Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Disability Hearing

About a month ago we had a call from Ryan's (Kyle's) attorney saying a date had been set for his disability claim hearing. He had made application a long time before he died, was rejected (as are most), and the attorney filed an appeal. It seems like this happened quite a while before he died. 20 months after he left us, he finally gets a disability hearing. We were ready to walk away, I have no interest in taking money from the Social Security Administration after he's gone, but the wife and I discussed it and decided that, if for no other reason, the attorney could recover some of her costs. She really is a caring and compassionate person. So we decided to proceed.

We walked into the hearing room and there was my wife and I, Ryan's attorney, the judge, a medical expert on speaker phone, and a vocational expert. They all had files as thick as a big-city phone book. They were referencing many exhibits, sub-exhibits, schedules, and so forth. They had his counseling records, his medical and hospital records, his psychiatrist's records. Things he'd NEVER want to share with anyone, and it was an open book. To hear his life reduced to a stack of papers was almost more than I could handle, and I choked up at times during the testimony. There was information read aloud he would NEVER want us, let alone others, to know. It was really sad. We wanted them to know what a caring, compassionate, loving, brilliant kid he was, but that wasn't material to the case.

The system is broken, probably irreparably. It's designed to deny benefits rather than help those in need. It sucks out the motivation, the self-worth, the soul of those attempting to collect disability. Unfortunately, it won't change, given the state of politics today.

The weeks leading up to this, both my wife and I fell into a depression. The deepest depression I've had since he died. The day after the hearing, we're both improving a bit, but it may take a while.


Stephany said...

I have been thinking of you and your family so much lately.

I have much to say, but want you to know I was in court in December and and advocate was able to portray my daughter differently than those documents you unfortunately had to endure hearing (as did I).

And I understand your grief, and am here to support both of you.


Anonymous said...

My prayers are with you.
(If you remember me;)

I am a Family Court Advocate and see the horrific things that happen in our broken system.

Your right it may take time.

I hope you are taking the time to be well.

salman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stephany said...

Hey there, I have been thinking about you and your family all this week.

I hope you all are doing OK.



Justin said...

Sorry for your lost!! It's a shame the hoops they make people jump through to get the help they need

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