Disability Question

I’ve been HIV+ for 13 years.
Recently my numbers have dropped quite a bit (T-Cells down to 106) and I’ve been getting repeated illnesses.

During the past 5 months alone I’ve been out of work on short term disability 3 times with rather serious illnesses. One included a dangerous liver reaction to the meds I was taking, and the most recent illness put me in the Hospital for 7 days in January.

My Doctor put me on new meds which he expects will take around 4 months to restore my immune system.
Meanwhile he suggests I remain on disability till my T-Cells etc are back to an acceptable level.

I agree and am concerned that going on and off disability with repeated illnesses could put my job at risk.
And if I lose my job I lose my ability to collect disability and all benefits including my medical insurance.

I’m still hoping that I will be better soon, will be able to go back to work without missing time cause of HIV related illness, and everything will be fine.

But if not, I’m wondering when is the time to start looking into SS disability?

Jorge, This is Mark. Wit a T-cell count of less than 200, that’s not HIV
positive, That’s considered full-blown AIDS!! The time to start getting
SSDI papers in orders is long ago!! Look into ADAP, and every available
option in your state, and do it FAST!!! It’s YOUR life that is at risk, so
waste NO time!! Good luck & PLEASE let me know of your progress!!
----- Original Message -----
From: “Jorge” hiv-cpt7838@lists.careplace.com
To: gatorhinton@earthlink.net
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2008 9:31 PM
Subject: [hiv] Disability Question

I keep hoping the new meds will get me healthy and I will be able to return to work soon. (don’t want to give up that money!)

But if not, I don’t want to make the mistake of waiting to apply for SS disability too long either.
Thanks for your input!

 That's good to know too.  In fact all this is really helpful. 

Thanks much!

I have had to go on disability twice and am considering having to go on again. During your tempory disability Social Security should be filing for your ssd. It takes approx 9 months for the process and don’t be alarmed if at first your refused. Thats all part of the proceedure . Go on disability . You can still worki even if collecting. You have 9 months for what is called Gainful employment. And if you find that you can’t handle working then you just continue to collect without working. It’s a means of insentive to get those on disability back into the work field. During your gainful employment it doesn’t matter how much you make. But if you want to be able to work and collect that there are financial income guidelines. But by all means apply for SSD now. And don’t worry about whether the money is less . Somehow we are able to adjust to it and our health is the final reward.

A lot of interesting info…
I’d expecially like to know more about the trial work period thing.

I’m kind of in between hoping I’ll go back to work, but then realizing it might not be possible, and that even if I did it happen it might not work out for long.

I’ve had the experience with rushing back to work, only to end up sick and back on disability again a month or two later. Twice.

If they have a program where a person can do a trial work period that won’t interfere with the process of applying for SS disability, that might be taylor made for my situation.

Any additional info or links to info on this would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks riverlassie

Hey Jorge,
First thing is I hope your feeling a bit better. Small strides can add up to great distances.
Secondly , about the trial work periods and or working while collecting SSD…I can only speak of my experience and how it was for me in New Jersey. The first time I worked while on SSD I didn’t completely understand and didn’t utilize it to the fullest. But I was trying to work within the monetary guidelines. Last I recall you were able to make $750.00 a month GROSS and still collect. Any amount over that isa considered GAINFULL imployment and when that reaches , I think it was ( months time span, Then you will no longer recieve disability. BUT you can still have your medical coverage, Medicare, but now you have to pay the premiumms. Now if you just want to use up your trial work period to the max then it doesn’t matter if you make $100,00.00 a week You will just be cut off after the nine month period.
Thirdly… If you would like to go back to some type of schooling there is whats called the ticket to work program. They will provide financial aide for education while you collect. I’m not clear on how it works since I never chose to utilize that benifit. But if I have to go back on disability I will again consider that option .

Your best bet is to go to your local Social Security office and sit down with someone that has knowledge with this area. Let me know how it goes for you jorge. If theres any other questions I will do my best to answer them.

 Riverlassie...I did a little research on the topic and found all kinds of info.

And you’re right. I would really need to sit down and talk with a SS professional to sort it all out.

 For now I'm going to talk to my Doctor and see what he thinks the outlook is with these new meds, what's the soonest he thinks I might be well enough to return to work, and take it from there.

Since I would barely get by on my SS disability checks, compared to the much better income from my job I definitely want to work if I can as long as I can.  I'd like to be in better shape financially when I do have to go on disability.

Meanwhile I am gathering up information on how the SS system works so when I’m ready to make the move, I am better prepared.
I really appreciate your help with this riverlassie.
And I admire your determination to go back to work when you are able to.
That’s the spirit!

Hey Jorge,
Just something to consider…It takes Social security about 9 months to accept your application. And thats not counting the denialwhich will happen since this would be your first time. You may not want to , as they say, put all your eggs in one basket. The only differenc that waiting would be would be monetary , but thats if you figure you’ll be getting a pay raise. I’ve had to weight it out both times and willbe again when I re-sign up. But I figure the fact that my medical coverage will be paid for , I can also apply for additional MEDICAID, which pays for any co-payments and also other minor benifits , it sorta works out to close to the same thing as my just being un-employed. And with me being on Hep Tx I’m not sure I can go through trying to mentally hold down a job. The stress factors are extremely important in ones treatment. So I too am at a bit of a cross road . But I continue to seek Gods guidance in which direction I should go . At least for the duration of my hep tx I’m strongly considering going back on SSD. Please lift my situation up to the Lord as you do your praying also. Take care my friend , keep me posted…

Yes, medical coverage, stress on the job etc are all more factors to consider. I really appreciate your help and advice…hope all goes well for you and know that you are in my prayers. Will let you know how things go with me.

You can still work a limited number of hours and still receive your SSDI
checks. Look into that. That way you’ll be able to supplement your income.
It’s definitely worth looking into. My partner, Tony, works around 25 hrs.
a week & still gets his check. Just food for thought. Best of luck & keep
me up on how it goes. Mark.
----- Original Message -----
From: “Jorge” hiv-cpt7838@lists.careplace.com
To: gatorhinton@earthlink.net
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 7:21 AM
Subject: Re: [hiv] Disability Question