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Michael Simpson
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Heather is a sad pathetic old man who thinks in the same vein as the Nazi saluting supporters of Donald Trump. It's hard to take someone seriously who lacks access to Webster's Dictionary. Meh. LOL.
Toggle Commented Aug 24, 2012 on Short personal updates at I Speak of Dreams
I want to clear up one thing about my post. SSI and SSDI is need-based, with certain income ceilings. My point was strictly on how difficult it is to game the system medically, even if you met the income levels, which is what Ms. Basko seem to imply (though it's difficult to completely get her rant). I saw one post above stating that SSI won't cover the medical needs of an autistic child. It shouldn't. Medicare or Medicaid (or in California, Medical) should cover the medical needs. SSI should be used for education, clothing, food, etc. Yeah, I know, still not enough. I wish all of us were rich with outstanding private insurance so that we wouldn't have this discussion.
I followed the story on the LA Times, on Liz's Twitter feed and here, because I'm involved in some medical areas around autism, and I've always been interested in Liz's take on the field. I spend time every month, on a volunteer basis, assisting the mentally ill (or parents, family or caregivers) with obtaining disability benefits. Usually, I assist those with diseases such a severe bipolar disorder or psychosis, but occasionally parents with autistic children (sometimes, as caretakers of autistic adults). Let me make this clear. Receiving SSI (or SSDI, which are disability benefits that one earns by contributing to the Social Security system, and usually pay a lot more) is not easy. You do not just walk down to your local Social Security office, and say, "I'm here, please write a check." The first step is a very long application. That can be done online (this is where I assist, because I know the medical jargon, and assist the applicant in running down names of doctors, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, and diagnoses). It takes 90 minutes, and it is complex. To be honest, I'm pretty smart, and it takes a long while. The second step is that the Social Security Administration then sends out requests for information from all of your health care providers (because you have provided a release in the application). They gather that information, and this may take a while, since physicians don't consider this a high priority. This step usually happens 60 days after the initial application. The third step is that the Social Security medical team reviews the application. One of three things may happen. 1. They may accept it, and begin paying you. This may happen, but I've been doing this for a couple of years, and I've yet to even hear a rumor of a friend of a cousin of a next-door-neighbor who's had that happen. But they could. My personal, non-evidentiary opinion is that they reject it to make people work at this application. 2. They may ask you to visit one of their medical examiners who will review your case and your physical and mental status. 3. They may reject your application. You can appeal, and are encouraged to appeal. This may take up to six months. To get SSI, you have to prove that you or a child is disabled. And the burden of proof is on you. So if you have three licensed pediatricians along with three pediatric psychologists who all agree that your child is autistic, the Social Security administration is going to have a hard time rejecting that. This is an evidence-based system, not one based on opinion from either the bureaucrats or the applicants. Sure there are mistakes made on both sides, and it is frustrating when it happens. One more thing. It is not permanent. Social Security regularly reviews the income of the family (well, that's automatic), the medical diagnosis, and other circumstances, all of which may cause the SSI payment to be revoked. And cheating is a Federal Crime, so if, assuming bad faith somewhere, an applicant uses Dr. Smith who always signs off on these things, eventually they get caught. SSI is not a way to get rich. It is there to help the truly needy in our system. It does provide Medicare or Medical (Medicaid in other states). It does help with education. It is a good thing. I'm sure a tiny percentage of applicants are trying to game the system. Of course, the system is set up to block that (making it more difficult for legitimate claims), and it is hard, very hard, to get around it. I'm pretty much an expert on SSI, and I can't see one way to get through it.
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Dec 14, 2011