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Applying for Social Security Disability


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Old 11-08-2005, 10:12 AM   #1
Gabe30
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Applying for Social Security Disability

Is anyone on here on social security disability? If so, is it easier to have the help of a lawyer? Thanks.


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Old 11-08-2005, 12:24 PM   #2
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Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

Hi Gabe: I'm on Social Security Disabilityd due to chronic pain from lung surgery (tumors in both lungs) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I have been on it two year this coming February. I hear of so many people that have a real tough time getting approved for SSD, I called my attorney. He told me he didn't do any SSD applications anymore, but gave me the name of a good local attorney that does. I called them and they advised me to make the intial application myself and then if I was turned down call them and they would help then. They said there really isn't anything that they could do, that you can't easily do yourself intially. I applied in August of 2003 and was approved in February, 2004. So, being accepted on the intial application, I didn't use the attorney.

Your first step is to call the Social Security Administration, either the local office (if you have one where you live) or their 800 number and set up an appointment for your first interview. That's what I did and you have a few forms to fill out, but they contacted doctors, etc. I really didn't have too much to do once things got started. When accepted, they pay you once a month and you draw what you would draw if you were 65. In other words, you draw your maximum.

One other thing, when you've been on SSD for two years, you become eligible for Medicare. I will be eligible this February. If you have no insurance, this can be a big help. I happen to have good insurance through my wife's employer, but there's a lot of CP people that don't have insurance.

Questions? Let me know and I'll do my best to answer them. Good luck.

Last edited by Rrector; 11-08-2005 at 12:29 PM.

 
Old 11-08-2005, 03:51 PM   #3
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Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

Thanks for your help, Director.

I have great insurance as well through the City of Des Moines. I just stayed on it after retiring as a police officer. I do however have to pay $500/month for my health and dental combined which is on the high side compared to other plans but it's worth it.

We have a local SSD office here so I'll just set up an appointment and get the ball bouncing. As for now, I'm in no shape to work due to my CP plus I have at least 2-3 severe migraines a week also. I tell people that I'm a gimp now. lol......

I'll let you know how the process is going from time to time on here.

Gabe

 
Old 11-08-2005, 04:07 PM   #4
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Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

Hey Gabe: One thing I forgot to mention earlier, is when you receive your notification of acceptance, they tell you when you can expect to have your case come up for review. As far as I can tell, everyone is different and it just depends on your case and your disability.

When I got my approval, it said I would come up for a review in five to seven years. Since I was approved in February of 2004, I will have a review in 2009 to 2011. If it goes until 2011, I'll be 65, so that may have a bearing on what happens. My age for full retirement is 66. I'm the first of the "Baby-
Boomers" to have their retirement age extended past 65. Depending on your age, it is slowly being extended up to the age of 70.

Good luck and I hope you can get in to have your initial interview and filing soon. I got in in about three weeks, if I remember correctly, but our area here is only about 125,000 and not as big as Des Moines. Keep us posted on how things are going. Also, there is a section of this board for threads like this you might be interested in reading. It's called "Disabilities". What else, right?

 
Old 11-08-2005, 06:15 PM   #5
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Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

When I decided to apply for SSD, I used a guy who was a SSD consultant. I located him in the phone book AND I had heard of him through word of mouth.

I applied in January of 2005 and started receiving my payments in May of 2005. THE MAIN THING IN MY FAVOR WAS THAT I HAD A TON OF VALID, LEGITIMATE MEDICAL RECORDS THAT WENT BACK FOR NEARLY 8 YEARS!! These records listed every test, every prescription, everything you could think of. So, I had all of my proof ready.

**In fact, my doctor's first response when I told her that I wanted to apply for disability--which she thought I should have done a long time ago--was to have me assessed by a PHYSIATRIST (an occupational-type doctor).

The Disability Consultant told me that the average time it takes to begin receiving payment is 18 months. As I said, it took me about 5 months because I had so much documentation--from my Internist, my Pain Doctor, several Neurologists, etc. All of my blood tests that helped confirm my Lupus and Lupus Anticoagulant diagnoses, as well as my MRI's, EEG's, and CT's were all there!

I am not one to believe in Government Handouts, but this has really been a life saver to my family. While I live with my very generous parents who would have done everything to help me pay for my monthly Rx's, I can now pay for them! My monthly payments allow me to pay for my insurance and medications--about $1,000 in all (per month).

I am very thankful.
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Old 11-08-2005, 10:23 PM   #6
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Lightbulb Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

Applying for disability can either be relatively "painless" or it can turn into a complete nightmere, it really just depends. The factors that have an impact on your odds of being approved initially are amount of medical documentation that you either supply to them directly, or give them very accurate info on who to contact (docs, clinics, etc.) to get the records easily. They will make an attempt to get your medical records, but they will not go out of their way or wait around forever to receive them, they simply have too many cases to do that. If they don't get records in a timely fashion, if you're really lucky, they will occasionally call you to ask for help in getting them, or more often then not, you will simply receive a denial letter. Other factors that affect whether you are approved are your age, your overall educational level, the severity of your disability (obviously) and it also helps to be as detailed as possible when filling out the forms as to how your condition affects your ability to perform your normal activities, especially when your condition is more subjective or harder to quantify, such as chronic pain. You don't need a lawyer until you are denied twice. After the second denial, you have to go before an administrative judge to continue your appeal. And unfortunately, about 60% of people who apply initially are denied. So it is definetly not uncommon to get denied the first time and then approved on appeal (usually on the third appeal). The good news is that as long as you continue to appeal within the time limits, if you win, they will pay you back for every month since you first applied. Good luck.

