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StayAtHomeMom

Claiming disability

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I agree with Pistol. That sounds like a job that would be very difficult to do. My job is office work and even I have issues with just that. I could not imagine doing any physical demanding work. 

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The thing to remember about disability is that it's intended for someone who can't hold down a full time job for more than 6 months (due to illness/disability). That you're working part time might make that difficult... but this is my advice:

1. Get all your medical charts if you can. You'll need all your doctors' names and any ER visits and inpatient stays you've had since your symptoms began (not just since diagnosis)

2. If you have any mental/emotional issues and don't already see a psychologist, get in to see one for diagnosis before filing if you can

3. When filling out the forms, don't just put your symptoms on your best or even moderate days, ALWAYS list also your symptoms on your worst days (chronic illness means you will most likely have good days, but also bad... your good days do not negate your bad days, and your bad days are the ones most likely to make you lose your job or be unemployable)

4. List every possible way that your symptoms effect your daily life - not just work but at home too --- everything from needing surfaces to grasp in case of a fall to if you have a hard time remembering things or making healthy meals

The more information you have, the better, and the further back you can track your symptoms through paperwork the better.

 

Please remember that disability doesn't mean you're giving up. I have been on SSI for about 4 years now and have just started getting back to work in the last year. I had lost my job not long before applying, but I now work part time and hoping that treatment will allow me to do more.

There is nothing wrong with taking the assistance if you can get it, even if your hope is to get off of it. Once you're on it there's even more resources you can access to help you find employment too (like vocational rehab which can help you get training as well as find employment). If all you need is it to get you through tough times and give you the support you need to improve your health and get the things you need, I'd say it's still worth it.

I'd at least apply... the worst they can do is deny you.

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@kafie - I applaud you to point out that SSDI does not mean the end of your working life. To many of us  - I am also on SSDI - it seems to be a death sentence. But if we improve ( and many do ) we can go back into the work force!!!! 

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5 hours ago, kafie said:

The thing to remember about disability is that it's intended for someone who can't hold down a full time job for more than 6 months (due to illness/disability). That you're working part time might make that difficult... but this is my advice:

1. Get all your medical charts if you can. You'll need all your doctors' names and any ER visits and inpatient stays you've had since your symptoms began (not just since diagnosis)

2. If you have any mental/emotional issues and don't already see a psychologist, get in to see one for diagnosis before filing if you can

3. When filling out the forms, don't just put your symptoms on your best or even moderate days, ALWAYS list also your symptoms on your worst days (chronic illness means you will most likely have good days, but also bad... your good days do not negate your bad days, and your bad days are the ones most likely to make you lose your job or be unemployable)

4. List every possible way that your symptoms effect your daily life - not just work but at home too --- everything from needing surfaces to grasp in case of a fall to if you have a hard time remembering things or making healthy meals

The more information you have, the better, and the further back you can track your symptoms through paperwork the better.

 

Please remember that disability doesn't mean you're giving up. I have been on SSDI for about 4 years now and have just started getting back to work in the last year. I had lost my job not long before applying, but I now work part time and hoping that treatment will allow me to do more.

There is nothing wrong with taking the assistance if you can get it, even if your hope is to get off of it. Once you're on it there's even more resources you can access to help you find employment too (like vocational rehab which can help you get training as well as find employment). If all you need is it to get you through tough times and give you the support you need to improve your health and get the things you need, I'd say it's still worth it.

I'd at least apply... the worst they can do is deny you.

Number 2 is the thing I think that would help me get my disability. I have suspected ADD and OCD. Couple that with POTS and it should be enough...maybe. I am working on my underlying cause again and in theory if it is what I think it is (type of skeletal autoimmune) then it should make it a perfect case. I can't sit too long, or stand too long, I may have to leave or call off at a moments notice. That sort of thing I am pretty sure would qualify me. 

I kind of feel like listing all of my bad day issues makes me feel like I am exaggerating. Because of the fact it is not like that all of the time. 

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@StayAtHomeMom - when I had to first file for SSDI I had no diagnosis other than seizures and POTS. That is why I kept getting denied.  Only once I had the hearing with the administrative law judge did I get approved because I was able to explain how these symptoms made it impossible for me to work despite my employer doing everything possible to accommodate me. There was a vocational specialist present who is supposed to recommend other jobs that people can do with disabilities but she said there was nothing at all I was able to do. So - I am not sure if you need a diagnosis of psychological as long as you can prove that you cannot work due to POTS.  But you will have to get records of all your appointments and show that you are not improving despite treatment.  

