So, it was just over a week ago, last Weds. that I had my hearing. If you are able to find my other posts you can read about how *well* that went. Today, of course after 5pm I checked my mail to find the decision already. I am beside myself, shaking, and feeling such anger and disgust with this judge. If you recall, my claim for disability is based on agoraphobia, panic disorder, post traumatic stress, and eating disorder. The social security psychiatrist that they sent me to agreed with the above and stated that I could not work. My psychologist stated in a letter that I could not work. I had three affidavits, one being from an old boss stating that I was no longer able to even function outside of the home let alone go to work.
I am appalled by the decision letter because it seems that there is a ton of stuff in there that the judge basically MADE UP! Among some of the things said were that:
I go to the mall on a regular basis- where he got this I DON'T KNOW as I haven't stepped foot in the mall in THREE YEARS!
That I go out and get my hair done- The last time I had a haircut was the last time I went to the mall- THREE YEARS ago! And it was so stressful for me that I was sick for 2 days afterward. My hair is down to my waist and hasn't been cut since then.
That I take my dogs to the dog park on a regular basis. I have never been to a dog park in my entire life. There is a small park directly across the street from my house which I took my dog to LAST SUMMER, ONCE, with my roommate as a "homework assignment" from my therapist who wants me to make small, easy trips outside of the home as part of my therapy. I haven't been back since.
That I drive on a regular basis- Yes, I do drive BUT I only drive once a week to my therapist appointment and I CANNOT drive in the car alone. I have to have someone with me or I cannot go. At the same time I cannot be a passenger in a vehicle because I get even more nervous as I no longer have control of the vehicle that I am in. I TRIED to drive once alone and had to turn around and come back to get my roommate because I could not continue on.
That I attend my therapy appointments ALONE. I have never attended therapy alone. I HAVE to have my roommate with me and in fact she always keeps her Wednesday schedule clear so that she can accompany me.
That I do not have a sufficient treatment record. He had over 2 1/2 years of therapy records amounting to over 100 visits- and that is not sufficient???
That the opinion of the social security doctor was irrelevant because he only worked with me for 3 hours and did not review the file from my current therapist.
There is more but I cannot even continue reading the letter as I am so upset. How could he make these things completely up? On top of it, I had a judge with a 90% approval rating. How did I end up in his 10%?????? He stated that I do not have marked restriction of daily activities because I am going to all these places etc. I usually only leave the house once a week to see my therapist and there are some weeks where I cannot even do that.
I have no idea what to do now. My lawyer was a total jerk. Before we went into the hearing he told me that he wouldn't handle appeals if we didn't win this. Of course it's Friday and they are closed, then we're in a holiday weekend so I won't be able to call anyone or do anything until next week. I'm just in shock right now- how could he make stuff up about me? None of this is stuff that I said and it's not true!! He went so far as to state in there that I am not credible because I do all these activities such as getting my haircut and going to the mall and then claim that I cannot work. I never said I was able to do any of these things!!
The following 2 users give hugs of support to: joanne23 jgrangran (09-02-2011), sunni123 (09-02-2011)
Joanne23, First of all I am sorry about what you had to go thru.I have read about others who have also had a rude judge and you can read about them on this board as well. I know it doesn't help change anything but maybe if you can see that they fought back and got a lawyer that handed appeals and won. I think you should write down everything the judge said was wrong and seek out a good ssa lawyer that handles those kind of appeals only. I think the judge did'nt have to be so rude about it but there are also good judges also that aren't like that. Please know people care and don't give up. appeal but get a good lawyer first. I know other will respond keep checking this board. Again I'm sorry. Oh there is someone who started a new case and won on that while awaiting the appeal on the old case. I would type on the search bar about appeal after judges decision maybe it will help to read about others that have lost at the alj level . Hang in there
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to jgrangran For This Useful Post: dee088 (09-14-2011), sunni123 (09-02-2011)
joanne23, I am sorry about the adverse outcome. What medical records did SS pull on you? The judge had to obtain this info. from somewhere. It is unlikely that he would just make this up. I would appeal the decision and also possibly start a new claim like Gayle and some others did. I would also carefully review all my medical records from all applicable sources. I think something must be written in there that adversely affected your SSDI claim.
The judge had all of my therapy records which I had access to before the hearing. What I think happened is that he did nothing more than skim my records and pick out little things from like one day here and there. So, for example I think that at some point I had talked to my therapist about wanting to go get my haircut, but I was expressing to her the difficulty that I had in going and how I couldn't sit in the chair etc. and he pulled that and then said that I am going to get my haircut all the time. I did go to the park once last year, but somehow he took that as I am going all the time. I know he didn't read my file thoroughly because at one point during the hearing he mentioned that I sometimes went by the name Jamie which is my roommates name. I know stuff about her is all over my file. I of course corrected him, but had he really read through my records he would have known this. He also made a comment during the hearing about how could I be out buying houses if I have so many problems and I finally figured out that he was talking about my therapy records from last year when I was LOSING my own home. I was in foreclosure, unable to make payments on my house. I wasn't BUYING anything, but he read the records so haphazardly that he twisted it to say that I was. There is nowhere in my records indicating that I ever go to my therapy appts alone as I never have and my therapist sees my roommate in the waiting room for each visit and says hello to her. There are no other medical records that would indicate any of the things that he mentioned. I even read the 14 page psych exam report that was done by the social security doctor and nothing in there indicates any such thing and he even agreed that I would not be able to work. Oh, and my hearing was on the afternoon of August 24th and the letter was dated August 26th. Seems to me that he didn't even take a full 24 hours to review things.
