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Old 04-22-2010, 09:54 AM   #1
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Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

I've had TMJ for decades and in the last two years the condition has gotten progressively worse. So much so, that it hurts to talk and I now have all the symptoms, but throat closure, thank God. I'm just wondering if there is anyone that has tried or has been successful in having this deemed a medical disability by Social Security. Thanks for reading.

 
Old 04-22-2010, 07:02 PM   #2
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

Each state seems to have different guidelines with NY being one of the more difficult ones - I was told almost all new applicants in NY are immediately denied and are forced to go through the appeal process which can take a year or more to be heard by a judge and such was the case with me - it took me 3 yrs to be approved at which time they deemed me retroactively disabled and then made a lump sum payment back to the point in time that I had stopped working when it first it started.

What seemed to be the biggest obstacle for me was getting a dr to commit in writing that tmj was disabling - first of all medical didn't seem to concur in their diagnosis of what was wrong with me so I had several "it could be this or that" diagnoses and medical drs don't believe tmj can be that incapacitating and secondly - dentists are not keen on commiting to making such judgement calls either and SSDI relies primarily on the opinion of medical drs, not chiros, therapists, or dentists. Also another issue I faced was the wording drs used in completing the SSDI questions - they would say the patient is in pain or has spasms - but not mention how these symptoms prevented the patient from functioning or how it interferred with performing their job. They left their responses too ambiguous and very non-committal - yet to my face they would say there is no way you can work in this state. And lastly SSDI in their investigation misinterpretated my swallowing difficulties to be a speech problem and sent me to a speech pathologist - had they sent me to a different type of dr perhaps I would not have been denied when I first applied.

"Luckily" for me my facial spasms are quite obvious and overt and involve the tongue and neck as well and are triggered when speaking for more than 10 mins or more so once I got before the judge and she asked my why I thought I could not work - the spasms started up within a few minutes of answering the questions and even the judge said that not one dr put in his notes the severity of the spasms or what they involved and apologized for my being being denied when it was pretty obvious I had a disabling medical problem.

Also - I can't remember what forum here on the HBs I read it - it might have been under neurological or insurance problems - but someone mentioned a check list that was included at the back of a book on Myofacial Pain Syndrome that should be used when applying for SSDI - since the condtions are similar it might be of some use.

If you are going to apply I would stress not just the pain - its hard to measure and prove and very subjective - but focus more on the impairment of cognitive abilities due to brain fog, tinnitus, migraines etc, inability in making decisions or memory issues and being groggy or sleepy due to pain meds, inability to speak due to chronic facial muscle fatigue, etc. The judge seemed to make a note when I mentioned I could not bend my head down like when you read or write - if you have neck issues with your tmj this is pretty common and of course it does prevent one from doing most desk or physical labor jobs. Ironic though as to me this seemed rather trival compared to all the other symptoms and the intense pain I was experiencing at the time but it seemd to make the most significant point for some reason.

 
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:56 AM   #3
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and giving me such great information. I’m sorry that you went through such an ordeal and am glad they gave you everything you were entitled to. I’m also in NY and already went one round with SSD for a separate problem. Like you, I had doctors telling me they understood how much pain I was in and how it had affected my daily activities. However, when it came time to sign on the dotted line, they were unable to “accurately measure” my pain. After I was denied, I contacted several attorneys and learned that having one problem is not always enough here. Furthermore, several suggested that I claim depression too, which I think is ridiculous among other things. In a strange twist of fate, after calling almost every disability lawyer in the phone book for days, I aggravated my TMJ from talking and clenching my teeth to the point that I had to go to doctor. After seeing an Oral Surgeon, Pain Management Specialist and a Neurologist that specializes in Facial Pain, I had no alternative than to take daily medications for nerve and muscle pains. Even though all of these doctors agreed that I had two separate problems, they weren’t willing to tie the two together for disability and told me I was one of those people that deserve disability, but will fall through the cracks. My last hope is to take the specialist’s reports to my family doctor and see if he will help me. If he won’t help me, I will start round two on my own and bury them in the reports that I’ve wasted my money on. I refuse to fall through the cracks when I have two different painful conditions that have been medically documented for more than a decade. Again, thank you for your reply and giving me the hope I needed to get through this.

