My Experience Filing for Disability Benefits

I had been putting off filing for disability benefits for my UC for many, many years. To be honest, I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I was, in fact, "disabled." I never in a million years thought I'd be unable to have a career of my own and be unable to support myself.

I didn't want the "disabled" label

Not because of what other people might think (since I wouldn't have to tell anyone) but in my own mind. In my mind and in my heart, I couldn't accept the fact that I had to rely so heavily on my family for pretty much everything and couldn't imagine it would ALWAYS be this way. I couldn't imagine after working so hard to get through not only high school but college also, that my hard work wouldn't be rewarded. By "rewarded," I'm referring to a monetary compensation. Plus, the enormous emotional benefits and personal satisfaction that would come from working and paying my own way through life. Basically, the independence I have craved for so long.

Fast forward to now.

I am 31years old and still on my parents insurance. On one hand, I am extremely thankful I have been able to remain on their insurance because of Obamacare, but on the other hand, I hate knowing I cost my parents so much money in medical bills. I try to pay what I can, but that is usually only co-pays which leaves my parents with the rest of the bills.

An old friend once told me that I'd never have the relationship with my parents that I wanted as long as money was involved. I didn't know it at the time, but she was absolutely right.

A combination of my dad's insurance possibly changing coupled with desperately wanting to relieve the financial burden on my parents and start having a little money of my own, I decided to finally seriously look into social security disability benefits.

Looking at my options for benefits

After speaking with a disability lawyer, I quickly learned that I wouldn't qualify for social security disability benefits because I have never been able to have a full time job. Apparently, in order to qualify, you have to have paid a certain amount of money into social security which I haven't.

My next option was SSI, which is Supplemental Security Income. When the disability lawyer explained to me what I needed to qualify, I knew that if I were on my own, I would without question. However, given the fact that I am still a dependent, my parents assets would be taken into account as well. After speaking with my dad, he told me there was no way I would qualify.

If I failed to receive SSI benefits, the disability process would end from there. If I were approved, I was told they would then start looking at all my medical records to see if there was more I was entitled to.

As it turns out, I don't qualify for supplemental income.

It ended because as a dependent, I didn't qualify. This left me feeling a couple things: I felt annoyed because of how much I know I am entitled to and the fact that I have so much guilt about money and my dependency on others. I also felt gratitude. I was grateful that I am not on the streets but rather,  have family who can support me. I wish they didn't have to but I am still very thankful to have them.

My options now are:

  • Emancipate myself from my parents which would mean I'd have to be on Medicaid or go without insurance
  • Remain a dependent of my parents knowing I won't receive what I believe I am entitled to or
  • Marry my boyfriend (before I'm ready) so I'm able to get on his insurance.

None of these are great options, but I also know so many of you reading this would give anything to have options like I do. I may not like them, but I am well aware of how much worse it could be.

It can be emotionally difficult, but you aren't alone.

I wanted to share my experiences applying for social security disability benefits in case any of you are in a similar position or are unsure about some things, like I was.

I also wanted to add that you are not alone if you have put off applying for a long time. It is an incredibly difficult thing to accept and while it doesn't mean it's forever {some people just need help for a little while and then their disease becomes more stable and things spiral positively from there}, it is still emotionally hard to wrap your head around. Especially since I know those of us with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) try as hard as humanly possible to lead "normal" lives.

What have your experiences been? We would love to hear in the comments below!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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