Thursday, January 28, 2010

SSDI update

After a nearly 5 month wait I have gotten the results of my administrative law hearing-unfavorable.

Well, it was really no surprise. I was not expecting a favorable decision. I will probably never be able to get this money after putting in more than $40,000 into social security and feeling that I can't take getting fired constantly anymore and having other problems on more marginal jobs forcing me to resign.

My lawyer said that he will file an appeal (appeals are usually rubberstamped 'no') and then after the appeal I guess there will possibly be a hearing in federal district court which will take a couple of years to get. My lawyer did emphasize to me that I did not have a really strong case as I did work somewhat successfully with my limitations and my condition did not deteriorate from the time I was still able to work at my last job, but he would do his best.

As I said before, I guess I can't count on ever getting the money but I will see what happens. So it goes.


Stephanie Lynn Keil said...

That sucks. So you pay over $40,000 in Social Security from your work but then they say that because you were able to do this you aren't qualified to receive any help.


jonathan said...

thanks, Stephanie, course it is not over, there is still district court and the 9th circuit court, could drag on for years and I will be old enough for retirement benefits by the time it ends maybe. I don't have a really strong case but all i can do is wait i reckon and see what unfolds.

JediKnight2 said...

I highly suggest you study for and take the latest A+ certification exams in Microsoft Operating Systems:

1) The practical exam.
2) The objective exam.

That was recommended by my voc. rehab. counselor since she told me it's the best I could start off with my college degree and computer certificate I'm about to earn this Spring Semester combined.

Once you pass your exams, search for computer repair places where they allow computer repair technicians to work in a private lab dealing with people's computers. It's all about following the procedures you studied from the exams. When all else fails, just clean up the operating system through the "System Restore" option. Once the files get deleted, it's too bad for the customer unless he/she remembered (or figured out from experience as those "nerdy" experts would never word it) to save the files on a portable hard drive or if I was allowed by the boss to do so on my own as a courtesy act.

Finally, you get the benefits and make decent money- more so than medical transcription I presume.

Roger Kulp said...

I'm curious is this just an automatic rejection,or do they not think your autism is severe enough to qualify ? I know from my own experience that if they think you are disabled enough from your autism,the psychiatrist or psychologist who examines you, starts procedures to put you in a group home,which is where I would be right now,if it werent for my mother's intervention.

jonathan said...

Hi Roger, basically, social security is claiming I am capable of substantial and gainful employment (defined as being able to earn $900/month or more) that is basically the bottom line.

Jedi: I would be interested in becoming A+ certified, but even if you get certified and can learn a bit about computer repair, doing it at a professional level is most likely more difficult than you think it is.

Jake Crosby said...

Best of luck Jonathan!!!

bullet said...

Hmmm, I would question the validity of saying you coped fine in your work if you kept getting sacked from it. Did your lawyer set out in detail the jobs you were fired from and how the firing directly related to your ASD? What help was given to you to enable you to continue in employment? Did the lawyer and Hearing take into account that when you first started in employment there was little understanding of HFA? Did they also take into account that you may well not have been aware that you needed to speak to others about your difficulties, to ask for help and if you did know then you would still have had substantial difficulties in being able to.
And the question should not be whether you managed to cope in a particular job ten years ago, it should be about whether you can cope in a job now. Have you found that employers expect you to have greater social skills, for example? Or are the only jobs around you ones which are in very busy, crowded places? Are you expected to work more in a team environment than you would have been several years ago, whereas you might cope better working on your own following familiar, set routines or being able to set your own agenda?
(In case you hadn't realised I'm drawing on my own experiences, so feel free to discount them if not relevant to you).
Don't go in with the attitude that you don't have a strong case, but rather with the attitude that you are entitled to the SSI.

Adrianna said...

My sentiments exactly! Best of luck.

It's a shame really. There never seems to be enough welfare (all types) to go to those who really need it.

Another reason the social model of disability needs to be scrapped.

jonathan said...

bullet: a lot of questions to answer all at once, but I will do my best. I never said I could cope well in jobs. I was able to keep some for a while and work somewhat but there were difficulties and I was fired or subsequently had to resign. My lawyer argued how my disability impaired my ability to work and used other cases as precedents.

Basically what you are suggesting amounts to disclosure, which is not a solution. I tried this once, it did not work. I know others who have tried it, it did not work for them. Employers in the private sector are only interested in making a profit, goverment jobs are very discriminating and try to keep people out who they might want to get rid of who would have protections preventing them getting fired. They are not interested in working with people whose disabilities will cause problems for them. They are under no legal obligation to do so in spite of the ADA whose only scope is to provide reasonable accommodations which is an open statement and not when an employee is going to cost too much money and problems for an employer.

I hope this answers your questions.

bullet said...

Sorry Jonathan, I was actually criticising your lawyer, not you. I believe you do have difficulties and wondered if your lawyer had set out your difficulties clearly enough. Your lawyer should have been advocating for you.
I think I do know what you mean about disclosure. I keep things on a need to know basis with who I tell and what I tell.

Cyberman said...

