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Social security disability (ssdi)

From: sunnyd50 - on 03/11/2010 5:56pm

hi all- i searched and couldnt find any discussions for ssdi, so thought i would start one..
would like to hear some of your stories as to how long it took , what diagnosis (es),etc got you approved & any tips you might have to get it done ...
i have been fighting ssdi for 4.5 years now, with first claim being reviewed by attorney for possible filing a civil suit in us district court. and a new claim just filed in feb 2010 with ssa still gathering medical records to make their first decision.
i asked my current neurologist a week ago if he will support my claim and his answer was "probably not".. therefore, i am relying on my rheumatologist and pcp for support, and looking for a neurologist that will support my claim. but at the same time, when it comes to having those nasty epi needles inserted into my spine, i want to know i have the best doctor doing it too, and i have been told by long term patients that this neuro is great for the epi's.
a major tip: just outright ask your doctors if they will support you on your claim, if they will not, find a new doctor that will & fast !

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on 03/14/2010 9:03pm

Hi! To answer your question, I have chronic severe lumbar spine pain, arthritis of the sacroiliac joint, and depression (which often goes hand in hand with chronic pain). I tried to get SSDI 8 years ago, and due to my psychiatrists lack of progress notes, was turned down. This last time, I filed with Binder & Binder as my law firm, and was using a physiatrist instead of a neurologist for the pain management. My psychiatrist was much different and committed to getting me SSDI. If your rheumatologist and PCP are behind you on this, you've one half the battle. It either of them think additional tests are needed, get them done as soon as possible. I cannot recommend Binder & Binder highly enough. I received SSDI within 6 months of filing (so did a friend of mine who used them). This is almost unheard of. They follow through with Social Security and with you very well.

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on 03/30/2010 2:53pm

thanks for the tip about Binder and Binder. I am just in the process of applying for ssdi. I have had 2 neck surgeries to repair spinal stenosis. Unfortunately, my problems now extend into my shoulders, arms, and hands. I have been prescribed Morphine, Celebrex and Vicodan to deal with the pain and do ok if I don't over do it, and that means even mopping the kitchen floor can be too much. I have consulted a Vocational Rehab counselor for help, but she thought I was unemployable and directed me to ssdi. I hope and pray that I can get the help I need before I become totally dependent on my grown children for help.

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on 03/30/2010 4:56pm

This is a great idea to set up a post relating to SSDI relating to back/neck/pain issues!. I, too, have had difficulties for about 15 years in obtaining SSDI benefits since an injury that long ago and 2 car accidents. Above someone mentioned Doctor support and I agree 100% you have to have that first! I did not have any Doctor support me (In any field) until it was too late to correct the problems and if anyone had stepped up to the plate, I may not be mostly bedridden today. I could probably walk with my kid and play ball. I'm a shell of who I used to be because of chronic pain. It took me 15 years to get the CASE opened. Then, tt was denied quickly because I had to get them in trouble to get it opened, and is now in appeals. I've been told it took take 5-12 months or even a few years as SS is focusing on older cases first. I'm afraid I won't be around when it gets here lol. Not really. I'll just be in more pain.

When I read the SS blue books, regulations etc. and what they cover I realized that pain in itself is not a coverable condition. There has to be some documented underlying cause that can be PROVEN beyond doubt and the doctor (not chiro's or PT's, or general -ortho or psysiatrist or neurologist is better) has to be with you on it 100%. They do not accept partial disabilities at all. It's all or nothing. If you can stand for 30 minutes, they consider you employable. Who cares if you are on so many meds you can't think straight? I can't do what I used to do which was accounting and can barely see sometimes much less count.

As to the pain blocks, they are a breeze compared to chroni debilitating pain. I've had about 12 of those in various places. Those Epi's only helped me once and for a short while, but it was done only a few years ago. Do not fear the needle but the discogram is painful because it re-creates the pain and makes it worse for the day or two just to prove you have pain. Geez, there has to be a better way!

I should tell you what I have- I have constant sciatic leg pai in both legs, fusion (natural) at L5 and S1, DDD on all but one disc which means they are ALL disintegrating, with 2 nearing 2mm size which they should be at least 10mm. The rest vary from 4-8mm. I have several bone spurs in my neck, herniated discs in neck, middle and lower back, stenosis of cervical and lumbar spine, arthritis, osteopena, spondylosis, ear and eye problems due to those nerve being harmed by DDD, and arm pain & numbness (and I've had 3 Ortho's say that there isay nothing is wrong with me?). I am in so much pain I can't walk, sit, stand for long. I cry, I have anxiety, I have depression but it is due to this horrible pain I've had for so long. I've actually forgotten what it is like to not have it and do not remember what I used to be like but I think I was a nice person who tried to do good and wasn't a druggie or anything. For a long time I think doctors thought I wanted drugs when I wanted answers! Do not let 15 years go by like me without fighting them on that! I never asked for meds just a solution! BTW: I have a good pain doctor now, but no one will help me in any way (in the surgical area) and I've seen all of the top 10 in the country and spent all I had on them. I hope SSDI comes through for me, so I can get a motorized chair so I can get around.

