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Disabled, not eligible for SSDI, what now?
Old 06-04-2011, 08:57 PM   #1
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Disabled, not eligible for SSDI, what now?

Hello, I posted a while back but can't remember the email or pwd I used for the screenname.

Here is the synopsis: Am 44 years old, lost job, 480K in liquid assets, no dependents. You guys gave great feedback, such as IA, SPIA, catastrophic insurance, filing for SSDI, etc.

Shortly after posting, filed for SSDI. Was denied. Since then, have done a lot of research on what is required to get SSDI. In short, my chances of getting approved are infinitessimal....you have to prove that you are unable to work any job.

Am in the twilight zone.....too disabled to work, yet probably not disabled enough to fit SSDI requirements. I do have a law firm helping me but even with their help I seriously doubt my chances of winning....am too young and don't have the documentation or support that is needed, as am not one to complain about my ailments and tend to say everything is "fine". So please humor me and factor in that I probably WILL NOT be eligible for SSDI.

The other concern is SS retirement. SS will not exist (most likely) by the time I reach retirement age.

Thus, I have approximately 480K that has to last for a lifetime. On the good side, expenses don't add up to much over 22K - this includes meds for chronic pain, neurological problems, etc.

Tried FireCalc and had trouble interpreting the results. I have a CFP handling my funds, but there is a sales charge. CFP gave estimated return on porfolio, said this factors in sales charge. FireCalc has a .18 default management fee thingy in there - do I delete it to zero, because I still have 480K invested after the upfront sales charge? Or do most funds have management fees above and beyond this? Sorry these questions are so general but really new at all of this.

Also, I'm not sure how the choice buttons work on FireCalc when you choose "Your Portfolio". My funds are invested in so many different things (including stocks and bonds), that it seems choosing the bottom button (random) rather than the top button (stocks and "fixed income"?) makes more sense. Am assuming the default inflation rate of 3% is correct. However, they don't factor in taxes do they? (I must be in the lowest bracket, being unemployed)

OK, if you've read this far, maybe you can help gauge how S.O.L. I really am. SS retirement won't be around. SSDI is such a longshot to be not even worth contemplating (though going through the motions anyway).

Am concerned about health care options - funds are invested fairly conservatively, so SWR isn't much over $10K per year. Any individual (even catastrophic) health plan would take a huge chunk out.

Thus, only hope is nationalized healthcare in the US. If someone can explain in what direction we are moving with regard to this, it would be greatly appreciated. Am so confused by all the articles out there, none a simple rundown on what an unemployed, disabled person can most expect.

Anyway, any comments or suggestions would be most welcome.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:04 PM   #2
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You seem to have some time on your hands so go down to the library and educate yourself about investing. No need to give a portion of your portfolio earnings to an advisor. Last thing you need is a financial partner sharing your money.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:10 PM   #3
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While you are educating yourself on investing, do some in-depth reading about the future of the SS system. You will learn that SS will be there when you get to "retirement age". It will likely not be exactly the same program as we have today, and the definition of "retirement age" will likely go up from today's age 67. But it will not disappear entirely - provided the US govt doesn't disappear as well.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:12 PM   #4
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You may be getting your SS in Chinese Yen but you'll be getting something.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:43 PM   #5
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The Social Security administration estimates they will be able to pay about 75% of benefits from cash flow into the system.
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:50 PM   #6
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There is an appeal process with SS when you do not agree with their findings. I am going through this now for my son who is entitled to SS Survivor benefits for an extension of 1 year because he is still in High School at age 18.
Last year we transfered him from a traditional high school to an online accredited internet high school which is part of a leading university.

Social Security rules does not recognize this and they are further researching the problem. This has been going on since January but they have called us a couple of times saying that it will take longer than expected.

Good Luck.
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:54 PM   #7
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If the dude that dresses and acts like a baby can get SSDI, how hard can it be to qualify?

Senator questions benefits to 'adult baby' - Washington Times
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rct687 View Post
Shortly after posting, filed for SSDI. Was denied. Since then, have done a lot of research on what is required to get SSDI. In short, my chances of getting approved are infinitessimal....you have to prove that you are unable to work any job. <>

Anyway, any comments or suggestions would be most welcome.
The only hopeless thing about this is your defeatism. SSDI is your main hope, and with decent law firm that is used to doing this and a cooperative client- that is, one who will grow up and quit saying “fine” when asked how he his. If you were fine, you would be working, you can't work, so therefore you are not fine.

