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I Got Disability Support!

I have something very exciting to share! After 6 whole years of applying, getting denied, appealing, and getting denied again, I’ve finally been accepted for disability support! It was a hard 6 years emotionally and physically, but now I feel like I can finally breathe.

The process

I started applying for disability support back in 2017, even before I had an official diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis. I got help from my family doctor and we filled out the forms to the best of our ability, only to get denied.

The appeal process is easy, you just write a letter telling the unit that you think they made a mistake, and they overlook it. Once again though, denied.

I applied a second time about a year or so later, once I got the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis. The exact same thing happened, I was denied initially and then again after my appeal.

I decided to take a break from applying. What people don’t see is how emotionally taxing the whole process is. To have to answer question after question about your abilities and write a letter about what you can’t do can be exhausting. You can’t just sit down and finish it in one sitting. At least I couldn’t.

Then I was sent a letter a month or so later denying that I even had a condition that’s considered a disability. When I appealed the same thing was said. “You are not considered to be a person with a disability.” The words stung. Reading them doesn’t get easier after the second or third time, either.

Back in 2021, I finally decided to apply for disability support again. My doctor and I sat down and filled out the forms with as much information as we possibly could. I felt confident about this time, we really gave it our all.

Denied. Three times. I appealed, but once again, was denied.

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What I did next

I had heard from others in the community that getting a lawyer was what got them the support they needed. I decided to contact a local community legal service, as I can’t afford a lawyer. I can’t really afford anything as I haven’t had a job in 6 years due to AS.

The community legal service took me in right away and said they would try their best to win me the case.

I worked with them over the course of a year and a half, as the process in my province takes a long time to get through. We decided to appeal to the tribunal, which meant I would have a trial on Zoom.

Over the year and a half I spoke to them sporadically, but towards the end of 2022 is when things started to get in motion.

Winning the case

I got all of my doctors to send in reports of my conditions stating how they affect me and my everyday life. This is what won me the case.

I didn’t end up making it to the trial date. I got a call about a week and a half before the date from my lawyer. She told me that the unit had changed its mind about my case. I was seen as a person with a disability! Finally!

How I feel now

I feel so relieved that I was finally accepted. I can get medications covered, physical therapy, dental coverage, and more. I feel like I can finally kickstart my life again.

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