Hey Shattered, I hear ya! I'm in somewhat the same boat as you and my claim is getting very close to a decision. I too was denied initially by the Social Security Admin. But I'm appealing and crawling, not jumping, through their hoops. I know it's frustrating but ya just gotta keep at it!! The DAV is helping me with the VA side of things cause' I know I'm going to have to appeal the initial decision, whatever it may be. Best advice I can give you is to get on your states medicaid and get some physicians that will really try to help you. I'm finally getting some pain relief for the first time in years, the VA won't really give you any decent pain meds because they're dibilitating in themselves. That is what they don't want. I'm on Oxycotin Ir 5mg and Duragesic 50 microgram transdermal patches now and they really help, but, are truly dibilitating in themselves. So I'm not as worried as I was about getting benefits as I once was, just VERY concerned with my health as I'm getting much worse healthwise. The right side of my back is raised and swollen over half an inch all the way down and continuing to lose feeling in the right side of my body. Just hang in there and get the needed representation and keep on pluggin' away at them, they'll cave eventually.