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How I Got Through Applying for Disability Benefits

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I want to talk about some of my experiences with getting disability benefits, and offer some advice on applying for disability. I started getting my disability in November.

So this is what happened…

The whole process took about two years. I first applied in April of 2015. I got denied the first time, so I got a representative. We did the repeal and got denied again. When you get denied twice you have to do that repeal in front of a judge. It took about a year just to get the date to that hearing. The day before my hearing the judge canceled my hearing because he/she had looked over my case. It took about another two months for me to actually start getting my payments.

If you’re considering applying for disability, especially if you’re young and have an invisible illness/disability, I want to tell you the truth because no one did for me. It can be a long, exhausting process. It took me two years and six months from the time I first applied until I started getting payments. The denial letters and having to prove your disability can be depressing. Having people who don’t know you telling you that your disability “isn’t that bad” or that you can work can be difficult. And having them make snap decisions about you based on your age and education can be really difficult. I encourage you to have a support system in place, whether that’s family, friends, or even a counselor because this process can be emotional.

This process can be long, exhausting, and emotionally draining, but stay strong. Don’t give up. When it’s all finished you will be glad you hung in there. Keep on going whether you have autism, other disabilities, or even chronic illnesses. Remind yourself that this process won’t be forever, and you’ll be on the other side eventually. Remember that your disability and experiences are valid, no matter what they say.

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Getty image by Mango Star Studio.

Originally published: January 16, 2018
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