Back to the subject:
SSDI automatically rejects 80% of cases the 1st time around, unless it falls under compassion allowances. Expect this and do not take it personally. There is a list of things they consider disabilities and they fall under categories like neurology, ortho etc. Look them up as it is on the website and read the blue book. There is a red book too.

Anyone who is filing a new file, make sure you have all your medical records, do not miss a space on the forms you complete, keep copies of everything even forms and medical records for yourself (and do not write on them) If there is writing on a page, make sure it is initialied by the doctor or nurse or that record can be excluded because of that.

Lawyers usually will not get involved unless the case is already opened, denied, unless you have a compassion case issue. They do not get paid if you get denied and they get paid about $6300 plus a little extra for some expenses. They do not get enough for long and hard cases and it's a touph job! . I had a hard time finding an attorney because it took 15 years to get the file opened due to intake people telling me I could not fil a claim! I lost credits during that period. This is important for anyone who has not filed a claim - do NOT let them tell you cannot file for disability PERIOD - it's against the law for them to deny you a claim filing so I found out later.
Also, medical records are not kept long by providers so make sure you get copies of them ASAP as I found out most doctors shred your records after 1-2 years of no contact! MRI's and X-Rays are destroyed within 5-7 years, depending on the state. you live in Another tip: do not miss a deadline on your case - like appeals, or dates to get records to them. Be prepared for them to call out of the blue and ask you to get something right away.
Remember too, that the intake folks and reviewers are over worked and stressed so they may seem unfriendly, but it is the situation they are in, not you-- so do not take it personally. Be nice to them because they get yelled at alot (I've heard it personally) and wanted to yell myself but did not.. They need more help and they do not get it so they are stressed as we patients are they just do not have the pain we have. they also probably have never experienced anything like this or they'd be stamping approved on any claim with pain, don't you agree? It's seems umbearable at times..

Hang in there. Once you are in the system and have a lawyer there is a 60-70% chance you wil get approved and back pay to date of filing. Keep trying to get better too!!! Never give up!! Keep on!

I wish you all the best of everything!

Dee

PS Sorry for typos I can't see very well.

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on 04/27/2010 9:23pm

oh i know, ssa will fight you to the bitter end!
my first claim filed back in 2005, i did not have near the diagnoses i have now. my atty just filed a suit in district court on that claim. i have been getting copies of doctor visit notations asap, usually before i even leave the office that day, and coming home to immediately send them to DDS. i still have the barcode page, and they told me if i use that as the coversheet, whatever i fax in goes straight into my file in their computer.
my neuro is ALSO a physiatrist---figures...
i had my first ever epidural injection in the cervical spine on april 15. went back on the 22 and had pain diary in tow. i wasnt worth 2 cents for 5 days, all i could do was lie down on my side to keep the pain bearable, even taking the meds. when he saw the pain diary and asked me how i felt at that time, he said there was no need in doing anymore epi's, since i got basically no relief.
he noted on april 22 in the assessment "pt is on maximal medication treatments".
my pcp has a osteopath in the office, and i actually prefer seeing the DO than i do the main dr. the DO will listen to what i have to say, and document things quicker than the MD will. plus when i went for my annual physical last week, he asked me how my diagnoses affect my ability to function. well, there was no way he had enough room on the paper for that ! but he did note that "movement of arms aggravate shoulder & neck, causing pain" and also stated "limited to lifting 1-2 pounds". he also marked the musculoskeletal section "decreased ROM" .. boy, i couldnt wait to get those papers faxed to ssa !

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on 04/29/2010 11:40am

I have just re-applied for disability and ssi a few months back after being denied a year ago. I didn't appeal it before because there were soo many more things I needed to add to it. I got a phone call the other day from my ssi rep and she wants me to have a new MRI to support my new claims. That's all fine and dandy, but I do have a big feeling that I'll have to appeal a butt load to get it to go through...even though I do have a list of more than 13 things wrong with me. I wrote down everything in it's each own little problem....even if it mostly dealt with my back, it was broken down to like 8 different problems. I also wrote down what effects the medication has on me, like how the morphine prevents me from carrying on conversations, how I'm asleep more than I am awake because of the other meds. Write down EVERYTHING!!! I even told them that we don't have a typical marriage anymore because no sex is involved....anyone with back problems knows how that goes. Thank God for understanding spouses!

This is a great discussion board....especially because 99% of us in spine universe are disabled due to some kind of back problem. Thank You!

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on 04/29/2010 1:06pm

I applied for SSDI ten years ago. I had heard a lot of horror stories, especially from my girlfriend who had to file an appeal and it took her about three years to finally get it! So she advised me to get an attorney before I even applied. I thought with my problems (spinal cord tumor removed 1988, a hundred mris and tons of nerve pain, numbness and general degeneration later) I wouldn't have to appeal and I was right! I got it the first time out. As someone else stated, you definitely need a doctor to state that you CANNOT work. My neurosurgeon that reviews my mris did state this and I'm sure it helped. Anyway, am now in major, major pain and on pain meds: if this doesn't work it's the pain pump for me.

Good look with your SSDS claim.

