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Successful Disability Hearing


ACB
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I haven't posted much in a while. In the past, I've written a bit about my experience with the Levine protocol. No, I'm not one of the POTSies who got better and left the board. I just lurk, mostly. ;)

Just wanted to write a post to let people know that I was approved by a judge yesterday for SSDI benefits. Yay!

My disability onset was June 2010. I applied for SSDI in Mar 2011 and was denied. I appealed later last spring and was denied again. Last summer, I acquired a legal rep to help with my second appeal. We finally had the hearing yesterday and the decision was in my favor.

In addition to the judge and my legal rep, my husband was there, as well as a "medical expert" and a "vocational expert." The ME did a pretty good job of providing a basic description of POTS and stated that, while it did not "meet the listing" for arrhythmia, it did equal it.

The other thing about my denials was that the SSA said I wasn't actually disabled before Sept 2010, which was when my disability points (or whatever they're called) ran out. I am 34 years old and went to college and grad school, then worked, and then quit working three years ago when my son was born, so I don't have a TON of work credits. Apparently, they expired at the end of Sept 2010, so part of the hearing was to determine whether I was actually disabled before that date. I love that a ME had to read aloud the paperwork I submitted over a year ago in order for that to be determined. But, whatever. I'm so relieved to be finished with this hurdle and that my family can all relax a little money-wise now.

Thank you to everyone here who has contributed information about applying for SSDI/SSI. I've read so many posts here and have certainly benefited from the info shared.

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Hi ACB,

I am so glad to hear you are approved! That has to be a weight off your shoulders. I am going to be having a hearing at some point. If you don't mind me asking, what kind of day were you having physically? My biggest fear is that I'll be having one of those moments where I look like a perfectly healthy functioning individual at the time of my hearing. I have an attorney so I'm not concerned about being prepared from a paperwork/expertise standpoint.

Thanks for any more info you can give.

Katie

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Katie,

I was having a mixed day, with some bad symptoms occurring during the hearing. Not that it made a difference. I was a bit worried that I'd be having a "good" day and not "look sick," but it doesn't seem that it would've made a difference based on my hearing.

The ME was phoning in his participation through the tv (something like Skype, but w/o a picture). I have pretty bad problems with sound sensitivity at times and, man, his voice over the TV was a big trigger. Shortly after he started talking, I started having dyspnea, then tachypnea, then presyncope all while sitting still with no other stimuli in the room. The judge, VE, and of course the ME did not even see this happening. Haha. The judge and VE were busy writing/listening. I was panting like a freaking dog and my husband and legal rep kept looking over to check on me.

I was so out it by the end of the ME's talking and the hearing lasted about 1.5 minutes longer...just long enough for the VE to say a few things to the judge and for the judge to say, "Hearing adjourned. Thank you all." And, for me to think, "What the what?!? I have no idea what just happened. Where are we? Who am I." Haha.

I wish you the best with your upcoming hearing. If you're able to take someone in addition to your legal rep for support, I highly suggest it. I was so glad to have my husband there.

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Good for you! and thanks for sharing this. I have a similar situation - denied because I applied too late. I just turned in my appeal packet today and really hope I get approved. The whole process is just depressing and tiring. It's good to hear a success story! How did you get the medical and vocational experts?

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same question ^ where did the experts come from?

my current doc thinks my POTS is from deconditioning, so i'm not sure i would be successful with SSDI.

CONGRATULATIONS on getting it. that's awesome.

does anyone know what happens if you happen to be on a disability claim from an insurance company?

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Naomi and Anoj, the VE and ME were both requested by the judge. I was fairly worried that the ME would not have a good understanding of POTS, as he is an internist who works as an "expert" in court hearings. However, he just gave a basic description of POTS as an autonomic nervous system problem and stated that the tachycardia involved would "equal" the listing for arrhythmia. So, that was good. But, yeah, the experts were there because the judge wanted them there to inform her decision. Smart move with such a weird case.

dani, it took a LONG time to get the hearing date. I live in OK and was told by my legal rep to expect roughly 7 months for the hearing. Turned out to be 10 months. It gets better. Now that the judge has ruled in favor, it can take a YEAR for her to write the ruling and get it to the SSA. WHAT?!?

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yay!!! Glad to hear that :) I was too denied but mom can't afford a lawyer to help apeal that case so we are not gona appeal it sadly :( But I am very happy for you I am sure its gona help you help a lot! I know the financial burder it can put on families being the kid in the family and watching my mom struggle to pay bills. Soo Very Very Happy for you :)

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Happy to hear you were approved, this is encouraging as I am waiting for my hearing sometime this fall. How long before you think you'll start to receive payments?

Potsgirl93, not sure what your situation is, but as far as my knowledge the attorney's do not charge anything up front to appeal disability its all based on whether the case is won or not so definately worth checking into,

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Yes, Potsgirl93, bellajulz is right. Lawyers are not allowed to charge clients for disability cases. Instead, if your case wins, the lawyer takes 20% of your back pay. If your case loses, they take nothing. So, really, finance-wise, it is totally worth it to get a lawyer. I bet you could do some internet searches for a good SSA lawyer in your area. I hope this info can help you and your family.

bellajulz, I'm wondering the same thing! Apparently, the particular judge I had sometimes takes up to a year to write her letter of approval to the SSA. I'm guessing it could be a year or more before I receive any benefits. Good times. Best wishes with your upcoming hearing!

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momdi

Is Micheal a minor?If so disability operates on a diffeent system than adults...the process goes quicker. Yes I am from AZ and applied here. The first two appeals took about 5 to 6 months each. My lawyer then told me it would be minimum 12 months until my hearing.

Sorry for taking ove r your thread ! :)

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Dani,

Michael is 29 years old, ill since age 8, diagnosed at age 16. We are applying for disabled child benefits (disabled before age 22, if I remember correctly), although they are also considering benefits on his own. I don't know how, since he doesn't have much of a work record - a few months here and there. My understanding is that the decision affects both circumstances.

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Hey Guys. Yes I found a lawyer that said exactly what you guys said. He doesnt charge unless I win but only then does he take 20% I tried to tell my mom but she doesn't even want to pay the 20% its hard when your still a teen being only 18 (well a young adult lol) so I still have to rely on my mom and such.

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