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1 hour ago, Pistol said:

@StayAtHomeMom - when I had to first file for SSDI I had no diagnosis other than seizures and POTS. That is why I kept getting denied.  Only once I had the hearing with the administrative law judge did I get approved because I was able to explain how these symptoms made it impossible for me to work despite my employer doing everything possible to accommodate me. There was a vocational specialist present who is supposed to recommend other jobs that people can do with disabilities but she said there was nothing at all I was able to do. So - I am not sure if you need a diagnosis of psychological as long as you can prove that you cannot work due to POTS.  But you will have to get records of all your appointments and show that you are not improving despite treatment.  

That is what my sister in law had to do to get hers. But I am hoping if I have everything documented I won't have to go through the long process. 

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@StayAtHomeMom - I had all documentation, witness statements, doctors affidavits, ER and hospital records, tons of medical proof … but they did not approve it until the hearing. My brother-in-law has a very bad back injury that prevents him from working, he has all the MRI and medical proof as well as doctor's recommendations for him not to work - it took him over 3 years and 2 lawyers to get approved. I just want you to be aware that it is not an easy route to take. 

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On ‎8‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 4:00 AM, Pistol said:

When you get to the point that you are not able to make it through a 3 hour shift then it is either time to get your meds reevaluated or you would be better off quitting. I pushed myself for too long with my work and that made things much worse. Granted - janitorial work involves a lot of standing, bending, lifting, reaching - all activities that are difficult for POTS patients. 

I do not bend much because of bad leg. I get really messed up when I have to bend down and replace the soap dispensers in the sinks lol. If my boss only saw me gimping around the job site. I do not even have a doctor to back me for disability. All docs say to go back to driving trucks because it is a sit down job even though they know sitting cramped up in a truck will cause more blood clots. I need a doc to actually help me but do not have it and do not have the money to wait many years for SSDI. So, I push myself for now until it becomes so bad I can win the case outright. It's just a matter of time. I make 580 a month working and will make 850 on disability. I get help for food for another 200 a month, so it's like I'm on disability now and did not have to fight tooth and nail for it. My leg will get ulcers eventually the vascular doc said, standing on it a lot is just speeding up the process then I will qualify out right. I am still so mad from the judge treating me like a malingerer that I don't want to see SSDI again for a while. 

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9 minutes ago, blizzard2014 said:

I do not bend much because of bad leg. I get really messed up when I have to bend down and replace the soap dispensers in the sinks lol. If my boss only saw me gimping around the job site. I do not even have a doctor to back me for disability. All docs say to go back to driving trucks because it is a sit down job even though they know sitting cramped up in a truck will cause more blood clots. I need a doc to actually help me but do not have it and do not have the money to wait many years for SSDI. So, I push myself for now until it becomes so bad I can win the case outright. It's just a matter of time. I make 580 a month working and will make 850 on disability. I get help for food for another 200 a month, so it's like I'm on disability now and did not have to fight tooth and nail for it. My leg will get ulcers eventually the vascular doc said, standing on it a lot is just speeding up the process then I will qualify out right. I am still so mad from the judge treating me like a malingerer that I don't want to see SSDI again for a while. 

I have heard the judge can make a difference and even have a lawyer does too. 

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6 hours ago, Pistol said:

@StayAtHomeMom - I had all documentation, witness statements, doctors affidavits, ER and hospital records, tons of medical proof … but they did not approve it until the hearing. My brother-in-law has a very bad back injury that prevents him from working, he has all the MRI and medical proof as well as doctor's recommendations for him not to work - it took him over 3 years and 2 lawyers to get approved. I just want you to be aware that it is not an easy route to take. 

And that is why I think I need to have a diagnosis for many things, not just one. From my understanding there is a "little blue book" that has the approval for certain conditions. If you are in there then it is easy. If not then you have the prove that you are disabled. 

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Just now, StayAtHomeMom said:

And that is why I think I need to have a diagnosis for many things, not just one. From my understanding there is a "little blue book" that has the approval for certain conditions. If you are in there then it is easy. If not then you have the prove that you are disabled. 

Yeah meeting a blue book listing outright qualifies you instantly. Like having a FEV1 of 30 or less or something like that. If you have that proven on a documented pulmonary function test and then on the one the SSA sends you too, you qualify. The numbers can't be argued with. Same thing if you have pulmonary hypertension and are a certain number on the pressures like 35 or higher. Objective numbers in a certain range qualify you outright. You don't even need a judge hearing. I am close on the DLCO, but not completely there yet.

