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Denied Disability And Very Depressed-Please Help With Appeal


ItsMe
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Hi all!

I wont get into my big sob story but I will tell you I've been unable to work for 5 yrs now thanks to POTS.

I applied for disability and after 4 months of waiting got my rejection letter last week.

It hit me very hard as my husband and I are horribly in debt because we've had to live off our credit card for years now because his paycheck just isn't enough but I cannot work. Most days I do well to get out of bed or off the couch as I know most of you know exactly what I'm talking about. :(

Anyway I haven't appealed yet, I really don't know what to do about the appeal.

I wanted to see if you guys could help me if you've been there and have any tips for me?

Also, what are the chances of being accepted once you appeal?

It's honestly like they don't read any of the things you send them... my denial letter was strange as it said I should still be able to work as a cashier with POTS-a cashier was my very first job years ago. Since then I had 2 other jobs my most recent was where I worked for a few years as an accountant.

Also they added knee problems to my claim which I never added. I have a bad knee but never once claimed it as part of my disability, even though it does keep me from doing certain tasks.

They just pulled that from my most recent dr visit I guess where I had it x-rayed.

Anyway it's just like they just do not care at all and don't read anything. It's so frustrating!

I need this disability so desperately but am honestly giving up all hope... this is not helping my depression at all as I know so many of you are going through it too.

I just feel so hopeless and helpless and that my entire life in all aspects has been stripped from me as well as my husband.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to go off on that. I've just been in such a dark place lately especially and this denial letter has not helped one bit. :(

So anyway if you guys could help me at all I'd sure appreciate it! THANKS! :)

(oh and I do not have a laywer)

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Have you tried finding to find an attorney who will work on a contingency fee basis? They would get a percentage of whatever you get. I reached out to an attorney about this last year and he said I might be able to get retroactive payments from the time I became ill. So in your case, 5 years worth of disability. In the end I was not able to pursue it because my husband's income is too high, so I was advised not to pursue it because they look at all of your assets and I would be denied. I feel like it's kind of unfair because we aren't exactly rich over here and if I was able to work, I would be able to contribute to the household bills. Since I can't work I feel sort of entitled - maybe it's wrong, but I feel so bad that I can't contribute financially at all. We are struggling. Anyway, enough about me -- maybe you should think about reaching out to a Social Security Disability attorney?

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from what I understand, most everyone is denied the first or sometimes the first and second times. I don't plan on getting my lawyer involved until my 1st denial.

there is a woman on another forum who has spreadsheets, sample letters etc to help in the process

http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=32

((hugs))

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at this point in time, you need to get an attorney. I am waiting to hear back from my appeal. They do all the work for you and you have a better chance at winning your case.

please try not to get too upset, most people are denied the first time. My dad has spinal stenosis and had a denial the first time, and an approval the second time. It took a full year, but in truth, that is pretty short amount of time.

Good luck and get the attorney as soon as you can. You should not have to pay a penny out of pocket until your case is won.

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I am working with a lawyer at this time to get disability. In regards to the person who posted her husband has too high of an income level in order to receive benefits, my lawyer has never discussed this issue with us. They have never asked once what my husband does, nor his income, nor how much we have in assets, I don't understand why this was an issue for you when it doesn't seem to be an issue for us.

Maggie

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I know how you feel, I have not been able to work since 2008 and am in the process of trying to contest my appeal for LTD, which was denied. It is so hard to fight this when we are so sick. I have not had a lawyer up to this point, because I was also told that almost everyone is denied at first - my union is looking into whether one of their lawyers will help, but if not I have pretty much resigned myself to trying to find one who will work on contingency.

We have also had to borrow a lot from the bank over the last few years, with the expectation of being able to repay it once disability was approved. Friends and family members keep saying "well since you're this sick you must be eligible for disability" (and I would have thought that myself when I was still healthier). People don't realize how punitive these systems are, how hard it is to apply with a rare disease, and how exhausting the whole process is. Doctors keep telling me that with H POTS I have to minimize stress in my life - I wish they would tell that to the LTD people.

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Hang in there and get that attorney! I read on tips to getting approved that you should continue going to your doctors during the process and ask your doctors to document the reasons why you can not do a job even if sitting. I called one and he gave me some nice tips as well and told me to call him if I get denied. Perhaps one near you could give you some answers and make you feel better about all this.

Hang in there,

Jared

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I just wanted to add like others have said that most people get turned down the first time..I got really hurt the first time I was turned down. I didn't have a lawyer though, I just reapplied. I'm not sure if my situation was different though. This was a while ago too so I don't remember most of the details. But my point is don't get upset about getting turned down it happens to everyone.

Edited by Rachel
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Yeah, unfortunately true--first application gets a rejection. I received my SSD in 1997 and this is how it went: 1)Rejection. 2)Hired a SOCIAL SECURITY DISABLILITY LAWYER. I can't emphasize this enough. They didn't charge a percentage in those days, but charged a federally stated amount of $2000. Since I had $80,000 coming, it wasn't a big deal. I had to go before a judge--also not a big deal. I wouldn't waste my time with a regular lawyer. Most Social Security lawyers advertise as such. Ask what their success rates are and go from there. Good luck!