 
Old 04-23-2010, 06:30 PM   #4
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

I failed to mention I too had to retain a private SSDI lawyer but SSDI will also provide a list of public defenders that are either free or take a lesser fee, I forget which, but Binder & Binder handle a lot of SSDI claims although I didn't use them - just happen to see many of them while I was waiting for my court appearance one day. Also - if you have not applied yet - do so immediatley - it can take several months for them to gather the necessary paperwork and send you to one of their drs - and send questionairres to all the drs you inform them of that you have seen - if they are going to deny you anyway - its best to get this moving along now - you can apply online if you want as well. I don't know know why but I thought I had to wait a year before applying but was wrong - I was told I should have applied within 30-90 days of not being able to work. Yes bombard them with reports, x-rays, pharmacy listings of drugs you have tired or take, etc. I was on several pain meds and a anti-depressant - there are some anti-depressants that not only affect mood but also dull the pain receptors in the brain and often used to treat chronic pain associated with tmj - sad as it is - taking meds often brings with it the adverse side affect of being groggy and impairs the cognitive ability - yet they seem to prefer that than someone not being on meds.

I am coming up for my 3 yr review this summer and know its going to be a battle once again and am dreading it - what really bothers me though is do they really think those that made more money when they were working than what SSDI pays for disability benefits want to be on SSDI - I am getting less than 1/4 of what I earned when working - so shouldn't it be obvious I wouldn't need to go on SSDI if I could work and would work if I could as I would make so much more - I am in financial ruins at this point and who does that to themselves willingly?

Last edited by Thelma-Louise; 04-23-2010 at 06:32 PM.

 
Old 04-25-2010, 08:42 AM   #5
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

Unfortunately, Binder & Binder was unable to help me without having a doctor’s note which clearly states that I am unable to work. I was back and forth on calls with them for days and had to give them way too much personal information. Just when I thought I would be “approved” to go in for a consultation, they asked about the doctor’s note and that was the end. In my personal opinion, they are only willing to help people with cases that are more or less cut and dry, which require less of their time and are easier to win. I’m wondering if what you said about it taking about 3 months for them to send you to one of their doctors is their “normal” procedure. I went down to SS to apply and had a denial in about 4 weeks, but they never sent me to one of their doctors. In any event, I will fight this and at least get myself before a judge and be heard. < edited > Good luck with the review and please let the boards know how it went.

Last edited by hb-mod; 04-25-2010 at 02:15 PM. Reason: Please don't post, or request personal info such as real name, email or phone.

 
Old 04-25-2010, 02:37 PM   #6
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

Oh I see you already were denied - I think there is only a limited time to file the appeal so you should at least do that so you get on the courts schedule - that can take over a year. I can give you the name of the law firm I used if you want. I think with me I overwhelmed them with a list of 40 drs I had seen - not on purpose - but at that point I just kept getting referred from one dr to another and still had no concrete diagnosis and none of the diagnoses were the same - so of course they had to send questionairres to every dr I listed so I am bet that's what probably took so long in terms of their reviewing the paperwork and then finally denying me at first. Good Luck.

 
Old 04-26-2010, 08:25 AM   #7
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

The date to appeal has passed, because I had to wait for appointments with the specialists and then wait for the results/reports. I plan on filing a new claim and adding the TMJ now that I have the supporting medical documentation. If you could give me the name of the attorney, I would appreciate it. Again, many thanks.

