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Thread: Quit Job, Get SSDI, Move, Return to School?, Find New Job (paraplegic)

  1. #1

    Quit Job, Get SSDI, Move, Return to School?, Find New Job (paraplegic)

    Hi all,

    Posting this here as I'm not sure where the best sub-forum for this would be, but given this sub-forum's traffic and topic, figured this would be the best location for it. Mods, if there is a better place for this thread, please feel free to move it there.

    The next two paragraphs give the background of my situation; the questions I'm actually looking to have answered are in the last 2 paragraphs.

    Anyway, I've started this thread because I need some advice on taking the next step in my life, and I'm wondering if anyone here has done something similar whilst disabled. I'm originally from a major city in the Midwest, but just a little over 4 years ago I relocated to a small city (just over 100k population) 3.5 hours from my hometown, a few months after having completed a year-long internship in a major West Coast city that did not turn into permanent employment. (I will take at least part of the blame as to why that did not happen). The move to this current city was the result of my obtaining my first permanent job there. I'm 32 years old and single, a manual wheelchair user disabled from a tumor on my spine at the age of 1 month, for what that's worth.

    As excited as I was during the first 1.5 years in my then-new position, my job duties have since stagnated and there appears to be little room for anyone in my organization to move up. (My boss recently retired and although we had a perfectly good internal candidate to replace her, she was replaced by someone external whom I'm not yet 100% convinced is the right person for the job). And the only thing I'm getting even more bored with than my job is the city I live in. Not much to do except go out to the bars on the weekends, and I'm getting too old to regularly do that. Dating options here are equally weak by my standards; had I known I'd be here this long, I'd have gone out with that cute foreign co-worker that was hot on my tail for my first 2 years on the job. (We had insanely good chemistry, and she might have been someone I could have eventually married, but I couldn't bring myself to date a colleague, especially as she gave off the vibe of someone in a rush to find a husband. She has since married someone else).

    Living where I do makes me feel very isolated from the job opportunities I actually want. So I was wondering, in particular for any wheelchair users reading this; have any of you been able to quit your job, been able to obtain SSDI (I would be getting $1,120 per month if I were to get it, and did receive SSDI between the end of my last internship and the start of my current job), then move to a new city, and then find employment in the new place? I know this situation may require that I at least briefly live with my parents, who still live in that major city; I do have the freedom to break my apartment lease as long as I give one month's notice. Even though I already have a Master's degree, one of the things I am considering is going back to school and getting a 2nd Master's degree that would complement the skills I obtained in my first, but would open many more employment opportunities. And it looks like Voc Rehab would be able to cover this option for me.

    Due to some money mismanagement on my part, I only have about $5,000 in savings. Have any of you ever done anything similar to what I am describing, and if so, how did it go? Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/res...njury-or-paral

    If you meet the criteria listed in the above link, you should have no difficulty qualifying for SSDI.

    You should think about if you have enough money to live on and pay insurance costs while waiting for SSDI application review, approval and the first monthly payment. Once you're approved for SSDI, consider the Ticket To Work Program for education, re-training and continuation of benefits while you try working again.

    This link describes Medicare after SSDI is approved.
    http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/dne...-medicare.html

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    What is your undergraduate degree in and then subsequent Masters degree? What second master degree do you want to get and how will it help you get a different job?

    My rule, has always been don't quit your current job until you have the next job already.

    Are you sure vocational rehabilitation is going to pay for second Masters degree when you are currently employed in and the only reason you want to change is because you don't like the current one?

    Definitely make sure that you can , but if you're planning to retire any time in your life, you need to start saving. Can you afford this with no guaranteed job after you've invested the time and money.

    Can you live 2 to 3 years off off of $1200 a without adding to your retirement or proving more debt. If you're going to come into an independent income stream I would be more likely to say go for it. But if you're going to have to take care of yourself 100% for the rest your life, don't quit your day job.

  4. #4
    Once, after completing an M.A. and no car and no employment prospects, took a clerical job long enough to pay for a cheap new car, quit job, went on SSDI, volunteered as community activist for a year, enrolled in another M.A. program which had excellent employment opportunities. Met spouse and we moved to another state with only savings to get by until jobs developed within a month. Two years later we moved to my home state and found jobs again within a month. Ended up retiring from my 2nd profession.

    Oops, forgot to say after getting B.A. and no job prospects or car, joined the domestic peace corps which paid my way to a large city and paid me a small monthly stipend.
    During this time my resume was looking better and better, and I was saving every penny I could.
    One glaring point in your post is the gloomy outlook for socializing. That does not make for a happy life in your current location.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the link 2drwhofans. I have received SSDI in the past (was on it before getting my current job and got it without applying shortly after my internship had ended - I'd previously been on SSI while I was in school and of course had very few assets). The SSDI was overpaid by a few months, but long enough to get me qualified for Medicare; I declined Part B but am still on Part A (because it's no cost to me) but I've never actually used it due to my private insurance through work.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 2drwhofans View Post
    http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/res...njury-or-paral

    If you meet the criteria listed in the above link, you should have no difficulty qualifying for SSDI.

