Deciding whether to pursue a parttime job or apply for SSDI

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by annade, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. annade

    annade New Member

    I am currently trying to decide if I should pursue a part-time job (I am a School Psychologist) or apply for SSDI. My rheumy has already told me, in conjunction with a neuropsych. eval., that he would consider me disabled at this time. I took a battery of cognitive, memory and processing speed tests. I did well the first two hours and then my skills significantly dropped due to mental fatigue. We had to stop the testing after 2 1/2 hours because I could literally not think. This was useful info. for me as I am trained in giving most of these types of tests and know exactly what they are measuring. I did feel a bit stupid at the end and even cried about my lack of ability to concentrate, remember and process info., that I used to be so good at seven years ago.

    Anyway, I am really not sure if I would be considered disabled enough to receive SSDI, but I don't think I will be able to pursue a job in my field of expertise (which I loved by the way). I suppose I could get a part-time job that wasn't so dependent on memory and reasoning skills. I am not sure if you have to be completely nonfunctioning to receive SSDI or just not able to function in your current occupation. If anyone has any answers to this, please let me know.

    I know I will probably need to consult an attorney, but am not sure I am ready for the whole SSDI ordeal(or the label). I keep hoping I will be able to go back to work as a School Psych. part-time, not looking likely as of yet.

    This has been the hardest part of this illness for me. I feel like I am losing the battle although I try to remain hopeful. Thank you for any input you might have.

  2. Janalynn

    Janalynn New Member

    I think the choice is a very personal one. Many people have no choice. Either way - some have to work, some simply cannot.
    My rheumatologist told me that the people who do best with FM are those who do work a part time flexible schedule. Of course, they do best, because they CAN. I plan on working for as long as I can. But that is my personal choice and we all have different circumstances and abilities. I happen to have a part time flexible job. I could not work a full time 8-5 clock punching job. No way. I would be beyond miserable.
    I have also taken on another business opportunity that allows me to work when I want and make a decent income as financially we're hit some harder times. I know I am fortunate that I have the situation I do. BUT it is not easy! There are some days that I just don't think I can make it. Really.
    I do get a lot out of work. I have been struggling mentally since being diagnosed last summer. I find when I go to the office, I feel like 'me' again. It's almost therapeutic for me.
    I think many people can't take on a job because of the inability to predict how they'll feel each day. Some could probably work some of the time or want to work, but never know how they'll feel - it's tough to find employers that are tolerant.

    Because I'm working, I can't advise you on the SSDI - sorry.
    Whatever you choose to do, the decision will be right for YOU.
    I wish you the best.
  3. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I also worked in the school system and we have private disability. Does your school have this? All those years of havine 15% taken out of my salary have paid off.

    I have been trying to substitute teach half days, but was only able to make it one day and realized I was on so much sensory overload that it was not fair to the students.
    These were the older students who are not quite as loud as the younger students.

    I think it is my lack of staminia plus the brainfog that keeps me from working. Like you, I thrived at my job. There was never a dull day!! I miss it terribly.

    I have thinking of doing some private tutoring but it would have to be under the table as I can only teach within the system where I get my disability.

    I just wish I could teach online. But because of the restrictions of where I can work, this is not possible. I am allowed to earn some money over what I get. I could get a job outside of the teaching system, but right now it is just beyond my control.

    Frustrating isn't it, especially when in a career that you loved.

    I am just sharing my experience but yours may be different than mine.

    If your rheumy says you are too disabled to work, I would tend to go with that.

    Can you go back to work and then if you do not make it, get back on disability. Fortunately, I can do that. But it may be different with SSDI.

    Good luck with your decision.

    [This Message was Edited on 06/11/2008]
  4. mylilcherub428

    mylilcherub428 New Member

    apply for social security and work. It will take awhile to get disability where I live u can earn up to 800 a month on top of disability

    I beleive u can get it if u are not able to do the work u could do before u were ill

    this is what my aunt has told me she had a very demanding management position and has had brain surgery she can not always think right so she is on disability but still works part time as a casheir at jc penny.

    I do think it is easier to get approved if u r not working

    I have heard people say u get it if there are no jobs u can do but I do not see how that can be true if u r allowed toi work a certain amount while on it

    so I beleive u can get it if u can not do the job u could before u were sick especially if it was high paying and now u can only work a register like my aunt

    I have fibro scoliosis mental illness and a bunch of other things and am on disability if u apply I think things like deppression help alot the more problems u can list on the application the more likely u r to get it

    hope this helps-Kim
  5. landra

    landra New Member

    I am a clinical counselor, by the way. I loved my job but got sicker and sicker and finally crashed. I am now on short-term disability through an insurance plan I had the forsight to take out while at work. I applied for SSDI as soon as I crashed - Sept. '07. Have heard NOTHING - not even 1st denial which is pretty routine.

    SSDI takes a loooong time to get. You are allowed to work while waiting, under a set $ limit. However, that is often interpreted as you could work more, so you don't need SSDI.

    There is a great yahoo group called disinissues, that can address the questions you have really well.

    A good attorney will work on a contingency - they get a % of the backpay, lump sum you get. They get that same % if they only represent you for the appeal as if they repesent you from the first. My attorney' staff did all the application paperwork for me on-line! Then they did the daily activities questionnaire - phrasing my words in ways that would be bet interpreted in my favor!

    AFTER you get SSDI, then it is safer to work part-time.
  6. cookie1960

    cookie1960 New Member

    I would suggest to apply for the social security benefits FIRST. This could take some time, but I believe benefits are awarded faster if you are NOT working. Just remember that each state differs on their policies.

    Call your LOCAL social security office and speak with someone personally. Avoid 800 numbers. Go into the office and fill out the paperwork. Bring a spouse/friend to help as it can be very overwhelming. (I cried when I saw the application - my husband helped me thru it). Make them put a face with the name. And follow up with phone calls or letters.

    If approved - they will let you know how much money you can make per month without losing your benefits.

    good luck to you