It's like if you are in accident. Once you decide to sue, forget your boy scout Dudley DoRight stuff and admit that you hurt, everything hurts, you can't do anything, your life is ruined-get it? Listen to your lawyers. If you haven't chosen some guy who would rather be arguing constitutional law in front of the Supremes, they will cue you if you are awake.

If you are not truly disabled, get a job. I used to have a friend who did this work. It is more about persistence than anything else.

Ha
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:07 PM   #9
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Article said ssi not ssdi, easier to get but less $.
Might want to see if your congress person can put in a good word for you.
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:16 AM   #10
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Article said ssi not ssdi, easier to get but less $.
Might want to see if your congress person can put in a good word for you.
A big difference is that SSI is means tested, at least WRT income, don't know about assets, and SSDI is independent of this. Also, if you are on SSDI for 2 years, you are eligible for Medicare regardless of age.

Ha
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Old 06-05-2011, 02:46 AM   #11
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There are many jobs you can do from home. If you can use a computer to type questions on this forum you could probably find both online training and a job online. Maybe web design, technical writing, copywriting, article writing, virtual admin, online tutor, etc. Places like ehow and infobarrel pay for articles and if you get good at it you can move on to make your own web sites. There are people who make crafts at home and sell them on Etsy.

Check out some of the work at home mom forums for ideas and job listings. It is possible to make a nice living without ever leaving your house.
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:30 AM   #12
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The only hopeless thing about this is your defeatism. SSDI is your main hope, and with decent law firm that is used to doing this and a cooperative client- that is, one who will grow up and quit saying “fine” when asked how he his. If you were fine, you would be working, you can't work, so therefore you are not fine.
I would have to strongly agree with Ha's comments. Sometimes a bit of "tough love" can go a long way...

As far as your age? You are not "too young" to collect SSD benefits. What is required is the record of your SS contributions during your working years, along with proper documentation to prove your inability to work (either for at least a year, or until your death), which requires proof of disability. Nothing more, nothing less.

And if you are able to get through the SS bureaucracy to get benefits and find in the future that you can return to work (and get a better income than what you would receive under SSD rules), you do get a "trial work period" that allows you to "test" your ability, yet still receive SSD benefits along with your pay.

Is it tough? Sure it is. However, I would expect nothing less for my tax dollars. I don't want somebody getting benefits without actually needing them. As a taxpayer (I'll assume your liquid assets include those based upon your earnings, and taxes you paid) you would feel the same way.

And if you think I'm being "unfair"? I'll just respond by saying that my son collects SSD, and has been doing so since he turned 30 (he'll be 41 next month). He never had a full time job, but he had many part time jobs over the years, from HS, during his university years (he has a B/S in CIS) and even after. While he is intelligent and has the "creds" to bring to the marketplace, his inability to follow direction and work independently (he's a high-functioning autistic) will not allow him to be able to work in a regular work situation.

It took years of working with SS, a disability lawyer (who does pro bono work with a local disability group) and $$$ to do extensive private testing (by a neurophysiologist) to provide the documentation/proof that his disability actually existed and be accepted by SS.

As of today? He's doing OK (thank you very much). He does work part time (in a sheltered workshop) and still contributes to society (in other words, he pays taxes).

It's not an easy path to get SSD benefits, but you cannot be passive in your actions to achieve your goal - the same as anything else in life. If you want the results, you must be active (in some cases - as a parent, brutally so) to get what you want.

Sorry to sound a bit strong, but "I've been there" (and as a parent, still doing so for the continued benefit of my son)...
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:40 AM   #13
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Two thoughts:

1) Social Security will be there for you. I still can't believe how many people think it won't be. Utter nonsense.