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@blizzard2014, @StayAtHomeMom - you can always contact a disability law firm, they will review your case for free and only take you on when they think they can get you approved. And then you only owe money if you get approved and that will come out of you lump sum. Even if it takes a long time to get approved ( 2 years is common ) you will get backpay from the day you first applied and they take the lawyer fee out of it automatically. Blizzard - I am sorry you have to struggle so much but I believe you are a good case for SSDI because you cannot work standing, bending or sitting! The sooner you apply the better - in my opinion. I wish you both best of luck!!!!

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On ‎8‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 3:08 AM, Pistol said:

@blizzard2014, @StayAtHomeMom - you can always contact a disability law firm, they will review your case for free and only take you on when they think they can get you approved. And then you only owe money if you get approved and that will come out of you lump sum. Even if it takes a long time to get approved ( 2 years is common ) you will get backpay from the day you first applied and they take the lawyer fee out of it automatically. Blizzard - I am sorry you have to struggle so much but I believe you are a good case for SSDI because you cannot work standing, bending or sitting! The sooner you apply the better - in my opinion. I wish you both best of luck!!!!

If I can only get my doc's to document stuff. It hurts just as much to stand up for me as it does to sit in a chair with both legs touching the floor. I spend all day with my right leg elevated on a cushion to prevent pain. Even then, some days,  like today, it is painful just elevating it ang painful enough that the leg cannot get comfortable laying in bed. I had to double up on pain meds in order to numb the leg enough to tolerate the discomfort. But all my docs still insist that I can drive a semi-truck despite me explaining to them how messes up I am. One doc says it's just a minor annoyance. I don't really know who to turn to and all of my doctor notes are inaccurate saying I am working again and doing this again, things I never even said. They need a place where you go for a few days and they simple evaluate what you can do and then determine if you are disabled. I have full range of motion in my leg, but cannot climb with it or use it much. But no one asks or tests for that. They just test leg strength by testing range of motion. But my leg cannot carry me up the stairs. I'm just frustrated with this whole system here in the states. 

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8 hours ago, blizzard2014 said:

If I can only get my doc's to document stuff. It hurts just as much to stand up for me as it does to sit in a chair with both legs touching the floor. I spend all day with my right leg elevated on a cushion to prevent pain. Even then, some days,  like today, it is painful just elevating it ang painful enough that the leg cannot get comfortable laying in bed. I had to double up on pain meds in order to numb the leg enough to tolerate the discomfort. But all my docs still insist that I can drive a semi-truck despite me explaining to them how messes up I am. One doc says it's just a minor annoyance. I don't really know who to turn to and all of my doctor notes are inaccurate saying I am working again and doing this again, things I never even said. They need a place where you go for a few days and they simple evaluate what you can do and then determine if you are disabled. I have full range of motion in my leg, but cannot climb with it or use it much. But no one asks or tests for that. They just test leg strength by testing range of motion. But my leg cannot carry me up the stairs. I'm just frustrated with this whole system here in the states. 

At my job we do the DOT medical examiner's certificate for companies and employees. Our PA has every patient do a series of exercises to see if they are mobile. Including standing on one leg for so many seconds and squats. I think each doctor may be different though. I can't see you being able to pass in order for you to have your CDL medical certificate. 

That being said, sometimes changing a doctor can help. It kind of seems like some doctors don't have have time for their patients and shrug them off. I usually give a doctor a few chances then if I notice they aren't giving me their full attention or at least act like they care what is happening and try to fix it then I replace them. Doctors forget sometimes, but they work for the patient. Not the other way around. Whether it is our insurance or cash that pays them it is still our money. You wouldn't keep a plumber around if he didn't fix what you called him for. 

I hope you feel better soon. You seem to have had a lot going on. 

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I agree. A doctor change should be considered. Some have personal biases and do not agree with the disability system. It shows in their assessments. I had one of those. Emphasis on HAD. You don't have to leave the current one until you try out a new one, but it doesn't sound like you have much to lose. To be honest, I would hate to know you were driving a truck on the road with me. There is a lot of risk here. 

Sometimes you have to fight the system and it stinks you have to do it while you are fighting a chronic illness. I hope you find a more engaged doctor. Good luck!

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8 hours ago, StayAtHomeMom said:

At my job we do the DOT medical examiner's certificate for companies and employees. Our PA has every patient do a series of exercises to see if they are mobile. Including standing on one leg for so many seconds and squats. I think each doctor may be different though. I can't see you being able to pass in order for you to have your CDL medical certificate. 

That being said, sometimes changing a doctor can help. It kind of seems like some doctors don't have have time for their patients and shrug them off. I usually give a doctor a few chances then if I notice they aren't giving me their full attention or at least act like they care what is happening and try to fix it then I replace them. Doctors forget sometimes, but they work for the patient. Not the other way around. Whether it is our insurance or cash that pays them it is still our money. You wouldn't keep a plumber around if he didn't fix what you called him for. 