    You should think about if you have enough money to live on and pay insurance costs while waiting for SSDI application review, approval and the first monthly payment. Once you're approved for SSDI, consider the Ticket To Work Program for education, re-training and continuation of benefits while you try working again.

    This link describes Medicare after SSDI is approved.
    http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/dne...-medicare.html
    Thanks for the links 2drwhofans. I have received SSDI in the past (was on it before getting my current job and got it without applying shortly after my internship had ended - I'd previously been on SSI while I was in school and of course had very few assets). The SSDI was overpaid by a few months, but long enough to get me qualified for Medicare; I declined Part B but am still on Part A (because it's no cost to me) but I've never actually used it due to my private insurance through work.
    Last edited by Stupid Sexy Flanders; 02-27-2017 at 01:39 PM. Reason: Pluralize a word

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Cris View Post
    What is your undergraduate degree in and then subsequent Masters degree? What second master degree do you want to get and how will it help you get a different job?

    My rule, has always been don't quit your current job until you have the next job already.

    Are you sure vocational rehabilitation is going to pay for second Masters degree when you are currently employed in and the only reason you want to change is because you don't like the current one?

    Definitely make sure that you can , but if you're planning to retire any time in your life, you need to start saving. Can you afford this with no guaranteed job after you've invested the time and money.

    Can you live 2 to 3 years off off of $1200 a without adding to your retirement or proving more debt. If you're going to come into an independent income stream I would be more likely to say go for it. But if you're going to have to take care of yourself 100% for the rest your life, don't quit your day job.
    Thanks for the reply Cris. My degrees are in Geography (undergrad) and Urban Planning (graduate). They were not the wrong degree choices per se, but rather I chose the wrong concentrations within each degree. The Master's degree I'm looking to get would be one either in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or Transportation Planning/Engineering (there are some good programs within this field that take non-engineering students so-long as they have the right maths in their background, which would mean a few classes I'd have to make up). Back when I was in school, I was rather ignorant on what I needed to do to go after to make myself most employable within a field I like, and did a lazy job of choosing the specific programs I studied in.

    I've already spoken with VR regarding my situation; my income is $35k (low earnings go with a place with a low cost of living), but given pre-tax deductions on my income for health insurance, pension, etc, my taxable income is $30k and therefore it appears that they would be able to fully support me at an in-state public institution (they'd be able to cover $6k in tuition per semester). There is a chance they may be able to cover me to go abroad in Europe for this degree (largely as I am a dual national of the US and an EU country - Ireland - and therefore am eligible for the ultra-cheap to non-existent tuition that a lot of EU countries offer - therefore it would be way cheaper to send me to the other side of the pond than stay in-state).

    I applied for VR services back in December, but due to some mixups on the part of my healthcare provider, VR only received my proof of disability a couple weeks ago. I'll know a lot more after I meet with VR tomorrow morning on what exactly they'll be able to do, now that I've actually been approved.

    In previous appointments with VR, I explained that as far as I can tell, while I don't expect to lose my job anytime real soon, it appears that my job duties won't keep pace with what's up to date in my industry, and I don't see this job not lasting for the long run (i.e. long enough for me to get vested for a pension - 5 more years, but not much past that). It's in part based on this why it looks like they are accepting me for their services.

    Edit: I also have only a few thousand in debt, tied up in a credit card; a mixture of scholarships and to a lesser degree, VR services, covered the costs of my two complete degrees.
    Last edited by Stupid Sexy Flanders; 02-27-2017 at 01:43 PM. Reason: Clarified some wording, add comment on debt

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by triumph View Post
    Once, after completing an M.A. and no car and no employment prospects, took a clerical job long enough to pay for a cheap new car, quit job, went on SSDI, volunteered as community activist for a year, enrolled in another M.A. program which had excellent employment opportunities. Met spouse and we moved to another state with only savings to get by until jobs developed within a month. Two years later we moved to my home state and found jobs again within a month. Ended up retiring from my 2nd profession.

    Oops, forgot to say after getting B.A. and no job prospects or car, joined the domestic peace corps which paid my way to a large city and paid me a small monthly stipend.
    During this time my resume was looking better and better, and I was saving every penny I could.
    One glaring point in your post is the gloomy outlook for socializing. That does not make for a happy life in your current location.
    Thanks for your story triumph. How old were you when you joined the Peace Corps, and what city were you able to move to, if you don't mind my asking? And what kind of M.A. program (the first one) were you in that lacked employment prospects?

