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THE SSI PROCESS

Started by rn2006 on 03/01/2011 2:31pm

History: ACDF C4-C7 in 2006 and L5-S1 fusion in March 2009.

I am in the first phase of the ssi process. I have retained a lawyer who doesn't get paid if I don't. I have done all the initial requirements and paperwork in a timely manner and have had my phone interview with Social Security. Lawyer states that Social Security is in the middle of processing my case but I have not reached the medical review yet.

I have a 10# weight restriction per primary doctor and pain management due to deterioration of remaining cervical discs and symptoms. I do not think I will be able to find a job as a registered nurse with this restriction and the hardcore pain medications I am having to take just to make it through the day.

I guess I am just looking for support and what other patients have gone through to get disability rewarded.

Thanks!!!

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46 Responses

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First Off good luck, I really think age has ALOT to do with getting approval> I had a c-5-6,6-7 fusion on Feb 10 2011 making me 60 plus. I drive forklift for a living and stated in my applacation that 90% of my driving is in reverse and had to hyper extend my neck to see behind me. I got a no questions asked approval in 2 months and as of today May 1st I am now recieving S/S

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Thanks Garybo.
I am really happy that your case settled so quickly. I am still waiting to hear of my ruling. I am in the Determination Process and have complied with all requests from Social Security. I hope it settles quickly because our finances are circling the toilet.
Thanks for your support!

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Hi RN 2006,
I am also an RN,I just had l5-s1 lumbar fusion in March,i have a lot of cervical issues too,i am almost through my work comp pay and i have applied for social security too,i am in the appeals process right now and i have retained binder and binder as my attorney.I am remaining hopeful,i can not imagine going back as a nurse with all these issues,not even a sit down job when i can hardly even sit at my computer for more than 15 minutes without being in pain.I worked for 29 years as a nurse,how long did you do this work?It is sad how nurses give so much to care for others only to be left in this jacked up state for good!Let me know how it goes.
Blessings,
Nurse Nancy

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Rn2006,
I am sorry to say that My husband has been denied twice so far. He was limited to lifting 15# . He could not sit/ recline or stand for more than 30min. He had a 5 disc posterior lamonectocy C-2 through C7 with disc fusion. He had several MRI's, and a discectomy That the doctors said there were several discs with little disc tissue left. Two of those vertebra were bone on bone already. He had severe degenerative disc disease. He was told he had the back of a 70 year old when he was 39. He had an anterior fusion on L3 through L5. He walked with a cane most of the time. When we went to Social Security in2008 he was denied, then again in 2009 his appeal was denied, being told that he would be able to learn to do something else. He was a construction worker from the time he was 12. It was a family business. he did not have a diploma, yet they were saying he could DO SOMETHING ELSE. We had a business we lost due to the lack of ability. He was not even able to sit down to dinner at the table, it hurt him so much. He had been told when the discs above his low back surgery started hurting that there would be nothing else they could do for him and he would be paralyzed eventually. This was all because of an MVA where a semi ran a red light @ 55+ as we were turning left, my husband got our 2500 dodge turned forward saving our lives,this was when we were going to work, in 2006. Our attorney told us to not file for SS until our case was settled. What a mistake. We have been fighting for SS for 2+yrs. My husband passed form the Meds he was taking on 2/25/10 from MS contin 60mg, Neurontin 600mg, Diazapam 10mg, Roboxin, and Merinol 5 mgs. The pain was too much for him and he kept trying to be normal which would put him down even more. I just recently went to the third hearing on his behalf. I've yet to hear whether we will get his benefits. Good luck is all I can say.
When I went in for SS after he passed I was told I was too young at age 42 to collect his SS. I agree, I was too young to have lost my husband, but I am injured too. ARRGH! and since our son had turned 18 two days before his Dad passed he was not going to receive benefits either. I had to fight that too. He was still in SCHOOL. They aren't interested in giving anybody that truly is in need of the benefits SS. I don't know what to do if they wont give us the benefits this time. Wishing you all the best.
Mrs. T Foster

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Thanks to all who have responded to my original post. I received my Denial letter today. I am just heart broken. I have piles of unpayed bills, close to losing my home, an unpaid student loan, a marriage that is turning into a roommate situation, and non-relenting pain.
I was never one to ask for handouts but now I can't even get the help that I need. Life SUCKS!!

