How to apply for and receive SSDI or SSI, by people who got disability benefits after they became too crazy to hold down real jobs.

What You Should Know Before Buying Meds Online | Common Crazy Med Crap Index | Pharmacology Basics
Applying For SSDI/SSI: Part 1 Eligibility & Resources >

This article was originally written by in 2004 by Bryan who was successful in navigating the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) bureaucracy and getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Like too many of the mentally interesting hes dropped off the map, and I haven’t been able to send him any royalty checks for a few years. While not much has changed since he wrote this eight years ago, some things are significantly different - such as applying online for SSDI now being the preferred method to the point of almost being required, so it’s unclear if Bryan’s suggestion of applying for SSDI in person is still the best way to go or not. I’ll keep it updated if I’m aware of any additional changes in eligibility or the application procedures. When the article was first published I added notes from my own experience in applying for and receiving SSDI benefits, and what I know about the experiences of people who have applied for and received either SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. Anything I contributed, other than dealing with defunct websites, those ever-so-clever titles, and assorted bits of editing, will be indicated in italics and another typeface.

There are a lot more of those notes now, reflecting what changes there have been in the ten years since we each applied for disability. One thing that hasn’t changed: it’s just as difficult to get your benefits when you have a mental illness, or any other invisible disability like fibromyalgia, Chron’s, epilepsy, or anything else that must be all in your head1 because it can’t be seen without expensive medical equipment. If then. Thanks to the success of Crazymeds I’m no longer receiving SSDI benefits, and, depending on how well my meds are working, makes me anywhere from somewhat happy to far less depressed than I would otherwise be. While there is no way in hell I could hold down a real job, Crazymeds allows me to earn a living in a way compatible with being batshit crazy. I’d rather be sane and washing dishes or bagging groceries 60 hours a week than crazy and getting SSDI.

At some point I would like to add a section about the Ticket to Work program, that is supposed to help you transition back to a job if you think you’re well enough to work again. I supposedly have gone through this, but the process is so random-seeming, and the the documentation I’ve received from the SSA has been contradictory, so I honestly have no idea how it works. The main problem seems to be that the SSA is still in the mid-20th century when it comes to how people make money. Making money on the Internet via advertising revenue is akin to telling them I have some guy in my basement with a sewing machine converting rags and scrap paper into bona fide currency.

In case you don’t already know, here are the main differences between SSDI & SSI:
SSDI - What you get if you had one or more steady jobs for long enough to pay enough money into Social Security to get anything back. Comes with Medicare after two years. Usually pays more than SSI.
SSI - What you get if you’ve never been able to work, or work all that much, because you’ve been too crazy (or otherwise disabled) too often. Comes with Medicaid, often as soon as you apply. Pays shit - approximately $700 a month2.

There is a lot of overlap in applying for SSDI & SSI, especially when you’re mentally ill, but the focus of this article is on SSDI. Why? Because it’s what we went through. Besides, you’re reading it on the Internet. People applying for SSI usually don’t have much in the way of Internet access outside of a library. Not only that, the Social Security Administration (SSA) still requires people to apply for SSI in person.

This article is not about how to scam the system in order to get a crazy check. There are far easier ways to make more money than trying to rip off the government for $700 a month and what passes for health insurance in the form of Medicaid. While the incidence of disability fraud is greater than that of voter fraud, the numbers are given are greatly overstated. My guess as to why this is the case is the usual bigotry involving the mentally interesting combined with a conflation of workers’ compensation fraud which, while a problem, is probably exaggerated as well. While I have met people who have wanted to live a carefree life on an SSI stipend, I’ve yet to come across anyone with an invisible disability serious enough to be disabled who preferred to qualify for SSI/SSDI over being able to hold down a real job.

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  • Part 1: Resources and Eligibility. Resources: because it’s easier and makes more to start where most articles end. Eligibility: there’s no point in applying if it’s obvious you won’t qualify.
  • Part 2: Getting Your Medical Records Together. As if getting anything together is going to be easy for the mentally interesting. At least this is something useful for other aspects of your life as well.
  • Part 3: The Actual Application Process. It’s a good thing you have Internet access, because the SSA wants everyone to apply for SSDI online.
  • Part 4: The Interview & Consultative Examination. How crazy or otherwise impaired your doctor thinks you are isn’t particularly important. What matters is how crazy someone who probably isn’t a doctor and does nothing but talk to people unable to hold down a job for all sorts of reasons thinks you are.
  • Part 5: What to do if You’re Denied. The appeals process. This is when you usually talk to a lawyer or non-attorney advocate. If you’re applying for SSI, most lawyers and non-attorney advocates won’t talk to you until at least the second, and with lawyers it’s more often the third time you appeal.

If you have any questions about SSDI/SSI or similar issues, there’s a part of the Crazymeds forum devoted to insurance, drug prices, applying for disability, etc. Medication Costs, Insurance, Disability & Assorted Issues - It Costs How Much? with the topic Q & A On The SSDI Approval Process.

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Applying For SSDI/SSI: Part 1 Eligibility & Resources >

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1 Technically psychiatric and neurological conditions are in our heads. Pointing that out to idiots who use the phrase "in your head" when doubting your condition tends to make them dislike you even more. Even if you think disliking you more isn't possible.

2 Someone please, please tell me I'm wrong and SSI pays more than it did eight years ago. I'm hallucinating, or managing to find only cached versions of websites when looking up info on SSI, or something like that.

Social Security Disability Benefits and Mental Illness. by Jerod Poore and Bryan is copyright © 2004 & 2012 Jerod Poore and Bryan

Last modified on Monday, 18 April, 2016 at 15:53:26 by JerodPoorePage Authors: Bryan, Jerod PooreDate created: 11 September 2012

All drug names are the trademarks of someone else. Look on the appropriate PI sheets or ask Google who the owners are. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of any trademarks may have changed without my noticing.

