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Old 01-29-2009, 09:30 PM   #1
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Question Not Sure How To Feel

I just talked to the paralegal at my attorneys office yesterday and she told me that I had a court date scheduled. It is on March 4. I have the whole range of emotions going on in my head right now. I loose my insurance march 1. I am not sure if they will let me keep it the extra 3 days or if I am going to have to get other insurance. It would really stink to have to pick up other insurance especially for only 3 days. I have been waiting long enough that I am past the 2 year mark for medicare, but the insurance i have through cobra is amazing except that its outrageously expensive.

So, how did you feel when you found out you had a court date? What happened during the hearing? What should I expect or not expect? How many have been denied at this level. That would be heartbreaking to go through all that i have went through and get denied.

Thanks for all your help. And to those who are still waiting don't give up. I am proof that the day will come. It just seems like it takes forever.

hope you all have a good pain bearable day
npainnTN

 
Old 02-01-2009, 08:37 AM   #2
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Re: Not Sure How To Feel

Hello....I'm sorry to hear that you are going through so much. Please try to stay positive and hang in there as best you can.

I would view the court date as the "light at the end of the tunnel." Although I'm sure you're anxious and worried, I think things will work out for you. The good thing about a court date and/or hearing is that you finally get to present your case from a human POV. The judges are usually compassionate people who understand how this whole process works.

Up until this point, you've probably had mainly case workers or SS personnel look at your file and they really can't get into the real issues. Additionally, your case is a #, compared to all others....They don't want to approve too many as they are working their overall statistics. Some people get lucky and sneak through the cracks, while others get denied over and over.

So, back to my original point, you are at a stage where the human element is much more of a factor.....And, you can (via your atty) really present your story...Your reasoning for needing disability. If it doesn't work out from here, then you've done all you can do. But, I think it will work out and I applaud you for your patience.

Take care, and best of luck to you at your hearing.

Regards,

Ex

 
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:27 PM   #3
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Re: Not Sure How To Feel

Hello Ex, thank you for your reply...i haven't really thought about the process like that. But, being in court they will really get to see me and the problems I have. (Especially, since my hearing is at 8:30 and mornings are my ABSOLUTE WORST time of the day).

All, I can do is pray that I do have a sympathetic judge and he sees what my doctors have been saying all along.

For those who have been through the process, what was the hearing like? I know some have said it lasted 3 minutes and others longer. And, what was your outcome like approved vs. denied by the judge.

Thanks for all your help.....Please keep me in your prayers as all of you are in mine.....

Jenn
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:25 AM   #4
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Re: Not Sure How To Feel

Hi Ex;
I know how you feel.It took me almost 3 years to be approved for ssd.I was really scared because my pain doctor would not fill out forms to say i was disabled.I had seen him for 2 years and he knew how bad my health was.I had my hearing on September 4th,2008.I received my first check Nov.25th.I had a lady judge who was very nice.She also had a specialist there to determine if there was any type of work i was able to do.She said no.The judge ask me a lot of questions also.The hearing lasted about 15 min.The hearing is very informal.The judge did not ask my lawyer any questions.He didnt have to say a word.The judge ask me things like can i walk very far?can i sweep the floor,do dishes or cook?I did not exagerate at all.I just told the truth.She approved me there at the hearing.I have ddd,spinal stenious,7 vertabrae out of my spine.I also have asthma,and of course some nerve problems.I wish you the very best.Just be very honest with them and it will go real smooth for you.I will put you in my prayers.I have waited over 4 months for my back pay from them.I am still waiting.They owe me 2 years back pay.
Good luck
Chris

 
Old 02-04-2009, 09:32 PM   #5
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Re: Not Sure How To Feel

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Originally Posted by npainnTN View Post

For those who have been through the process, what was the hearing like? I know some have said it lasted 3 minutes and others longer. And, what was your outcome like approved vs. denied by the judge.
I couldn't tell from your post what type of hearing this is for you. My case went all the to a ADJ hearing with a judge. I was approved @ this level...I think the next level, if appealed, would have been an actual court hearing/trial....Not sure exactly.....It's been a while since I looked up the stages or process of SS appeals.....So, I'm not quite sure where yours is in relation to mine, but I'll go into a decent amt of detail so you can see almost exactly what it was like. I feel sure at least some of my hearing will be applicable to you.

I walked in, sat down in a chair and faced the judge straight on. The hearing was held @ the SS building in my area. We were in a square room with a long conference table (rectangle)....I sat @ one end, and he sat @ the other, with the vocational specialist to his immediate right. My atty sat back near me, on the same side as the specialist. The table was probably 12-15 ft long, so about 10-12 feet separated the two parties.

We started off by the Judge saying that he had read through my case file. He asked me some very routine and basic questions, like to state my name, social, age & etc. He asked me why I had decided to pursue SS and I went to a fair amt of detail as to how my pain effected my job....I worked into the discussion the role of my meds and their side effects. I really tried to put an emphasis on my meds by working them into the answer(s). Since my company had such a big problem with the meds, I thought I would work that angle.