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tnk,
I as so sorry that you lost your husband. I can't even imagine what you have gone through. It is really sad that Social Security is trying to minimize his impact on this world through the treatment (or lack of) of his family.
I am not sure if there will ever be a day that severe pain will be considered a disability. If it doesn't show on an MRI, it sure is easy to be dismissed by the government, friends, and the general population.
I hope your husband 'wins' his case even though he lost his battle.
Good luck to you and your son.

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Hi Rn 2006,
Please hang in there(as if we have another option).I t takes a while to get approved,but you will.I am in the same process,worked 29 years as a nurse,beat up my body,paid into this system.and when we need the help you have to fight for it.Very unfair !!!! I will pray for you.
Nurse Nancy

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Nurse Nancy,
Thanks for the words of encouragement. I have not been nursing that long. I went back to school at the age of 34 after having a stillborn. I felt everything happens for a reason, so I decided that nursing was my reason for my loss. Feeling that I could help others, helped to mend my broken heart a little. So, I worked, took care of my family, and went to nursing school.

Unfortunately, things didn't turn out the way I thought they would. Had my neck surgery on XMas break after my first semester of clinicals but returned in January and continued on, determined to finish on schedule which I did. I have worked in hospice (my true love) and in long-term care.

Not being able to work as a nurse, makes me feel that I lost my baby twice (if that makes any sense). I wish I had your strong faith in God. It is really hard at this time to have faith of any kind. I feel like I am being punished in some way. I have made mistakes in the past as we all have but am not a bad person.

They say God has a plan for all of us, just not sure what my purpose is. After 2 spinal surgeries, it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Shelly

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Spoke with disability lawyer yesterday. Starting the appeal process. Also receiving a "dire need" packet in the mail. Includes a letter to my congressman, a form letter for creditors explaining my situation, and more contacts I can try for assistance. Problem is that I am married. Since we have an income with insurance benefits, I won't qualify to much if any assistance. UNFAIR!!! If I was divorced and never went back to school for my nursing degree, I would qualify for all kinds of help. The system is so broken. Even though our total income is about a 1/3 of what it was while I was working, we won't see much relief if any.
I have neighbors who are immigrants who are in better shape than we are even though neither work. I am not prejudice, but it seems the government is much more interested in helping others come to this county to start a new life instead of helping their 'own'. Please no hate mail. I am just telling it the way it is.

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Hi Shelly,
God loves you,there is NOTHING we can do that can change His love for us.I feel too like i have been a good person with a strong faith,sometimes question why this whole injury happened,but i do still believe God has a plan,you have to hold on to that hope,even though you may not see it now.Faith is the evidence of things unseen.......we truly walk by faith and not by sight.So know that you are not being punished.
Question,i can't remember reading it but did your lumbar fusion or neck fusion bring any pain relief at all?
Blessings,
Nurse Nancy

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Nurse Nancy,
My cervical fusion was performed due to a very prominent limp and bowel/bladder issues. I did not have any pain or cervical myelopathy symptoms. The neurosurgeon actually thought I had MS ( my sister has MS) before completing total MRI. I have alot of pain in my neck now along with cervical headaches which include N/V. Numbness and tingling in arms with generalized weakness due to degenerative changes of C3 disc and multiple bone spurs within my hardware and remaining discs.
My lumbar fusion has helped with the pain. I continue to have pain in my lower back due to sacroilliac joint dysfunction bilaterally.
Don't get me wrong, I do believe in God. It's just hard sometimes to have faith due to the predicament I am in right now. I can't see God's purpose for me at the moment. It's hard because I really thought his plan for me was to become a nurse after losing my little girl.
Thanks for your prayers and cheerful words of optimism. Nurses have to stick together!

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My disability claim was denied in June. Filed appeal. Just received a letter today from Social Security stating that my appeal is denied. Next step is a hearing request. Has anybody gone through this? I would like to have an idea of what I have to look forward to. Please help!!!