 
Old 11-09-2005, 12:22 AM   #7
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Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

Hi, I am on Social Security Disability.... have been on it for about a month now, the first time I applied, I was denied, but then my long term disability company referred me to an attorneys office in Indiana.... im in Texas.... after only a couple months they had gotten my reconsideration approved....my disability is due to chronic severe radiculopathy, in my lower back, hips and legs....in Sept 2006 I will be eligible for Medicare.... which will be helpful, because i am on COBRA and it is outrageous...but to be quite honest, i think you get better results if you have an attorney helping you with your SSD claim....

Good Luck

TRose

 
Old 11-09-2005, 06:40 AM   #8
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Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

i would recomend just what director told you.Make the intitial app yourself and only get the lawyer if you are turned down.That is what i did and i finally got it that second time around.Just in the nick of time too,boy,let me tell ya.we were in 5000.00 in medical debt and on the verge of losing our home when that phone call came last dec 1.god what a flippin christmas present THAT was.one thing I wanted to make sure to tell you is that before you send ANYTHING in to them,make sure to get copies of every single form and any attatched paper that you send to them.believe me,if you should get denied that first time,you will thank the good lord that you took the time to do that.They send you out ALOT of paperwork to fill out at the recon stage that is exactly the same as the first time stuff you filled out.it will save you TONS of time and it will help prevent you sitting there going crazy trying to remember just what you put down the first time around.not saying that you would purposely put downany old thing that may or may not be true,but there is one document you will have to fill out twice and it is regarding how often did you do a particular movement per day?It is really assinine to begin with but you are supposed to be able to tell them just how many times per day during the course of your job duties did you do the following:twist,bend,stretch,sqat... you get the idea??like you really remember or could even actually correctly pin THAT down?I just kind of guesstimated and this is the one or two documents that I did not make copies of the first time around and i could have just kicked myself,over and over for THAT big mistake ya know?

also,and this really IS rather important,get your very own copies of any and all medical documents that SSD is going to be getting,believe me, you do not really have any idea of just how well or how badly your medical professionals actually have documented all of your injuries and and Dxs until you actually read thru them for yourself.Honestly,I could not believe the amount of mistakes and things that were extremely important and actual Dx that were NOT listed in some of my actual medical records.it really was amazing.if you can go thru your own stuff like I did,you can then write them a letter to send in with your app that explains things better for them,like why something wasn't included and should have been or telling them that you will be getting the nessecsary documentation from your doc on your own and sending it in,you know, stuff like that.

Unfortunetly,even if you DID have a lawyer at this initial app stage,the majority of the leg work and document gathering is going to be your responsibility.just make darn sure that you know ahead of time just what documents are going to be sent to them and make darn sure they contain ALL or the documentation that should be in there.Unfortunetly,some docs do not do a really great job of doing that.i do wish you lots of luck in this.the denial rate at the initial stage is around 75% so be prepared to go into recon mode.You may be one of the lucky ones though.It really is rather impossible to say who will and who wont,it really is quite bizarre.i just wanted to suggest to you to go on up to the disability board up top here,they are really a great group of informative folks up there.if you have questions regarding just about anything to do with disability and going thru this process,you can probably get them answered up there.Marcia
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Old 11-09-2005, 04:08 PM   #9
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Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

Feelbad, you give some great information. Everyone should make sure they read through all of their medical documentation before it gets sent off to the SSD people. When I read my files from one of my doctors, there was a complete page that went on and on about how "the patient should consider in-patient alcohol rehab..." I don't drink--AT ALL. To make a long story short, this was placed in the wrong folder. However, it DID have my name on the top. I guess the medical transciptionist didn't clear the screen before continuing on with the next set of notes.

I'M GLAD I READ EVERYTHING. Now, most of it was really dull and full of all the pertinent information. But, I would not want anyone thinking I was a practicing alcoholic while I was trying to get disability benefits!

Feelbad also mentioned that the doctors should routinely mention your diagnoses in the notes. Because cases get review every few years, the fact that your incapacitating illness in ongoing should be made obvious!

Ultimately, the grunt work of getting the records is up to you, the patient. No lawyer will get it for you (although they will like to charge you for it!).