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on 04/29/2010 1:32pm

Awesome Pam! I sure hope it'll go through the first time for me, but not gonna hold my breath, especially since the first one they said I could sit at a desk and work...that's even with a doctor saying I can't sit or stand for more than 15 mins at a time. Heck, I fall asleep in front of my computer most of the time! You bet I put that down this time!

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on 05/26/2010 6:53pm

i talked to ssa today, the dds examiner on my claim. she told me a decision has been made, but she could not tell me what it is.. she explained that once she was done with it, it is set to forward to the local office and they will contact me via mail, and possibly phone in addition.. she said that all claims are subject to get stopped by the quality control review, and the decision could be changed, that is why they are not allowed to give decisions via phone. my fingers are crossed for a + decision, but am expecting that i will be denied AGAIN, and have 2 claims caught up in the system..thinking negative and expecting the worst... will post the decision once i know what that is...

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on 05/26/2010 11:54pm

My problems first began when I injured my back suddenly at work, in Aug 1988. I just wrote much of my info in another response here at: http://www.spineuniverse.com/community/b...

Everything is from my own experience(s). Each persons' own can and almost certainly will vary....

Since that info is there, I won't go into the whole ordeal again right now. I will add, that I was very lucky to have a good friend (who coincidently was an often-hired P.I. for WC Insurance Cos.) who gave me a good local Legal Firm that mainly handles WC and SSD Cases to go to. I would suggest ANYONE with a Workers' Comp. and/or SSD Case to AT LEAST Consult an ATTORNEY, one that knows or specializes in handling WC and/or SSD cases.. If one takes on a strictly WC and/or SSD, you usually shouldn't have to worry about "out-of-pocket" expenses for their fees. A WC Admin. Law Judge assigns their fees and are generally paid when an "Award" is made (Lump-sum payment, Retroactive benefits due, etc. are examples.). SSD "Awards" will usually be after an Approval, when Retroactive benefifts get calculated and paid in a lump sum, and monthly benefit payments begin. That "lump sum" award will be where/when the SSD Attorney collects their percentage (25% for mine, could vary otherwise).

After my 1st. fusion surgery (Ant. Spine fusion w/disc removal) failed, and the 2nd. (Post. fusion w/St. Steel rods implanted) I was advised by my Workers' Comp. Attorney that I could, and should, try to apply for SSD, and one of the senior parteners in his firm who handles the SSD cases would advise and getr involved, if necessary. I was 23 at the time, and expected to be disabled and continuing inability to return to work for over a year, with a year expected for recovery, plus the wait time fighting for WC Approval, and their hearings (Which generally make them finally comply and Approve), so I easily met the 1 year continuing disability requirement. And because I've always worked when not in school from 16 on, I was lucky enough to barely be over the min. 5-years work credits also required, I was able to file.

As my attorney advised me beforehand of would likely happen, especially due to my age, they were pretty quick to respond with a Denial. But as he also advised to be patient, not to worry, that stage was fairly routine. Immediately able to then file for an Appeal and Hearing, my SSD Attorney could then get involved, and appear w/me when the Hearing time came around. When it did, it took them no longer than 10 minutes to review the case, and speak briefly amongst themselves for a minute, and it was over and Approved.

Since then, I have periodic reviews, often every 3 years to start, but be switching to every 5 years as I get/got older and still with no positive changes (slowly worsening instead). Usually it is a "paperwork process" and they have you fill out a form re-stating most of your info, and changes (if any) since a previous review period. If for some reason they feel there is not enough info sent back, and/or a doctor fails to respond or provide records, and perhaps other reasons, they may require and schedule you to see one of their doctors for an exam. At the time of my last review in '04, my PM Doc. had just moved himself and his Practice to Florida, so there was a problem getting records from him during/after his moving. My previous ones had always been "favorable", and nothing further was needed until the next time for another one came. But, due to the Records' problem, they sent me to one of their Drs.. As this was new for me, I was a little uneasy. But it was basicly a 15-20 min. exam where they check you over, check range of motion, prod + poke a bit, etc. Pretty much the same as your own Dr(s). do when you first start seeing one. After that the typical wait for a response, found again as "favorable", again with my condition remaining and unchanged for the better.

I should normally have been due for a 3 yr. review in '07, but it was not unitl '09 (5 yrs.) that I got anything about it. And at THAT time, it was a letter stating 'I was due to be reviewd now, but they have determined it was not necessary at this time". So I now have no idea when to expect the next one will be. I think they may be backlogged, and could be why. I'm thinking either anytime, or they may have just bumped it to the next 3 yr. or 5 yr. interval in 2012 or 2014. Who knows?

Hope something may help for those that could tolerate reading this, and Good Luck to anyone dealing with such issues!

