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Social Security Disability
9 Replies
littleloey - February 1

I haven't been on the site for a while so I thought it is about time I check in. I've had some real ups and downs lately. I had about 3 weeks that my FM pain had subsided pretty much ( The first time since last January) Still had the overwhelming fatigue but at least I didn't feel pain every time someone touched me and my arms didn't feel like they weighed a thousand pounds. Then my back and hip pain got so bad that it seems to have put me right back where I was before. I will be seeing my pain management Dr. tomorrow, so hoping I can get things back under control a little bit. I said I would not have another epideral because I believe they are not really good for you, but I am at the point that I may have to consider it.
Back to the subject I started, I did receive notice from S.S. that I did qualify for disability. I have always heard that they always turn you down the first time so I was quite surprised that I did not have to get someone to appeal it for me. I applied in September and was notified in January. I have to tell you that, like most FM sufferers I have multiple problems. Everything was well documented by several Drs and specialists and backed up by many x-rays, CAT scans and MRI's. They did however, require me to meet with a Dr to check for cognitive problems. Some of the things he asked me to do seemed strange to me. I'm not sure I could have done some of them before I had brain fog! LOL. It was stressful as I get very frustrated when I am unable to do some things that seem like they should be so easy. But it was only and hour out of my life and I did the best that I was able.
I just want to encourage those who have come to the point where you can not keep working. It is not necessarily an impossible feat to be approved for disability from S.S. without appeals and having to hire lawyers. Just be sure your Drs and the various tests they have taken will support your claim. I almost did not even try because of the things I had been told about the difficulty of getting it.
You are all in my prayers.

 

January - March 14

HI little joey, I am so glad to hear your disability went through on the first try! I know a lot of people have problems getting it.

What kind of weird things did the doctor have you do on the cognitive testing?? Just curious!

Hope this takes a load of pressure off, and that you are doing better.

 

littleloey - March 14

Hi January, It's good to hear from you. Maybe the things he asked me to do were not unusual. Never had an exam like this before. Of course he gave me 3 words to remember. That was fairly easy because I made an association between 2 of the words, just had to think of one and that gave me the second one. So I passed that one. Then he asked me to count backwards from 100 by sevens. Could not do that. And I got very frustrated on that one. My daughter was in the room with me. I felt humiliated in front of her. I'm her Mom, I'm supposed to be able to do anything! LOL Anyway, then I got weepy and I fought that through the remainder of the session. He had me spell "World" backwards. No problem with that.Then he asked me to spell my last name backwards. I did it wrong he said, twice. Then he had me draw some pictures which he said I did well at. Don't remember now what they were. Kind of 3D things, I guess you would say. After that we talked about some of my life experiences. We talked about my history of depression after I lost my son in an accident. (That was many years ago). We talked about the Neurologist that I had seen during the time I was diagnosed with FM. He had told me it was all in my mind and that I was just stressed and suffering from depression. I very much disagreed with that. But his report was turned in with all my other Drs. reports. Then we talked a little about my husband, who does what around the house,who handles the finances, etc.
That was about all I guess. At the end of the session he asked me those 3 words he had given me at first. I had to think a little that time but I got them. He told me that in his opinion, I show no signs of depression as the neurologist had said. He told me that but nothing more except that he would send his report to SS.
How have you been doing? I hope you are having some good days for a change.

 

January - March 14

Thanks littlejoey. Years ago, I learned about cognitive testing, but I never underwent one. Interesting to know that he did NOT think you were depressed!! Have they been treating you with antidepressants? Also, kind of odd to do this testing with your daughter in the room, and make you feel humiliated! That probably upset you and threw you off a bit.

I've been having trouble with fatigue lately. So things are going, but slowly. I don't know if I'm having an allergic reaction. I put up a post about mold, mildew and dust, but it's so far back, I guess no one has seen it. I'm drowning in stuff that has piled up. You know how it goes, daily things.

I'm really glad to hear you got the disability! Take care!

 

littleloey - March 19

Yes, I am being treated with antidepressants. Actually a fairly low dose of Effexor XR for the fibro. My Rheumatologist would like to raise the dose but I really don't want to take anymore than I just have to. I also take trazadone and lorazapam at bedtime. I've taken them for a very long time for sleep problems. Long before I was diagnosed with FM. My FM pain is not my biggest problem. It's the constant fatigue that bothers me the most and the hip and lower back pain from the degenerative disease of my lumbar spine.
Of course I have times I feel down but it's not the kind of depression where you feel like you are hanging by your fingernails in a big black hole and can't pull yourself out. That is depression as I felt it after I lost my son.
What he was saying about not seeing any signs of depression was referring to what the one Dr said. The other Dr said all my physical manifestations were just in my mind and caused by depression. He said talk therapy was all that I needed to get rid of all my symptoms.
I have great difficulty walking and with my balance, so my ability to exercise is very limited. I have decided to try water aerobics and my Dr says I can try a stationary bike. I'm really hoping this will help,
especially with my fatigue. I'm very excited to get started.
I'm going to look up your post on mold. You always have interesting info to
share. I hope your fatigue has lessened.

 

sek1950go - March 19

I quit work in 1999 and was diagnosed with fibro in 2000. In 2010 I was really starting to have trouble getting around and my fibro pain was getting or affecting me a lot worse. I checked into disability and found out that since I had stopped working more than 10 years ago I was not eligible. Even though I have held a couple of part-time jobs and was unable to continue because of fibro problems, I was told "sorry, but no". It's a shame that I suffered for years and then when I was unable to hold down even a part-time job I lost my eligibility. Some things don't always make a lot of since. I'm just lucky that I wasn't required to work to support my family. God bless all those people that suffer and have to work to survive.