Page design and explanatory material by Jerod Poore, copyright © 2003 - 2016. All rights reserved.
Keep up with Crazymeds and and/or my slow descent into irreparable madness boring life. Pick your preferred social media target(s):

Almost all of the material on this site is by Jerod Poore and is copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Jerod Poore. Except, of course, the PI sheets - those are the property of the drug companies who developed the drugs the sheets are about - and any documents that are written by other people which may be posted to this site will remain the property of the original authors. You cannot reproduce this page or any other material on this site outside of the boundaries of fair use copying without the express permission of the copyright holder. That’s usually me, so just ask first. That means if want to print out a few pages to take to your doctor, therapist, counselor, support group, non-understanding family members or something like that - then that’s OK to just do. Go for it! Please. As long as you include this copyright notice and something along the lines of following disclaimer, I’m usually cool with it.

All rights reserved. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. If you still have questions about a medication or condition that were not answered on any of the pages you read, please ask them on Crazy Talk: the Crazymeds Forum.
The information on Crazymeds pertains to and is intended for adults. While some information about children and adolescents is occasionally presented (e.g. US FDA approvals), pediatric-specific data such as dosages, side effects, off-label applications, etc. are rarely included in the articles on drugs or discussed on the forum. If you are looking for information regarding meds for children you’ll have to go somewhere else. Plus we are big pottymouths and talk about S-E-X a lot.
Know your sources!
Nobody on this site is a doctor, a therapist, or a pharmacist. We don’t portray them either here or on TV. Only doctors can diagnose and treat an illness. While it’s not as bad as it used to be, some doctors still get pissed off by patients who know too much about medications, so tread lightly when and where appropriate. Diagnosing yourself from a website is like defending yourself in court, you suddenly have a fool for a doctor. Don’t be a cyberchondriac, thinking you have every disease you see a website about, or that you’ll get every side effect from every medication1. Self-prescribing is as dangerous as buying meds from fraudulent online pharmacies that promise you medications without prescriptions.
All information on this site has been obtained from the medications’ product information / summary of product characteristic (PI/SPC) sheets and/or medication guides - which is all you get from sites like WebMD, RxList, NAMBLA NAMI, etc., the sources that are referenced throughout the site, our personal experience and the experiences family, friends, and what people have reported on various reputable sites all over teh intergoogles. As such the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for real medical advice from your real doctor, just a compliment to it. You should never, ever, replace what a real doctor tells you with something from a website on the Internet. The farthest you should ever take it is getting a second opinion from another real doctor. Educate yourself - always read the PI/SPC sheet or medication guide/patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your medications and never ever throw them away. OK, you can throw away duplicate copies, but keep at least one, as that’s your proof of purchase of having taken a med in case a doctor doubts your medical history. Plus they take up less space than a bottle, although keeping one inside of a pill bottle is even better.
Crazymeds is not responsible for the content of sites we provide links to. We like them, or they’re paid advertisements, or they’re something else we think you should read to help you make an informed decision about a particular med. Sometimes they’re more than one of those things. But what’s on those sites is their business, not ours.
Very little information about visitors to this site is collected or saved. From time to time I look at search terms used and which pages they bring up in an effort to make the information I present more relevant. And the country of origin, just because I’m geeky like that. That’s about it. Depending on how you feel about Schrodinger, our privacy policy should either assuage or exacerbate your paranoia.
Crazymeds is optimized for ridiculously large screens and browsers that don’t block ads. I use Firefox and Chrome, running under Windows 72. On a computer that sits on top of my desk. With a 23 inch monitor. Hey, at least you can make the text larger or smaller by clicking on the + or - buttons in the upper right hand corner. If you have Java enabled. Like 99% of the websites on the planet, Crazymeds is hosted on domain running an open source operating system with a variety of open source applications, including the software used to display what you’ve been reading. As such Crazymeds is not responsible for whatever weird shit your browser does or does not do when you read this site3.
Crazymeds now uses a secure server, but it is not so secure that you can discuss anything having to do with nuclear power facilities, air traffic control systems, aircraft navigation systems, weapons control systems, or any other system requiring failsafe operation whose failure could lead to injury, death or environmental damage. Just so you know. So if you’re mentally interesting and have a job that deals with that sort of thing, talk about said job elsewhere. Otherwise feel free to discuss your meds and brain cooties.
No neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists or pharmacists were harmed in the production of this website. Use only as directed. Void where prohibited. Contains nuts. Certain restrictions may apply. All data are subject to availability. Not available on all mobile devices, in the 12 Galaxies Guiltied to a Zegnatronic Rocket Society, or in all dimensions of reality. Hail Xenu!

‘Everything is true, nothing is permitted.’ - Jerod Poore

1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.

2 Remember kids, Microsloth operating systems are like TOS Star Trek movies with in that every other one sucks way, way more. With TOS Star Trek movies you don’t want to bother watching the odd-numbered ones. With Microsloth OS you don’t want to buy and install the even-numbered ones. Anyone who remembers ME and Vista knows what I mean.

3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas?* I don’t even need my big-ass rant any more. Heartbleed has made my case for me. And that’s just the one that got all the media attention. The very nature of an open source operating system makes security as much of an illusion as anonymity on teh Intergoogles. Before you flip out too much: the domain Crazymeds is hosted on uses a version of SSL that is not affected by the Heartbleed bug. That’s one of the many reasons why I pay a lot of money and keep this site on Lunarpages.

* Yes, I know I’m using open source browsers. I also test the site using the now-defunct IE and Safari browsers. Their popularity - and superiority - killed IE and Safari, so that’s why I rely on the open source browsers. It’s like brand vs. generic meds. Sometimes the generic is better than the brand.

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