How Being “Disabled” is a Full-Time Job

By Katie M. Golden

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Katie Golden is a #teamHealthyWomen Contributor and this post is part of HealthyWomen's Real Women, Real Stories series.

You may have heard that those on Social Security Disability are “milking the system,” but did you know that being disabled is a full-time job? See what the job entails in the job description below:

*************************SEEKING APPLICANTS*************************

Job Title
Chief Medical Officer of Personal Health Affairs (AKA Social Security Disability Beneficiary)

Job Description
Full-time position, flexible hours.

Prerequisite: Ideal candidate would have a background in all of the following areas: analytics, accounting, patient advocacy, medical billing, insurance underwriting, legalese, pharmacology, healthcare administration, Social Security Disability, Medicare & Medicaid. Preference for those with M.D., Ph.D., CPA, RN, NP or Esq. behind their name. 

Skills: The ideal candidate would be well organized, exhibit patience, possess a friendly phone manner, anticipate problems, show initiative, diligent in finding correct answers and keep meticulous notes.

Job Duties May Include: 

  •  Schedule, prep and arrange transportation for 1-3 doctors’ visits per month. To include compiling a list of questions, a list of medications, changes in symptoms and provide medical records from other healthcare providers
  •  Interpret insurance policies and medical billing codes
  •  Reconcile medical bills
  •  Track payments toward deductibles
  •  Inquire about incorrect medical or insurance bills
  •  Fill out paperwork proving disability 3-6 times per year
  •  Coordinate medical records between doctors, insurance, and disability carriers
  •  Research medical conditions and make recommendations for changes to treatment plans
  •  Keep up with latest medical advancements
  •  Understand healthcare legislation
  •  Ability to multi-task while being on hold for hours on the phone
  •  Excellent note-taking skills
  •  Spend an abnormal amount of time at the pharmacy
  •  Develop and implement a plan for organizing medication
  •  Willing to be a medical guinea pig
  •  Ability to educate others
  •  Must be able to face stigma, prejudice, patient-blaming, accusations of being a drug addict, labeled as lazy, being fired by doctors, lose friends and miss important events

*Candidate must be able to perform these functions regardless of, and in spite of, his or her health condition at any given time.

*Candidate is also expected to maintain all household duties such as cleaning, laundry, cooking, parenting and managing relationships. 

*No training is available for employees.

*If you are unable to perform your duties, you must nominate a loved one to take over your duties.

*Inability to master all of these skills can result in loss of benefits, health insurance and access to care.

Salary

Candidate will only receive insurance benefits and compensation if he/she is able to complete the tasks above. Lapse in attention to these details could result in loss of benefits. Sick days and vacation days will not be offered however candidates will be able to work from home.

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Are you qualified for this job?

Chief Medical Officer of Personal Health Affairs is a title befitting for those who are applying for or are maintaining Social Security Disability benefits. There are 8.8 million Americans employed in this job, with another 2 million having applied with no response or are actively appealing a denial.

No one could ever be prepared to perform all of the job duties listed above, but we don’t have a choice. No one ever grows up saying, “I want to be disabled.” Some people go to school for multiple years to master just one of the dozens of areas that we have to learn as a trial by fire.

The description and pre requisites is not an exaggeration of the skills needed to effectively manage the Social Security Disability system. Having an accounting degree, a background in law, and a medical license would be the right combination of a perfect candidate.

Being disabled is a full-time job. The amount of time it takes to stay on top of your health and keeping up with paperwork while feeling the worst you ever have in your life is all-consuming.

The next time you hear that those on Social Security Disability are “milking the system,” or we “need to take ownership for our health,” remember that being disabled is a full-time job. And we are some of the hardest working people you may know.

Resources

Migraine Health Topic by HealthyWomen

The American Migraine Foundation has a downloadable guide for applying for disability benefits here.  

Disability Income Preparation Guide by Katie M. Golden

Social Security Disability Benefits: The Basics by Diana Lee

No Cost of Living Adjustment for SSDI in 2016 by Katie M. Golden

A version of this post originally appeared at GoldenGraine.com.