 

littleloey - March 19

Hi sek1950go,
I'm so sorry to hear that you were unable to get disability. It sure does not make sense to me. You tried to keep going as long as you could and now it's too late? If only we knew these things when we first started suffering. It's such an uncertain time and kind of scary how our bodies seem to have turned on us. We don't really know what steps need to be taken. I know, I kept thinking it was temporary and I would get back to normal. It has not happened and my Dr. says that it is a permanent condition since I have no improvement for well over a year.
I have a sister who sufferers terribly from scoliosis, even after surgery. She continues to work part time during the school year. I doubt if she would be eligible now either. She is fortunate that she does not have to work in order to take care of her family. Her husband works 2 jobs and they seem to do ok.
You are blessed that you do not have to work to support your family, but it does seem unfair.
My prayers are with you. Take care.

 

January - March 23

sek1950 - you MIGHT be able to get disability, even after all this time has gone by. Other people here have mentioned companies like Allsup (they seem to be better than lawyers). You can google them. I think they will do all the work for you and I believe a consultation is free. They take a portion of what they recover for you.

It is a hassle to go back and prove that you really were disabled (but your medical records should document it - hopefully) - and perhaps you could explain your reasoning as to why you didn't file back then (a lot of us don't file, we just keep on going, thinking we'll get better). It's worth a call to see if they can help you get the disability you need.

People who try to keep going should NOT be penalized! At least give this a fair fight, and don't believe that the person you spoke to was "right" until you've exhausted all the possibilities! It is hard to get disability now due to the economy - and I think they will tell you anything to put you off. Most people have to fight and apply several times.

So keep trying, don't give up so easily if you really need it! If you only talked to Soc. Sec., you might benefit from talking to several of the disability companies out there. Good luck to you and bless you for hanging in as long as you did!

 

kasbah - April 5

I agree that it is definately worth getting some advice from a disability organisation like DIAL , for example. Also, if you an older person, Age UK often have benefits advisors who can help as do Citizens Advice Bureau. When I was well I worked as a Benefits Advisor for Age Concern and we had to have extensive training in order to be able to help people with the forms so it's not surprising people don't get awarded benefit when the meaning of the questions and the type of answers they need is not made clear! Don't give up. Keep going and get what you are entitled to.

With all good wishes.

All the best, Kasbah

 

bluesbrrd - April 10

"They did however, require me to meet with a Dr to check for cognitive problems."

I went through that testing, too! I was in severe pain on that day, and the memory things really get me. It's like I can do 2 steps in my head, but add a third and my mind goes completely blank! I have difficulty repeating a telephone number back. I have about a thousand "notepad" files on my computer, because I cannot remember sh*t! I ran computer networks and could remember everything and learn new software all the time, but if my computer effs up now I will get easily frustrated! They try to trick you and test you - the psychologist's office was on the second floor, and I could not climb the steps outside, I had to search for an elevator! He took note of that, believe me!

I worked full time for 10 years after I got better the first time. Then I got endometriosis and had surgeries and was in such severe pelvic pain i could no longer work at all. I had long-term disability through my work, which was really lucky for me, because it took me EIGHT YEARS to get SS disability!! I had a private lawyer the first time, and the SS panel just ignored what their own rheumatologist said after examining me!! They made me go through hell, but I did finally prevail.

After the first time, my disability insurer, which had changed hands already, hired ALLSUP, and they were fantastic! I would not recommend a private disability lawyer ever after that. At my hearing the female judge re-instated my disability for all the EIGHT YEARS I had been denied!!

I was so happy - but if I had not had my work disability during those eight years I would have beeen destitute! I will have it until age 65, and they still also put money into my retirement plan. I never knew I would get fibromyalgia at age 31, and become permanently disabled at age 42. Those ten years I did work were incredibly important!

It does not seem right that if you are too sick to have worked for a long time, you are not eligible. I would think you would be more eligible, as you were unable to work! Call up some of the big companies like ALLSUP and check it out before you give up on it. It's quite a learning curve having to figure all this out, especially when you are sick as a dog!

Young people should be PRESSED to start their retirement plans early, and make sure they have long-term disability before something happens to them to make them ineligible for it! I was lucky, because I worked for a non-profit that had really excellent benefits - much better than corporate companies who are always trying to squeeze the last dime out of everything. Benefits can matter more than your paycheck! I could probably have made better money working somewhere else, but since I already had fibro I did not want a job which was too stressful, or had to work overtime. I could work nine hours a day before I crashed, but that limit was set in stone for me. I also kept my condition a secret, and when I did have problems blamed it on my bad back - which was true, just not the whole truth! I always had people around to lift things for me. I had difficulty even carrying a 7-pound laptop up stairs - I worked in a historical brownstone in DC, that had no elevator!

If i had to exist on JUST SS, and did not have my work disability to supplement it, it would be very difficult for me to live by myself. You can't have a decent lifestyle anymore on just one income. I am very careful, because I never know what could happen. I have been living in a hotel, which is crappy, but if I had to be in the hospital or something, I would be able to reduce my rent to a minimal storage fee. You can't do that living in an apartment! I also did not have to buy furniture, which would get expensive if I decideed to move. It's also convenient to have ONE BILL for everything, and not have to worry about changing utility bills, so it's practical. Unfortunately, many smokers have occupied this room before me, and that smoke NEVER goes away. They would have to tear out the rug for it to have any effect at all! I would REALLY like to have my own bed again - that is my DREAM!

I lived in the same apartment for 15 years, and it was way too expensive to move, and pay for storage. I had to let it all go, 20 years of furniture and belongings. But I can't dwell on that. I'm glad that I am feeling better after being so sick last year. Really that's all that matters to me at this point.

Well, I guess I really went off on a tangent - please forgive me!

 

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