This Not That

In 2008, I started trying to get my property tax waiver. (As a disabled person, I qualify for a waiver of the property tax.) I didn’t get it then because the paperwork submitted didn’t prove that I have a “total and permanent disability”. I had submitted a Proof of Income letter, which is generally acceptable to prove that a person receives SSDI payments. Not for the Alabama Department of Revenue.

Well, today, I went to the Social Security Administration office in town. I waited for about an hour. I got my original 2005 award letter, which is the thing that was supposedly required for the waiver. (It was the one declaring me disabled and wasn’t from the period from 1992 until 2002, when my mother received $100/month to help take care of me. The girl at the office was very specific about this.) After that hour, my father and I trekked to downtown and went to the office of the Tax Assessor for the county. I handed over my award letter. Person #1 had to call person #2. Person #2 and #1 went to #2’s desk, where they debated and discussed why I was rejected the first time. They determined that they would come tell me that this new award letter was the same thing that I had given before and would not suffice. They also said that because it didn’t say I had a total, permanent disability, it wouldn’t be considered legitimate. The letter didn’t say those specific words. It did mention, many times, the term “disabled”. It also mentioned my case would be reviewed in 2007. (The other letter, which they still had a copy of, was from 2008, when I was still receiving benefits.) I eventually got to see the actual Tax Assessor, who said that they would send the old information with the new information and that it should work, but that the Department of Revenue might not approve it because of the terminology used in the letter. She said I might have to go and have 1-2 doctors declare me permanently disabled.

For the record, a permanent disability is generally one that will last at least 1 year and will typically end in death. That the general legal definition, at least. According to the SSA, the definition is:

“Disability” under Social Security 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.

To qualify, I had to have an income below $1000, have a severe problem that would keep me from working, have a disorder from the list – aka the Blue Book (I had 6 at that time—8 now are on my file), have an inability to do work done previously or any other kind of work. I had to submit pretty much my entire medical history to the SSA. I also had to go to 2 different doctors, chosen by the SSA folks, and go through tests, exams, etc. I qualified and was approved after all of this was reviewed. Apparently, though, this may not be enough for the State of Alabama to agree that I am, in fact, disabled.

If the state does determine that I’m disabled, though, the Tax Assessor said that it would apply from the first time I applied for the waiver—so 3 years x about $400-$450 = good. I just am not counting on it. Things in life are never that easy.

Keep your fingers crossed, I guess.

About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.