02 May 2006

Reporting Any and All Mental Health Impairments on Initial Social Security Application Can Speed Up Processing Time

Well my friend,

I can not believe that a month has come and gone since I first said I would introduce myself to you later.

Ok, here goes.

I'm Loretta, my good friends call me Lo, and my non-friends don't call.

I was affiliated with the Social Security Administration as a Disability Claims Examiner for the Disability Determination Service for three years before leaving that agency in August 2005. Prior to that I had worked as a disability paralegal for a Legal Aid agency in North Carolina back in the early 1990's. I also did a short stint with the South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council in the Governor's Office in the late 1980's.

In 1995 I left the country and had the bounty of serving in the Holy Land (Israel) for four years. From there I went immediately to Ghana, West Africa, to serve my Faith as a volunteer for an additional 15 months.

A lot of things changed in the US of A while I was gone.

I can remember my "in awe" reaction when I saw the first commercial where the pharmaceutical companies were advertising prescription only drugs directly to the public on TV.

What madness is this, I thought. Do doctors no longer go to school to determine what meds are good for patients or do patients decide what meds are good for them based on the advertisements?

Then I decided it was really ok since the doctors are victims of a "paid" ad campaign anyway. Suddenly it all made sense.

In fact coming back to the states to have an operation was really the only reason that I returned. And after six years, I'm still here. The NIH was gracious enough to perform my surgery for free since they just happened to be conducting a study on a new drug and they needed guinea pigeons (I prefer pigeons to pigs--they're a much smaller species and don't have as much weight to lose).

One of the things I did shortly after returning and finding work in the disability field was to buy myself a condo in the big ATL, a subdivision, in an attempt to put down roots. It was something I had never done before--own a home, and I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about now that I was in my forties.

And surprisingly it was easy enough to get. I got in for about $500 down and got half of that back at closing. Getting in was easy but getting out was a little bit rougher. It took me a year to sell the place after my relocation to the NC area to be closer to my family, and since I did not want the place to go into foreclosure, it wiped out all my savings and now, well I'm just broke. Notice I said broke, not poor.

You see, poverty can't really exist since it is just the absence of money. It's like saying that darkness exists when everyone knows that darkness is just the absence of light. Shed any small amount of light to it and the darkness is no more.

But I stray...

Currently I publish Social-Security-Disability-ESP.com and a monthly Disability newsletter. The May issue is now live at DE Other Side so you can take a look. This month's featured article is called:

"Failing to Report Any Past Mental Health Treatment -- Whether Counseling or Drug Therapy-- on Your Initial Application for Benefits Can Increase Processing Time"

I'm currently also looking to do some virtual assistance and/or part time work for area Social Security disability attorneys who need a little extra help on their growing disability caseloads.

So, if you know someone who knows someone who knows... drop me a line. And if you are a disability attorney in the Raleigh area, you will no doubt be hearing from me soon.

Ok...enough with the intros. It's late and I need to get some shut eye.