Today I had an interesting talk with my lawyer. As a few readers of this blog and the previous blog I had, Jonathan's journal on my
other website may remember, a couple of years ago when I retired from paid work, I filed a claim for social security disability insurance. I had somewhat of a shock (no pun intended for those involved in autism long enough to remember Dr. Lovaas' old ways) to find that the main headquarters of the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention was located in the same building on the same floor just down the hall from my local social security office! I wrote an essay about this irony. This was in about June of 2007. I had tests by a psychologist and then was turned down in October. I got a lawyer and filed an appeal, a year and a half later i have my hearing before an administrative law judge coming up. I figured there was a good chance i would not be awarded the money and that I could just walk away from this albatross that had been hanging over my head for two years. My lawyer wanted to see me in his office on Friday, but i could not see him until today (Monday). He informed me that he wanted me to take some vocational testing and have my former employer write some sort of letter.
He told me that two years is nothing and that he was still working on a case going back to 1986. Also still working on someone's case for the past 12 years!. He talked me into appealing though I am now aghast that the process really goes this long. He might die or I might die before my appeals are exhausted.
After a claimant is turned down by SSA and then loses at the level of a hearing before an administrative law judge, then there is a court of appeal in virginia where written statements are submitted. After this there is a federal district court to which the case can be appealed. Then there is what is called the 9th circuit court which is the highest federal court of appeal in the state of california that is just below the united states supreme court. I had wondered if any of these cases went before the u.s. supreme court. I'm no lawyer but from what I understood the supreme court is very selective about which cases they will hear. My attorney said that yes, the supreme court did hear these cases sometimes. He himself had never argued a case before the supreme court but that a friend of his who also practiced the same kind of law had. For someone who was an alcoholic, who could no longer work because of cirrhosis of the liver.
I might do some more research on social security disability law and maybe edit this blog post with some relevant links but that is not easy for me due to my being handicapped. I guess this case did not take up a really significant part of my life except now it is because of the imminence of my hearing before the ad law judge.
Guess I will be involved with this for longer than i thought. I guess I will have to try to practice some healthy eating habits and exercise more so that I can live long enough to exhaust all of my appeals.