challenge that if I so chose? Would challenging it risk changing it from even just "partially favorable" to fully denied?

Ugh, I'm sorry for the essay. I know it's a lot, I'm just terribly confused and very anxious.


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Re: gottahavepride -- new & approved..?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2017, 08:45:15 PM »
You have a right to appeal the onset date.  However, they do not review just the onset date - they review the entire decision.  So, challenging the onset date can turn your approval into a denial.  Therefore, you need to think carefully about whether it is worth appealing or not.

 If an appeal could get your onset date to before your 22nd birthday - particularly if one of your parents had a high earnings history, it might be worth the risk of appealing so you could claim benefits under their record (when the parent starts receiving SSA benefits or passes away).  I am assuming your SSDI benefit is on the lower end given your age & multiple short term jobs.
 But you could also end up with a denial too.

If you received a letter stating you were approved for an initial application (or can print one out from your mySSA account), then it means your application was approved & if your case was selected for Quality Review that it already made it through.

It is possible that there is documentation from your hospitalizations to support your approval as well.  Some people apply with no doctor visits & no hospitalizations & they have great difficulty.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 08:48:45 PM by Helper »

Lit Love

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Re: gottahavepride -- new & approved..?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2017, 09:41:24 PM »
Don't question the approval.

I try to always qualify my statements about approvals and denials because there are always variables. 

You are young and have an established pattern of trying to work above SGA and not being successful.   A young person that never attempts to work and has a limited medical file might be denied. 


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Re: gottahavepride -- new & approved..?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2017, 09:56:57 PM »
I agree with everything Helper wrote and just wanted to add if you're truly curious about what they based the approval on, you can call your local office and request a copy of your case file on CD. The cost will likely be approx $43 if you're not planning an appeal or anything because the CD is only free if you're using it for an appeal. The CD will usually contain the medical records they used as well as the DDE (disability determination explanation). The DDE spells everything out. My CD did not contain my mental CE report however.

However, I should add that I don't really think there's a need for you to request more info about your approval. Quality review reviews a good percentage of approvals and in general the accuracy rate is very high from what I remember. And if you were approved initially, the decision would have already made it through quality review if it was chosen to be reviewed.

Out of curiosity, I requested my CD from my local office via phone some months after I was approved after an ALJ hearing. I told the local office I wanted the CD for my own records. It turned into a bit of a hassle getting the CD because they didn't cash the check I mailed for over a week, then told me they never received the check when I called them. They said my check would have been processed by now if they had it, so I gave up at that point.

But a month later, totally out of the blue, they mailed me back my check with a post-it note attached saying to put my social security number on the check and send it back in when they did not say to do that in the written instructions they sent me with the original invoice (I'm a stickler about following instructions exactly), then once they got the new check a guy from the local office called and asked me why I was mailing them a check and I said I mailed it with the invoice slip provided and that I had requested a CD. Then he said oh, ok. Apparently I was supposed to mail the whole invoice and not just the bottom portion even though the written invoice instructions clearly stated to detach the bottom portion only and mail (again, I'm a stickler for following instructions).

Eventually I did get the CD and the DDE pretty much explains everything why I was denied initially and at reconsideration and what they set my RFC at at step 5. In the case of an approval, it should tell you what step you were approved at, if you met a listing and if so, which one, or in the case of not meeting a listing, how they assessed your RFC.

Here is my timeline for requesting my CD (I need to update my own thread with this info; sorry for hijacking yours):

10/24/16 Called local office to request copy of Electronic Folder on CD. Was quoted price of $65 (after phone appt)
10/29/16 Rec'd invoice from local office for $43
10/31/16 Mailed check #1
11/09/16 Called local office about if they received check for CD
12/05/16 Check returned to me with a note: "Please provide the corresponding SSN" and prepaid envelope and original slip
12/06/16 Wrote new check w/SSN and mailed out
12/19/16 Call from local office--guy wanted to know what check was for before processing it.
12/23/16 Check cashed
01/06/16 Rec'd CD via ups legal express envelope (CD says created 12/30/16)
Location: IL
Age at Application: 31
Disability: Depression, anxiety
Applied: 11/2013
First Denial: 03/2014
Reconsideration Denial: 11/2014
Hearing: 11/13/15 (Friday the 13th!)
ALJ Approval: 01/15/16 Fully Favorable
Back Pay: 02/13/16
Award Letter: 02/17/16
1st monthly benefit: 03/21/16


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