There are many degrees of illness within the greater Lyme community, and some are able to hold down a job throughout treatment and recovery while there are others who become completely disabled and incapable of even caring for themself.
If Lyme is diagnosed and treated promptly, there is no need to be concerned about long term impact of the disease.
However, for those who are diagnosed after the disease has disseminated, it may be many years of treatment before achieving enough of a recovery to be able to work even part-time.
The financial devastation resulting from long years of illness and expensive treatments ladds yet another level of pain to the already intense physical, mental and emotional torment.
If you are disabled with Lyme disease, then it is vitally important to seek financial aid from the government.
How Social Security defines “Disability”
The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.
“Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:
- You cannot do work that you did before;
- We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
This is a strict definition of disability. Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers’ compensation, insurance, savings and investments.
If this describes your situation, then the sooner you are approved to receive social security disability, the sooner you can focus on healing.
Here are some tips:
- Be prepared to wait patiently. The process takes months assuming no problems so be sure to apply as soon as humanly possible.
- Focus your application on the disabling symptoms, not Lyme disease. You are more likely to win disability due to depression than Lyme disease because of the medical debate and the federal mandate to have medical review of each application.
- Contact your US Senator’s office for assistance expediting your application. This can make all of the difference! They have a local staff to help constituents for precisely these types of issues.
- Don’t give up. You may need to appeal a negative decision several times. You will receive benefits retroactively so it is worth the effort no matter how long it takes.
Another thing to remember is that you automatically qualify for Medicare after two years on SSD.