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on 05/28/2010 11:26pm

well, i got my decision letter from ssa on the newest claim.. DENIAL !! again.... when i filed it, i listed the diagnoses i had as of that day, before my mri results and ncv results, but i did list the dates that the test would be done. i sent in reports as soon as i got them in hand, along with sending in dr visit notes after each visit. well, in their decision, they only mentioned the diagnoses that i listed on the claim being filed. it is like they did not even look at all the test reports, results and additional diagnoses (6-7 new ones since the day i filed it). then they went on to say that i could still do my last job ! my last job was working in a distribution center, filling orders and pulling/pushing on boxes that weighed 30-60 pounds ! are they kidding? i just sent in papers from the pcp 3 weeks ago that plainly stated i could lift no more than 1 to 2 pounds ! my husband if irrate ! i called the attorney who is handling the old claim at the district court level & alj remand (if that happens). i faxed in the denial letter asap, 15 minutes later they call me back. i have to go into their office on thursday, will all med records since july 2008, copy of everything on the new claim (application, disability report, work report etc). she sent me some paperwork yesterday, which i should have in hand tomorrow, to fill out and bring along with me on thursday. she said that the atty is in dismay that they basically didnt even look at all the new diagnoses and they think i can still lift and pull on such weight involved with my last job. well, as he is an appeals expert, they will not know what hit them when he files the appeal. they are filing the request for reconsideration appeal while i am in the office. then they start sending in the "disability report-appeal" & getting specialized statements from doctors to add along with the report. hopefully i have my TENS unit before thursday.. i know it has gotten to a point that my neck pain and myofascial pain flairs up very quickly when i get upset or stressed.. it started up yesterday as soon as i opened the letter and saw they had denied me yet again... i also have to sign some papers for the old claim case while i am there thursday, cause they said to begin with 6 month maximum wait for d c hearing (wont have to be there i dont think),but it could come up quicker. they want to make sure they have everything complete before it comes up. atty said that hopefully he will be able to get the d c judge to take a peek at all the new diagnoses, treatments,etc and just overturn alj decision. that would resolve the old and new claims... if he remands it back to alj, ssa has to get a new alj hearing date set up asap to be held within 45 days of remand. if remanded the 2 claims will become one and alj will see all med records since 2005. so for now, i am playing the waiting game... good luck to others in the boat with me on ssdi claims.... i dont know about you all, but i am tired of being in a john boat, i want a cruise ship (smooth sailing)-lol...

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on 05/29/2010 10:49am

Oh Sunny,

Soo sorry to hear about your new denial letter. That sucks the big one. I'm still waiting on a piece of paper saying which doctor they want me to see....it's been a month since she states she sent it! Post office must run slow for ssi/ssa. I should have gotten that supposed letter two days after she sent it! "here's another ssa letter....wait on it....make them wait in anguish..." How dumb do these people think we are?
I was put on a less than 5 lb limit by my doctors, yet I'm supposed to be able to do my last job too! Good luck with that one!
I started to be the biggest bitch around and I keep adding to my ssi....every little new diagnosis from the doctors gets faxed to my supposed ssi rep. I think my list is up to 15 things wrong with me and they seem to all inter-lace with each other. I have read from many people that if you have two to three things wrong with you that are inter-laced or if you keep getting progressively worse that you should be approved in no time. I dont' believe it's true. I think they stuff our paperwork in file that is marked for three months down the line "open three months from above date". It seems that all the people going blind here in Iowa get approved in a day, no matter how little sight you are losing. Yes, I believe they deserve it, and it's not an easy thing to face, but what about the people who are debilitated and have a level 8 pain every single day of their lives? I know two people that have gone blind in the past year, one was progressing from the day he was born...genetic, and the other came on over night. They aren't totally blind, just legally blind. They don't have a "legally in pain", "legally broken", "legally debilitated", "legally suffering". I know there's a difference between blind and in pain, but there should be something that says we are treated equal...OH WAIT, THERE IS! It's the constitution, that no body pays attention to anymore!

Okay, okay....sorry for the rant, but I'm upset for all of us who get picked at and proded at because we actually deserve ssi/ssa and we aren't faking it! Sunny, you know what to do...play the stripping banana...... "appeal, appeal, appeal" (a peel, a peel, a peel). LMAO. Laugh honey...we wanna see the dance!

My best to you,

Wendi

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on 05/30/2010 1:17am

i have been fighting them on the first claim for nearly 5 years, so you know i aint giving up! it is just so dang frustrating! but if you look on various websites for the attorneys that do ssa cases, they all say the same thing, with back pain it is very difficult.. we have to prove we are disabled. i did the owestry tests the other day, one for general disability and the one for neck pain. general said i am crippled, and neck said i am completely disabled.. go figure..
yeah, when you have multiple diagnoses in the spine, one complicates another. just in my c-spine alone, i have 5 of the 7 listed "impairments" by the blue book, but yet they didnt even mention any of those diagnoses in the denial.. i know the dds examiner i had on the new claim, talking to her on the phone she sounded awfully young, and probably is young and new (as they recently hired and trained hundreds of them across the country).. i know the judge that will hear the case in district court level does not do alot of ssdi cases. i looked over cases filed in georgia over the last year, and only found a couple with his name as judge....i am wondering if my attorney asked for him by name, due to that fact... i will inquire on that thursday..

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on 05/30/2010 8:39am

Sunny,

That's the spirit...keep fighting! Our prayers are with you!

Wendi

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on 06/02/2010 9:04pm

Sorry to hear all of your stories.

It took me between 2 and 3 years to get approved. I'm told that is normal, but it seems way over the top to me. I had 2 hearings where basically the same information was given. At the second one, the judge looked at the amount of pain medicine I was taking and said he was surprised I could focus long enough to help my own case. At this point I had not had surgery yet because my doctor didn't want to risk me not being able to walk with young children at home.