PS--The $2000 was paid after the award was granted. No bills from the lawyer before we won the SSD. If a Social Security lawyer isn't willing to take you on as a client, chances are he doesn't think he/she'll win.

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Maggie- someone was kind enough to PM me about this too. Now I am wondering if I have bad information. I contacted Social Security last year to inquire about disability. They told me that since I have not worked since 2001, I do not qualify for it. I guess you have to apply within so many years of your last job? I had no idea what was wrong with me for so many years and really just felt too sick to go through the process anyway. How could I apply with no diagnosis? Anyway, then she looked at another type of disability and said I couldn't get it because of my husband's income. I think the difference is between SSI and SSDI - neither of which I can get apparently? I dunno, it's confusing. Then I contacted an attorney and he told me the same thing. If anyone knows any different please let me know.

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I did get an approval on the 1st try. For those of you hesitant to even apply or waiting to find out the 1st response there is a chance. I waited over a year after my diagnosis to apply because I had heard so many rejection stories. I did seek the advice of a lawyer friend prior to applying the 1st time and he was extremely helpful. I also understand the frustrations with doctors when it seems like they aren't taking your symptoms seriously the temptation is to give up on doctors all together and stop seeking help. That's always an option but that's also when your documentation of your symptoms ends as well. The lawyer really had me prepared to have to appeal, my young age (38) he told me would work against my chances. I was shocked and relieved when I got the approval letter. I just wanted to share for those who are hesitant like I was in the beginning. For those of you fighting the system right now I wish you all well and hope you find someone who can help!

Brye

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I want to say THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for the kind replies! Every thing helps at this point as I am clueless.

For 5 years I didn't know what was wrong with me, I thought it was my heart. Doctors weren't much help at all. I finally changed to a new family physician after my last big passing out episode and she sent me to a specialist at the end of 2010 and I was finally diagnosed.

The problem is the specialist isn't very helpful... He doesn't know much about POTS unfortunately and seems to think that most of my POTS symptoms aren't POTS related!

His office is unwilling to help with disability proceedings too.

I really don't want to go back to him and don't want to go to someone else either because drugs only make me worse and that's all they know to do. :(

Also I have to have my husband ask off for work as he has to take me everywhere I go as I cannot drive and cannot be alone with my condition.

My husband and I have no assets, we have 2 old cars and live in an old trailer that we are still making payments on (purchased used 10 years ago) and we do not even own the land it is on.

We had hopes that it would be a temporary dwelling but with my illness and all the debt we've piled up because of it it seems that this is the only "shelter" we'll ever have.

Unless by some miracle I actually get disability and we can get out of debt and hopefully out of this dump! This is certainly not the life I dreamed of for us. I just grow more and more thankful that we don't have children in all of this mess with us.

All my health problems from POTS, all our financial woes, our "house" falling apart around us, knowing that if it weren't for my illness we wouldn't be in this he||, etc, it's all just too much on me and I really don't know how much "fight" I have in me at all anymore. I'm so stressed out, depressed, and broken and have been for a few years now after all this started. It just keeps getting worse though and now with my health not ever improving and now with all this disability stress, well it's not helping.

I can definitely tell it's all making my POTS so much worse too. I wish stress wasn't so closely tied in with POTS but you can sure feel it that it definitely is! :(

Anyway, I'm not sure what to do. I wouldn't know where to begin looking for a lawyer. I see one advertised on TV who specializes in disability but I'm kinda leery of TV lawyers because my parents selected TV lawyers for some horrible insurance ordeal they were going through and they were HORRIBLE!

How much do lawyers usually take of what disability gives you?

Do they get your medical records and all other files from the disability office?

I'm worried about the 60 day deadline too, I know how lawyers drag their feet and it's already been a week since I received my letter.

I'm just so overwhelmed and stressed out over this mess... I don't know where to begin. I just don't know if I have it in me either. :(

Thanks again! I'm so sorry for my pity party, it just gets harder and harder to hide my depression these days like I used to be able to do...

I am so sorry for all of your struggles as well as I know everyone here suffers. :(

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I know you're stressed--lots of us have been where you are now. Go to the Yellow Pages and look under "lawyers". There should be a few that say they specialize in Social Security Disability. The law forbids them from charging you outrageous fees. In 1997 all they could charge was $2000 max. The fee will be taken out of the award. They will do all the paper filing and fill out most of the forms. They will need you to sign releases for and or provide them with your medical records. They'll let you know when (or if) you need to appear before a judge. They'll go with you to the "court" hearing. They'll also tell you whether or not you have a case. They probably won't take you on as a client if they don't think you'll be successful as they wouldn't get paid. It's hard to get started. The sooner you do this the faster you may get some financial help.

