My Disability Retirement (8 years before approval)
I used to be a self managed worker. I was an electrician and a good one at that.
This all changed one day when a drunken idiot smashed my face in. He had no motivation to do so and I spent $20,000 and a 2 week stay at a hospital.
When I was allowed to leave I found that I could not stand on ladders without getting dizzy and falling. I would even experience symptoms if I turned around too quickly. This ended my career and I filed for disability.
Even though it seemed like an easy task I was declined and had to begin entering the appeal process. It was long, unpleasant, and difficult. I doubt it was really even worth it in the long run. I probably could have made beter use of my time learning more about computers or some other less physically demanding career path.
8 years later, when my appeals where finally accepted, I was awarded permanent disability and all the back payments.
I only consider myself lucky in that I became disabled at the age of 50 and did not have long to wait before I reached retirement age. The worst part of the experience was, without a doubt, dealing with bureaucracy after bureaucracy in order to get money that I would have gladly worked for if I could.
I look back on the whole experience and can only offer one piece of advice; get your stuff strait the first time so that you don’t spend 8 years fixing little mistakes. But, in the end, I am glad that I went through this.
I feel that it imparted a lot of knowledge about the workings of the bureaucratic system to me. I can now teach it to my grandchildren and hope that they don’t make the same mistakes.
Wendy: My two cents here... What on earth did you live on for 8 years? I assume retirement savings? That's a lot of savings to compensate for total lack of income, not just supplement a pension or Social Security.
To Anyone Else Reading This: Please meet with an Attorney! Not just any attorney - but an attorney with a disability specialty. There is a huge difference. When an attorney specializes in a specific area of law, they do the same types of cases over and over. They know how medical reports should read and know which doctors/organizations they want to use for an IME (Independent Medical Evaluation). They attend conferences and learn more about disability law. They know the Judges and court staff.
Most attorneys will give you a free consultation. Many will accept your case with no payments until the case is won -- they know after speaking to you whether they will have a huge probability of success in winning your disability case.