I've had 2 reviews, the first being right after surgery so they left me alone. The last one was a huge pain. They asked if I had improved and I said no so they went to a full review. I had to give them a complete history again and I explained that I am still taking the same levels of medications I was when first approved. The decision came back the my disability is continuing but is likely to improve! I am 7 years post surgery and sliding down quickly. It's like I peaked and will now start the process again, but I might get better? The system is nuts. You would think that once that hardware goes in it would be a given, but it's not.

Hang in there.

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on 06/03/2010 2:37am

Hi Disabled Mom,

Sorry to hear that your progress is going backwards! I just love how social security "knows" that our condition is gonna improve. Excuse me, but I thought just us and sometimes our doctors know how we feel???

I about went through the roof when they denied me saying that I could do the same job I did many years ago. I'm now on 17 pills a day, 18 on Fridays. I'm too busy popping pills all day to get work done. Especially because I have to eat with all of my dosing times....not happy about that one! Guess doctor doesn't like women who only weigh 112 lbs. LOL. Can't wait to tell my worker the latest news about the five new meds after the hospital and with some of them it doesn't sound like short term use. I kinda like the mood the Xanax puts me in!...hehehe, momma is on more drugs...hehehe. He only has me on it for a month, but damn it sure hit fast and didn't put my rear on the floor which I thought the combination of Lyrica, Neurontin and Xanax would. Plus morphine two hours later. That's just in the morning from 6 to 10, won't get into the rest of the day. I feel like I'm becoming the town's pharmacy with all the pills I have in lock-up. I finally had to write down my dosing schedule because I lost track of when to take what.

Sunny, I worry about the possibility of arachnoidosis with all the epidurals your neurologist wants to "stick" you with. I thought anesthetiologists were the ones for epis, but even they make mistakes they won't admit. I go to a neuro next month to talk about me dropping things all the time and the fact that the tops of my forearms go completely numb...it's been in the mid 80's here and my forearms get cold...go figure...but atleast my arms stay cool! It's just annoying to be doing anything and boom, arms go numb...and all this time I thought it was my brain (I now have three teen-age boys...I can only wish for a numb brain at times). Keep smiling honey, I have faith that you'll get approved one way or the other!

Wendi

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on 06/04/2010 8:04am

Hello
L2 - L5 Fusion, Compress L3 Fracture, 3 Disk Removed w/Cages. Spinal Stimulator.
Sorry to hear that you are going through what most of us went through. I waited almost 2 1/2 years to receive approval. At first when I had to stop working I applied for regular disablitly. I was denied becuase they said that I could work. So I applied for unemployement. And they denied me because of my back injury. I was very confused and upset at the system. I was not able to work. I was scheduled for surgery in 6 weeks and could not work. So I actually gave up. I was approched by a lawyer who told me that I had rights and could win my case. He filled all the paper work for me and told me that it could take awile to win. As time past I was forced to return to work. My regular job is construction. and I was not able to return to that, so I got a job at a convience store. I worked there for about 3 months and had to quite because of standing too long. About 7 months later I got another job working on the phones. That lated about 4 months and had to quite. So I worked about 7 months during the time that I was waiting to be approved. My clain was denied 2 times during my wait. Finally We had a court date. I was alittle worried about my time that I had worked, but my lawyer told me not to worry. When I apppeard before the judge, he read my file and all the doctors that I have seen. He also brought up the fact that I had worked and asked me how that went. I explained that I wanted to work but was not able to continue. They had a expect witness there that testified on behave of the courts. He told the judge in his opinion that I have treid everything but failed to get better. That he felt that I was not able to function like a normal person. So the judge ordered me disbaled. As far as the work, they called it temporary work program. You have 9 months to try and work, and It doesnt' count against you.
To make a long story short. I think that because I tried to work, it showed the courts that I wasn't just after the money.
Today I still work, but have to take off several months every so often. I have severe back and leg problems and I am in content pain. They are thinking on doing another surgery. (number 4) When you are approved, you can work, but only for 36 months. After 3 years the case becomes closed and you would have to start all over. I can not survive on the benifits that are paid each month by SSI. So I"m forced to work in pain. I have a job that understands my health issues. And allows me to take time off. Atleast ofr now. There might come a day when they are tired of it all.
Good luck with your case. If you don't have a lawyer, maybe you should talk to one. It sounds like your neuro surgeon doens't support you. Maybe he feels like you are fixed. He will play a important role in your approval or denial of your case. See if he will support your claim.