He then asked me to describe my pain in my own words, which I told him. I tried to be very honest without over dramatizing it, but didn't hold back either. I talked about how much I had suffered and then when I did feel ok, I was almost always worn out from fighting the pain, and taking a bunch of meds. I went into great detail about how I had become a prisoner in my own home and how the weather effected my condition (headaches, which was one of my issues).

At some point, the Judge asked the vocational expert what type of work that I could do and she responded that I could maybe work from home, or be self employed and just oversee some type of business. IMO, the judge had clearly made up his mind already and he asked her something like "in all practicability, would a company really hire this person and be willing to put up with her limits and the inability to show up to work on a regular basis"...... "and not have a problem with the meds"? She responded with some weird answer like "well, maybe..........But, probably not.....It would have to be a very understanding company." IMO, she was trying to say I could work but really wouldn't come out and say it. Honestly, it kinda made me mad...Felt like I was getting the shaft.

The judge then looked @ my atty and said that he felt he had a good grasp of the case, but asked him if there was anything that he wanted to add, and my atty said that in all honesty he would, but that he thought I had done a good job of explaining everything and that the judge had asked good questions and that he didn't want to waste the court's time in rehashing everything. The Judge responded with something like "I think that is a wise decision counsel."

I found it very interesting that the Judge made a comment somewhere towards the end that he wasn't sure why we were all here and seemed like a waste of everyone's time. He also said that I seemed very credible because I was giving up a very high paying job for SS benefits that were far less. Also, I have a master's degree, so that helped me as well in that I wasn't some smuck in there trying to get out of working. Not trying to brag, but just let you know all the surrounding facts. It think all the aspects of one's case are important as the Judge pieces it all together. Having been through this myself, and having interacted with many who have also, I think credibility is a big, big issue. If you are honest in your approach (with the Judge) and have good paperwork in terms of good medical documentation, one should be fine.

Afterwards, my atty said it was a calculated risk on his part to not say anything, but he felt that it went really well and it was clear to him that the Judge had made his decision and he didn't want to risk saying anything that could change the Judges mind.

Sure enough, six weeks later, I received a fully favorable decision. I must admit that I was very nervous and it really made my pain worse, but it all worked out. IMO, the Judge seemed very open and compassionate, but the vocational expert was trying to find something....Anything that I could do. I guess that's her job. In fact, when she brought up this self employment thing, the Judge kinda got a tad irritated and said something like "how practical is that"? And, I have to admit, it didn't set well with me either.

My biggest piece of advice to anyone going to a hearing of this type is to really reinforce and put emphasis on your meds and their side effects. You can work them into your answers... Be honest about their side effects and don't forget that they can make you disoriented, drowsy, very tired, not able to think straight, and etc. Be very truthful....Don't exaggerate by any means, but lay it all out there. I think many forget to talk about the impact meds have on us and it's a very important variable. IMO, in many cases, the meds speak for themselves in terms of the severity of one's condition. For example, meds like Oxycontin, or the patch, are very powerful and shouldn't be taken lightly by anyone.

Lastly, I wanted to let you know that my spouse attended the hearing and sat in a chair next to me, but didn't say anything....And wasn't asked anything. I brought him along in case someone wanted to ask about how the pain affected me. People tend to ask about the spouse quite a bit and I think they should attend if applicable. It shows support for your cause, especially if your spouse represents himself / herself well...Puts more of a human element on things. You can even refer to your spouse in some of your answers....Things like "he has to help with this or that" or "if it wasn't for my spouse......." That type of stuff, whatever the situation may be.

i hope that this hasn't been too long and that some of this helps. Best of luck to you.

Regards,

Ex

 
Old 02-05-2009, 02:16 AM   #6
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Re: Not Sure How To Feel

WOW Ex Thank you so much for offering so much information. I am going for the ALJ hearing. Not an appeal hearing. I also have an advanced degree and I know we are not suppose to post on here our professional "career" so lets just say I have appropriate knowledge of health care and how the body works not only when healthy but also, the how disabilities affect it. And, like you am giving up not only my education but the pay associated with it. I ABSOLUTELY loved my job. It was the most rewarding thing I have ever done. That is one thing that depresses me so much is that I know that there is NO way I could ever go back to doing what I was doing. I can't stand but a few minutes and walk a few feet, so being on my feet all day and running around like crazy just wouldn't work. And, like you said about the meds. Who, in there right mind would hire someone on the amount of meds I take and my limitations.

Unfortunately, my spouse will not be attending with me, because he left me a year ago because he could not handle my disability and how it had affected my life. So, my daughter and I had to move in with my mother. She will be with me but my daughter will be going to a babysitter. I just don't think it's appropriate for her to be there. But, my mother can attest to everything that I go through on a daily basis. She does so much for me. I don't know what I would do without her.

