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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.

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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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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