Tuesday, August 16, 2005

On the eve of selling my soul to the feds.... 

...what they don't already have, I mean. I apply for Social Security Disability Insurance tomorrow morning at 9am. Actually, I'm supposed to be there at least five minutes early even though the office doesn't open until 9. That's the government for ya.

Oh, all right, in case this is being monitored, I'm gonna confess a few things here. One is that the lady I spoke with on the phone when I initally made the appointment was very nice. We had a slight language barrier because she had an Asian accent and I don't hear terribly well, but the call went well. The other is that they actually give you a reminder call the day before your appointment, which is decent of them.

I THINK I have everything that I need. I'm feeling kinda freaked out because my memory is so poor lately that I can't be absolutely sure I didn't forget something, but I did go through the checklist they sent me in the mail. I threw everything into a manila folder because I don't have the strength to haul anything heavier. I'm shocked how much my medical records weigh even though they're incomplete. My file's gonna end up being huge.

In other news, mixed results on deciphering my termination letter. I got a certified mail version of it today, so I know they're absolutely serious. I talked to HR and was told this was standard operating procedure and that my union has no protection against it. I had gone through my union contract late last night and couldn't find any language about this particular situation, so HR may be right. I did, however, get them to agree not to make my "resignation" effective until after I've had an opportunity to talk to the union prez, who will be back in town a week from today. And I got permission to receive the vacation I am owed a week at a time until it's gone. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite come to the amount I was expecting because of all the time I missed last year (off in January for surgery and in July for illness), but I'll take whatever I can get.

My next call was to the LTD guys. To my surprise, I DO qualify for benefits as long as I was still employed at the time I applied for them. I had read what I thought was my policy last night (turns out it's just a summary), but it was very vague and had led to most of the confusion. I am now trying to get a copy of the entire policy sent to me in the hope of avoiding any more misunderstandings.

I read a lot of stuff last night trying to figure out what I was gonna do in case I didn't get LTD. In re-reading my pension plan, I saw that the requirement for a disability pension is described as being "eligible" for SSDI. It didn't actually say I had to be APPROVED for Social Security to receive the pension, so I'm gonna check into that. One of the risks of trying to get the pension now may be that I have to go to a doc they pick out for an evaluation, but then, the LTD guys can do that too.

Been re-checking other things such as pre-payment penalties on our second mortgage (in case we need to move someplace cheaper), surrender fees on our annuity fund, how much I'll have to pay in taxes if I must cash in my 401(K), etc. I ran some figures on re-financing back to a 30 year mortgage, but the rates are rising, so we really wouldn't save very much. I feel more informed as to what to expect if I have to take a certain course of action, but my head is swimming, and I'm quite exhausted. The house is a wreck from all the paperwork I dug up, but I don't have the energy to put it all back. I guess I'll get to it after I've had a chance to recover from my SSDI application adventure.

Are we having fun yet??

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