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  • Wondering if my chances are good. . .need encouragement

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    Old 01-21-2011, 01:45 PM   #1
    wrenegade
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    Question Wondering if my chances are good. . .need encouragement

    After a bad wreck in 1977, spondylolisthesis was discovered in my back. (It's grade II now) I have struggled all these years trying to work the best I could. I've been at my latest job 5 years (a record for me) but it's wearing me down. I probably will try the fusion operation that's been suggested for years. I have no disc to speak of at one level. I also have a chronic recurring ulcer on the cornea of my left eye. I also have a heavy "viral" load. . . in other words, I have a bunch viruses hanging out in my body (EBV, CMV, HSVII, HSV 6). I was loosley diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome years ago and started going to an infectious disease specialist a couple of years ago, but did not continue with him.

    In addition, back in the 70s, I was a drug addict. I was placed on SSI for mental condition at that time. When I moved out of state in 1981, my case came up for review. I had overcome my drug addiction, and it was decided that I had improved to the point where I was taken off SSI. I tried to bring up about my back at that time, but that was ignored.

    I am in the process of seeking counseling/therapy because I've had a lot of depression lately and feel I have unresolved issues. I've also been trying to get my degree in teaching by taking a couple of classes a semester, but I don't know if I'll be able to continue.

    I go to work, come home and sleep, get up, do a little school work (my classes are online) if I am able and then go back to bed and do it all again the next day. I'm usually exhausted and I have a lot of pain. I'm on a lot of pain meds, too.

    So my questions. . do you think I have a chance of getting disability? What would they look at the most in my case? Is it possible to be working full time and have them consider you for disability? One of the main reasons I work is for the insurance. I really did not want to have to go this route, but I don't know how much longer I can continue this way. I'm also wondering how much income you are allowed to earn if you're on disability. I'm sorry for all the questions, but I need information so I will have a place to start.

    Thanks so much!

    wren

     
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    Old 01-21-2011, 02:42 PM   #2
    msgenerallee
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    Re: Wondering if my chances are good. . .need encouragement

    hi- sorry to hear of your ailments. i have back & neck issues (tons) myself along with other physical and mental disorders.
    first i would tell you to quit school, and cut your work hours as much as you can afford to, although it is better not to work at all.. i know that is hard to hear, and it kills the pocket. and immediately go to the local ssa office and file or file online. if you file in person, take all your medical records with you. if you file online, you will still have to go to the local office to take the medical records usually within a week they will call you to come in. i filed my newest claim online & i didnt wait til they called, i went in and waited my turn with my records within 2 days. if you go into office, they will also see if you qualify for ssi and tell you right then and there if you are eligible for that. if you get ssi, you get medicaid/medicare (whichever it is) quick.
    i have not worked since june 2005 and still not approved- with 2 claims filed- newest one at reconsideration stage. i am sorry i do not have any words of encouragement.
    i can tell you that ssa is not easy to deal with. but every case is different. i have been fighting ssdi for over 5 years beginning with only back problems.
    back problems tend to be a dis-regarded problem to ssa. but- they have to consider ALL of your health issues together, not just one thing.
    from what i have been told, if you work a full time job, you can pretty much forget ssdi.
    you have to walk a fine line when applying and going thru all the different stages or they will deny you before you can say jack sprat...

     
    Old 01-21-2011, 07:44 PM   #3
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    Re: Wondering if my chances are good. . .need encouragement

    If you work full-time, most likely you are earning too much and will get denied because you earn Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). If you go down to part-time, then you can apply, but some advise against even working part-time when applying, because maybe SS thinks that if you can work at all, you're not disabled "enough".

    It is not your diagnosis that matters as much as how disabling your combination of impairments are and whether you are getting treatment for your conditions. So when applying for SS, it is good to document all of the conditions (both physical and mental) that prevent you from working. SS looks at your medical records and whether they substantiate your disability. If you are getting treatment, let your doctor know you are applying for disability and see if he/she is supportive of your desire.

