Disability Law/chronic illness
QUESTION: Hi David, thanks for being available. I have had mod-severe Crohn's disease since I was in my mid 20s, I am now in my mid 40s. It is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the small intestine. I have had 3 surgeries due to scarring. I have tried all the meds, but they only slow down the damage. I started out OK, but over the years, it has gotten slowly worse. I worked an office job, so I have been able to deal with its ups & downs, but it has affected my job at times. I recently got let go from my job, & I believe that my disease played at least a small role in their decision. I would never be able to do most jobs, definitely the ones requiring stamina.
When I'm "in a flare" as it is called, I get nauseous, great fatigue, and feel incapable of working with my coworkers when I need to. It's sort of like having the flu. Otherwise, I still get fatigued by lunchtime & have been compensating by taking naps either in my car or in my office. I have been able to do all the work assigned to me, but sometimes I will lag behind due to my condition. I was dreading this day would come, but knew eventually, as I can honestly say that I am at least partially disabled. I had to quit basketball & softball years ago, as I can't keep up anymore. Should I look to apply for SS disability? If so, could you give me some advice?
ANSWER: You should consider filing for Social Security Disability.
In order to be eligible you must be out of work or be expected to be out for a year. You really need doctors notes stating that you cannot work in order to have a good chance of success. With a disease like crohn's, a doctor's explanation would be very helpful.
I would recommend calling a social security lawyer in your area to answer more specific questions and to potentially help you with filing and pursuing a case.
There really isn't partial disability for social security, so you would have to be reduced to very little, or more likely no work, and because of how long it can take to get on social security disability, working as long as you can is sometimes a good idea.
I am not sure I have helped because of how broad of a question this is, but I hope I have given you some direction.
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QUESTION: Thanks for the response, & yes you did help. It would be nice to get some answers from a disability lawyer, but I'm wondering if they would give me a meeting knowing that I haven't applied yet?
You mentioned it takes a long time to get on SSD. How long are you thinking?
They may not meet with you, but some will talk to you on the phone in hopes that you will use them if you file.
Timing of a social security disability case is a tricky question. You have to be out of work 12 months or expected to be out of work 12 months to qualify.
Different states have different times because of back logs. I would ask a lawyer in your area. In north Carolina, if you have to go to a hearing, it can take 1.5 to 2 years. There are always cases that take more or less time, and please don't let this stop you from applying and calling a lawyer in your area to get more accurate information.