 
Old 04-26-2010, 10:45 AM   #8
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

Not sure where in NY you reside but I used Denny Kenny of Newburgh in Dutchess County even though I reside in Rockland Cnty - a family member referred me to him since he successfully handled a SSDI case for them - so it was a trek for me to go see him but I only had to go there once and after that I just mailed whatever they needed to them and kept in contact by phone - he has various lawyers that work for him so you don't necessarily get him - I didn't meet the actual lawyer assigned to my case until I went to court but she seemed to know exactly what she was doing and how to word things.

 
Old 04-27-2010, 08:07 AM   #9
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

The lawyer is about an hour or so from me, but I'm willing to make the trip if he is willing to help me. I'm getting all my reports together and have an appointment next month with my family doctor. Hopefully, he will be willing to help me and I can bypass a judge. If not, I will definitely call your lawyer and prepare for a dragged out battle with SS. Once again, thank you for all the great advice and good luck with your review.

 
Old 04-27-2010, 08:23 PM   #10
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

Its Dennis Kenny - sorry for the typo. Good luck - hope it works out this time.

 
Old 11-02-2010, 07:43 PM   #11
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thelma-Louise View Post
Each state seems to have different guidelines with NY being one of the more difficult ones - I was told almost all new applicants in NY are immediately denied and are forced to go through the appeal process which can take a year or more to be heard by a judge and such was the case with me - it took me 3 yrs to be approved at which time they deemed me retroactively disabled and then made a lump sum payment back to the point in time that I had stopped working when it first it started.

What seemed to be the biggest obstacle for me was getting a dr to commit in writing that tmj was disabling - first of all medical didn't seem to concur in their diagnosis of what was wrong with me so I had several "it could be this or that" diagnoses and medical drs don't believe tmj can be that incapacitating and secondly - dentists are not keen on commiting to making such judgement calls either and SSDI relies primarily on the opinion of medical drs, not chiros, therapists, or dentists. Also another issue I faced was the wording drs used in completing the SSDI questions - they would say the patient is in pain or has spasms - but not mention how these symptoms prevented the patient from functioning or how it interferred with performing their job. They left their responses too ambiguous and very non-committal - yet to my face they would say there is no way you can work in this state. And lastly SSDI in their investigation misinterpretated my swallowing difficulties to be a speech problem and sent me to a speech pathologist - had they sent me to a different type of dr perhaps I would not have been denied when I first applied.

"Luckily" for me my facial spasms are quite obvious and overt and involve the tongue and neck as well and are triggered when speaking for more than 10 mins or more so once I got before the judge and she asked my why I thought I could not work - the spasms started up within a few minutes of answering the questions and even the judge said that not one dr put in his notes the severity of the spasms or what they involved and apologized for my being being denied when it was pretty obvious I had a disabling medical problem.

Also - I can't remember what forum here on the HBs I read it - it might have been under neurological or insurance problems - but someone mentioned a check list that was included at the back of a book on Myofacial Pain Syndrome that should be used when applying for SSDI - since the condtions are similar it might be of some use.

If you are going to apply I would stress not just the pain - its hard to measure and prove and very subjective - but focus more on the impairment of cognitive abilities due to brain fog, tinnitus, migraines etc, inability in making decisions or memory issues and being groggy or sleepy due to pain meds, inability to speak due to chronic facial muscle fatigue, etc. The judge seemed to make a note when I mentioned I could not bend my head down like when you read or write - if you have neck issues with your tmj this is pretty common and of course it does prevent one from doing most desk or physical labor jobs. Ironic though as to me this seemed rather trival compared to all the other symptoms and the intense pain I was experiencing at the time but it seemd to make the most significant point for some reason.
Thelma, did anyone ever consider you have both TMJ and Meige syndrome. I am having this currently evaluated myself. There is NO DOUBT I have severe TMJ, but also thinking Meige. Please look that up and come back and let me know what you think PLEASE, it would be so helpful to me ♥

 
Old 11-03-2010, 06:15 AM   #12
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

Hi,
I looked up Meige syndrome on the internet as I haven't heard of it before. It's a form of dystonia, like blepherospasm. I have read that forms of dystonia can be due to the TMJ, as the incorrect TMJ position impinges on cranial nerves, and some dentists have reported improvement of dystonia type of symptoms with the use of an oral splint.

