Saturday, February 02, 2008
I Am Certified by the Federal Government
No, not certified crazy, although, over the years, many people have told me they thought I was certifiable. First, the government certified I was old as I started getting Social Security retirement benefits last September at the ripe old age of 62.
Now, today in the mail, I received a letter in the mail. I was approved for Social Security Disability on my FIRST TRY!!! I have been certified officially disabled.
When I retired September 1st, I applied for disability at the same time I applied for my regular Social Security payments (I turned 62 last August). I did retire earlier than I had planned because continuing to work was just too difficult, particularly with all the travel I had to do and instructing all day in a classroom. Most of the time I felt like I was barely functioning. We figured that as long as Cheryl was working we wouldn't have any problem with me just getting the reduced rate SS retirement payments. I really wasn't going to apply for disability, but when I was talking to the guy at Social Security when I applied for the regular retirement, he said I really needed to go try for it. Everything I read, I figured it would take at least two to three appeals and then maybe even a hearing with a judge. I wasn't too worried about waiting for payments because the regular SS benefits began right away for September. I very carefully filled out all the paperwork and had a copy of every blood test, bone marrow biopsy, CT Scan, bone scan, I had gotten since the year before diagnosis when I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. I had reports of the diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, deteriorating spinal discs, and of course the CLL/SLL which is the real reason I couldn't keep going. I believe they also contact all the doctors I had listed. Even with all that, I didn't hold much hope. What a pleasant surprise. I really don't know if their decision was based just on the CLL/SLL or a combination of everything.
They determined my disability date as August 23, 2007. I only worked one day in August, and that was the date. So, to get the payments, you have to be disabled five full months and then the payments start the next month and that works out to this February. The only drawback, and it is very minor, once I have been getting payments for 24 months, I will become "eligible" for Medicare. Now for many folks that is a good thing, but my military insurance is so very good right now, I don't want it, but I will have to take it and the military becomes secondary. It also means I will have to pay for Medicare part B as the military insurance requires that. So, I will have that monthly expense. However, as Cheryl pointed out, I would have had to do that starting that August when I am 65 anyway and it is only six months sooner. In the meantime I will be getting an extra $350 a month more than I am getting for regular retirement right now, which more than offsets the monthly part B cost (currently $96 a month).
Disability payments must be reviewed every so often as sometimes people improve and can go back to work. There are three categories they put people in. The lowest is people they will review every 6 to 18 months. However, I have been put in the "improvement not expected" category and I will be reviewed in five to seven years. Lord willing, I will still be here for that review!
This extra really helps because when Cheryl retires in a couple of years, we will need everything we can get. We already have told the grandkids only a couple of years left of nice Christmas gifts from us and then it is McDonald's gift certificates (if they are still $5.00 then).