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Social Security
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Social Security

Does anyone know what qualifies for SS benefits?  If you have stage 3, grade 4, do you qualify (if your Doctoe says so)? What if you are cured, do you still qualify?  I am trying to weigh my options for the future. Don't know if I am cured, I am only on week 6.

Can you apply while still working so that there is income during the 6+ plus wait?

Inquiring minds want to know...and it can be tricky to get the scoop from SS themselves.  ;~}  (wink side smile...I just invented it!)

MerrieJane
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I CAN'T ANSWER YOUR QUESTION BUT I'M SURE SOMEONE WILL COME ALONG AND ANSWER THAT ONE. PERSONALLY.....I AM ON SOCIAL SECURITY AND DISABILITY. I QUALIFIED BECAUSE ALL THE MOOD SWINGS, CRYING, PAIN, DEPRESSION...ETC AND I DON'T KNOW IF THEY THOUGHT I WAS COO-COO AND GAVE IT TO ME OR BECAUSE OF THE HEP C OR WHAT. I'VE BEEN AFRAID TO CALL AND ASK CAUSE I CAN'T RISK.....WELL, I'M JUST SCARED TO CALL. I KNOW THAT THE MEDICARE/MEDICAID PAYS FOR MY MEDS AND WITHOUT THAT I COULDN'T AFFORD THE MEDS. ALSO ON MEDS FOR CHRONIC PAIN SO I NEED THAT MC/MD. IF I WAS YOU I WOULD GIVE IT A TRY. IF YOU DIDN'T QUALIFY FOR IT CAUSE OF THE HEP C YOU MIGHT QUALIFY FOR IT BECAUSE OF ALL THE PSYCHOLOGICAL/PHYSICAL PROBLEMS THAT SOMETIMES COME ALONG WITH ALL THIS HCV.GOOD LUCK TO YOU.
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I'm sure others have more experience than me but I have known people that have and have researched it. From what I have read Hep C does not qualify you in itself. Basically it dosent matter what you have if you can work. If you can work, keep a job and have income then no you wont qualify. It also seems like everyone is refused the first time through and it has to go to appeals process. Then when and if you are qualified you receive back pay from the time you first applied. It seems to me you need to start a paperwork trail in advance of things you can no longer do for yourself. I would think there would be no point in applying while you are working because you are working. I also understand if you arent working how do you support yourself while you wait months and months. I would imagine the best way if possible would be to go through short and long term disability through your work then you would heve income while waiting for the SS disability. Then if you are SVR then unless you have other complications or are mental then they would most likely tell you that you could find work. Then it is also that maybe you could not do what you did in the past but you could stand in front of the walmart and be the greeter and say welcome to walmart at 1/2 your original income or less. You have to be too sick to hold any job. I dont think they care if you can do something. You have to prove you cant hold a job period. The side effects of Hep C are also harder to prove than other things you could have. I certainly dont want to sound discourging but bottom line you would really need to have all your ducks in a row and document document document. If you feel bad and cant handle work when you go to a doctors visit and they ask how you are doing you dont want to answer fine. Then its in writting that you feel fine. If you cant make your bed most days tell them you cant. If you cant do your own laundry tell them you cant. If you cant work a full day then tell them you cant and start a paperwork trail.

Like I said I am no expert and others may have a better idea. Mark
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I am on Soc.Sec.Dis.  In my state, the rules generally say, you need to have cirrhosis.  However, with enough proven medical documentation and the extra-hepatic manifistations, it is possible to still quality.  I had to end up getting a disability lawyer and I finally won my case.  The whole process took me 3 years time.  BTW, I'm in Florida.

Susan
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The over arching requirement for disability eligibility is that you document that you are or will be totally disabled and unable to work for AT LEAST one year. With HEP C, the factors (and doctors opinions) vary widely. As a part of the application process at some point you will have to see a doctor assigned by Social Security Disability to confirm your doctor's statements. While SSI is Federal, usually States are in charge of the actual application process. Anyone who applies and gets rejected should automatically appeal--almost 50% of denials are overturned on appeal. You do not need to hire a high powered lawyer to do this--there are a lot of shysters in this game. I run a social services agency and we do disability applications all of the time. You need good records and good documentation and you need to fill out the paperwork carefully. (you also need to be very careful about how you answer the self-care questions in your interview.) There are a lot of advocacy groups that can help with this process at low and no cost. Many Social Security offices have a field worker who does outreach--my experience is that they are the most helpful of the bunch, but usually John or Jane Q Public can't reach them. They work with local DSS's and Human Service Agencies. If you do qualify after having gone through several appeals or it takes an unusually long time to process your application, your benefits will be retro-actice to when you first became disabled.
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anyone know how to get rid of riba cough...I just bought Thayers Slippery elm cough drops but will not get for a few days...