I hope you feel better soon. You seem to have had a lot going on. 

Exactly. Actually it is very hard to get a DOT renewed if you use Insulin. Forget about it if you are on pain medications. I would have to lie about all of my conditions to get a Medical card. I have been to two other doctors and they both were the same. One said he does not help his patients file for disability because it doesn't pay anything. Well, some people have no choice. A big problem is that the SSDI judge will go through these other not accurate medical records and then say he does not believe the new doc, because new doc is new and old doc has been seeing me for 6 years. This is not guaranteed to happen, but it will if I get another biased law judge. My attorney even told me that I had a good case and was very credible in my testimony, but that particular judge never awards cases unless you're dying. I will just continue on until I cant, then file again. This week has been the worst week ever. Five straight days of sleeping and feeling like crud. My darn meds stopped working and my BP is skyrocketing, but thank God not to stroke levels, but enough for me to have headaches and notice it. I hope I can fight through work in a few hours. I might have to re-assess this job. But once this part time job is gone, there is nothing left. Sometimes I wonder why even live like this. 40 years old living with moms barely able to work a part time job. One day I will be on the streets walking around with a huge bag of medicine. Just not a good life for anyone to have. If worse comes to worse and I have to drive again it's the government forcing me to do so in order to get meds and to feed myself. Just a shame it has to come to that in an advanced first world country. 

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35 minutes ago, blizzard2014 said:

Exactly. Actually it is very hard to get a DOT renewed if you use Insulin. Forget about it if you are on pain medications. I would have to lie about all of my conditions to get a Medical card. I have been to two other doctors and they both were the same. One said he does not help his patients file for disability because it doesn't pay anything. Well, some people have no choice. A big problem is that the SSDI judge will go through these other not accurate medical records and then say he does not believe the new doc, because new doc is new and old doc has been seeing me for 6 years. This is not guaranteed to happen, but it will if I get another biased law judge. My attorney even told me that I had a good case and was very credible in my testimony, but that particular judge never awards cases unless you're dying. I will just continue on until I cant, then file again. This week has been the worst week ever. Five straight days of sleeping and feeling like crud. My darn meds stopped working and my BP is skyrocketing, but thank God not to stroke levels, but enough for me to have headaches and notice it. I hope I can fight through work in a few hours. I might have to re-assess this job. But once this part time job is gone, there is nothing left. Sometimes I wonder why even live like this. 40 years old living with moms barely able to work a part time job. One day I will be on the streets walking around with a huge bag of medicine. Just not a good life for anyone to have. If worse comes to worse and I have to drive again it's the government forcing me to do so in order to get meds and to feed myself. Just a shame it has to come to that in an advanced first world country. 

Insulin seems to be a disqualification due to refrigeration needs. And as far as I know certain pain meds can be done if you sign a statement saying you won't take them 8 hours before driving, have a doctor's note saying it is a stable dosage and have been on it for a while with no side effects, and even then the doctor may still disqualify you depending on the doc. Also blood pressure issues can disqualify you if it is above a certain number and with or without meds. It can be difficult to get approval. Too many things can go wrong if a truck driver has a medical emergency. On that note have you seen the new tesla electric semis? Very cool. 

It sounds like it may be worth it if you fight. When you get approved they will have to back pay you for as long as you have been fighting it consistently. I have seen them have to do back pay of 3 years before. It may not be a lot of money but it is something and you don't have to hurt yourself to get it. Plus being on disability helps other help options to open up for you. 

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Here is a list of all my medical conditions

Orthostatic Hypertension - diagnosed liable hypertension

High heart rate - Intermittent

Type 2 diabetes

High cholesterol

Enlarged right heart

Sleep apnea

Factor 2 blood clotting disorder

Hughes Syndrome blood clotting disorder

Chronic blood clots, pain, and swelling in right leg - listed as post thrombotic syndrome

Blood clots in lungs

COPD diagnosed by pulmonary function test

Undiagnosed gut issues

chronic pain syndrome neuritis 

recurrent bells palsy

memory issues and brain fog

Out of all this, the thing that disables me is the pain and swelling in my right leg. I can push through most everything else. The leg pain rules over everything I do. I tailor my entire life around a painful leg that zaps and sucks the life right out of me. Sometimes it hurts too much to even sit with the leg elevated and I have to lay back down. The second most disabling symptom is my gut issues. I ate a meal earlier today and stomach was bloated and in so much pain, I had to go to bed for six hours. Prior to that I was feeling fine. I knew better to eat the sandwich, but I let my huger get the better of me as I am a foodie. The third disabling symptom is the high BP and headaches. But all these can be controlled. The leg is on a slow decline that might end up with more mobility issues in the futures, or if one more round of leg clots happen, kiss walking behind possibly. My pulmonary function test is close to meeting a listing outright with FEV1 of 46, and it was not corrected with a breathing treatment. The breathing treatment actually made my FEV1 go lower. My lungs are so bad that simply smoking one cigarette leaves me sick and in bad all day. I had to quit through being forced to by being sick all of the time. That is what I have going on and also 20/100 vision in one eye from a possible blood clot, but doctors don't know how it got damaged. But apparently not enough to get disability. 