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on 06/04/2010 9:28pm

i have an attorney. the original attorney i hired, took my old claim thru the alj hearing. after he denied me, the atty turned it over to an attorney who handles all ssdi cases at all levels, including federal district court. after appeals council denied me, he filed it fed district court and we are waiting for our turn in front of that judge. this new claim filed in feb 2010, is the one i just got the initial decision on last week. i called the atty asap and forwarded the denial letter. I went to his office yesterday june 4 and signed the paperwork needed for him to file "request for reconsideration". they gave me papers, 2 pages of a simple "rfc form" to get my pcp and at least one other doctor to fill out. i called and got appointment for today to get the pcp form done. while there i asked him a few questions, and he is ordering physical therapy. i really can not afford it, but i talked to the person in charge at the place i have to go so that insurance will pay and told her that i know the dr is about to order therapy, and my financial situation i can not afford therapy right now, as i have to pay $25 each visit out of pocket. i told her once i got the order, i would like to come a couple of times moreso to get exercises i can do with all my problems and not worry of causing further damage, and to get a TENS unit issued. monday i will hear from either the pcp office or therapy to get set up for appointment there. the atty asked me questions about depression & such. i do take elavil, but not as prescribed cause it makes me so dang drowsy, but it wont knock me out at night, and makes me feel like crap. atty told me they want me to see a mental health doctor and talk to him about what is going on etc in re of getting depressed at times. i do not show depression via crying etc except once in a while. i normally just loose my temper and rant. so that is another appointment & money i have to pay out. but am going to see if i can go to one that has sliding scale pay deal.
as for my neuro- he is a neurologist, not a neurosurgeon. here is some info about him...
he is neurologist, licensed in EMG, EEG, EP, Interventional Pain Management including acupuncture. he does his own mri's ncv and other test noted and translates them.
so far i have only had trigger point injections (twice) at neck/shoulders, one epi & scheduled for facet injections on the 16, which i may cancel.
i tried to call my rheumatologist to see if i can get in to see here within the next week or so. i am confused as to where i should go to get a good second opinion of my mri's to find a dr who will support me.
the bad thing about it all is... my neuro bills injections, mri's and such as in office procedure, so my insurance covers it all except i pay my normal co-pay of $25. if i change and see someone else, if they do injections, i have to pay at least $100 per shot copay, and the first $1000 of testing and such, due to their billing methods. i can not afford that at all. one income doesnt get it. hubby makes decent, but our mortgage, car pay, insurance and living expenses eat it all up. he does little side jobs for extra money, but it doesnt go far with all the dr visits and med copays.
if anyone has a suggestion as to where i should go for a second opinion and possibly find a dr that will support my case, please give me your input. thanks

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on 06/28/2010 11:24am

Hi everyone. Great forum here and hope to learn as much as possible. My story,I am just about 50 years of age. I started having back trouble way back in High School sports. I have been a truck driver and warehouse worker for nearly 30 years and have had 6 industrial injuries in a 25 year time frame. 10 years ago I had a microdisectomy and a lamectomy to repair my back. At that time I was off work for 13 months and was sent for numerous Independant medical exams(IME).Most of all these doctors agreed I should be doing some other type of work but I was tring hard to add to my union retirement so I went back. I was rated on a state ranking a category 4 see below.

Categories of permanent dorso-lumbar and lumbosacral impairments
(4) Mild low back impairment, with mild continuous or moderate intermittent objective clinical findings of such impairment, with mild but significant X-ray findings and with mild but significant motor loss objectively demonstrated by atrophy and weakness of a specific muscle or muscle group.

Well 4 years ago my most recent industrial accident I fell out of the back of a semi on my back. This seemed to jar things a bit. I was only off 10 days but returned to my job with pain. Pain has increased over the years to the point now that I am not working and am just now back into see the doctor. I will be seeing him shortly to see if he is open to helping me with a ssdi application. I am not really sure if I should even bring up the ssdi topic. He was a good doctor.....nuerologist that really helped me during the surgery. I have lots of pain now that over the counter drugs and meds hardly scratch. I think the first thing is I need the doc to put in writing I can no longer do my old work. I canot see that as a big deal due to the fact he did it 10 years ago. I am a few months shy of 50 and do not plan to file any calim until I cross this date.

I see few posts listing age. This is very very important in ssdi....that and education and the type of job you have had in the last 15 years. If you are below the 50 year level your case is very tough to win. Compound that if you have done different job roles and compound it further the more education you have.

Anyway thats the start to my story. I am somewhat following the steps of another co-worker with similar situation but with no surgery and only 3 industrial accidents. He was approved in 5 months and done.

