Monday, September 20, 2010

Social Security and You

Whether you already receive Social Security benefits when you enter Caramore or want to apply for them while you're here, we can help.

Here are a few facts. There are two types of benefits, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplementary Security Income (SSI). SSDI provides benefits to blind or disabled persons who are "insured" based upon FICA contributions, while SSI provides benefits to low income people who are disabled, blind or elderly.

Many of Caramore's clients receive or are applying for one or both types of disability. Those who receive SSDI will also receive Medicare two years after the date they became eligible for SSDI. Those who receive SSI automatically receive Medicaid.

Some common myths:
  • everybody is denied the first time
  • most people are denied three times before they're approved
  • if you work, you'll lose your benefits
In fact, assuming you are disabled for purposes of Social Security law, your chances of being approved the first time you apply are very good if your case is presented properly.

Also, while SSDI and SSI calculate your "earned income" differently, each allows disabled individuals to work part time. In fact, each program encourages its recipients to work. Caramore's mission is to, among other things, find employment in the community for its clients. It could not do so if Social Security prohibited or otherwise penalized its recipients from working.

Caramore helps those who are seeking benefits navigate the sometimes complicated application process, and it helps those who are receiving benefits understand the rules that apply to them concerning work, Medicare and Medicaid. The interplay between these social services can be overwhelming; it's comforting to our clients and their families to have Caramore there to help with the issues that arise inevitably.

Scott D. Zimmerman
Financial and Benefits Counselor

Friday, September 17, 2010

Caramore is...

  • Caramore is an established psychosocial treatment for mental illness; once stabilized on medication, Caramore provides individuals with a warm and comfortable community environment to form and keep relationships; where work, health, and continual practice of confronting the everyday challenges of life can be achieved and maintained.
  • Caramore has 30 years of success in rehabilitation emphasizing social and vocational emersion—we offer immediate work and continual job counseling, money management counseling, and transportation; all of which adds up to mastering and keeping employment.
  • Through our structured program, individuals are more likely to keep taking their medication and less likely to relapse or be hospitalized. The program—and work with therapists—combine to allow for a better understanding of how to best live with mental illness and its common yet individual symptoms.
  • Caramore residents take an active role in managing their illness and can better make decisions about their own care, be very aware of their persistent symptoms, and have a plan to respond to early warning signs of possible relapse, typically preventing it.

"Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia"

Sponsored by NAMI Durham   Free to the public
October 13th at 7:30 pm
Cinema One
309 W Morgan St., Durham

Director Statement...

For years I felt conflicted about having disconnected from my father. I told myself that
without my contact information my dad would no longer be tempted to come searching
for me in a psychotic state, and I could avoid the pain of not being able to get him help.
Five years ago I decided to stop hiding. Part of the catalyst for this decision was my
growing need to tell my story; a story that while unique in its details is universal in its
Severe mental illness tears families apart, but not for the reasons that make tabloid
headlines. Yes, the symptoms of these illnesses can be devastating, but what really tears
families apart is their inability to get treatment for their family member. The frustrations
and heartache that comes from not being able to get care causes thousands of family
members to disconnect. Over the years, the films I have seen about mental illness, have
portrayed devoted caretakers, but I had a need to expose the other side of the story,
family members who are themselves deeply conflicted by the realities of deciding not to
care for an ill family member.
Not only was I propelled to give a new voice to family, but also to give a more typical
picture of someone suffering from severe mental illness. The stories we hear in the media
focus on a few famous individuals (Van Gogh or John Nash, for example) or a few
notorious ones (the rare, but terrifying person shooting at strangers). My dad, on the
other hand, represents the more common face of mental illness; a regular guy who
wanted a career and a family, but was constantly stymied by his disordered thought
With Unlisted I wanted to give viewers a background on why getting mental health
treatment is so difficult. My hope is that this knowledge will not only help viewers
understand why so many people sit untreated on our streets, but why things do not have
to stay this way. I hope that viewers will have a foundation from which to take action; be
it simply taking a moment to validate the existence of someone living on the streets or
working to create a more functional and compassionate mental health system.
Finally, my hope is that after seeing Unlisted viewers will be more motivated to discuss
mental illness, for if it is not present in their own family, it certainly is present in a family
of someone they know. Greater than any statistic, what most reminds us of the
prevalence of mental illness, and the obstacles to treating it, are these conversations.