Jonathan if you are any good at working with computers then ignore the Microsoft qualifications, go for Linux certification like L+. more in demand and more valuable


JediKnight2 said...


Jonathan has learned some programming in the 70's from voc. rehab. and recently took some web courses at his local community college.

With his bachelor's degree, certificate from voc. rehab. in computer programming, and additional coursework he's recently completed, my guess is that without any job experience involving computers the best Jonathan could do at this point, especially at his age and the fact he's tired of putting up with being fired from several jobs for the past twenty-something years, is to get involved with computer repair.

Now Jonathan could always work his way up to the point he could be hired for a business or company involving some web programming or something else close to the same job level, or even study for other certifications in the process if he wanted to get involved with other areas within the IT field (i.e. Cisco Networking, database (Structured Query Language- SQL) which often requires holding a data entry job beforehand, or an
e-commerce position). At the age of 54, I'm sure he could work for another 10-15 years, possibly close to another 20 years. However, I was suggesting computer repair as an option to finish off the remainder of his career. I'd hate for Jon to have to remain permanently retired at an early age while he could be enjoying the next decade and additional few years making the type of living he wishes he could have had long ago.

Cyberman said...

Hi Jedi and Jon

you know what you are saying makes sense but there usually isn't that much money in computer repair.

But the usual recommended route among my friends is to get something like L+ along with MS certs, do some voluntary work being a sys admin for a small school or something, getting some experience
before aiming for a full time job

Good Luck Jon
whatever you choose


The author said...

Jedi Knight I would never go to you for computer repair with that attitude, when my own machine had to go back under guarantee for a mysterious recurring error which prevented it from even booting I made sure that the shop ghosted all the data and operating system on my disks so that once the mechanical roots of the problem had been sorted, everything could be restored as was.

Where are your ethics?

The author said...

Jonathan, I think you are experiencing something that is rather common on both sides of the pond, not that it is any consolation I am sure.

You are now experiencing that same problem of someone external who does not know your daily life declaring that you are insufficiently impaired to qualify for specific disability benefits. Perhaps you will stop and think when you arbitrarily make declarations as to others impairments on this blog.

I've been through it myself and will go through it again. It helps me none that my chosen profession as a wannabe academic is one that has been profoundly impacted by the recession in the UK with considerable University cutbacks.

JediKnight2 said...

Yeah, I'd really care if someone outside the U.S. who I've never met would go to me.

Like I said, I wouldn't even deal with the customers. I WROTE THAT! Remember?

For your imformation, I made a suggestion to Jonathan. I didn't tell him he was required to get involved with computer repair. I made a suggestion, suggestion, suggestion, SUGGESTION, SUGGESTION, SUCCESTION!!!! I hope you were able to process that by now.

Anyway, I made that SUGGESTION to Jonathan because I knew he was interested in computers, yet has never had experience with programming and is just okay at it. With that being one piece of the advice I was given by my voc. rehab. counselor, I suppose you assume I'll be taking that advice and only work as a comp. repairer just because I was told to do so.

No, I do not have a negative attitude toward comp. repair. I think it's a great thing to start off with considering I'm still a dependant who's never held a job, and I was suggesting it as something Jonathan could finish his career off with the possibility of accomplishing a bit more tasks in the future. I also explained that I don't know if I'd be able to deal with the extra tasks of saving the files and whatever info. the owners would want to keep. I haven't even searched for that particular job, yet, but if I ever had the opportunity to repair your computer, which I don't even know why you're thinking about that, I wouldn't want to deal with a control freak like yourself!

Marius Filip said...


I am really sorry to hear that.

Yet, it seems to me that Jedi's idea is pretty swell. It involves some work, indeed, but I can imagine you might be able to do such kind of work.

Another option is to try learning to do a computer admin job.

Network administrators, people configuring computers and the like are well sought after and such kind of job doesn't require skills like programming.

Another option is to train yourself to become a software tester.

Testers who are patient enough to manually test GUI interface are hard to find - most testers move quickly to automation (i.e. programmed testing, not manual testing) and that's why manual testers are scarce. A manual tester job may be a good option, it doesn't require programming skills and the employment is secure.

If I can help you some learning resources on software testing, let me know (you can leave a comment on my blog, I'll reject it and get back to you).

Anyway, best of luck!

JediKnight2 said...

Thank you very much, Marius! :) Same to you, Cyberman. :)

I'm glad to hear from others that my idea isn't unrealistic. Unfortunately, some autistics have a hard time dealing with and expressing opinions, particularly when reading about Jonathan's rejection for SSDI. The readers who haven't even gotten to know him since they've never met him in person, talked to him enough, or have lived in his shoes just take what he says literally and automatically judge him that it's obvious he complains all the time about how much autism sucks, so therefore he hasn't tried hard enough to continue working. Only narrow-minded people would think that and that it's all the former bosses' fault for firing an autistic man*.

* Note: "Autistic man" rather than saying "man with autism" must always be used when dealing with members from Neurodiversity, or else you're exiled.....even if you did believe in Neurodiversity despite having a brain no one else from that movement is able to share with you.