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Old 08-10-2009, 11:39 PM   #1
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What do I need to do to get disability?

I have cervical degenerative disc disease. I was diagnosed about 4 years ago. I have been on tons of NSAIDs none have seemed to help. There are times when I have to turn my entire body in order to look over my shoulder. I am in pain everyday and now I think that a nerve is being pinched or something. I have pain, numbness and tingling and weakness down my arms, sometimes all the way to my fingertips.

 
Old 08-10-2009, 11:45 PM   #2
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Re: What do I need to do to get disability?

Go to the disability web site and answer some questions it will give you an idea of where you stand. Your question is not easy to answer unless someone knew your entire medical/work history.

 
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:46 AM   #3
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Re: What do I need to do to get disability?

I also have degenerative disc disease, along with other back problems. I wondered the same thing, so I went to see a disability attorney.

At the first visit, his secetary had me fill out the necessary forms to get all my medical records. Soon, I got a phone call, saying the attorney wanted to see me. He went over my work history in detail, and then told me I had a case.

Since a disability attorney does not get paid, if they do not win, I figured it was a good sign that he took my case.

It won't cost anything to see one, and it might give you a good idea, if you have a case, or not.

 
Old 08-11-2009, 08:03 AM   #4
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Re: What do I need to do to get disability?

I agree that your best next step is to talk to a disability attorney to get their advice.

Have you had surgery for your DDD? I will warn you that it can be difficult to get SSDI for a spinal condition if you haven't had surgery yet as surgery can often correct spinal problems. If not, are you under the care of a spinal surgeon at least? You should definitely be seeing one if not.

 
Old 08-11-2009, 04:51 PM   #5
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Re: What do I need to do to get disability?

First step is to fill out the disability form with social security, either on the internet, or by going down to their office. The forms are pretty extensive. You don't have to have everything together to file for disability, they'll take whatever you have. Next, gather and/or list all your medical history and doctors and turn that in to SSA. You may have enough proof already without having to pay a lawyer to "make a case". If you are denied at first like most people, that's the time to find a good lawyer who only handles disability cases. Most disability lawyers won't get involved until after the first denial, but they are well worth the money spent, in my opinion.

 
Old 08-12-2009, 07:49 AM   #6
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Re: What do I need to do to get disability?

i would most definitely have to agree with brenda up there on this. if you had actually had a surgery to potentially correct what is now or feels like a true disability is just going to be viewed very different from a person who has at least tried to fix things with some type of surgical intervention. this is just how 'they' see things, and not my actual opinion of it since i do have the same thing you do. another thing that comes into play here is what other therepies have been tried and what types of actual meds have you tried, that kind of thing? they just want to know that you have actually tried like everything that you can possibly do here to try and manage the pain and symptoms before they will even consider your case for possible disability award, you know what i mean?

it would also come down to just what is going on within that affected area too kind of thing, as far as true hard findings that showed up on an MRI and if they are or could be 'fixable" and make you less disabled? its just not going to be an easy task trying to get awarded benefits based only on the fact you have been dxed with DDD. true impairments and losses are taken into account as well. seriously, i had two seperate c spine surgeries done, a spinal cord sugery to try and remove a cavernous hemangioma from my actual spinal cord which left me pathetically useless there for a while with alot permanent spinal cord damage which included hand clawing, and i was actually denied the first go round. so that should kind of tell you just what you are kind of up against here? its not so much what you cannot do anymore and more dependant upon what THEY feel you still CAN do that matters most.

this is just not an easy task for anyone really. but if your main issues could be made better in "their" eyes with having some type of surgical intervention, they will more than likely try and deny you. its just how things are. the other possible problems or any other medical issues you may have going on will always help you in many ways, but everything needs really really good documentation too.

sorry to be such a downer here but this realistifcally is what you are going to have to deal with. i was just stunned when they denied me with all the very real well documanted losses i had and the level of pain syndromes and damage too. i also suffer from what their doc termed as recurrent severe depression. but that was at the second round which i finally won my award. i just wanted you to really know what you are going to be up against with this. i wish you really good luck with this and hope you can get what you need here. the more documantation of true losses you have right now, the better, trust me on that one. marcia
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:06 PM   #7
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Re: What do I need to do to get disability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cblack28 View Post
I have cervical degenerative disc disease. I was diagnosed about 4 years ago. I have been on tons of NSAIDs none have seemed to help. There are times when I have to turn my entire body in order to look over my shoulder. I am in pain everyday and now I think that a nerve is being pinched or something. I have pain, numbness and tingling and weakness down my arms, sometimes all the way to my fingertips.