    You can file on your own or seek a national disability firm or lawyer to help with the process. Filing can be very stressful, and it helps to have support. Sorry i could not offer more words of encouragement here....most of us are in the same boat. Worked for years far after becoming disabled and found that working was no longer viable or lost our jobs involuntarily. You may want to bring this up with your counselor, that you are thinking of applying for SS.

     
    Old 01-22-2011, 03:14 AM   #4
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    Re: Wondering if my chances are good. . .need encouragement

    I am going through the process like most, I've been going back & forth with SSA since Jan 2010. Anything above their income limits (I think $1,000 - it's on the SSA website) will not count and they will deny you because of this rule.

    I had to redo my date of disability because of this - and most attny's won't take my case because I am still getting paid for 10 hrs a week ($500 a month) that I do paperwork just to pay for health insurance.

    Go through and list all of your conditions, then in length and great detail write down HOW those conditions make you feel or what affect they have on your life...and include any meds & side effects they have.

    good luck

     
    Old 01-22-2011, 04:47 AM   #5
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    Re: Wondering if my chances are good. . .need encouragement

    that is true about back problems & depression...first claim filed in 2005 the alj decision stated i had 2 disabling conditions, but i could still do sedentary work (go figure that one, i have NEVER done & have no training for any sit down job & my job skills are not transferable).
    at initial app of my 2010 claim, i was denied after 3 months, put my atty from 1st claim on new claim, they filed recon and told me to see a psych, as i have been taking anxiety & depression & sleep disorder meds for years given to me by my pcp. so i quickly went to see a psych after atty filed recon. i guess with that, ssa decided to look at my claim a bit closer and sent me to a psychologist for an interview, here it is 7 months after filing recon and still waiting for their decision. i have not been admitted to any psych hospital or facility and hope i dont have to. i am hoping the report from the appt they sent me to is good enough to be approved. as my psych and this psych said the same things.

    Last edited by msgenerallee; 01-26-2011 at 09:46 AM.

     
    Old 01-22-2011, 07:50 AM   #6
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    Re: Wondering if my chances are good. . .need encouragement

    I agree with what everyone has said about back issues - it is very hard to get approved for back problems. They seem to have the attitude of 'so what if your back hurts ... go to work'. My attorney told me that back problems are one of the most common reasons to file, and yet are the hardest to get approved.

    But, you can't give up - it IS possible. After 2 1/2 years, and two claims, I was finally approved five months ago, for back problems.

    Good luck, and I hope you hear something soon.

     
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    Old 01-22-2011, 04:29 PM   #7
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    Re: Wondering if my chances are good. . .need encouragement

    i have my own psychiatrist & a new therapist- my psych has known me for a number of years prior to me seeing him "professionally" & before i had anxiety or any other mental disturbance. i have told my dr exactly how i feel,what i go thru etc, plus he has seen me have panic & anxiety attacks and crying my eyes out (before i began to see him professionally).
    here is how my psych knew me before becoming my dr.. my hubby had full custody of his son since age 5, we met when son was age 11. son was on med for adhd for years, so when they moved to my town, we had to find him a dr here for meds. at 13, he got worse, diagnosed with bipolar, aspergers and still adhd. my dr is the one we took stepson to until he turned 18 and was referred to live elsewhere by dr's. between 13-18, we were put thru hell by stepson. this dr saw me bring ss into office and i was a total wreck-many times. he says this is what started my issues. then my work was double shifts many days in a row and this compounded the problems. after i stopped working due to my health, the issues have gotten worse, even after stepson is out of the house. my dr has seen me brubg stepson in his office almost every month for 8 years. he always asked how i was doing-well, he could see that but asked, and told me if i ever need him, he would be glad to be my dr.. the first appt i had with him, of course he recognized the name. once in the back room, he had to hug my neck and said "i am surprised, yet not to see you here. i would have expected moreso way before now. what brings you in, how can i help".
    he has written on my rfc form that atty had him do, the form ssa sent him & office notes the things that ssa needs to hear from a dr. the psychologist that ssa sent me to looked over all of my dr's paperwork . he is FULLY supportive of me.

