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Surviving on Disability
Dec 7, 2009

I have been positive for 9 years. I am relatively healthy and have a job with a gov't agency with medical benefits. I have been working 19 years, but don't figure I can retire until 63years old(another 20 years) to get social security and current job benefits to survive financially. I am 42years old now. I am a chronic carrier of Hepatitis B. I also have developed a serious tendinitis/bursitis/degenerative disc disease beginning in 1995. Now that I am getting older, I feel that my pains are getting worse. Since 99% of the jobs out there require computers nowadays, it seems that there is no way of avoiding the pain. I live in San Diego, CA, a high cost area, have a 1 bedroom condo mortgage I am upside down on, and barely get enough money with my job to survive comfortably. My ideal situation would be to retire or go on disability and maybe just work a part time job for less stress and to have the time to do things I enjoy. I have little support (network), no boyfriend, and not much money. My question is: Is there any way of going on disability or any other option that would allow me to earn enough money (maybe work Part Time)to survive and/or live comfortably? It seems that with the financial crises, doctors not being helpful,inadequate social services,and unable to qualify for free legal help since I am the working poor, that there is no solution to my situation of being in pain from tenidinits/bursitis/degenerative disk disease and the and the social and medical issues of living with HIV . Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Response from Ms. Franzoi

Based on your explanation of your health, it is questionable whether or not you would qualify for disability. Every disability plan (program) looks at the medical evidence provided by a person's doctors to determine whether or not that person is eligible for disability benefits under the plan.

There are usually several sources for disability benefits: (1)California State Disability; (2) Short term disability through an employer-sponsored plan that coordinates with or replaces state disability; (3) Long term disability - either an individual or group plan; and (4) Social Security Disability. You have not provided enough information to determine which of the above coverages you have.

However, whether or not you qualify for disability benefits or partial disability benefits depends on the terms in any disability plan/programs, you are a participant in.

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