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Naomi,

I don't know where you getting this information, but I haven't worked in years and the lawyers still are working on my case. It doesn't seem to matter as long as you have worked for five years. I just made it under the bar working for my husband's business for five years and a few months. I would seek another lawyer if I were you. I haven't hit any of the road blocks that you seem to be running into.

Maggie

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From what I've heard, and personally experienced, almost everyone is rejected on their first and second try. I got my attorney and we went to court (most don't collect any fees until you've been paid and get your back benefits. The government takes this out of your back benefits for you, and sends you the rest - usually 25%), and I was approved that day in court. So, don't be surprised if you end up having to go to court with this. You MUST find a doctor who is willing to work with you on this and do documentation. I forget now if you have insurance, but Mayo Clinic and some of the other major clinics that work with POTS will work with you on a payment plan.

My heart goes out to you - I've been there, as have many of us here. I'm sending you strength and positive energy. Keep fighting! They want you to give up....

Best wishes,

Jana

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Thanks a lot for the additional replies, every single one helps! :)

I am wondering, will I HAVE to go to more doctor's appointments?

I do have insurance but it's still $30 per visit plus parking and that really adds up quick plus they can't do anything for me. I do not want to take their drugs they offer because they make things worse for me.

It would just be a waste of time (especially for my husband who would have to take off work each time) and money to go to doctors.

I've already gone and been diagnosed and my family physician has this documented as well as the heart specialist I went to.

Also, lawyers take 25% of your back back? That's quite a large chunk of it huh? :(

Does having a lawyer greatly increase your chances of winning or are you just about as likely to get it on your own?

Thanks again!

ps. I just came across this info on the net, unfortunately I live in TN. :(

"Residents of Tennessee who are thinking of applying for social security disability (SSD) or supplemental security income, a.k.a. SSI benefits should take some time to consider at what point, if any, they will consult with a disability lawyer. Only about a fourth of all disability applications filed with the Tennessee disability determination services agency are approved for benefits their first time through the system. The vast majority of applicants are denied disability benefits even if they meet the most basic social security disability requirements, not only upon initial application, but also upon appeal (this first appeal is often referred to as a request for reconsideration). If fact, only 7.9 % of disability appeals filed in Tennessee each year are successful—this grim statistic is well below the national average."

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Ignore the negativity - set your sites on your goals - map out a plan and go with it ~ no one is helped by reading and taking heed from nay-sayers... Things can change in an instant - this we all know. As you know - you need positive things and a sense of control in your situation - so set short term and long term goals - believe in yourself and take steps toward achieving your goals.... Getting information is important for sure - but you need to filter what comes in ... grab the good and dump the negative ~ no one usually will win with a bad or sad attitude ~ yes it's understandable with all the suffering people endure - but the fact remains that nothing is carved in stone - situations do change - people conquer difficult situations daily - this is no reflection on you as a person - this situation - but simply a difficult window to deal with and figure out. Look for the blessings in each day - because they are there ... don't ever give up ~ check off your goals - writing them down can be helpful sometimes... The people here are all rooting for you - you need to root for you too... You are an amazingly strong person who has much to offer and give to the world - might not be what you originally planned or hoped for - but it is your life - take good care of yourself ~ tackling small little daily goals add up to big gains and is a stress reducer...kindest wishes to you.

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What helps with disability, is make a daily log of everything how you feel, when you take your medicine sounds complicated to do if you aren't feeling good but always put medicine compliant. at the end. Your sleeping EVERYTHING. Tell your doctors you would like to make this apart of your medical records and give it to them. when Disability looks at it. They will approve you because it's part of medical record even tho it was done by you. The log in fact shows that you are disabled. Also the second approach which also works is get it on mental. The log is still easier.

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Naomi says, "In the end I was not able to pursue it because my husband's income is too high, so I was advised not to pursue it because they look at all of your assets and I would be denied".

I don't think this is true.

My dad's income is high, he owns 2 houses, and 40 acres he rents to a farmer... and my mom had gotten approved for disability.

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Northerndarlene - I PM'd you back, but let me just put it out there in case it helps anyone else. I waited too long before trying to apply for SSDI. I have not worked in over ten years. They require that you have worked 5 out of the last 10 years or within the last 5 years (something like that). I had no diagnosis until 2007, which is part of the reason I couldn't really pursue it. What would I have told them? I am disabled, but I don't know what the heck I have. I also kept hoping that whatever it was would GO AWAY. Once SSDI was ruled out as a option, the Social Security lady mentioned SSI. This is the one where your spouse's income counts. So I can't get that one. So the lesson I guess is -- don't wait to apply.

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Naomi:

You really need a lawyer to help. You've gotten such great advice I really have nothing to add but hope you find some help soon! I'll be thinking of you!

Brye

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Good advice - not waiting to apply. I was told right after I had to quit working to apply ASAP, as the process takes a long time and you're better off being in the process and ending up not needing it then to have to apply later when you're really in dire need!

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