Totally. Freaking. Out.

I just got a letter in the mail that’s bad. Very bad.

I’ve been having a hard enough time lately. I’ve been feeling really lonely and isolated. I want to date but don’t feel up to it. My birthday is coming up and I feel time passing me by. My youth is disappearing and I haven’t had a chance to live it. That’s all horrible enough, and I’ve been struggling to deal with it.

But then the letter came.

From the Social Security Administration.

Once upon a time, I became too sick for work, so I applied for social security disability benefits. I was denied.

I appealed. I was denied.

I appealed again. I went before a judge. And finally, I won! That process took two and a half years. Two and a half years of trying to prove that I really was as sick as I was. I finally was able to breathe in July 2014. I was relieved, and could finally focus on my health. During that time I was so stressed out that it was hard to make any improvements in my health.

I knew then that I would face a review of my case every few years, but time went by with no review, and I mostly forgot about it. Occasionally it came to mind, but not often. Thanks to budget cuts, they didn’t have the staff to do frequent reviews.

But today I got the letter in the mail: they’re reviewing my case. I have 30 days to mail in the form. Shit shit shitty shit shit.

It’s a deceptively simple form, just 1 page double-sided. But the questions are hard. List doctors have I seen, tests I’ve had done, and evaluations I’ve had in the last 2 years? And there’s only space for THREE? Are they kidding?!? Which ones should I list? This is why I need a lawyer.

Too bad my former lawyer isn’t practicing anymore.

I have 30 days to find someone new, interview them, hire them, set up a meeting with them, and get their help with this shit. Because this time, I’m getting a lawyer from the start. If they’ll work with me.

Is my health better, the same, or worse? Um, some aspects are better, some are worse. But what will my doctors say if they’re questioned? You see, these questions are tricky!

And it gets worse, because I there is a very likely chance I will be denied, and will have to appeal. And what happens then? Will I lose my Medicare health insurance during the appeal? If I do, then I will also lose MassHealth. And without steady income coming in, I could lose my affordable housing, for which I must prove financial viability. As it is, my income is “too low” for affordable housing, and I had to use my assets as proof of my ability to pay. Without any income, will that be enough?

And what will I do without any income?! I will have to start cashing in my investments pretty soon. As it is, I manage to sort of make things work, but the numbers in my bank account have been slowly moving down. This will make them move down a hell of a lot faster.

There’s a chance I won’t be denied. An incredibly slim chance. I’m not holding my breath for that.

What can I do in the meantime? It’s a Saturday evening, so I have to wait a day and a half before I can even call a lawyer, and who knows how long it will be before I can speak to one!

I’m trying to stay calm. I’m going to ignore the rest of the things I wanted to do tonight (except my physical therapy, because my health doesn’t magically improve just because the government is being a pain in the ass) and try to rest with tv and knitting, two things I find relaxing.

And I will hope that everything works out. Maybe tomorrow I’ll buy a lottery ticket. Because nothing would make me happier right now than knowing I can just throw that form in the trash because I don’t need it. Or maybe I can marry someone rich (as if I’ve had any luck in the relationship department anyway.) The thing is, there just aren’t that many options.

Happy birthday to me.

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10 Responses to Totally. Freaking. Out.

  1. There is a Facebook group called Disability for for Spoonies. You should join. They give good advice. Also check out the Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability on FB and Twitter. On WordPress I think it’s howtogeton@Wordpress.com. Good luck!

    • chronicrants says:

      Miss Diagnoses, thank you SO MUCH for these resources! I found Sleep Girl Guide and will read that soon. I couldn’t find Disability for Spoonies, though. Do you have a link? If so, could you post it here or email it to me at msrants@gmail.com? Thanks!

  2. Got the address wrong in the other comment. It’s https://howtogeton.wordpress.com/. Just click through the links on the block and you’ll find something about reviews. You could also just ask on the Facebook page or join the group. The person who writes the blog he knows a ton and there are other people in the group who also know a lot. They helped me with a form I had to fill out.

  3. Lorna says:

    That’s a load of s**t to land on you now. Good luck with finding a lawyer. I only know about the US system through bloggers like you. It just seems like a real struggle to get anyone to believe you. Praying and hoping and everything crossed for you. Doggy kisses and hugs xx

    • chronicrants says:

      Thank you so much Lorna! And thank you to your pup, too 🙂 How’s she doing? Having a dog here would be a big comfort as I deal with all of this crap, that’s for sure. I hear from a lot of people in other countries who can’t believe what we go through here. It’s really completely absurd, and it’s only getting worse, not better. 😦

  4. Krysta says:

    ❤ I know all about the first appeal process. I hope the second goes smoothly for you!! ❤

  5. […] At the very end, as we were about to say goodbye, I had an epiphany. After writing this post a couple weeks ago, I was able to speak to 2 different lawyers about the SSDI case review. And […]

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