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on 08/29/2010 2:12am

this is crazy! my attorney filed my reconsideration request back in late may-or first of june 2010. i gave them copies of all my med records that had already been sent to ssa before i got the denial letter, plus everything since the letter. i have been getting copies of my dr notes at each visit, and immediately faxing to the atty so they could keep ssa updated. well, i have not heard a word from ssa until thursday, aug 26. they called my cell #, waking me up- it was the dds officer, the man who is handling the recon, wanting to make sure my file was up to date ! i told him quickly that he should be contacting my attorney. he basically ignored that. asked me if i had seen any new doctors recently, new diagnoses, treatments etc. i told him again, he needs to talk to attorney. again he ignores. i told him yes, i have seen a couple of new drs lately and that my attorney has all medical records to date. he said the last thing he has reviewed was from june 16th 2010! he was wanting the new dr phone numbers, which i had to dig out my appt cards. he said to get the #s and gave me his number to call back, again i told him my atty has all the info to contact them. after hanging up, i called my atty and the person i needed to talk to was busy, so i explained to the lady who answered what was happening. she said she would have the paralegal call back as soon as she finished up what she was doing. not knowing how long it would be, i got my cards out and called the dds guy back. gave him the dr names and numbers. he said he would put in a request to them for records and i told him he can not do that, the attorney has to submit the records, as ssa does not have waiver to get them from these drs... he began to bring up the diagnoses from the claim the day i filed it initially back in february 2010. i cut him off quickly, and told him, i have way more diagnoses since that date, which all records had been submitted right up til i got my denial letter. i also told him that all diagnoses made since the date i filed were totally IGNORED in that letter, that they did not acknowledge anything since the file date, which is WRONG ! i also told him that i have new diagnoses since june 16,2010 that are very important to my claim, and i do not understand why he does not have them in my file (or they are there and he just is not seeing them).
i also told him that i have been seeing a mental health dr since then and the psych has filled out a mental RFC form, which the atty has too.. i used my head though, and stumbled alot trying to get my information out.. my atty office may be upset with me for telling him anything, but at the same time, if they had kept my records updated at ssa, i would not have gotten this call to begin with ! so they can get over it! they will not get paid until i win ssdi. finally, almost 2 hours after i called the atty office, the paralegal called me back. she was upset that dds had contacted me and said this man could get in serious trouble for doing so, and that anytime they call me to just tell them to call my attorney and make sure they have the number, then hang up ! i gave her his name and number and she called him, so he probably got an earful from her. said she would call and see what he needs. i told her he said he did not have anything since june 16, which means he did not have the rheumatologist new diagnoses or the mental rfc & diagnoses either...probably didnt have a copy of the prescription and receipt form for my TENS unit being issued either.
then on friday, aug 27, i got a letter from dds about med records. i faxed it straight over to the atty office-havent heard anything from them as yet, but it was near their closing time when i got it sent thru. the man had told me when i spoke to him last that "the evidence is there", and i quickly told him "not all of it, and it all needs to be considered"... but that does not mean a thing (evidence being there)- sure evidence of spinal disorders is there, but does not mean it is enough to declare me disabled (not in their eyes anyway). i wish i knew what the atty office said to the man...
needless to say, on top of all the spinal disorders- my new rheumatologist looked over all my old rheums test results, neuro diagnoses & a full list of medications, did an exam, asked me a lot of questions about my muscle pain and diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. well, i have thought for a couple of years this was gonna be a dx- explains the muscle pain i have, all the tender points, tmj/tmd, myofascial pain, etc... on top of that, the psych diagnosed me with major depression and generalized anxiety disorder and added a second type of anti-depressant to the one i have been taking for some time.
according to ssa site, they usually issue decisions on the initial claim and recon within 4 months, and it is beginning the 4th month now. so within the next few weeks i guess i will get their next decision. there are less approvals at recon than at initial, but there are times they are approved at recon. and with all the things they did not even consider at initial, plus everything new since then, there is a possibility. i am not getting my hopes up though- expecting to have to wait another long time and go to a hearing. unless the attorney can get it rushed up. they say you can only get rushed up if you are in financial hardship, like about to lose your home. well, that isnt happening.
enough of my blabber... i will report in again if anything interesting happens or i get a letter from ssa saying approved or denied again.

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on 08/29/2010 2:51pm

Sunny

I have some questions...observations. First it wold seem you have a uphill battle without support of a neorologist. Second you never give your age or education..all very important in the process. If you are under 50 you are fighting a uphill battle as well. .

I asked my doctor if he can help me and he sent me for a mri which documented my troubles,...He went on and on to ask of my finances at home which I found odd and went on and on about doing lesser jobs. i told him my old job is out of the question. We ended the visit with lets see what the mri shows and I see him in a few days.

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on 09/01/2010 5:32pm

Well I went to my doc and he wants me to have the back injections. Have had them before with little luck but am trying all he asks....can hardly stand right now the pain is so great He viewed my MRI and said my back has new issues not there from 10 years ago MRI. At that point I handed him the listing from the ssdi website and asked him if I had any of these items....items I have seen in IME reports and his reports ect. He goes on to say yes.........you do......would you like me to write a letter for you conforming you have this condition? I was a bit stunned when he said this. My plan was to wait until I am 50 to apply for ssdi which is only 60 days from now but now that he says I meet a listing I may do it sooner. From what I have learned if you meet a listing which the doctor says I do ssdi is a a done deal. I really hate to get my hopes up because I know how hard it is to qualify. Just my update as it unfolds.

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on 09/21/2010 5:56pm

yea im new here got another post in neck pain im filing for my ssd this is my appell and a week ago they said i need to see thy"er doctor so they made me an appointment for oct. and then they call me yesturday and said dont go to the appointment couse they got all they need does any one now whats up with that my sister said its a good sign that they voted in vavor of my appoval sorry if the words arent spelled right cant spell very well thank you very much

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on 09/21/2010 6:24pm

farron.

Did you write you are on appeal now? I would think if they cancelled your appt that is a very good sign.