    Yeah, social opportunities are weak where I'm at; I have some friends here but not many folks I get real excited about hanging out with, and options on Meetup are rather weak. There are women who I run into periodically who happily flirt with me, but the ones I find attractive always seem to be either married or attached in some way (the left ring finger usually gives it away, if not, Facebook stalking if they have uncommon names). I've had some regrets regarding my co-worker as a result (who I still physically see every day in our small office), but believe these would disappear overnight living in a place with lots of single women close to my age and more interests in common. Ultimately, I'm terrified that if I stay where I'm at geographically, I'll end up settling for someone that isn't that great a match for me, which is what my parents did.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Stupid Sexy Flanders View Post
    Thanks for your story triumph. How old were you when you joined the Peace Corps, and what city were you able to move to, if you don't mind my asking? And what kind of M.A. program (the first one) were you in that lacked employment prospects?

    Yeah, social opportunities are weak where I'm at; I have some friends here but not many folks I get real excited about hanging out with, and options on Meetup are rather weak. There are women who I run into periodically who happily flirt with me, but the ones I find attractive always seem to be either married or attached in some way (the left ring finger usually gives it away, if not, Facebook stalking if they have uncommon names). I've had some regrets regarding my co-worker as a result (who I still physically see every day in our small office), but believe these would disappear overnight living in a place with lots of single women close to my age and more interests in common. Ultimately, I'm terrified that if I stay where I'm at geographically, I'll end up settling for someone that isn't that great a match for me, which is what my parents did.
    Was in VISTA program, age 24 to 26, (domestic peace corps; the "Peace Corps" is not in US, but assignment to a foreign country). Worked in Cleveland for a year, then another assignment for a year in New York City. Hired as VISTA staff for recruitment - involved some travel. Later started MA program in Anthropology. Only one good job prospect which fizzled when the Professor's grant for the study fell through. Never regretted that MA.

    Where are you thinking of relocating? Is climate an issue? There are Centers for Independent Living in many of the larger cities. No, this is not a residential program, but offers information and referral, etc. to disabled individuals. The Centers have disabled persons among their staff. You might want to Google to find cities that have one or more of these centers. Perhaps a phone call to one or more of them will give you information about things like accessible transportation in the area, housing options, etc. In short, is this city/town workable for you.
    You probably already know there are Vocational Rehabilitation offices in every state.

    Don't know if this will help. Visited your profile and not much information such as your age, level of injury.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by triumph View Post
    Was in VISTA program, age 24 to 26, (domestic peace corps; the "Peace Corps" is not in US, but assignment to a foreign country). Worked in Cleveland for a year, then another assignment for a year in New York City. Hired as VISTA staff for recruitment - involved some travel. Later started MA program in Anthropology. Only one good job prospect which fizzled when the Professor's grant for the study fell through. Never regretted that MA.

    Where are you thinking of relocating? Is climate an issue? There are Centers for Independent Living in many of the larger cities. No, this is not a residential program, but offers information and referral, etc. to disabled individuals. The Centers have disabled persons among their staff. You might want to Google to find cities that have one or more of these centers. Perhaps a phone call to one or more of them will give you information about things like accessible transportation in the area, housing options, etc. In short, is this city/town workable for you.
    You probably already know there are Vocational Rehabilitation offices in every state.

    Don't know if this will help. Visited your profile and not much information such as your age, level of injury.
    Sorry for the late reply, and thank you for the info triumph! I'm 32 years old, but my disability led to a sheltered childhood in which I was given low expectations outside the academic realm (and that I believe only because I showed unusual skills in math before I even set foot in kindergarten). This led to low amounts of social skills in my late teens into my mid-twenties, and as a result I feel I had aspects my youth taken from me via the way I was raised. (I'd blown so many gimme situations with cute girls in college that it's not even funny. Thankfully this is not the huge issue it used to be for me).

    I actually don't know the exact level of my injury, but it was caused by a tumor on my spine at the age of 1 month that was simultaneously directly behind my heart.

    Climate is an issue, but not in the way you think; I'd like to avoid the Sunbelt, save for Southern California, as I don't handle the extreme summer heat very well. The top 3 metro areas on my list, once you eliminate those in which it would be inconceivable to live on $1,200 a month plus savings (even without a car), would be Chicago (my hometown), Philly, and Portland (the only place on the west coast where it seems rent isn't completely out of control - and even there might be iffy).

    5 years ago, for a 6 month period, I was living on nothing but $1,000 per month in unemployment insurance in Chicago (in a very tiny but clean studio apartment), so doing so again might be a doable scenario. (Luckily I landed a paid internship at the very end of this period).

    Many college towns not much larger than where I live now are on the longer list of places I'd be interested in moving to, and would be much more affordable places to live, but I don't see any of those places as having enough employment opportunities to justify my moving to without a job.

    I'm familiar with CILs, and have used them in the past (there's even one in my podunk town), but not for the purpose you describe. I'll have to look into that.

    I'm seriously considering getting my 2nd Master's somewhere in Europe, as I am also a citizen of an EU country (in addition to the US), and could get incredibly cheap to non-existent tuition over on that side of the pond. Though I doubt that would represent a permanent relocation situation.

    Is there any other info about myself that I could provide that would help you help me out? Thanks again man.

    Brian

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