The Nightmare of Applying for Social Security

Where do I begin? It has been a long, disappointing and frustrating road. Over the years I have heard people talk about the difficulties and challenges of applying for Social Security Disability; and trying to acquire some type of financial and health assistance in the interim.  I have always been a very proud and independent woman and hoped I would never fall so ill that I would need it.  Unfortunately, not all hopes and wishes come true.

I have been ill on and off for many, many years.  I had been diagnosed with Lupus in 1986 or 87. I would get so sick, weak and get such pains in my joints and sometimes my muscles.  When I would have these flare ups they were usually accompanied by sever migraines that were so debilitating that I could barely see.  My vision was blurred and I would get extremely nauseous and nine out of ten times I’d start throwing up and it would not stop. It would just get worse from there. When this happens, I really just want to die.  That’s how bad it is. At some point I had pneumonia accompanied by pleurisy.  They said it was Lupus related.  I had to go on short term disability through my job.

Once I was well again I returned to work.  I have always been able to suck it up and continue working even when I would get another flare up.  I have been dealing with this for many years and somehow managed.  I was a single mother and I had a responsibility to my daughter, whom I love more than life itself.  I wanted to make sure she had everything she needed and wanted……and then some if possible.

Then she grew up and gifted me with beautiful grandchildren.  I absolutely love being a grandmother.  I love these kids more than one could ever imagine.  They are my life.  And so, I wanted to be sure they had everything they needed and wanted…and then some if possible. And of course I still needed to support myself.  I continued to work and as time went on I began to feel worse and worse.  Over the course of nearly 25 years I was getting worse, not better. In addition to Lupus (which they now say is not Lupus, but I definitely have an Auto Immune disease, unfortunately they are unable to identify it…..Geez!).  I acquired Sjogrens Syndrome (another Auto Immune Disease), So lucky me, I now have two Auto Immune Diseases as well as diabetes, high blood pressure, Sever Depression, Mastoiditis, COPD, Sleep Apnea,  insomnia, Anemia, Possible bloodclot (indicated by a high D Dimer test), Chronic Lymphedema and Tachycardia. I feel so sick, out of breath and in pain it’s unimaginable.  I did try for many years up until February 2013 to continue working.  But come February, it was just so bad I could not make it another day. This is when the nightmare grew worse.

I applied for short term disability with MetLife, who I had been paying for the last ten years for this service should something happen to me. I figured maybe if I got some rest, built my immune system back up. I might be able to return to work. Fortunately, I still had my insurance at this time and was able to continue seeing my doctors. Then MetLife turned me down.  In the mean time during those months I came to realize I would not be able to return to work.  I‘m just too sick, in pain and we can’t figure out why I keep swelling up like a balloon when in a sitting position, standing up or walking.  I applied for Social Security Disability.  Then I requested MetLife review my case again which they did, and they still turned me down. Apparently I was not sick enough to them. I asked “do I need to be on my death bed before you would help me?”  They’re only response was “I’m sorry, these are our findings.” On top of everything else, Since I was unable to return to work I lost my health insurance. I can no longer see my doctors, with whom I need to see to help me and so they can keep up with my conditions for Social Security. It’s a viscious cycle and I’m drowning.

Now It has been many months and I still have not had a determination made by Social Security. While all this is going on I am financially destitute. They’re ready to turn off my electricity.  My daughter and her fiancé have been trying to help as much as possible. I hate being dependent on them; but at the same time I’m grateful they’re here to help.  I don’t know how much longer they’ll be able to continue paying the mortgage and all the other bills without my help.  I’m told there are plenty of organizations that are willing to help.  Well I called some and they say they can’t help me because I’m not working, or they have to set up an appointment at a later date or some other ridiculous reason.   In the meantime. I’m feeling so sick and in so much pain, it is very, very difficult for me to make these calls and answer all these questions and wait for call backs and HANDLE ALL THESE PROBLEMS!!!!! I’m not well, I’m not working because I’m not well.  Handling all these issues is like a full time job!  I can’t handle it. And then I’m so depressed on top of it, which makes it all the worse, because I’m crying all the time….I can barely see this keyboard through my tears.  Why can’t there be an organization that handles all these issue for you.  Some place that helps with the bills and food and…..whatever.