My final hearing for social security disability was on June 14. It was one of the most humbling and humiliating experiences of my life.
On Tuesday of last week, I received a letter in the mail. The letter was dated June 20, 2017.
Notice of Decision – Fully Favorable
I live in a conservative state. I had a conservative judge. My attorney prepared me to wait longer than two months for the judge’s decision, but my decision letter was drafted an unprecedented six days after my hearing.
My attorney called me to talk about the stunning speed. He asked me if it would be alright if he submitted my case (stripped of personal information) to a database that would help substantiate other RSD/CRPS sufferers’ disability cases. Of course it would be alright. He also filled me in on the “next steps” and gave me the contact information for a Medicare specialist.
So let’s recap: my social security disability was approved in record speed, I will be able to have healthcare coverage, and my case will be an example to help other people suffering from CRPS.
I’ve been asked about how I *feel* about this. “Are you happy?”
My *feelings* are still marinating about this very long, very stressful process. I’m pretty sure my emotions are going to max out as a sense of relief. It will be nice to have one area of my life become a little more certain.
But, “happy?” No. Happiness is not in there anywhere.
You see, I am trying to collect social security disability out of sheer necessity, but I am not trying to be disabled. The contrary is true. I don’t want to be disabled, and I am dedicating my life to trying not to be disabled. I do not want to have to collect social security disability. I would rather have the ability to have a job.
I would be happy if I wasn’t disabled. I would be happy if I didn’t have CRPS. I would be happy if I was able to work an actual job. I would be happy if I could run, if I could jump. I would be happy if I could return to my old, regular, joyful life…
Logically, I knew I certainly qualified, and I knew I certainly needed this decision to come through. Logically, I should feel validated, at the very least. Yet, logic aside, the decision, and the unprecedented speed of the decision, was a punch in my emotional guts.
I mean, there was no hesitation in ruling that there is no job on the face of the planet that I can successfully perform. I’m not kidding. The judge’s decision is substantiated over fourteen pages, single spaced, ten point font, and a sentence just before the final concluding paragraphs reads: “The vocational expert testified that there are no jobs said individual can perform.”
Jesus. Fucking. Christ. I seriously cannot believe this is real life. I know it’s true. I know I have CRPS. I know I am completely incapacitated by this condition. But…
Seeing it in writing, written by a judge, popped whatever was left of my lingering tiny bubble of denial: this is real. I am disabled. And that most definitely makes me sad, not happy.