Quick Guide to Social Security Disability
One of the most important things I did when I first moved home to take care of my mother was sign her up for Disability. Unfortunately, this did not happen until 2 years after she was diagnosed, which was 6 years after she first showed symptoms. I am STILL kicking myself over this, but I didn't know it was even an option! It wasn't obvious, and I still am not sure why I thought to do it.
What does Social Security Disability get you?
- Medicare after 2 years (unless you are 65+ then you automatically get Medicare)
- Monthly disability payments a few months after being approved, based on how much you paid into the social security system.
At the time, the Affordable Healthcare Act had not been fully enforced, so my mother was considered "uninsurable" after her diagnosis of Dementia. The AHA has now made that "uninsurable person" an illegal idea. Everyone now has access to insurance plans. Insurance companies can no longer legally refuse to cover people based on chronic conditions. At the time, I called and yelled at her insurance provider to figure out why we were paying $1100 A MONTH for her health insurance, which barely did anything. They upped her price every year. In 2005 it was $500 a month. By 2011, it was $1100. A MONTH. Once her dementia progressed enough we didn't really take her to the doctor except every 6 months for neurological testing in the study she was enrolled in. We had to keep it for emergencies so we wouldn't be at risk of losing everything! AND, she started getting sick when she was 55, she was not diagnosed until she was 60, and you don't get Medicare until you are 65!!! I will post more on Medicare, later. As you can see, I was really mad, tired, and wanted help...It still took 2 years of being on disability for her to get Medicare and she was 64 when it kicked in. That ended up saving us approx $13,000 in insurance premiums for the year that we would have gone without it had we not applied for disability.
The best thing about Disability is that it gets you Medicare. HOWEVER - you must PROVE you are disabled by not being able to work for more than 2 years in order to qualify for Medicare. Which - is so stupid. If you have a disease that has a DEFINITE outcome, like Dementia and Alzheimer's, why isn't it automatic?! Ya, I know. Contact your federal legislators!
Dementia DOES qualify as a "compassionate allowance" disease. This means that the Disability approval proces is "rushed" which in government terms is still awhile. We waited a month or two.