I am a 46 year old professional administrator. I have had 6 back surgeries; the most serious was a two level fusion in March 2007 at L5/L4. After the fusion, I grew too much bone that grew on a nerve. In December 2007, I had another surgery to remove the bone and was out of work for six months. There is still a small amount of bone pushing on the nerve. I also have several smaller herniated discs above the fusion as well as moderate spinal stenosis.
I struggle with constant, chronic pain. In September, I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted. During the surgery, the surgeon hit something, (he says it was a blood vessel) that woke me from a deep sleep. Since that time, the pain has increased and both of my feet are numb, (this is the abbreviated version).
I am considering asking my doctor to take me off work for a while to see if I improve. My question is: are there any "administrators" on this board that have had to file for disability because the pain kept them from doing their job? I am unable to sit for long periods and have trouble standing as well. I am so afraid of admitting that I have a problem, but I just don't think I can do my job any longer. The pain is excruciating at times and I am so uncomfortable that people ask me how I'm doing constantly. The pain is obvious on my face.
What am I facing if I file for disability? Does my life end? Will I have to become a shut in? I appreciate all of your help.
Does your Dr support you filling for SSD?
I was an executive admin person.
I filed in 5/07 after being off work since 10/06. I have been denied twice and awaiting a hearing. In Sept of 08 I was told the heard would be in the next 20-24 months. So about 4 years from when I filed.
I too have a SCS and 4 fractures in my spine, 24 herniated disks, carpel tunnel in both hand/arms, DDD, spinal stenosis, failed back surgery, can't feel my feet either ect.....
Get copies of all of your medical records before filing or getting an attorney.
Make sure your Dr lists all of your medical problems in your records.
Best of luck to you.
I certainly hope you will not become a shut in! But, one thing you will need when filing for disability is a great deal of patience. For most of us, it is a long, long wait. Just how long you have to wait usually depends on the state you live in.
I worked in a professional field too. My problem happened overnight, and I have not worked since. The L4 - L5 disc ruputred so far out, it compromised the root nerve to my left leg, leaving me with pain and nerve damage. I also have more herniated discs, degenerative disc disease and osteoporosis in my spine.
If you get an attorney, (I did) he/she can give you good advice, and take care of all the phone calls and paperwork, and give you an idea of about how long it will take in your state.
Thank you for your posts. I have a stupid question as a follow up. How did/do you earn a living while waiting for a decision? I have long term disability but that only lasts 2 years. How do you support yourself during the waiting period?
Of course, I cannot speak for others, only for myself. If you have long term disability that will last two years, you way ahead of most! Where I worked, my employer did not even offer health insurance, so I had to buy it on my own. That worked out in my favor, because I did not have find a health insurance provider after I could no longer work. As long as I pay my monthly payment, I still have health care.
Many have to depend on an employed husband/wife. I am no longer married, so I can't do that. Also, my children are grown, so I have no children to support. Not having any debt helps a lot - house and car are paid for. So, right now I am living off savings, and hope it lasts long enough. I have also sold many belongings. Right now I am waiting for a hearing date.
In some states it can take 3 years, and in others only a year. Depending on where you live, your two years of long term disability may see you through.
How to survive while waiting?? That is the million dollar question. I waited 6 years, just now got approved. I was a professional as well, so I had savings, investments, and I also had long term disability, thank god that lasted 2 years. I just got approved in October, I will recieve back pay back to 11/2002
I did survive, at the time I was not married, so I live off my assets. Now all is gone, I have 80.00 in the bank.
There is a way to make money, under the table, cash, or contract work. I also did work part time jobs from time to time, Social security knows about this. I either had to quit or got fired because of my health.
Point is you can get by on less than your use too. I would sign up now, get a lawyer right away, Good Luck to you.
Thank you so much for your time and your reply; I deeply appreciate it. I am in California. Do you have any idea how long it normally takes to receive a decision in CA?
I am in CA. I filed in July 07. They immediately denied me, I appealed online and I have been waiting on my hearing for almost a year. They said could be anywhere from 12-18 months b/c the courts are so backed up. Somehow they skipped "reconsideration" in my case and went directly to a hearing. Wish I knew why.