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Hi Rn 2006,
Nancy RN here,as a matter of fact i am in this process right now ,got denied twice and i am now in the appeal process before the administrative judge waiting for my hearing date.I hired attorney,binder and binder.They should be calling me for it within the next 5 or 6 months.Had back surgery,now waiting on neck surgery .My fear is that they will come back with"you can do a desk job ".like case management or something.....YUK! Not me,i did floor nursing for 29 years that was until i was slammed off a chair at work in June 2009.This is all a waiting game,i wish you the best.
Nurse Nancy

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Nurse Nancy
What kind of neck surgery? If you have any questions, I have been there and done that. Definitely sounds like we are in the same boat!

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Hi Rn 2006,
I don't know yet,just had a repeat MRI last week,my C4,5 and 6 disk are really bad.I would really like to look into artificial disk replacement vs, fusion.What did you do,and did it help?Any advice would be appreciated.
Blessings,
Nurse Nancy

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Nurse Nancy,
I had an ACDF of C4 thru C7. Cadaver bone was used as spacers. I did not want to have a hip donor site and another chance of infection at the surgical site. It is a tough post-op period, I would never tell someone it is easy. With that being said, I would do it all over again if I could have artificial discs implanted. The loss of ROM is difficult to deal with and increases the risk of degenerative discs on each side of the fusion due to increased stress to those areas.

The toughest parts of recovery immediately after the surgery: Worst sore throat ever due to anterior approach. Difficulty swallowing your own spit. Unable to lay down due to the very restrictive Aspen collar.

Best suggestions:
Invest in a good blender or smoothie maker. I lived on shakes and smoothies for the first few weeks before advancing to to yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.
Make sure you have a comfortable recliner available if you do have the problem of not being able to lay down, like I did. I cried when my husband had a new one delivered.

I am not trying to scare you at all. I just wish I would have had more of this info before I had my procedure.

I will help you through this ordeal as much as I am able.

Nurse Shelly

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Please update me when you receive your MRI results.

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Nurse Nancy, I too am a RN with 34 years of Labor/delivery/postpartum experience.I have had 3 back surgerys.Fusion L3,4,5.The fusion was not lealing,so had the hardware removed after 13 months of terrible pain. Tried every alternative methods available for healing,to no avail. Oct 2010 had an anterior intrabody lumbar fusiion.Now 10 months later,I have once again began having severe lower back and leg pain.After a X-ray and CT scan,it shows that the bone graph on the lower side is not healing,so hopefully will be getting a "bone growth stimulator" soon.
Sorry to be going on & on.I applied for SS disability after the first surg.In May of 2009. Had to go back to work between the first and second surg.(in pain)Had to resign in April 2010 due to such awful pain. I prayed and prayed for help through all this,lossing my insururance,and income,and all the uncertainty I was dealing with. Then in Nov.2010,SS contacted me to say I would be eligible! And started recieving it,just short of me selling my house!! I am single 57 year old women,and I have now known that muricals do happen!! Keep the faith!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!!! Hopefully something will heal my back...that would definately be a mericle(need help spelling) !!!

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Just spoke with attorney yesterday. We completed all the paperwork necessary to request a hearing since the initial and appeal were denied.

I am really torn at this time and do not know what to do. The attorney stated that it can take up to 1 1/2 years to finally get my day in court! I can not wait that long. I this SS does this because they know everyone has bills to pay and having to wait this long will make applicants go back to work in some capacity.

Has anyone else heard the same thing. Would love to hear from people that did make it to the hearing phase and how long it took to get there.
Please help!!!!!

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Hi debblue,
Thanks for all your words of encouragement .Please pray for mt Social security hearing before the judge,my attorney said waiting period is usually a year from time filed,i filed after the appeal in April 2011 after my lumbar fusion,now waiting for possible surgery on my cervical spine.In pain all the time.Back is somewhat better,but hardware is really bothering me,Doc plans on removing it at about a year post op.I can not imagine going back to work like this.Us nurses need to stick together.I will update you soon,see my doc in 2 weeks with my mri films.
Blessings,
Nurse Nancy

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HI RN2006,
I will be praying for your hearing too,we can not give up!All those years we took care of others,i think it is our turn,do you think?
Blessings,
Nurse Nancy

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Thank you all for the support and help with the feeling so "hopeless" I will be praying for you and wishing you PEACE,and physical and mental,and financial well being! This extra stress about finances and insurance doesn't help with our healing.Everybody but the government knows that! We need to let go and let GOD. That is my only saving grace through all of this!