What you were talking about, about telling your story without over exaggerating is one thing I am afraid of. I think people sometimes think that I am overexaggerating even though I am not. My life is on the couch. And, unfortunately, my disability has not only affected me it has affected my daughter and now my mother.

When I first got denied the vocational specialist or whoever makes the decisions at that level said that I could go back to being a medical file clerk, which I did while in college. That hurt me so bad. Because I worked so hard to get to where I was, then to not only loose it all, but have to go back to that. Even though I couldn't even do that. My doctor stated to me that he would not allow me to work at all. There is not an employer out there that would hire me, even if they looked over the meds, but calling in on a regular basis. Like you said when you actually have a good day, you're so tired, but for me when I have a good day, I try to do so much with my daughter, that the next 3 or 4 days I can't even walk around the house. It's crazy. I know.

I will stop babbling now. I am sorry. I know my thoughts are all over the place, but that's how my brain is right now, it is so full and just jumping back and forth from one thing to the next. Thank you so much for all of your advice. It was really helpful. Thank you for being so open and honest about everything. I know how hard it can be to open up and be vulnerable about your condition to other people.

I wish you the best....

Regards,
npainnTN

P.S. You said you got an approval letter in the mail about six weeks after your court date. So, did the judge not give you an answer at the hearing? Or did he and you just had to wait six weeks for the actual approval letter? Just wondering. Thanks again for all your help. You are an amazing person. keep up the good work. You truly have the ability to help people like me on this board. Even if you can't work in whatever job you had before, there is a reason for everything I totally believe that. Although it's not always the one we want and we don't understand why, but you are providing a service on this board that is invaluable to people like me. Keep up the good work.

Last edited by npainnTN; 02-05-2009 at 02:25 AM.

 
Old 02-05-2009, 02:21 AM   #7
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Re: Not Sure How To Feel

lady dreamer, thank you for your input. I am glad you were able to get approved. And, there at the hearing. So, it took like 6 weeks for you to get your first check as well. Thats what I seem to be getting from everyone. I can't believe you are still waiting on your back pay. They know we need that money very badly. I to will have 3 years of back pay to get IF I get approved. So, hopefully everything will work out.

Thank you for your advice and help. And, I am happy to hear that you were approved. Best wishes with what is to come in your life now....

Sincerely,
npainnTN

 
Old 02-09-2009, 09:51 AM   #8
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Re: Not Sure How To Feel

Quote:
Originally Posted by npainnTN View Post
You said you got an approval letter in the mail about six weeks after your court date. So, did the judge not give you an answer at the hearing? Or did he and you just had to wait six weeks for the actual approval letter? Just wondering.
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you....I inadvertently overlooked your post.

The judge didn't say anything at the end of the hearing. He just said something about "this concludes the hearing" and said I would hear something soon. My atty said that it's rare that they issue a decision right there....As least in our area. I think it's pretty standard to be notified via mail.


Quote:
Thanks again for all your help. You are an amazing person. keep up the good work. You truly have the ability to help people like me on this board. Even if you can't work in whatever job you had before, there is a reason for everything I totally believe that. Although it's not always the one we want and we don't understand why, but you are providing a service on this board that is invaluable to people like me. Keep up the good work.
Thanks so much for the kind words. Yes, I try to help people as best I can....I try to add value now even though I have my own "issues." Sitting around watching TV is not for me. It's very hard sometimes to not be able to do what you used to love to do, but I have come to accept that in my life.

Take care and best of luck to you at your hearing. I think it will go well!

Regards,

Ex

 
Old 03-25-2009, 08:00 PM   #9
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Thumbs up Re: Not Sure How To Feel

npainnTN, Wish you the best for your hearing decision. Sure sounds you deserve a favorable decision. Keep us posted on all.
EX, i must say you are so helpful with knowledge to me and i know many here must feel the same. Thanks for your understanding that you share.
Your replies are always so much appreciated.
Good Luck npainnTN, we'll be waiting to congratulate you , keep us posted.

BeHappy2

 
Old 07-09-2010, 06:52 PM   #10
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Re: Not Sure How To Feel

dear ex-

just pulled up this thread for some-well i dont know why-but it helped me, cuz you see i have my hearing coming next friday 7-16-2010. esp the part about the meds they do disorient me and make me tire but i still stud-ggle to sleeep cuz pain so stimulating-my husband does have to do everything plus hold down his full time job-have mullti disc hhnp's with much tearing and nerve involve pain-im sorrry if not making alot of sense but pain intrudes on my thoughts and i do take oxycontin and oxycodone bt and 30 restoril 2mg klonipin-well i am nervous about this hearing i too had a good job and miss it so much i got crushed in a bvus acc ident 1-2007- thank you for writing this thread i foun dont know how i found it
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