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on 09/23/2010 9:59am

to viking yes i am on appeal thank you for you input im still not going to get my hopes up it seems every time ido something happens lol and thank you again

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on 09/25/2010 3:09pm

well it was not good news they denied me again they keep saying i said i was disabled in 2008 and i never did i said i was disabled in 2010 heck i didnt even go to the neo untill 09 and i worked till feb of 2010 so i dont know what up with them my attorney said he will take care of it the ladie at the ss place my case worker said they took me back that for for some reason i dont know well looks like a long road a head good luck to every one else out there me and my kids will pray for every one thank yall for listening

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on 09/25/2010 6:50pm

I am really sorry to hear that. Can you fill in some blanks. At what level were you? You had initial denial on your app and then appealed and lost or was this the hear at the third stage in front of a judge?

How old are you farron if I may ask?

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on 09/26/2010 9:49am

im 45 this was my reconsideration havnt been to a hearing yet but its next so now i got a long wait in line and me being a single dad of 3 teens with no income its going to be a tuff one living off my 401k right now but it wont last very long it just bugs me greatly that they say i said i was disabled in 08 and i didnt and my copys i got of every thing i sent in say 2010 heck i never went to a neo about my back untill late 09 so i dont know whats up with that but my attorney said not to worry he would take care of it thanks you

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on 09/26/2010 11:05am

Farron, Age is very important in the whole ssdi equation. They group age from the 18-49 group with a better slant from 44-49. Then 50-54 and then 55 over. From all my research if you cross the 50 mark its much better. That being said it sure does not change things when you are in pain. So what one has to do is meet one of the listings. If you meet a listing the ssdi site states its over but really its not. They then go on to look at your age and then on to education. If you are a educated person they will try to retrain or put you on a different job that in some cases may pay little or nothing. Also if you have done the same thing the last 15 years they are not as likely to retrain. And if you have high school or less education this bodes well for not being denied as well. So remember...... disability...age...education...past work are your primary factors in winning and approval.

What was your injury and can you tell me more did you have surgery ect...whats the history here? What sort of assistance is your doctor giving you? Did he write a letter for you? Does he come out and say you cannot do your old job or any job for that matter? What medical evidence do you have to support your claim? How long have you seen your doctor?What education level.

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on 09/26/2010 6:22pm

well i got nerve damage in my neck and multilevel sponyloarthropathy , encroachment by the cerebellar tonsils on the foraman magnum with capsulynovoal thickening of the atlanto-odontiod articulation a;so para and hypoesthesia of the shoulder clinically significant encroachment up on the c6 nerve root out lt with diminished biceps and brachioradialis reflexes and para and hypoethesia of the upper arm ,thumb,and radial forearm moderate biforarninal stenosis related to symmertric facet hypertrophy T2 signal broad-based leftward posterior disk protrusion asymmetric encroachment upon the left pre-forarninal space associated with moderate high grade biforaarninal narrowing related to unconvertebral joint and facet hypertrophy also greater onthe left and some more but my back is staring to hurt ,well im back just had to rest and i also got COPD have had it for years its getting worst anxity , high blood pressure, and allot more but i just had a MRI done on my lumbar the other day and i know its worst than my neck get the news on it tomorrow , i get 7 bilatral block injections in my neck amonth and 7 in my lower back a month too my doctor in his words was i currently feel the patient is totally and permanently disabled, i feel he is unable to perform work of any kind and my primary dr. wrote a note agreeing 100 percent with him i know that i got a heranated disk in my lumbar and maybe some nerve damage couse i got the disk from the place that took them and i can see the disk and some ddd and some spurs but most of it i cant tell couse im no doctor lol havnt had sugery they cant on my neck couse of where its at and im in no shape for that kind of stress on my body i quess seen my neo for the first time back in 09 i think it was sept. not sure but my primary has been treating me with my pain so icould work for a while before that had to work to take care of my kids they have only me for 16 years my boys 16 has never seen his mom he was just amonth old wgen she left had to get ride of her she would have hurt the kids long story sorry anoughabout that im on oxycodone 30 and hydro 10 325 and gabaentin 300 and for my copd i got abutral inhaler and my anxity xanax and some other one for my blood pessure got a ged in 83 and i have done nothing but constuction for 34 years went to work with my dad at 13 he told me if i wasnt going to school i was going to work and i did lol and i know i cant work at no store couse if im around very many people i get an axity attact even my own family i can vist them but if they all get gether for chistmas or something i cant stay long or i have to go for a walk and get away from them cant do factory work couse tryed that along time ago work one month and had to quit to cant be inside that long and around all those people make me get nervess well thats about it oh i just syarted getting bad last year with my back imean its hurt for years but the migrains i get just started last year i work till feb of this year even after my doctor told me he thought i better quit but thats wasnt a choise i had with the kids and all so they layed me off in feb couse i was only working 2 to 3 days a week they help me out alot though couse they could have done it last year havent work a full week sence sept 09 so they where good to me well thats about it talk later hope you have a good day and thanks for talking to me cant talk to any one else not my family for sure couse they would say just move in with me and so on and so on and that wont happen AT ALL bye

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on 09/26/2010 6:26pm

oh yea i havnt had no injury that i know of but i have fell off a few house 2 story in my life time i think about 4 i quess but they didnt hurt me at the time i did pull somthing once about 15 years ago lefting a cross tie puting down for a corner post for a fence it was a rail road cross tie i was down for about 2 weeks qwhen that happen didnt go to the docor didnt have no insurence

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