Have you tried a chiropractor? That might help you get you neck aligned so your nerve isn't pinched. SS is going to want to know that you tried everything but got no relief, there are other pain meds out there that might help you. They also want an X-ray or MRI, something to prove you have a back/neck problem.

 
Old 08-12-2009, 12:42 PM   #8
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Re: What do I need to do to get disability?

About having surgery to fix your problems ....

My hearing was in June of this year. My rep. warned me ahead of time that the judge would focus on why I had not had surgery to fix my back problems - and he did!

In the past year and a half, I have had 4 MRIs, 6 back procedures, and seen several back & spine doctors. The two spine surgeons both told me the surgery would be too difficult, and the judge still raked me over the coals over why I had not had surgery. Even with solid proof that two spine surgeons said 'no' to surgery, that is all he wanted to focus on.

So, not seeking surgery can be held against you at the hearing. Even though I did go see the surgeons, I guess the judge expected me see every surgeon in Texas, until I found one that would attempt surgery on me.

You never know what a judge will expect.

 
Old 08-12-2009, 08:26 PM   #9
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Re: What do I need to do to get disability?

Are you looking solely at Social Security Disability or does your employer offer Short Term Disability and/or Long Term Disability? Is it work related and have you filed for Workers' Comp?
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:12 PM   #10
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Re: What do I need to do to get disability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cblack28 View Post
I have cervical degenerative disc disease. I was diagnosed about 4 years ago. I have been on tons of NSAIDs none have seemed to help. There are times when I have to turn my entire body in order to look over my shoulder. I am in pain everyday and now I think that a nerve is being pinched or something. I have pain, numbness and tingling and weakness down my arms, sometimes all the way to my fingertips.
First of all, I wanted to welcome you to Healthboards. Many here have a lot of experience and thus, can offer many different perspectives and etc.

All the others have given you some great feedback, so I won't repeat any of it. However, it does sound like more information is needed before one can really give you solid advice. For example, what type of treatments / surgeries have you had? What type of Docs are you seeing or have seen? And, what type of meds are you currently taking? All are very important criteria in applying for disability.

Lastly, many incorrectly think that specific "conditions" are what evaluators look for in determining disability. Conversely, the real issue is "what prevents you from working"? While the "diagnosis" is certainly important, the main criteria are the end results of the condition and how they prevent one from working. For example, two people can have the same condition, but one of the two has much more severe symptoms / side effects, and that is what prevents them from working.

If you can provide a bit more information, I'm sure you'll get a lot of feedback as you've come to the right place for information and support. I hope you enjoy your time here.

Best of luck to you.

Regards,

Ex

 
Old 08-13-2009, 11:51 AM   #11
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Re: What do I need to do to get disability?

Ex is right, I forget that part. You can have a dozen conditions, and I do, but that isn't what a hearing is about, your job is to convince the judge that you can't work. My lawyer said I am disabled already, but the point is about what I can and can not do.

 
Old 08-13-2009, 03:56 PM   #12
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Re: What do I need to do to get disability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexa3 View Post
Ex is right, I forget that part. You can have a dozen conditions, and I do, but that isn't what a hearing is about, your job is to convince the judge that you can't work. My lawyer said I am disabled already, but the point is about what I can and can not do.
It is not only about what you can and can not do, it is about how severe your disabling condions are to meet the criteria of Social Security Disabilty. This is what gets most people. Social Security has thier own separate guidelines of disability, their on DR's evaulating the claims and looking over ever single paper and Dr's report in a claim. Then a determination is made based upon the evidence they have . If it is found not to be severe enough , then the claim is denied , and the indivdual can move to the next level to try and win their claim of disability. The individual has to be the one to provide evidence of disability. The names of Dr's seen , addressess and so forth. This is why it's so important to have your MD's supporting your claim of disability.
A lot of disability claims are made by people who have BACk, spine problems . I find this very interesting.
Since Social Security Disabilty pays only to people who are fully disabled , they are careful not to just award people their claims of disabilty . I see that the claims awarded usually are to the most severe. This is only my opinion . And the severe cases are awarded faster , no wait times , or going to the ALJ .

 
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