If I were single, I am not sure I'd make it. We went from not really having to watch our pennies to being on a tight budget. To add insult to injury (no pun intended, lol), DH is a contractor and the economy is not being kind right now.
To me this sounds good...skipping the reconcideration. Im not sure you heard, but Social Security is trying to catch up on all the back logged cases. You can read about it on the Social security website, under current news. They have been getting a lot of bad PR and came up with a new plan to get things moving. Sounds like that what happend to you. Skipping the reconsideration saved you about a year wait, you headed straight to the hearing process. Do you have a lawyer? Be a good idea, they are worth the fee, and you only pay if you win. I waited 6 years, had 3 hearings, finally won my case, now I am waiting for the money.
Well keep us posted, good luck to you.
Your case sounds like mine, except that I had my seventh surgery in June, 07. I am in Alabama and applied the first time in Sept. of 06. I was denied In Feb. 07 and have just received a hearing date before the judge. It will be Jan. 09. I can really relate to the things you said in your post. I worked as long as I could and then just had to stop. Since I have neck and back pain, I could neither sit or stand for very long at a time. Good luck to you and keep us posted.
Although I was not a Professional Administrator I can understand your worries about money while you have to wait.
I live Wisconsin and I taught at a Technical College for 22 years. I applied right after I was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. This was in November of 2005. I was denied. I never appealed their decision. I did nothing about it. Since I was a state employee I could receive a state disability check monthly. I did however have to pay for my insurance. I am married but we have our own business. It has been in our city since 1945. It was my father-in-laws until my husband took it over some twenty years ago or so.
I was the one who always carried the health insurance for the family. Our two children are in their mid and late twenties now and do not live at home.
My health insurance just for me was $2000 every three months. My husbands was $600 every three months.
In may of this year my doctor told me to apply again for SSDI because my RSD was getting worse and in her opinion I would never be any better than I am now, which is not good.
So I applied for SSDI again in May. I found out in October of this year that I was approved. I really believe without my doctor's help and documentation this may not have turned out the way it did.
Social Security decided to use my first application that I filled out in 2005. Since they did that I was able to receive Medicare right away. I was crying that I was now able to insurance again. Now paying for just my husbands health insurance is not too hard on us. And also since they went back to my first application they decided to give me back pay starting from my first day of not working. Which was the first week of November 2005.
Now I realize that I was extremely lucky in this process. To tell you the truth I have no idea why I would be approved within five months and others have to wait so long. To me as I read all of your stories I think that you guys deserve SSDI as much as I do. What makes one person have to go through hoops to be approved and someone else not have to? Is it the states we live in? Because I live in Wisconsin and not California where there are a lot more people, does that make the difference? But why would some people who in my opinion clearly need SSDI have to be denied sometimes three times and then even have to have a hearing. And that hearing may not even take place for a year or perhaps two years!!! It simply does not make any sense.
I feel guilty because I was approved in a rather quickly fashion. Especially when I read your stories. Believe me I will be praying like crazy that you people too will be approved. I wish none of you had to worry so much about your futures. Having all that stress I'm sure is making your conditions even worse. Don't give up though. I bet that you all will get the help you need and deserve.
I haven't just given up on having a life even though I am getting SSDI and my RSD is so painful. I think someone posted that they were afraid that life more or less would not have a meaning. I think that was what they were feeling? I thought I might feel that way as well because I so missed teaching and that feeling that I was making a difference. So I decided to volunteer for Hospice Hope. I deliver medications and I also deliver lunches. The other thing I do is just sit with the patients when they want to talk because sometimes the family members are not yet ready to accept their loved ones dying. But the patient that is dying wants to talk about it so badly. So I sit and listen as they talk and sometimes reminisce about their lives. I have been with five people as they passed on and what a privilege and a miracle to be part of this. So see there are still ways to contribute to society. And when I have bad days and the pain is so bad that I am unable to walk, well then I do stay home and take care of myself. I usually have a two to three bad days like that a week. But when I feel good it is wonderful to still participate in my life.