Oh, also if I understood my lawyer correctly I cannot start a new claim because my benefits ended in 12/09 or something to that effect. I'm not sure I understand it totally but there was some sort of problem with that date.
Another thing that I remember from the hearing- we got on the subject of "normal" things that I can and cannot do and I distinctly remember saying that "I can't even go and get a haircut like a normal person" to that, the judge laughed and said that if I were bald like him it wouldn't be a problem which just goes to show again that I have no clue where he got some of these ideas from!
It seems so wrong for any alj to use such sarcasim. Is there a way you can get a copy of the whole proceeding because to me he should not be allowed to talk to you like that. I am not sure about benifits ending are you on workmans comp? maybe it has to do with last insure date? were you filing for ssdi or ssi. I hope you keep checking back because I know more people will respond. Hang in there I really think you should appeal but get the full copy of your file not just the alj report but the whole ssa file it will be able to tell you if there was anything that would of made the judge come to that decision . As for your lawyer he could of least maybe suggested a lawyer that would take it to the next level. I have heard of lawyer that only take it so far then pass it on to other lawyers that do that level. I know people have won at that level but I don't know what the stats on it are but in your case stats did'nt matter. Is sad but when you get kicked down you have a chioce to fight or quit. I think if you can't work then you have no choice but to fight because quitting isn't a opition. but I would get everything as files go and write down everything that was said wrong look at DR's notes and that whole ssa file and get a lawyer that deals with only alj appeal caseses I hate to say this but maybe that judge was getting flax from somewhere for approving 90% of cases. It also might be the fact your age (even so I beleive if you are disabled your disabled and really age should not be a factor.) or that you were able to take online classes Who know untillyou get tall those records you wont know for sure you need them anyway go over it with a fine tooth comb and correct everything that is wrong. I know others will help you take care and try to get help.
Joanne23, if you type in unfavorable decision by alj in the search section of this board then you will see the others that have gone thru this it will help you to see what can be done. after reading some myself I see where your benefits can expire but you could still get ssi. something is better than nonthing.Plus you would get medicaid right off if you win hang in there read those post it will help you.
Thank you all so much for your support and kind words. It helps to know that there are others out there who understand what I am going through. I feel so defeated and hopeless right now. It's bad enough what this condition has done to me already. I have lost my home, almost all of my friends, my confidence, I constantly feel guilty for the burden I've become on my family and now it will only get worse as who knows how much longer I will have to fight to get the benefits that I deserve and the the list goes on and on. But then to basically be shut down and called a liar by this judge who only met me for a short period of time makes me feel more horrible than I can even describe. I just don't understand how anyone could think that with all that I have gone through and lost in the last few years that I would be making things up just to get Social Security. It feel like such a joke/ kick in the butt to read these things that he said about me. I WISH that I could go to the mall, get my haircut, take my dogs to the dog park etc. These are things that I dream of being able to do. I would much rather be the person that I used to be. If I could just get up and get a job I would have a long time ago- before I lost my home, ruined my credit, and had my life turned upside down in every way imaginable. $1100 a month in SSD would never at any point have been motivation for me to fake these problems and put myself through this, especially when I used to make 5 times that at a job that I enjoyed. I feel extremely depressed right now and although I know I need to fight this (what choice do I have??) I want nothing more than to just crawl into a ball and hide.
The following 2 users give hugs of support to: joanne23 gayle428 (09-03-2011), jgrangran (09-03-2011)
My first thought after reading your posts were "She needs a new lawyer!!" If your lawyer is a jerk, he/she will make the whole process that much harder (as if it isn't already hard enough). Also, if your lawyer is not a caring person, that will make it harder too.
I went through a very similar situation. When I got the denial letter from the judge, it was filled with outrageous mistakes and lies. When my attorney saw the mistakes, she contacted another attorney who only does Federal Court Level claims - that attorney took my case, and it is now waiting for a Federal Court date.
Please have someone double check the dates, and see if you can start a new claim. I did that and was approved at the reconsideration level of the second claim. My first claim is still waiting for a court date.
Try to hang in there. You still have options. You can appeal the judge's denial, and take the case all the way to Federal Court if necessary. Waiting is the hardest part ... all of us on this board know just how hard it is. We are here to support and help in any way we can.
The following user gives a hug of support to gayle428: Jacki345 (09-04-2011)
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to gayle428 For This Useful Post: Jacki345 (09-04-2011), jgrangran (09-03-2011)