Disability: a Right or a Privilege?

Having applied for disability through both a workplace insurance and social security has given me a new insight and concern. I began with applying for long-term disability through my workplace at the recommendation of our COO. After filling out the application and gathering all of the required documents, it took several months to find out I was denied. I’ve been told this is typical and I need to obtain a lawyer to appeal because I only have one chance at an appeal.

With the loss of my job we have had our income cut almost in half, thus there have been some major spending changes but thankfully we have been able to create a budget to live within. For example I’ve gone without a car for a while and now have a small car that I hope will continue running for a couple of years, we canceled our cable, and do not go out much at all to name just a few changes that we’ve made.

Going through the process of creating and living within our new budget makes me wonder what people do when they don’t have a spouse or partner with a good job? What if they cannot live within their new budget? What do people do? I asked my therapist this question and she told me that many of these people end up homeless and in shelters. Does this make sense to anyone? Why does the disability process take so long and then typically end up in a denial anyway? All along the way I’ve been told that I wouldn’t have a problem getting disability, but here I am waiting for my attorney to put together an appeal. There has to be something that we can do to improve this process. People should not end up homeless because it takes so long to get approved for disability.

I am still waiting to hear about my social security disability. I was examined by a social security appointed neurologist two weeks ago, so I am not expecting to hear anything too soon. People tell me that it is typical to be denied “the first time” from social security also, and that I will need to appeal this also. I’m telling you that attorneys who specialize in disability have to be in high demand. It is pretty much guaranteed that one will need to get an attorney to appeal the denial in order to receive disability. The cost is very high and attorneys only take cases that they believe will be successful. All I can say it is unbelievable that people need to go through all of this in order to get what they have already paid for! Again I think about those who cannot afford to wait this long and then they have to obtain and pay a lawyer?

Does anyone know how to help? Have you had any experience with this process?  I am just…beyond words.