Robert
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hey girl thanks for posting that SS site, according to their listings I have 4 health issues that make me qualified for SS disability...
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cough drops
cough syrup with codeine (need prescription)
Tessalon drops
Humidifier
anti-histamines like zyrtec
inhalers
Drink plenty of water
tea with honey
avoid intense cold
if cough severe get chest xray to rule out pneumonia or lung fibrosis.
as a last resort, riba dose reduction.
-Nursey-
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There is a list of covered conditions on the SS website, Hep C is one of them but there are guidelines like you have to have documented liver damage as per a bx for one thing...and you cannot be working when you get it, you have to be unable to work (whole point)....there are other manifestations that qualify and it depends on the case worker and how much of a creep they want to be...

My x-husband volunteered at 9/11 for 3 months, he worked along with the firemen/police to rescue people...he was different afterwards, not the same jovial guy...so about a year ago I convinced him to see if he could get SS and voila, he had a check in his hand 2 months later! So it depends on how disabled you are and how motivated they are to give it to you...I guess w/ 9/11 they don't mess around, they just give it to you as long as you are mentally off which believe me, he is! So now he walks around making more money not working than I do working...figures...
Cin
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I have no problem coughing.....I will not let docs reduce anything....its not worth it....I can deal with a cough :-)

robert
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as someone said, you have to be unable to work, period, that is what SS is all about. If you can not do your present work and are of certain age bracket(under 65), then you are believed to be able to do equitable/comparable work.  Basically what Mark said, if you can't do construction work, you might be considered capable of greeting at Walmart.
You can read more at
http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/5.00-Digestive-Adult.htm
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Thanks for all of the responses guys.  My Doctor said support groups are all about bitching and moaning and not very helpful.  I am glad I didn't take her advise.  I am soooo glad this forum exists. It truly seemed like I was the only person on planet earth with hepC let alone doing treatment.  Glad there are others.

MerrieJane
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And I think youre right. I neglected to say, it's for you to "build a case" with these people. All docs, shrinks, the more and varied the better.
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Is your husband employed with insurance? If so, then the EGHP (Employee Group Health Plan) coverage is prime over Medicare...
The only switcheroo is if you have ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease).
Cin
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was your disability based on hep c only?
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I have a friend that is a very succesfull disability attorney. He told me that you qualify the day you start interferon.I cannot get it because I have worked with my husband for the past 15 years and he did not pay me a separate salary. We filed joint tax return, and I did not show the earned points for the past 3 years. Hope this helps someone else.
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My husband's company is less than 100 people, so Medicare is primary.  His insurance is through United Health Care.

My Soc. Sec. was based on other factors with the Hep C, not just the Hep C alone.  Factors such as depression and attention problems. Inability to focus, stay on task, memory, and pain.  The depression is not severe enough to qualify by itself and since I've tried 10 different antidepressants without success and with too many side effects...   I was diagnosed with ADHD many years back, but by itself, I did not qualify.  It was all these things added up that they based their decision on.

Susan
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Hi, one of my best friends is a social security lawyer and he has told me a lot about it. Firstly, get a lawyer, they will take a portion of your back pay - they pay you retroactive from when you first applied - a "settlement" pay they give you. You could get an advocate, perhaps, that does this for the indigent for free, but you will probably have to prove this to them, and there's no telling if these people can work for you as well as a connected lawyer. Perhaps they can, I don't know where you live and am not familiar with your circumstances there, of course.

When you do interview lawyers (and they are intermviewing you as well, wondering if you are a good case, a good advocate for your own behalf, etc.) find out how many cases they have won, how long they have been doing social security work, etc. Unfortunately, social security is a network like anything else, and the good social security lawyers know the judges, people in the system, etc. and they can finesse there way into situations that other people might not have privey too.

You could represent yourself but I have heard many people who do this end up getting denied over and over again in the beginning, which can be a very long drawn out process, if you dont want to risk this, get a good lawyer. If you have a real cut and dry case where you are dying in the hospital than that's something else, I'm guessing that's not the case, thank God.

They are not going to tell you this, but you have to have a case where you are wanting social security because you are too ill and disabled to work, period. Like has been said earlier, they don't care if you have aids, diabetes, hep c and polio, if they think you can work, they'll deny you. I'm sure we can all understand this line of reasoning, if everyone who felt ill at times was to be granted, our entire work force would stop.

Say you have your good days and bad days, well there is not one job who will let you work only when you feel well enough, so always write down your worse case scenarios for the day and night, because that's what you are dealing with. You have to prove DISABILITY. Any and all symptoms that you are experiencing should be delineated and talked about, with the various specialists disabling you as well, like a psychiatrist for your depression, etc.

