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Deciding About Applying For Diability Benefits [pots]


mountain girl
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I have been strugling with pots and the extreme fatique for about a year and a half. I called the social security office to ask about applying for disability, and was told I could not make more than 900 dollars a month for so long before applying. Right now I make more than that and while part of me wants to keep working another part of me feels it just consumes me. I no longer work full time, and my hours per week vary. I am married but we need for me to have some money coming in to help with the bills. Prior to becoming ill, I often worked a part time second job for fun, [or fun money], like to take a special vacation,and as weird as it may sound, I loved working and doing different things. If I did not have a second job, I would work overtime when needed at my regular job. I guess I feel like I need people to know its not that I don't want to work, its just so hard to get through a six or eight hour workday now. I did mention it to one of the doctors I was seeing and she said we needed to continue looking for "a pharmacolgic solution and lifestyle changes." I guess she meant meds and to me lifestyle changes basically means you can't do much. I do believe in the salt and fluids, trying to walk more for exercise and have always been one to get eight hours of sleep a night, which is now more like 10 or 12. Any experiences you have to share or helpful advice? Thanks!

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From what I've discussed and understand - to have a successful disability claim you have to have good, documented medical records and have made an effort to control your symptoms to try to work. At least that's supposed to help. You show you've done all the treatment available for your particular disease and are still too ill to work.

And you can't really be working while filing for disability.

I know what you mean - I have to try to work full-time again and see how it goes. If I can't tolerate that, then part-time. Disability takes a while to get approved (is the average something like 2 years?). And I don't think you can really be working during that time, so it's such a difficult process and position to put people in. I'm sure there's borderline people who can barely work part-time/full-time but have no choice (and can't do anything else/have a life) but can't file for disability because they have earnings.

Good luck whatever you do and hopefully someone here who's applied can walk you through.

I've also heard a good, supportive doctor is helpful, but don't know if that is across the board or more for certain individual cases.

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From what I've discussed and understand - to have a successful disability claim you have to have good, documented medical records and have made an effort to control your symptoms to try to work. At least that's supposed to help. You show you've done all the treatment available for your particular disease and are still too ill to work.

And you can't really be working while filing for disability.

I know what you mean - I have to try to work full-time again and see how it goes. If I can't tolerate that, then part-time. Disability takes a while to get approved (is the average something like 2 years?). And I don't think you can really be working during that time, so it's such a difficult process and position to put people in. I'm sure there's borderline people who can barely work part-time/full-time but have no choice (and can't do anything else/have a life) but can't file for disability because they have earnings.

Good luck whatever you do and hopefully someone here who's applied can walk you through.

I've also heard a good, supportive doctor is helpful, but don't know if that is across the board or more for certain individual cases.

Thanks for the info. I just read another post about Erik I believe and security work. Alot of people on that topic seem to say just keep pushing as long as one can.

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You know your body best, and if you feel your job is taking what little life in you that's left, then you might have to make a decision. It's a hard one, and it took me a year just to decide to file. I worked for 22 years or so, and the last 15 of it was full time. The last three years was mgmt. and I was on salary, and working 50 hours a week. I tried working while sick, and cut my hours down to 40, but soon I was missing work, and finally I crashed so badly that I was bed ridden for a month. I tried to go back to work, but I couldn't handle it. I loved working, but it soon became so difficult that I was losing my positive attitude, and it became a drudgery to go in.

This was in April 2001. My boss demoted me because I couldn't handle the demand my management position had on me. I was working in acct. receivable again and it was horrible working for my replacement who was on a super power trip. I asked my boss to lay me off, then he told me I could write my own pick slip and put whatever I wanted on it, as I've always been a good employee. It wasn't his decision to demote me, it was regional VP. At one point high levels of lead showed up in my urine, so they wanted me out of there because I always complained of the chemical fumes that came through the vents in the front office. they were afriad of a law suit------------ :) .

