Hi,I applied for ssi. One of my reasons is my back. It was diagnosed at the end of last year. I have other problems. I was denied of course! In the denial letter it said some crazy things. One that I can lift 50 pounds lol. My doctor told me not to lift or bend. There are a few things wrong with my spine. One severe spinal stenosis. I plan to bring this issue up with my doctor. I had decided not to inform him I applied because I was worried he would not want to get involved due to taking up his time etc. and then I would feel weird seeing him. I'm still worried about that. I've only been seeing him for about 5 months. I moved. Can anyone tell me how I can go about getting information to share with Social Security when I appeal, that it's not ok for me to do the things they listed in my denial letter? Would it help me to do something like that,attach this info with my records? I'm also wondering if I did some of the things they claim I can (not that I will) wouldn't the SS be responsible if hurt my self?
Read the SS "Bluebook" for evaluating people for SSDI.
You must bring it up to your doctor if your spinal stenosis/spine is effecting your ability to function. He'll send you off to ortho/neuro specialists and for CT/MRI's that will support your claim. You need thick stack of papers supporting your claim for SSDI approval.
I applied in 2005 after being Disabled Retired from the military, denied. And I needed a spine fusion. They deny everyone the first time. Did you know people Disabled Retired from the military aren't even paid? All they can get is their VA Disability check and I had to support 2 kids and a wife on $600 a month.
Your most challenging thing will be keeping your significant other during this ordeal. Get a SSDI lawyer. They are free and you only pay them if they win.
First of all, let your dr. know that you are trying to get disability. You probably would do well to consult with an attorney who specializes in SS cases. The consult will be free, and if he agrees to take your case you have a good chance of winning. These attorneys only get paid if they win, so they don't take cases they aren't pretty sure of.
What kind of symptoms are you having with the spinal stenosis....where is the pain and what kind of pain is it? I would assume you have had an MRI or other testing, so can you tell us at what level the stenosis is? What has your dr. suggested? Is this dr. a spine specialist? If not, then I urge you to see either an Orthopedic spine specialist or a neurosurgeon who specializes in the spine....either one would have a fellowship in spine surgery and issues. If the guy you are seeing is a specialist, I would suggest a second opinion from another dr. not in the same practice.
One thing to keep in mind is that when nerves are compressed too long, the damage can become permanent, so you need to discuss this with the doctors you see because you do not want that to occur as it will leave you with life-long troubles. Do some research on the issues you are dealing with medically and gather all the info you can so that you can be educated to discuss things with the specialist and understand what he is telling you; it will also help you to ask the right questions about treatment.
Please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing with your disability quest as well as how your medical issue is being addressed.
Lumbar surgery x 7 over the last 30 years.
cervical fusion...2 levels
medtronic pain pump implanted
Last surgery Oct, 2010, 3 levels
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Regarding getting SSI or SSDI for spine problems, it's really difficult to win your case if you haven't had spine surgery yet. The reason for this is that spine surgery gives major relief to many people to the point they are able to get back into the workforce again. SSDI is for people who are expected to have a disabling condition for 12+ months.
Also, up to 90% of all SSDI applicants are denied in their initial application and first appeal, then about 50-60% of them will go on to win at the hearing phase. However, it can take 2-3 years to get to the hearing phase from the initial application.
The SSA probably said you are able to lift 50 lbs. based on your medical records, so no, they likely won't have any liability if you hurt yourself.
The SSA likely won't take into account anything your primary care doc says about you being disabled as they want to hear from specialists such as spine surgeons about whether or not you can work. You'll probably need a letter of recommendation at some point from a spine surgeon that you aren't able to work, and they are able to charge $500-$1,000 to write this letter for you. If you hire an attorney to represent you for SSDI, the attorney will pay for this cost up front and you would need to reimburse them if you win SSDI.
I agree that you should talk to an attorney who specializes in SSDI at this point. I had a local attorney who I was able to meet with face-to-face every 4-6 months prior to my hearing, but some people like to use the national firms. It's up to you, but make sure you are working with an attorney, not just a non-attorney representative as the only ones who can represent you in appeals after your hearing is an attorney. Very few attorneys will represent you in a post-hearing appeal if they didn't represent you for the hearing.
Also, make sure you appeal within the time limit you are given. If you miss a deadline, you have to go back to the start of the process which could affect how much back pay you are eligible for and when you would be eligible for Medicare. Don't get discouraged by the process (it can really drive you to insanity), and keep fighting!
Are you working at all right now? If so, it could negatively affect your ability to win SSI or SSDI.
Are you seeing any specialists for your non-spine problems? If so, would any of these doctors be willing to write a recommendation for disability for you?
It's important you be seen by a orthopedic spine surgeon or neurosurgeon who specializes in the spine soon, and it would be a good idea to see two doctors instead of just one before deciding who to go with.
There's more information and input available on this topic on the disabilities board.
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Thank you guys for the helpful information. I am seeing a pm doctor soon. My doctor did mention something about seeing a pre surgery doctor. My issue about having surgery is. I had surgery before, not for my back. I didn't do well. It almost killed me! I got very sick after I came out and they didn't really ever give me a reason why. I was in hospital for 2 weeks just because of having a bad reaction. I'm really scared to have another surgery. I know at some point I will have to ,due to how bad my spine is, but I am worried. I posted the results of my MRI for my back on this board. I have other medical problems I filed under as well. Thanks again you guys are great!