As far as SS disability, I am in the UK so it would be a different system than the USA. I receive Incapacity Benefit, as I am unable to work with my TMJ symptoms. Incapacity Benefit is for anyone who is unable to work. I have found it very hard to receive this benefit as GPs, doctors and the benefit assessors do not consider that I appear too unwell to work, as in they clearly just don't believe me. My benefit was turned down after one assessment, so I then used a solicitor to help me appeal against it, and the appeal was successful. The solicitor advised me to focus on how my symptoms were affecting me psychologically in order to put across how it was affecting me and my ability to work. He advised me to see a psychologist to get an assessment and a report from them. It seems that no medical doctor is really ever going to fully appreciate the debilitating effects that the TMJ dysfunction can have. With a report from a psychologist on how it affects your daily life, the benefit assessors are unable to really argue with the opinion of a psychologist, as they are medical doctors and not psychologists.

 
Old 11-03-2010, 07:26 AM   #13
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanda6 View Post
Hi,
I looked up Meige syndrome on the internet as I haven't heard of it before. It's a form of dystonia, like blepherospasm. I have read that forms of dystonia can be due to the TMJ, as the incorrect TMJ position impinges on cranial nerves, and some dentists have reported improvement of dystonia type of symptoms with the use of an oral splint.

As far as SS disability, I am in the UK so it would be a different system than the USA. I receive Incapacity Benefit, as I am unable to work with my TMJ symptoms. Incapacity Benefit is for anyone who is unable to work. I have found it very hard to receive this benefit as GPs, doctors and the benefit assessors do not consider that I appear too unwell to work, as in they clearly just don't believe me. My benefit was turned down after one assessment, so I then used a solicitor to help me appeal against it, and the appeal was successful. The solicitor advised me to focus on how my symptoms were affecting me psychologically in order to put across how it was affecting me and my ability to work. He advised me to see a psychologist to get an assessment and a report from them. It seems that no medical doctor is really ever going to fully appreciate the debilitating effects that the TMJ dysfunction can have. With a report from a psychologist on how it affects your daily life, the benefit assessors are unable to really argue with the opinion of a psychologist, as they are medical doctors and not psychologists.
Thanks you for your information Amanda. I wish I could find things as you said saying TMJ can cause Meige syndrome Dystonia. I have to be careful on how I ask things here because links are against the law here and get suspended. But in the face of the information we sufferers are sharing, am unsure how to ask in finding what you have read

 
Old 11-03-2010, 07:43 AM   #14
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Here4u2 View Post
Thanks you for your information Amanda. I wish I could find things as you said saying TMJ can cause Meige syndrome Dystonia. I have to be careful on how I ask things here because links are against the law here and get suspended. But in the face of the information we sufferers are sharing, am unsure how to ask in finding what you have read

The dentist Brendan Stack has interesting information on his website. He has videos demonstrations of treating patients with movement disorders and tourettes. I also read an interesting article recently on his website on the treatment of tourettes using oral splints, a condition which neurologists are either unable to treat, aren't exactly clear on what is causing it, or think the brain is the cause of the problem. Brendan Stack demonstrates that the problem is with the TMJ affecting Cranial nerves. Use a good internet search engine like google for finding info.

 
Old 11-03-2010, 07:52 AM   #15
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Re: Has anyone gotten SS Disability for TMJ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanda6 View Post
The dentist Brendan Stack has interesting information on his website. He has videos demonstrations of treating patients with movement disorders and tourettes. I also read an interesting article recently on his website on the treatment of tourettes using oral splints, a condition which neurologists are either unable to treat, aren't exactly clear on what is causing it, or think the brain is the cause of the problem. Brendan Stack demonstrates that the problem is with the TMJ affecting Cranial nerves. Use a good internet search engine like google for finding info.
THANK YOU !!!!!!!

 
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