2) Why aren't you collecting on your disability insurance you purchased when you were working? Did you fail to insure your largest asset (future income stream from career)?
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:09 AM   #14
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I used to work for a disability carrier and I can't tell you how many times people claimed total disability and they could drive a car, use a computer, climb a ladder, grocery shop, care for children etc. Sometimes the surveillance tapes were downright hilarious- people water skiing or roofing but then using a walker to go to the doctor or hearing. Some people were also working and ended up being convicted of fraud.
That is why it is so tough to claim total disability through a carrier or through social security. They will be very skeptical that there is nothing at all you can do to earn a living in any capacity even if you are totally disabled.

I also think that SS will be there, although not the animal as we know it today. As far as health care, even a nationalized health care plan won't be free and I imagine the medicaid rules are set to be tightened up as well. Medicare is not free. You pay a premium for part B (the doctor office visit part) and another premium if you want a drug plan. It is an basically 80/20 plan and there is a ton of stuff they don't cover and if what I am seeing in the news comes true it will be even less generous in the future. And it is sometimes hard to find a doc to take a medicare only patient.
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:06 AM   #15
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Hello rct687,
I am sorry to hear about your situation. Chronic pain is a tough one....

But, like the others, I encourage you to keep up your efforts to remedy your issues.

I have a son who lives with a mental illness, and he collects SSI. My understanding is that SSDI does not have the financial limits ($2000 for SSI).

Regarding your financial situation, I can tell you that the bogleheads.org website has some excellent, knowledgeable, and well-intentioned people. It sounds like you now have entities in your life that are draining off your money.

The Bogleheads were crucial in helping me to get my financial house in order. In the meanwhile, go to the library, and check out The Bogleheads Guide to Investing - as a starter.

Hang in there...and don't give up! The squeaky wheel gets the oil!
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:30 PM   #16
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Have you exhausted every possible treatment for your disability including alternative health methods? Sometimes just trying lots of different diets, including the caveman diet, might help. You might try reading the Paleodiet book for some ideas. Or check out paleofood.com.

For chronic pain there are also treatments like massage therapy, trigger point therapy, yin yoga, ball rolling, foam rollers, tai chi, acupuncture, etc.
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:15 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Ronnieboy View Post
If the dude that dresses and acts like a baby can get SSDI, how hard can it be to qualify?

Senator questions benefits to 'adult baby' - Washington Times
I think he is on SSI. Have you seen his website? Apparently he got disability for PTSD and other mental health issues. If his site is accurate, he had frequent visits to the ER and loads of medical documentation of his PTSD issues, although it is still puzzling how he got approved when people with both mental and physical conditions are getting denied.
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Old 06-05-2011, 02:34 PM   #18
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I appreciate all the feedback. Hopefully SS retirement will still be in a viable form and the retirement age not jacked up to 80 or so (but wouldn't be surprised if this happens)!

Will check out Bogleheads. What I'm looking for is a low fee fund to invest in for the long-haul and not worry too much about reallocating - due to neurological issues, any DIY effort is a disaster. Need a fund "for Dummies" to put $ in and not worry about for the long-haul. Preferably, one or two funds for all of my assets. Heard of Vanguard but not sure what the choices are - anyone here have experience? Or a similar low/no-load fund?

Thank you again for all of the suggestions - will try to be more proactive!
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:44 AM   #19
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The guy that did my house renevation and new roof was on ssi and so is his son, go figure.
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:05 PM   #20
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Will check out Bogleheads. What I'm looking for is a low fee fund to invest in for the long-haul and not worry too much about reallocating - due to neurological issues, any DIY effort is a disaster. Need a fund "for Dummies" to put $ in and not worry about for the long-haul. Preferably, one or two funds for all of my assets. Heard of Vanguard but not sure what the choices are - anyone here have experience? Or a similar low/no-load fund?
Around here, "DIY" doesn't necessarily mean picking winning stocks, it may just mean getting a simple asset allocation with a couple low cost funds. The key DIY feature is not paying an advisor.

I went over to Vanguard's recommendation page. https://personal.vanguard.com/us/fun...ion?reset=true Guessing your inputs, they gave me an allocation to three of their "Total Market" funds:

28% to "Stock Market Index" VTSMX
12% to "International Stock Index" VGTSX
60% to "Bond Market Index" VBMFX

Most people here would say that I picked an excessively conservative path for lifetime investing, and all would say you should do more research. But, if you're looking to invest no time in this, those three funds are as good as any.
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