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Even though my whole life seems to be in limbo, I do appreciate the support and good thoughts through this discussion. Thank you!

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Things are not good! My pain management provider has changed my meds again. I was on Fentanyl 75mcg every 48 hours for the past 3-4 months. The last month or so, I have been in so much pain that I couldn't lay down due to severe neck pain/burning. I end up sleeping in my recliner or not sleeping at all. Also, have been having cervical headaches 24/7. She did a direct conversion of the Fentanyl and now I am on Methadone 80mg daily. The pain is better but the sedation is quite debilitating. I know it takes your a body awhile to adjust. This always happens. I become tolerant to the pain medication every 4-6 months and then they need to switch me again. I am at the ceiling of the strength of medications per the pain management department. They can not prescribe any higher without some surgical intervention. Unfortunately, insurance states that my cervical issues do not require surgery. Why do they get to decide that?

Our finances are circling the toilet. Receiving certified letters and mail delivered by FedEx from bill collectors. My husband has been in contact with the mortgage company trying to work something out so we can stay in our home. I see renting in my future. We have been living in our home since 1995. Has anyone had to file for bankruptcy? If so, Chapter 7 or 13? Was the bankruptcy beneficial?

Sorry, I really needed to do some venting!! When you are searching for help/answers, it seems the results are not what you are looking for. Even though I am prescribed anti-depressants, I am teary all day long. I don't know if I can keep up the battle much longer.

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rn2006.It is damn hard,no one seems to understand. Just KNOW that GOD doesn't give you anymore than you can handle....yes I have heard this so many times.....just keep on praying,you do not know the miricles ahead,when you keep praying.......GOD WILL BLESS YOU!!!!

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I so totally know about that teary day.....

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My prayers are sent to you...It's like WHY ME??? Way to young for this to be happening.Just remember that GOD does have a plan for all of us...just takes along time to find the answer,but it is coming,He doesn't give us any more than we can handle....I know I have heard this countless times...ends up being true! Just keep praying.

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Hi Debblue and rn2006,
I agree with you deb,it is all so hard some time,and i know people make it sound like we use God as a crutch but i am so thankful that i need Him and He is my crutch and not drugs or alcohol.Rn2006,please do not give up hope,keep praying,keep looking up,we are here for you/,
I also got my new Mri results of my cervical spine back this week,not looking so good,3 disks with bad degeneration,bulging and spurring.I hope they do not say it is not bad enough for surgery.
Blessings,
Nurse Nancy

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Hi, I know just what you r saying. I have gone thur paper work 3 times. I give up. I can't get workers comp. Judge went with the other side. great just what I needed to here. that was before any surgerys I have had 2 futions L4-S1. Tryed to get SSD and I wasn't able to. I can't get anything. My poor husband is going crazy. He's working any over time possible. which isn't much. I need to work. but can't sit,walk or laydown for any legth of time. I probably can't even get to be a walmart welcome person. I can't find a lawyer. None that will help me. Maybe there isn't anything I can do. I'm scared I wish I could get some help also. Best of luck to you.

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I lost my position of 10 years in February, partially due to myelopathy. I fell twice at work and I work with infants. I applied at other centers and had close to 30 interviews. No one hired me. I was getting weaker and weaker at the time. BTW I have excellent references and experience. After another severe fall due to the myelopathy I applied for SS. I am 56. My first application was denied. So I filed a RECONSIDERATION which included 2 new MRI's, both lumbar and crevical, which both show spinal cord compression. My Neurosurgeon had me take a gait evaluation and then ordered a walker. I included this and my upcoming nonelective surgery. I filed this the middle of August and have heard nothing. How long does it usually take to hear about a RECONSIDERATION? I do not have an attorney.

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who's your lawyer? r u in the Syracuse area? I really have to get one who will listen to me. and will at least try. I haven't found one yet. If you want to call me about this let me know. Have a good night

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