It’s been an eventful couple of weeks, so I’m back with our second installment of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. This episode features surprisingly positive news from Social Security, a neutral from long-term disability, and the ugly of a whole new phase in the “You Too Can Be a Paid to do the Caregiving You’re Already Doing for Your Loved One.”
The Good: We received a phone call saying that Keith has been approved for Social Security Disability! Yes Friends, we have a major step forward! For those of you following along on the home version of How Many Ways Can the Singers Get Screwed – The paperwork was submitted in November thanks impart to a group of Advocates the long-term disability company hired to handle things for us. The local office got the paperwork, processed it and then forgot to press send for three months to move the application forward to the next step. A few weeks ago our Advocates made some calls and got the application on the move. We thought we were going to have more paperwork to complete, more paperwork for our doctors to fill out, potentially interviews and of course like more than 60% of people who apply, a denial. Then, of course, more paperwork and eventually a hearing. But somehow, miraculously, we got to the approval skipping the usual Red Tape Tango – again for those playing at home that means you can pass go and collect $200. Well, we don’t actually the $200…it’s the neutral I mentioned and you can read all about it in the Bad section.
In addition to Keith getting his disability, we get additional support. Because we have a child under 16 we are eligible for benefits for both she and I. Kayleigh is also eligible until she graduates from High School. It’s not much, but it does go back to the November filing. It involves a phone application, which we completed, and…more paperwork! I’ll be the adult in charge of the money Rebecca gets, and part of it can be used for room and board. The rest has to go to her expenses for things like clothes, school activities, etc. The same goes for Kayleigh, but in her case, the money will go towards college expenses. The money I get will go towards the bills, but in a perfect world where I become his paid caregiver and we have money coming in, we may be able to go out for dinner once in a while.
This is amazing news. I can’t even begin to explain the amount of relief I’m feeling. They’ll be taking the Medicare payments out of the monthly deposit, so that’s one less bill I have to worry about which is more good news. This is one more step in the process, but things are starting to come together…FINALLY!
The Bad: Or as I’m referring to it this week, the neutral. When Keith started getting long-term disability it came with the agreement that if and when he got Social Security Disability, we would pay back the overlap, a pretty standard thing in a situation like this. What it boils down to is that Keith can’t be double paid for the same weeks of disability, so the long-term disability folks have been paying the last few months and Social Security will give us a lump sum for the same months, and we will pay the long-term disability back for those months. Sort of. The amount that they paid is more than what we’ll be getting from SSDI. Plus the government is taking the Medicare payment out. So I’m not sure exactly what, when, or how it’s going to work out until we get….that’s right, the paperwork. What it means in the immediate future is we’re going to get a lump sum of a few thousand dollars that we can’t touch.
We don’t know if the money for dependent support will need to go back or not. It doesn’t sound like it, but I won’t know for sure until that paperwork comes in, goes out and the final paperwork comes back. I’ll hopefully get a little bit better idea after our rep from long-term disability returns my call. It’ll all be theoretical until the reports come, but I’ll be a lot less anxious once I get a few questions answered.
The Ugly: I’ve mentioned a few times that we’re trying to get me made Keith’s paid caregiver. The reasons are basically I whole post on its own. But, in a nutshell, I’m taking care of Keith full-time and trying to work as I can on my freelance projects. If I was working full-time, I would need someone here at the house during the hours I was gone to do his dialysis, manage his meds, take him to doctor appointment, and so on. Which means I would need to be earning enough to pay someone and support the family, not easy to do. There are community-based services out there that will help pay for caregivers, including family members who are doing services that would be the equivalent of someone being in a skilled care facility. That’s where I come in.
To reach this step, we had to get the Medicare in place (which as you may remember took months longer because they “lost” his paperwork). With that finally taken care of, the social worker at our dialysis center faxed the appropriate form to the proper people. Or who we thought were the appropriate people. Since Keith isn’t over 60, they weren’t the right people but gave her the information for who was. So she sent the form to them and called the other organization who manages the program for the state. In the meantime, I called the first agency and was told that they didn’t have Keith’s name anywhere, never heard of him, and gave me the name and number of the second place. When I called them THEY never heard of Keith either. Which is strange because the social worker had them start an application for him. His name should have popped up as having started the process. So…not so awesome.
Regardless, I got the full applications booklet to fill out yesterday. Yes, booklet. It’s multiple pages that have all kinds of questions that need to be answered by us and by the doctor. Thankfully our social worker has come to the rescue again and said if I come up later in the week when she’s in the office she’ll help over her lunch break. We’ll have all the relevant medical people there so it makes sense.
The good news is that there are pretty hard timelines for this process. When A) happens B) has to happen within 30 days, when B) happens C) has to happen within 30 days….with the whole process happening in 60 to 90 days. If it takes more than 90 days we are allowed to ask for a hearing with an immediate decision. Yes, it could be another 90 days until we get an answer, but we will get an answer within a specific period of time.
So here’s to the Red Tape Tango and the light at the end of the tunnel.