Answered on Sep 27th, 2011 at 11:49 AM
I have 3 options to suggest:
Apply. You can do so by phone, online, or in person.
If you are still reluctant after reading below, you can go to http://www.benefits.gov/ssa to help you find out if you could get benefits that Social Security administers. Based on your answers to questions, this tool will list benefits for which you might be eligible and tell you more information about how to qualify and apply.
Contact an attorney in your area that handles Social Security Disability.
After reviewing your question, it is clear to me you have a very good chance of being approved, eventually. Often, it takes getting turned down once or twice before the Social Security Administration (SSA) finally gets it right.
Your age is a relevant part of the determination, but so is one's work history. Anyone that works 21 years for the same company obviously is a hard worker and does not want to file for disability. However, your medical conditions have put you in that place.
No requirement exists that a doctor "deem" you disabled before filing for Social Security Disability. In fact, in my practice, such "statements" are often deficient and not helpful to the eventual outcome of the case. Current, or recent, medical treatment is important, so even if you have to go to a free clinic, have recent medical information available. SSA defines disability as follows " ... an individual shall be considered to be disabled for purposes of this title if he is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months." The SSA definition of disability also states that it:
... is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:
You cannot do work that you did before;
We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
Good luck to you, and remember, persistence is important in these claims.
No attorney-client relationship has been established because of the information provided. Seek local counsel to address your particular facts. MJHJ