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DDD, Spondylolisthesis, and Disability

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Old 10-31-2008, 10:54 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Delaware
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Mahkwa HB User
DDD, Spondylolisthesis, and Disability

Hello all. New here and wanted some opinions.

My story:
Back was hurt pretty bad in an accident around 8-10 years of age. I was given a formed back brace and was told that I would have problems in my late twenties with back problems. A car accident in my teens, and a bad work fall (my own business) put me in my current condition. I constantly shift in whatever position I am in (sitting, standing, laying) and cannot stand 1 position for more than 10 minutes before switching. I'm on Amitryptyline to force me to sleep and a narcotic to try to control pain. I still only sleep 4 hours a day; up from 2. All doctors I have seen have mentioned DDD and Spondylolisthesis in L4/L5, hairline cracks in a vertebrae, and increasing neck problems from how I have to hold/carry myself to compensate for my back. Surgeon mentioned 6 bolts and 2 rods in my back to stabilize my lower back to help control the pain. He directly told me it will not fix the problem, only to alleviate some of the pain. It's a permanent thing as per him.

This has been happening for 2 years now - 1 year and 3 months messing with SS Disability. First claim denied, appeal with a lawyer denied, appealing again for a hearing it seems. My questions are: Since the surgeon mentioned a low chance for complications and that it will only help alleviate the pain and never fix it, should I wait until I am near uncontrollable functions before opting for the surgery or go for it now? Do I have anything towards Disability or am I chasing rainbows? Will it have any effect towards my disability claim if I wait on the surgery?

I want to thank you all in advance. I hope the best for you all.

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Old 11-01-2008, 06:16 PM   #2
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Re: DDD, Spondylolisthesis, and Disability

I don't think you're chasing rainbows, but you might have to get out a lasso and toss it up to help you climb that slippery rainbow slope. It's a long, cruel process. I have major back problems, too, and am at the hearing level. My surgeon and my family doctor are 100% behind me and have documented like crazy for me. Almost everyone gets denied twice, so don't lose hope. Most people who are approved get it at the hearing level.

As far as the surgery, they may say that since you're having surgery, they'd need to wait and see if it helped you. And maybe they won't. There's no predicting SS! Maybe others here have personal experience with that and will chime in.


Old 11-01-2008, 09:55 PM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Augusta GA
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btn HB User
Re: DDD, Spondylolisthesis, and Disability

I agree with BlueAtlas.
I too was told surgery would help "some", but I didn't have it.
I was denied twice and then went to a hearing that lasted all of 5 minutes, if that, and was approved.
Don't give up. It sounds like you have everything going right for you in a win.
Best wishes, Btn

Old 11-02-2008, 05:50 AM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Delaware
Posts: 4
Mahkwa HB User
Re: DDD, Spondylolisthesis, and Disability

Thank you friends. My wait has paled in comparison to others on this board, but sitting in a house alone, in pain, and bored with worries of surviving really tear at one's faith in our system and receiving that second notice of denial. Worst part was no knowing what was happening for the first 9 months; the case worker that was handling my case apparently quit/was fired and all my information was lost someplace and finally located stuffed in a filing cabinet. going from an active person who loved sports to a shut-in really sucks.

Old 01-18-2009, 02:47 AM   #5
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Re: DDD, Spondylolisthesis, and Disability

Social Security Disability is based on 5 areas of living, each being rated 1-5 (1 being minor impairment, 5 being the worst). To be considered disabled you must be impaired in 3 or more areas of living and to a marked-severe degree (rating 4's and 5's within those 5 areas).

I've helped several people file (I'm not an atty) and I totally suggest anyone filing do so on their own (without an atty) clear up to the hearing stage. WHY? So you can have your own backpay, should you prevail you wont owe it to an atty. IF you are denied during the hearing stage you can then retain an attorney but the atty will not get that large-long-drawn-out percentage of YOUR backpay. (DO verify this as things change, soc sec is great about helping you understand the process)

EX: A friend asked me to help her fill hers out, I told her take it all the way to the hearing and they will probably ask you to retain an atty at that level. We done ALL of the paperwork and was denied and took it to the hearing. The HO asked her to abandon the hearing and retain a lawyer (because they know going thru with it and being denied -unrepresented- is not a final decision as one can appeal with counsel). They told her at that hearing that if she abandoned the hearing she could retain a lawyer and the lawyer could charge her no more than 5,000-sum-dollars. She done so and was sitting on $22,000 backpay within a few mths and the atty got his additional $5,000-sum-dollars for a mth of work. I dunno what the lawyer done, exactly, because I told her I KNEW I couldnt get her disability since she was 2.5 yrs into college with a 3.8 GPA (Go figure)

I do know:

On the paperwork it will cover areas such as seeing, walking, talking, hearing, etc...
Because her primary disability was focused around mental health issues one would think seeing, talking, etc.. is not affected. Not always true. If mental health issues keep you in the house for days at a time you do not socialize. If the issues distract your attention, you dont hear so well, etc... Include ALL of these things where they apply. Think of everything you dislike about yourself or your condition and include it. Don't be modest.

Another EX: A relative of mine suffering from rheumatoid arthritis had tried for 3 yrs, she had some really significant issues, she could hardly walk yet alone work. I asked if she ever included depression, she said no. I told her to include these things along with the medications, psychotherapist, etc, and hers went through thereafter.

I hope this was helpful. The 1st example is a bit unsettling for those struggling (I know) but it's a reality none-the-less.

Old 06-20-2009, 10:41 PM   #6
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Delaware
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Mahkwa HB User
Re: DDD, Spondylolisthesis, and Disability

Just an update here and for myself: Had a discogram done a few days ago. They determined there is a problem with L5 - S1, attributing to my pain. Also have neurofibro myalgia in my chest to shoulder and left arm. Currently in the air with disability since my case is in July on the 24th, and am now unaware what the best course of action that will be taken for my back. Has anyone else who has had problems with L5-S1 been able to get disability or relief from surgery?

Old 06-21-2009, 06:38 AM   #7
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Re: DDD, Spondylolisthesis, and Disability

Originally Posted by Mahkwa View Post
Has anyone else who has had problems with L5-S1 been able to get disability or relief from surgery?

My problems are similar, but not exactly the same. I also have DDD, ruptured discs at the L4/L5 and the L5/S1, and a cyst at the L5/S1. My hearing is on Wednesday, so I hope I know soon, if I will get disability, or not.

Old 06-21-2009, 09:08 AM   #8
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Austin TX USA
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Re: DDD, Spondylolisthesis, and Disability

I wish you luck and it sounds like you certianly have enough disablities to win.
Don't give up, the time will go by and you will eventually get it as long as you have your records to prove those disabilities.
I know people with alot less problems than you that have disability, it just took a long time to get it.

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