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SSDI reforms?
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SSDI reforms?

I offer this just because we have talked a number of times about SSDI and how hard it has become to get it, and to have timely reviews for approvals.

Our Sunday newspaper had a lengthy article about the increase in payouts for SSDI  and it may be out of money by 2018.   Why ?Because there has been a significant increase in the number of people on it who never attempt to go back to work.  It says there were 8.5 MILLION Americans on SSDI.  compared to 3 million in 1990.  Part of this increase  is from our aging population.

The article points out that half of SSDI recipients have it because of back pain and/or mood disorders - all of which are  often hard to prove medically, which can lead to SSDI fraud.  

The author does say about 50% of applicants eventually get the approval for SSDI  and it is almost always permanent. Less than 1% of people on SSDI ever return to the workforce, even though rehabilitation or training for another position could possibly make the difference.

There were three main points in conclusion for this article --- 1) there needs to be training programs to get people back to work rather than remain on SSDI.    2) changes in eligibility requirements and the administration of the funds are overdue.  3) employers should be given incentives to keep employees rather than the current system of leaving them to languish on SSDI.  It is less costly for an employer to pay the SSDI premiums rather than the cost of workers' compensation taxes.

BTW - in case you are reading this and think that everyone on SSDI has it easy, the average monthly payment is about $1,070 / month.  Which certainly is not enough money to live on or to treat a medical condition.  

I think it is important for everyone here who may be in the SSDI system or thinking of applying to understand the complexities that the administrators are facing.  And if they are looking at ways to eliminate those people with the invisible symptoms, how would that affect people with the "you look so good" disease of MS?  



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7 Comments Post a Comment
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1045086_tn?1332130022
This looks interesting Lulu.  I'm out for the remainder of the day but I'll be back for another look - and maybe even comment.  You sure are our go-to person for information.  You usually have the news before we even know we need it!

Thanks
Mary
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667078_tn?1316004535
Any SSDI reform under the current political climate will only be detrimental. Incentives to keep people in jobs? When people with no disability are losing jobs?
It will be harder to get SSDI. Also there may be no cost of  living increases or cuts. Every time you hear "Share Sacrifice" it means cuts to SSI, Medicare, or Medicaid. Some cuts already happened with the debt ceiling deal. Others will come from this new gang of six.

These programs are not in trouble. The truth is it comes down to what lawmakers choose to spend money on. They will not bat an eye on spending greater sums on other things. It is all in the presentation.

These cuts and harder rules started decades ago with a plan. That plan has the water up to our heads.

Alex









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1816210_tn?1327358484
Hi Lulu,

I have a hearing scheduled for November 29.  My neurologist doesn't think I'll ever be able to work again.  It's frightening to think it could all be gone in a few years.  I hope this gets figured out soon.  

-Tammy
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Avatar_m_tn
Lulu,

   From what you reported about that article it seems to me the author is anti-SSDI due to some errors that are made.

1) SSDI is paid from the same funds as Social Security is paid. The Social Security funds will NOT run out in 2018,

2) there already is a job training program under SSDI which not only includes training but also trail employment period so that people can attempt to get back to work.

3) Even if an employer hired someone that was on SSDI they would still have to pay the Workers Compensation taxes. SSDI is paid for by the same method that SS is paid for namely the payroll taxes everyone pays as it comes from the same fund.

4) the reason that only 1% of people on SSDI go back to work is because SSDI is meant for people that are not able to do any kind of work, not just the work you use to do. If you are so disabled that you can't do any kind of work the chances of improving to any extent to be able to work is very small.

About 10 years ago when I was in a fairly long remission I did try the job retraining program through SSDI. The first step in that process is they test you to see if they can train you for any kind of work. The testing lasts for 3 days but after only 2 days they informed me that I was too bad off to train me for any kind of work.

As for the rate of income from SSDI I get $1700/month ( $20K / year) which is the high end of the SSDI. About $150/month of that goes for Medicare premiums. ( Yes if you are eligible for Medicare the VA requires you to get it even though you get no benefit from it). With what is left I would be homeless if it wasn't for my Long Term Disability Insurance income.

Dennis
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572651_tn?1333939396
Dennis, you make some really good points.  I was discussing this with DH and talked about it would be next to impossible to live solely on this income with the current economy.  You can read the entire text here -

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/10/20/127849/disability-benefits-program-on.html

The training is meant to be employers offering help with rehabilitation and having an economic incentive to do so.


Tammy - good luck with that hearing.  I am sure you will go prepared.  Is this your first round?  From what I've heard here and elsewhere it is unusual to get approval the first time.



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Avatar_f_tn
I started my ssd process in 2008. I had my first eye surgery for graves opthalmopathy in 2007.  I thought I would be returning to my job 3 weeks later. I couldn't. I not only could not see due to double vision, I also had ischemic optic neuropathy. After I had my follow up eye doc. appt. for the optic nerve damage and he said that I could go blind if I lift anything over 40lbs. I knew I was in trouble, because my job required lifting up to 60lbs or more.

At that time, I applied for SSD because, my disabitlity checks were ending soon, my job was going to be posted, I was on restrictions from driving, and lifting, bending and so on... so I really didn't have anyother choice. during the whole filing for SSD, and losing everything that I worked so hard for, I put in 16 yrs. at my job and that was gone, no insurance, and no more money coming in,I was denied. I went through hiring an attorney and at the reconsideration and was denied.

I fought it and went through a hearing, and finally was approved. I was on SSD for One year. I have had 5 surgeries in the mean time and the last one was in Feb. 2011. My SSD was up for the one year review

. I went to see the SS doctors and at the time, all of my neuro symptoms were very obvious, I have had disc bulges, seizure disorder, double vision, Graves disease, and the list is endless (unfortunately).

I still had a letter of denial!! I couldn't believe when i saw, "you are no longer qualified for SSD because your condition has improved" I was like , Are you serious!!! What has improved,,,, my bruises,,, I have to wear a prism in my glasses just to see one object, and even that doesn't work all the time, especially if my eyes are tired. I see ghost images out of my left lens, and always think something is going by me, my eyes jitter back and forth, I have to rely on everyone to get me places because of my eyes and seizures and not being able to drive.

Sometimes they are ruthless, and don't even look at your case and evidence until you are sitting in front of the ALJ (administrative  Law Judge). They do notice if , "You Don't Look Sick" , I can't stand that... Thanks for the compliment, but "You Don't SEE what I SEE!!!

Whether you have invisible symptoms, or not, no one should have to go through the torture you have to go through to get the money back that YOU worked hard for.

Sorry, if I went off alittle, I just get so uptight about this, becuase of my own personal experience. My lawyer kept asking me if I had a psychologist, and I got sooooo p'd at him, and said, really??!!! Now you think I am depressed??!!! But it's because, for some reason, SSD won't look at the whole picture and sometimes look at the anxiety/ depression.

Pam

But, it is becuase of
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Avatar_m_tn
Employers already get an economic incentive. If I remember correctly when someone is on the trail employment the employer gets to adjust the salary they pay the person by how much the person gets from SSDI as they still get the SSDI during the trial employment.

Dennis
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