     
    Old 01-22-2011, 07:58 PM   #8
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    Re: Wondering if my chances are good. . .need encouragement

    As you see by my surgical history below, SSDI is hard to get as I have been denied at the initial application and my attorney just filed for reconsideration. I'm also possibly heading for more extensive neck surgery soon.

    Spondylolisthesis Grade II is not in itself disabling. SS will need medical records to show you have the associated symptoms and the severity of those symptoms. There are people out there with disc problems or spondylolisthesis who have no symptoms. So SSDI doesn't put a lot of weight on diagnosis, instead on medical records to show there is no job you can do.

    SSDI requires a 5 full month waiting period in which you have no income or have severely decreased income. If your employer offers Short Term Disability or Long Term Disability this is not considered income by SSDI so utilizing those benefits won't play against SS application. Same with state disability benefits (CA, NJ, NY, HI, RI, PR)

    I went out of work April 09, STD paid me thru 10/2009 and then LTD began. I have LTD from my employer currently. If SSDI were to approve me I would be eligible for SSDI no earlier than 10/01/09 due to the 5 full month waiting period on SSDI (May, June, July, Aug and Sept).

    I applied for SS in August of 2010 (since SS requires a 5 full month waiting period AND that your condition is likely to be permanent and keep you out of work a minimum of one year). I had an examination by an SS appointed doc in October, got my denial in December. The letter said that although I had severe medical issues and severe impairments I could do a sedentary job. My atty filed for reconsideration in late Dec 2010.
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    Old 01-27-2011, 02:56 PM   #9
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    Re: Wondering if my chances are good. . .need encouragement

    Thank you to all of you who posted with the very helpful information. It doesn't sound very promising for me. I can't just "quit work" or even scale back to part time. I am pretty much on my own as far as income. If worst comes to worst, I could move in with one of my sisters, I suppose, but what would I do for insurance? or be able to see my doctors. That would also involve moving out of state. How would that affect applying for disability?

    It's kind of depressing to know I have to keep going day after wearisome day. I know a lot of people are in the same boat and most likely some are much worse off than I, but it's not easy.

    I am waiting to hear from the local mental health clinic to see if they will be seeing me. I think they probably will, so maybe they will have some advice and also be able to help me.

    I'm sorry that so many of you have had such a hard time getting help. At least I know I am definitely not alone.

     
    Old 01-27-2011, 09:23 PM   #10
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    Re: Wondering if my chances are good. . .need encouragement

    as for moving to another state, sometimes is a good thing as some states approve ssdi quicker than others.

     
    Old 01-28-2011, 09:51 PM   #11
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    Re: Wondering if my chances are good. . .need encouragement

    wrenegade,

    It's good for you to become as informed as you can be about this topic, because things may get worse for you to the point where you are forced to quit working and go on disability, and then you could be more prepared.

    I have had 5 spine surgeries and am facing a 6th soon, and it took me almost 3 years to get approved for SSDI.

    It's almost impossible to get approved for SSDI for spine problems if you haven't had surgery yet. The reason for this is that they know spine surgery corrects problems at a high enough rate that if a person has spine surgery they will likely no longer be disabled.

    If you are working or going to school while you are applying for SSDI it will likely be viewed that you aren't disabled enough to qualify for SSDI. However, if you apply and are about to lose your home or be evicted from your apartment, you can get your case seen before a judge faster than otherwise (so the process may take just under a year instead of the normal 2-3 years).

    I hope you get help with your depression issues and that you can continue to work with your back or have surgery soon which would hopefully give you a great deal of relief.

    Take care!

     
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