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Before I stopped smoking, I regularly had 3 month long lung infections coughing up gunk non-stop. I do not cough up gunk anymore, but chest always feels tight and congested like the gunk is still there, just not coming out. I know lung function tests are not accurate, so with a clear CT scan of lungs, I kind of doubt the COPD diagnosis. It might be something else. I also have a severe restrictive lung function pattern that I believe might be from backed up intestines pushing on my lungs and an enlarged right heart pressing on lungs causing a restricted pattern without pulmonary issues. Just hard to say what is what anymore. 

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@blizzard2014 with everything you have going on I would apply for SSDI. Don't worry about the records that the docs have - just fill out the forms accurately and tell them what has been going on with you. They ask a lot of questions about your abilities and it sounds like you really are too sick to work. They most likely will deny you and you have to appeal but that's the nature of the business. The sooner you apply the sooner you will get it. --- Question: have you ever seen a pain specialist for your pain in the leg? 

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I think you should reapply too. I would keep applying. You shouldn't be working. You have too much going on for you to have to worry about money. Has you leg been rechecked for clots? I don't have a clotting issue but I have heard they can be painful. 

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9 hours ago, Pistol said:

@blizzard2014 with everything you have going on I would apply for SSDI. Don't worry about the records that the docs have - just fill out the forms accurately and tell them what has been going on with you. They ask a lot of questions about your abilities and it sounds like you really are too sick to work. They most likely will deny you and you have to appeal but that's the nature of the business. The sooner you apply the sooner you will get it. --- Question: have you ever seen a pain specialist for your pain in the leg? 

Pistol, I see a pain management doctor every month for the leg. He told me right off the bat that there is absolutely nothing he can do for me other than to give me meds. You can't fix circulation damage from injections or other therapy. He stopped seeing me personally and has me see his PA for med refills. He gives me low doses of Norco and muscle relaxers for the night when my leg cramps up really bad. But he refuses to fill out disability paperwork or write this down for me. He says it's up to my surgeon to do this. Leg surgeon said surgery cannot fix pain, only surgery if my leg turns black, or I will lose it. But he will not fill out a detailed letter. I can't just go through tens and 20's of doctors looking for one to write letters or put in their notes that my condition is bad. My own blood doc said I would be in pain for the rest of my life, but she refuses to write that down in her notes. She is against disability. The nurses I see are more knowledgeable than the docs. They tell me that once you have huge blood clots in legs, you will have pain for the rest of your life and be on pain meds. I guess they see a lot of patients in my condition. 

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I forgot to add that I also have fatty liver disease with a mildly enlarged liver. I can spin the big wheel of misfortune to see which one of these diseases will get me first lol. Here's the kicker, been dealing with anxiety and depression all of my life. They sent me to one of their SSDI doc's and he said I could not work. Diagnosed me with an organic brain disorder. Now, this was before my sleep apnea and other diagnosis to back it up and low oxygen could cause an organic brain defect. He said I had a GAF score of fifty. You can look up what global assessment of functioning score is. He said I was a very accurate historian about my conditions and that I was not exaggerating symptoms and that he felt I was very credible. But still got denied. My memory was behaving that day. There are days when I can remember a phone number or even numbers on a dollar bill with one read through. I can have a photographic memory. Then there are days at work when I can't even remember if I had mopped a certain isle and end up mopping areas two or three times because I can't remember what I did just 3 minutes earlier. The doc's never see me when my brain is not working. I was seeing a therapist in 2016, but she claimed I was over-playing my illnesses and playing the victim. I told her it took enormous amounts of energy for me to come in and see her and she just did not get my conditions. So, never again will I see the brain quacks. I hate them all with a passion.

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So, the SSDI judge pointed out the fact that I remembered three words that the psychiatrist asked me to repeat after the evaluation. I was having a better memory day that day and judge said since my memory was fine that day the psychiatrist was not credible and didn't know what he was talking about. Also stated that I was not acting depressed. Well, if I would have been all dramatic they would have said I was faking. 

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