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finding work with disability

What it feels like to go through the thousand shades of gray that get labeled bipolar, mania, depression, schizophrenia, borderline, panic, anxiety, psychosis, attention deficit, obsessive-compulsive, self-injury and ... what's it like in your world? How do you relate to your mind and your diagnosis? What language makes sense to you?

finding work with disability

Postby sweetmadness » Feb 04, 2019 10:03 pm

Thank you for the response. I will look into these resources.
Last edited by sweetmadness on Feb 06, 2019 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better."
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Re: a brainwashed Society

Postby Dan2013 » Feb 05, 2019 12:24 am

Hey, sweetmadness. Sorry that you have gone through all of that. Here are some initial ideas- (this post is somewhat lengthy, so if it is too much, maybe read it in small pieces and do not get overwhelmed)-

First, I know what it is like to be too ill to work. There is no shame in it, and people need to understand it is not laziness or a bad attitude. It is a serious disability.

That said, there are some ways to work on your situation. I do not know where you live and what support resources there are for you. I myself live in a State Capital and we have a lot of government resources, non-profits, and agencies that help the sick, the disabled, the poor. You need to check out your own area and find these sorts of resources if you can.

So, I hope that you are somewhere where you can get some help and support. In my City, we have some mental health agencies that provide Supported Employment for people with Psych Diagnoses.

If you don't know, Supported Employment is when a Mental Health or Disability Agency provides jobs specifically for people who are mentally ill, with substance abuse, or are otherwise disabled. For example, one agency in town has a breakfast and lunch café that exclusively hires clients with mental health issues. They also have a construction business and a courier service that they run that also only hires mental health clients.

One advantage of these Jobs is that they are run by a mental health agency and overseen by mental health professionals. As a result, the supervisors are much more sympathetic to accommodating people's psych symptoms. If you work in the café and feel overwhelmed, for example, you might be able to take a break. If you are too sick to work, the supervisors are accommodating, and will re-schedule. Also, there are support services and special training for these types of jobs. They will hire disabled folks who can not find work elsewhere.

Next, I would suggest seeking out a mental health Social Worker in your town or city who knows what resources there are locally and can refer you to what you need.

Another thing is Social Security Disability. You probably have not worked enough as an adult to qualify for significant benefits based on your own work history. That said, because you were diagnosed with a major mental illness before you were 18, you might qualify for other special benefits.

There is a thing in Social Security called "Disabled Child of an Adult Payee". This basically means that if you can prove that you were Disabled before you were 18 that you might qualify for cash benefits that are based on either your Mother or your Father's work history and Social Security accounts, and not your own account. Because your parents have probably worked more than you, the amount of money paid out to their Disabled Child (you) will be higher than what you would qualify for based upon your own work history. You basically use their work history to pay your claim as their disabled child.

Social Security benefits are based on how much a person has already paid into the system. As you probably have not paid much into the system yourself, you could get benefits based on your Mother or Father's social security account, if either of them has a significant history of earned income and payments into the Social Security system. If you did manage to get these types of benefits, those payments do not impede the Parent's own qualifications down the line when and if they choose to retire and get their own Social Security payments later in life. So, they lose no money if you get paid under this system.

I would suggest that you find your local Social Security Office and make an appointment to see a Worker there and see if you qualify for these type of benefits. Just tell them that you had a diagnosis when you were a child and that you have an extensive medical history. You have a major disabling condition. Ask them whether you might qualify for benefits as a "Disabled Child". (I do not believe that you need to be a child right now to receive these benefits; I believe that you only need to have gotten your initial diagnosis when you were a minor, which you were.)

It will take some time and you might need to provide some documentation, maybe access to medical records, maybe to see a Doctor appointed by Social Security to evaluate you. If you have trouble during this process, some people hire Lawyers who specialize in Social Security claims. You would have to navigate this process, but if you find a good Social Worker like I described above, that Worker should be able to help and support you through this sort of process so you are not alone in it.

***I will note here that you only MIGHT be eligible for these sort of benefits. I do not want to give you a false hope. Only a Social Security Professional can tell you whether you qualify for benefits or not. There might be some factors that disqualify you. You would need to go to a Social Security Office and get the information from those Government Workers.***

That said, there might be other kinds of Government benefits that you qualify for. You might be able to get Medicaid benefits (federal health insurance for the poor and the disabled) and maybe also Food Stamps. The money for Medicaid and Food Stamps are provided by the Federal Government AND the State Government, but they are administered locally by County Governments.

So, for Social Security as described above, you must go to the local Social Security office, which is Federal and usually in a Federal Building. Depending where you are, you might need some form of transport to get there- bus, taxi, etc. With the Medicaid and the Food Stamps, you need to go to your local County Social Services Office. So, Federal Office for Social Security, and local County Offices for Medicaid (government health insurance) and Food Stamps.

All of this stuff can be supported by an experienced Social Worker who knows how to navigate these systems and who knows your local area well and can advise you.

As such, I suggest that your first step be to find a good mental health Social Worker. If you can not find one in a private non-profit, I would suggest going to your local County Mental Health Agency and asking there. Once you get set up with a good Social Worker, they can help you with all of this stuff: Supported Employment, Social Security, Medicaid, Food Stamps.

As I final thing, I would suggest seeking out Peer Support if you have any Peer Support agencies in your area. Older Psych Peers like myself have been through this stuff and know the system. A Peer Support Person can help provide emotional and social support, as well as practical advice.

This is a lot of stuff to chew on, and you need to take it all one step at a time. It can be overwhelming, but if you have a Peer Friend to help you, it can take some of the pressure off and make things seem more manageable. You are not alone. And you can come back here to the Icarus Message Boards and get advice and support from other Peers here also. I try to post here regularly, so (unless I get sick), I will be around here to offer whatever help I can.

Good luck, and let us know how you are doing.

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