My GM understood my situation. I went back to school in late 2002 after cervical spine surgery. Then after finishing in 2003 I applied for jobs, but all wanted full time. I knew I could only handle part time. Finally when it became too difficult to go to the interviews I knew it was time to file. I was having more problems with my spine on top of my POTs issues. Then I ended up getting diagnosed with EDS, and continued to have problems related to that, and more musculoskeletal problems. I filed in Sept. of 2004 and I was finally awarded my disability benefits is July 2007. My husband and I squeaked by financially-----it was hard, but we held it together. With all of us working together it worked out.

If you decide to file, make sure you have good supportive doctors, and if you need an attorney-----still followup on the medical records making sure everything is making it toSSDI. Nothing got by me, so if it was missed somewhere else I was there to make sure it was received by the appropriate people in the SSDI office.

Don't let anyone pressure you into working if you can't handle it. Your body will betray you more if you push to hard. I didn't want to end up fully incapacitated and have nothing left in me for my family. It's absolutely your own business-----it's a very difficult decision.

Good luck to you-----------------please don't work too hard. If you decide to continue working, I hope you have a good boss who's willing to work with you, and who's also understanding on your bad days.

Take Care,

Maxine :0)

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As soon as I realized I could no longer work my FT job, which I loved, I filed for disability...I wasn't sure I really would need it, but considered it a safety net if I couldn't make it back to work for a couple of years or more. If you decide to file, the sooner the better. I filed in August of 2007, and was approved by a judge in June, 2009. It does take approximately 2 years if you need to go to court. Federal disability almost always turns you down twice - you appeal the first time, and if you're turned down the second, you or your lawyer appeals and you wait for a court date. I really believe it's worth it to get a lawyer, even though they can take up to 25% of your backpay, which can be substantial.

I had long-term disability to help cover that time period, though. It kicked in at 66% of my old salary at 6 months. This is also where I got my health insurance, after 6 months of being on COBRA. Now that I have federal, I'll have MediCare starting December 1, which will be a big savings for us.

I decided that the very limited amount of energy I do have was best spent with family. My life had become just barely making it to work, coming back home, eating something, and falling into bed. It just wasn't worth it to me...

I'm sure you'll make the best decision for you. Please PM or email me if you'd like if you have more questions. Take care.

Cheers,

Jana

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It took me a year to realize that I could no longer work enough hours to pay the bills. I tried and tried, but failed each time. I finally put my pride aside and talked to a lawyer. I've heard if you put in a claim, 95% of them are declined right off the bat just so they can weed out the people that aren't going to fight for it. I didn't even have the energy to fight the SS dept. so went straight to the lawyer. You can get up to 18 months in back pay, but you can only be making so much ($400/mo). I don't know how they expect anyone to live on that!!

Anyway, if you think you want to file, don't wait like I did! Do it now. Get it started, cuz yes, it is a long process. I started my claim in March of this year and I've been working on it since. The last I heard it would still be 3-5 months before I will know anything and that was about 3 weeks ago. I think I have a pretty good shot, but who knows! If declined, I will press on because I have no other options!

Bottom line, don't wait! I waited too long and now my family is suffering because we can't pay the bills anymore. We've ran out of any extras we had and then some. I'm not trying to discourage you, but to incourage you to fight!!! No one will do it for you and you have every right to get help!! I think that's why I waited so long. I felt like I can do it, I'll get better, no one needs to help me!! Truth is... I did (DO) need help!

Good luck!

Hollie

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Hollie is right - you should get started right away if that's what you decide to do. Just an FYI: The amount of money you can make ($400, for example, that Hollie quoted) varies between each individual case. Also, the amount of money you receive also varies depending on how much you have contributed to SSI in your past jobs. The average amount one receives when approved is about $1100 a month, and then you get Medicare for a very low price along with it, if you need the medical coverage.

I don't work at all right now, but I could make up to about $800 a month and still receive SSI benefits for a limited amount of time (the 'Back to Work' program). Also, you do get a lump sum of back pay monies when you are approved. This amount can be significant, although if you have a lawyer - which I highly recommend - they take 25% of that money out to pay him/her.

I agree with Hollie - file as soon as possible, you can always back out if you need to.

Good luck,

Jana

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