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Disability Law/SS Disability For Mentally Ill

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Question
Hi David.....My son is 29 and has been suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder since he was about 16. He's been in and out of hospitals but has never been at a long term in-patient facility. He's been through a 6 month DBT outpatient program. It goes without saying that he's had so many jobs over the years, I've lost count. He does have Medicaid and food stamps and currently works part time delivering newspapers.

He lives on our downstairs couch and is on medication but still has intense anxiety. We're afraid of asking him to leave and make a "go" of it all by himself because we don't think he would survive. We haven't helped him apply for SS disability just yet but we are thinking about it. I've read that it's a long drawn out process and 66% of first time applicants get turned down. Do you have any advice or words of wisdom? We live in CT. Your feedback would be welcomed!

Answer
Hello:

Filing for social security disability will most likely take a long time.  Initial applications get denied regularly, as do the appeal for reconsideration.  The next level is an appeal to get to a Judge at a Hearing.  That is where you have the most chance of success.

A couple of thoughts:

I am not sure whether your son would qualify for SSD benefits if he has not paid into Social Security that much.  If he does not he would have to apply for SSI benefits which are limited by household income.

If he is making money, there are amounts that would preclude him from being eligible, and the fact that he is working part time does not help getting approved.

Mental illness cases are helped greatly by having doctor support.  You should talk to his doctors about how willing they are to support an application for Social Security.

You should contact a lawyer.  Generally, they will talk to you for free and if you get their help will charge you only if your son wins his case.  Also, if you can't find a lawyer to help, you will know that your chances of success are not that good.

Regardless, you should apply.  It does not cost you anything.  Usually it is good to get the process started because of the length of time it takes.

Hope this helps.

David

Disability Law

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David A. Jones

Expertise

Social Security Disability Long Term Disability Workers' Compensation

Experience

I am attorney who has practiced for over 10 years in these areas

Organizations
North Carolina Advocates for Justice

Education/Credentials
UNC Graduate Campbell Law Graduate Law Review

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