Well, after a 4-year ordeal, we finally got a decision on Big Kid's social security case.
I'm exhausted, emotionally and physically. It's been a nightmare.
We applied 4 years ago--almost 2 years after Big Kid had his psychotic breakdown in college. He wasn't stable, couldn't maintain an attention span of more than 15 minutes, couldn't take any meds to help with that because it would throw him into a manic spiral. He would rage often and wasn't rational (aliens laying eggs in his digestive tract). They turned him down initially (which is most often the case with applicants) and we appealed.
The judge ruled against him, and actually stated in the ruling that he didn't believe Big Kid would be bipolar if he didn't smoke pot.
1). Big Kid didn't smoke pot with any frequency. It wasn't allowed in my house (I have an allergy and even contact with the clothes of someone who smokes it causes my throat to swell), and the kid didn't have any money. Whatever pot smoking was done happened at his friends' places, and he wasn't invited too often because he didn't have any money. ;-)
2) None of the 3 doctors who have been treating him for most of his life, or the social security doctor who was charged with examining him felt he had a substance abuse problem. Self medicating is not rare for people who have bi-polar disorder. As he told our family doctor---the only time he felt emotionally normal was when he was high. In fact, less than a year after the judge's ruling, it became legal in our state, and Big Kid could have gotten a medical marijuana card for that very disorder.
3). The point of law that we actually appealed this decision on is the fact that the judge is not a doctor and can't make his own medical diagnoses arbitrarily.
While we were waiting for a date for our new appeal in 2009, Big Kid caught the swine flu, and as you all know, our life went to shit.
In May 2010, we filed a second claim based on the kid's new physical impairments. At that time, we found out that his previous case had been closed without notification, denying him all due process. Our advocate hired an outside attorney to deal with the trickiness of the situation, and because of the egregiousness of it, the attorney took it on pro bono.
May 2011, Big Kid was granted social security based on the second claim. By this time, we had spent over $50,000 in securing him a safe place to live, a caregiver, continuing care expenses, etc. This didn't even touch what was left of his hospital bills. Luckily, he had good insurance, but even with that, he had thousands of dollars in deductibles, etc.
A couple of months ago, our appeal to have the case reheard was granted and it was put back into the original judge's court. The one who ruled against us. Why do they do that?
For the hearing, the judge brought in his own expert to examine Big Kid and to go over the case files. He wouldn't allow me in the courtroom to give Big Kid moral support, and the kid was a tearful wreck. With his new impairments, he doesn't process a lot of what's going around him and he was frightened.
Anyhoo, the judge's expert ended up testifying FOR us. He told the judge that he was wrong, which seemed to put the judge in more of a pissy mood.
He told our advocate that he was willing to entertain the claim starting on the date Big Kid was admitted to the ICU for the swine flu. Our advocate demurred---basically said, "Judge, our claim was filed two years before that. Your expert just testified that Big Kid was significantly impaired THEN. We want the whole enchilada."
Well, we didn't get it. However, the claim was backdated to when Big Kid entered the hospital, so we'll be able to get medicaid to pay some of the medical bills that the insurance company didn't cover. We could appeal again, but that could take years to go through the system.
So we're done. Finally finally done. Hallelujah! Now I'm going to sleep for a week to recover. LOL