You can do this by doctor's letters, questionarres they give your doctors to sign off on, etc. I hope you have doctors who will cooperate with you and have some sense of compassion here, who really "know" the disease and all it has wrought in some people. I went to a hepatologist that flat out told me that he didn't think that people who had hepatitis c got any symptoms at all, unless they were cirrhotic and/or in end stage liver disease. This is the type of doctor you don't want to go to or ask about disabling you, which goes without saying. There are people with hep c who experience no symptoms even in cirrhosis, but I guess this guy figures this fact proves a universal...pretty reductive reasoning I'd say...what a moron.

In case no one tells you this, when you go to your hearing, "if" you have to go to a hearing (sometimes when you have a good lawyer you don't even have to do that), don't go looking like you just stepped out of Vogue magazine.

Anyway, here is the addy for a social security advocate that is a non-profit I believe that helps with questions over the interent, if I'm right. Anyway, here's his addy. Hope this helps.

http://www.helpwithbenefits.com/



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Forgot to add, no you don't want to apply while you are still working, they are giving it to you based on the fact that you can't work. Don't rightly know how much time has to elapse before you can apply after you had been working, you'd have to look that up.
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Hey, your doc's right -- we do like to ***** and moan in our support group.  But we are way way more than that.  Lots of good info here.  I thought I might add just a couple of more things.  I qualified my daughter for SSI (supplemental security income) when she was a senior in high school so have a little knowledge here.

First, SSD is Social Secuirty Disability income .  In order to qualify, you must have a certain number of quarters of work. As Suzieq pointed out, if you have no income on the books, or work for a husband without salary, you have no quarters built up and  can't get SSD.  The amount you receive, should you qualify, is dependent on your contributions to the social security system. If you qualify you receive medicare (not medicaid). Every year 2 months before your birthday, you receive a statement from the SS administration and it shows what you will receive when you retire, and what you would receive for disability.

Second - SSI, as I mentioned,  is supplemental security income.  It is not based on work previously done, but is granted to individuals for mental and physical disabilities. Should you qualify, and the process is about the same,  the benefit is only about $550 per month and reduced by income earned (you can earn a few hundred a month) and reduced if someone pays part of your living expenses. You cannot qualify if you have assets over $2000. The big benefit of SSI is becoming medicaid eligible.

If you apply, documentation is really important.  For my daughter I made a time line that showed all the medications she had been on since 4th grade, and all the psychiatrists, psychologists, and counsellors she had seen and all of the actual reports from these docs.  Although they are supposed to get it all from the doctors, don't count on it.

And the other important thing is doing a timeline of work history.  Hires, fires, reasons for quiting, sick time, whatever you can put in to document the inability to work.

Good luck in your pursuit
friole
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Also forgot to add, I've read on this thread that everyone gets denied the first try, that's not exactly true. That is why I say get a lawyer, so that will not happen to you. That's probably more true if you don't have one. I have friends that got it on their first try, but they had an attorney.
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Foreseegood is right.  I qualified my daughter on my first try (without an attorney), and all her counsellors and therapists were in shock.  They said they had never seen anyone qualify on the first try.  I really think it is because of all the additional papers I put it.  With a medical disability request, I would get reports from every doctor and all labs to include.
friole
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In my case for my Soc. Sec. disability, I DID need a S.S. lawyer.  It only cost me approx. $50.00 for copies and then, they got a portion of my back pay.   I don't have SSI, but SSDI.  I went to the S.S. doctors and even they agreed that I was disabled, but I still got turned down when their own doctors said that I was.  It took 3 rejections and my appeals on my own until I went with a lawyer.  I was approved a year ago and I have 5 more years on it until I'll have to be re-evaluated.  I was able to get Medicare (not Medicaid) and that was a big help. I have my husband's insurance as a secondary.  

Susan400
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As I said I have worked with my husband for the past 15 yrs. as his office manager of our Chiropractic Clinic. We have worked directly with Social Security, Insurance carrier's, Workers Comp, Ect.Trying to file for SS benefits on your own is a waste of energy that we do not have to waste. If you do not have Legal representation you will be denied.Your attorney's job is to make sure that all the proper forms and diagnosis's are in order. Drs. do not like to help you with disability because of the massive paper work involved. Disability Attorney's who specialize, often have their own Drs. to send you to who are willing to help. They will file back to when you first guit work and they take their third out of that money. It is well worth it.We all know we cannot work, we have worked for our disability and have earned it.I promise you if you send in your application on your own, it will come back with a big red DENIED!
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Wow your doctor is a lunkhead. I would not have made it without this group to talk to!

Complainners? Yeeesh.  Doesn't he know that is we had no one to talk to about this stuff we would be a bunch of uneducated fools running around listening to the brilliant doctors and just taking their word for everything?

The one CORRECT thing my doctor advised ws to get a group FAST.  Now he laughs cuase it's an "internet" group like it takes away all of the legitimacy or something but...I KNOW THE TRUTH.

I'm glad you are here.  We all have questions that need answering.

Debby
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