I still maintain that a Social Security Disability Consultant (not related to the government) was the best way to go. They filled out all the forms and kept me informed of every last detail. Yes, I had to pay them approximately 33% of my "back pay", I felt that getting my benefits in 5 -6 months was WORTH EVERY PENNY!!
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Old 11-09-2005, 04:58 PM   #10
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Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

I was wondering if SSI is as hard to get as SSD? I don't have enough credits in the tiime frame because I was a stay at home mom for too many years before I got divorced. They told me I might be able to get SSI. They keep calling me for more paperwork from doctors and sending papers for my fiance to fill out about what my daily routine is. It has been over 4 months since I applied over the phone. I don't drive due to the meds i'm on. Anyone that has applied for SSI could you give me a clue as to what they require to be approved for it.
Terri

 
Old 11-09-2005, 07:54 PM   #11
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Lightbulb Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

Nope, social security administration uses the exact same process to determine whether you are disabled under their rules for ssdi and for ssi.

 
Old 11-10-2005, 06:33 AM   #12
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Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

I applied for SSDI in April of 1998. Like most folks I was denied on my first try and obtained a lawyer who specialized in SSI cases for my appeal. I did get it on the second try and have been receiving it since 99 with Medicare kicking in 2 years later. I am always amazed at the inconsistencies in the experiences of people when it comes to who gets approved immedietely and who has to fight for years!

When I applied I had severe osteoporosis and had spontaneously broken 4 vertabrae in my back. I had undergone 2 fusion surgeries and one to fix instrumentation that had moved out of place. I also had a broken foot. In addition to the broken bone/ extreme pain issues, I had pulmonary hypertension (high pressure in the lungs), rheumatoid arthritis, sclerederma and chronic pain.

The SSA sent me to their doctor for evaluation and she found that I could not return to the type of work that I was doing. I was a manager of non-legal staff at a large law firm. My job involved constant walking, standing up, sitting down, attending long meetings, travelling between regional offices, carrying things weighing between 10-40 lbs. Basically she agreed with all my doctors that I could not work. With all of this I was denied. They had all my xrays, lab reports, operative reports., etc. etc. I was stunned when I got the rejection letter. After the lawyer came on board we had to re-do all the forms again and get further documentation. After reviewing my case and talking to someone that she knew at the SSA it turned out that they denied my case because of the answer I gave to the question: How many pounds can the patient lift? I think I had choices like 0lbs, under 5lbs., 5-10lbs., etc. I just guesstimated and put down 15lbs. WRONG ANSWER!! I'm not really sure if I believe this or not, but my attorney said that I should have said less than 5lbs. if I was claiming all the chronic pain and back issues. Well, when I thought about it she was right. I hadn't been lifting anything really, but I was being optimistic on the form and that did me in! When we redid the form and changed it to less than 5lbs, I was approved! Go figure!

Since I've received my disability I've still been asked to substantiate my disability 3 times! That's fine with me because my condition has only worsened. I just got another form asking me to update my progress since last year. My biggest fear however is that they will contact some doctor who is new to my case like the infectious disease doc who is handling my MRSA infection in my hip space and ask her if she thinks I could work again. I mean, how would she know? Does anyone know if they do that?

Sorry this is so long...I'm very, very thankful that I get the check every month and the Medicare has been such a life-saver. I echo what other posters have said about keeping copies of ALL the records that you send and ALL the forms that you fill out! I didn't keep copies of the forms and I could not remember from time to time what my answers had been to questions like: How often do you go out during the week? What percent of your time during the day is spent sitting, standing, laying down, etc? .

Good luck with your journey! Be patient and I bet you'll get it! KathyMac

 
Old 11-11-2005, 09:03 PM   #13
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Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

Hey Folks!!
I just recently applied for SSI and SSA or SSDI. I got an attorney from the very first because I got really ripped off with my BWC Settlement.
Even though the lawyer says that most times they are not needed until a person has been denied I opted for representation to start.
They have told me that the SSA does not care what your personal doctor thinks about if you are disabled r not. The SSA has their own set of criteria for determining disability. They explained to me that if you can do ANY type of job, whether you have the skills or not, and if you can do that job for a period of time that would financially support you, then you are not disabled.
Also you can go on and off SSDI depending on the extent of you disability and if you get better. The standard is if you cannot work for 1year and if that will continue for more than 1yr.
Now I don't know personally if any of this works because I am still in the first application process. I should know something in another month so wish me luck.

The Bard of Ohio

 
Old 11-12-2005, 09:52 AM   #14
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Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

I have been on Social Security Disability for 10 years. It is not a government handout. I previously worked and paid for it. When I initially applied I did that myself and was turned down. When I applied for the appeal process I went to a SSD attorney. The attorney requested all of my medical records and under the SS laws payment for the records is not required. If I had initally requested the records I would have had to pay for them (I did not know the SS laws when applying for disability). There was a lot of little things I didn't know and was glad to have the attorney. But it was just the first hoop I had to jump through.

 
Old 11-12-2005, 10:37 AM   #15
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Re: Applying for Social Security Disability

I applied at the end of April and was approved in October. It took about 5 months in all. I consulted with a Law Office specialising in Social Security cases and they told me to do all of the initial work on my own. They would only get involved only if I was denied, so I never used their services. Also, Social Security limits by law the amount that any representative is allowed to charge you. It is no more than 25% or $5400 of your "back pay", whichever is less.

 
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