Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How do I go about applying for disability or social security for my son?

The Department of Mental Health for my state has a care coordinator that handles this for patients but told me since our son has private insurance it would cost me $168 an hour for them to help us. He advised me to just go online and apply for it for him myself. I tried this but its not working. It says it can’t verify his identity and won’t allow me to go any further. I can’t go to our local social security office because they aren’t assisting people in person because of covid. Can anyone guide me on how to go about this?

Do you have Lutheran Social Services in your area? They may be able to help and if they can, your son will probably have to go with you. I filled out the paper application and then made an appointment (during non-covid days) and we went in to SSA. Be prepared for the onslaught of documentation needed… good luck! I think that’s kinda lame that your Dept of Mental Health would impose another burden on him because of having private health insurance. :confused:

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Looks like there is a Lutheran Social Services about 2 hours from here, not sure if they would help since I’m not local to their area.

When you tried online - did you answer the questions as though you were your family member? SS had me apply for my son online, they said they would have to meet him in person eventually, and they did after they reviewed the submissions from his doctor and myself and whichever of his employers they had contacted. Meeting him was the final step, he just signed the papers in the Social Security office, his benefits had already been worked out and approved at that point.

To my knowledge, my son has never harmed anyone. He does buy guns and shows them to people when he is in a highly paranoid state. We submitted statements from these people along with their contact information to Social Security.

The day he signed the papers Social Security had him wait in the parking lot until it was his turn. They explained things rather carefully to not upset him. As my FtF teacher said later “he wasn’t their first rodeo”. He signed and they told him he could go back and wait for me in the car.

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If you call the Social Security 800 number, I have found them to be very helpful. If they aren’t helpful, call back and hope you get a different person.

Also- enter social security in the search box on the upper right on your screen. There is a lot of good information on other threads.

There are lawyers who will help you, but they will take a percentage of any back benefits that are received.


My son sat there with his head down on their desk until we were done. What I didn’t realize at the time was when one parent started drawing Social Security, he had to come off of SSI and switched to SS with Medicare. That was where they did the back pay computations and I had to set up a separate account with only rep-payee permissions. I had no clue when his dad had gone on Social Security so the back pay was substantial.

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@Pookey52 How old was your son when he received his diagnosis? I have read that being diagnosed under a certain age is required foeu them claim benefits on a parents account.

My son had worked for several years after he graduated from college. He collects disability on his own account (ssdi) and ssi (because his disability payment is under a poverty threshold) he went on Medicare two years after he became disabled and now has Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid pays co-pays and deductibles and pays his Medicare premium.

His diagnoses have changed over the years. First it was ADHD around the age of 9/10, then ADHD with ODD, then bipolar, bipolar w/schizoaffective and finally schizophrenia around the age of 27. Because I had records out the ying/yang, I had no problems giving them the documentation they wanted. And because he was disabled as young as he was, I have been able to continue him on my family plan which covers deductibles and drug prescriptions. He is covered under Medicare and my health insurance plan for life under a state and federal statute as an adult disabled child.

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In our town, the Aging Disability Resource Center helped us both in the beginning and also with the appeal. It will seem like a long process but is worth it in the end. Overall, I think it took 2 years. Keep filling out new forms as they come up and jumping through all the hoops. It is worth it in the end. Also note that 70% of everyone who applies gets rejected initially, but you have to appeal within the two months after your rejection. (There is a window of time). Once you appeal, you may also consider getting a disability lawyer to help push it through. It should not cost you money as they take their money out of the settlement if the disability goes through.
Because of disability, our son was later able to work with the developmental rehab program who got him a part time job which he has had for over a year.

It took 2 years to get approval??

In my son’s case it took 4 months. We didn’t have to appeal, it was approved the first attempt.

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Same here - as long as the documentation is provided and the form filled out completely, it’ll get processed a lot faster than people think. :palm_tree:

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Yes my son and I sat down at the computer and had the same problem . We called the help number and she went in and reset something allowing g us to finish. They said it may have been a red flag on his credit report but he’s owned nothing I know of. Anyway it worked and then he and I got more paperwork to fill out. And they spoke on the phone with him. That was September and we haven’t gotten a decision . Fingers crossed for all of ud


How old is your son? My daughter received SSI when she was 20. She was in a Community Mental Health program when she was diagnosed as Schizophrenia. She had already been admitted into a psyc ward in a hospital. I don’t know if your son has already received services from Mental Health locally. If not you really need to get that first. If he is already served locally, they can give what info they have to you and you will send that info and the form filled out by you to Social Security and you should not have trouble. She received SSI until my husband died (he was already on SS). I went directly to the SS office in my area to report his death and apply for SS for both me and my daughter. The office person told me that since she had been diagnosed before the age of 22, she would be eligible for SSD (disability). We both received benefits in 2 months but also received an additional month. So it was immediately. My advice is to start locally rather the bureaucracy of your state. This is how it is in NC and VA. But SS is a federal program and I would think it would be similar in all states. But of course I am unsure. Oh, I would take him off your insurance so he can get Medicaid. If it turns out what I said is not your state’s policy and you need to go through your state, it should not cost $168. If I knew your son’s specifics like age, diagnosis, if he ever worked, and your state, I might be able to help you more. I am not a professional - just a mother whose gone through it al! Good luck, dear.

He is 20 and diagnosis is schizophrenia. He has worked a few jobs this past year but they let him go after only a few days or weeks. I’m not sure if it’s because they pick up on odd behavior or if he just doesn’t have the ability to keep up, it’s likely both. We are in SC. He is in our department of mental health system locally. He has seen a therapist through this agency twice so far but hasn’t been able to get an appointment with their psychiatrist yet. They opened his case in November! Thankfully I took him to his primary that set up a telepsych psychiatrist to manage his meds in the mean time, had I not donebthat no telling where we would be right now.