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What to do when waiting for SSI?

Started by 100000120348711... on 09/26/2011 2:23pm

Im 23 years old, I applied for SSI of september 2008. I have Spondylothesis, and also scolois, (however you spell it) and recently a chiropractic told me I have 6 damange nerves. I went to court March 1, 2011 and got denied in May, my lawyer appealed it again and as of right now it is at the council hall pending. I called to check my status and they keep telling me pending and i could wait up till may 2012, than i called again another week and they told me still pending and i could wait up to 10 months. Now it went from May to July. My lawyer never keeps in contact with me even when i call her she dont return my calls. I dont know what else to do anymore, i cant work i would love to but everytime i would work i would get let go or i would have to quit due to my back problem. It feels like i am wasting my young life away by sitting at home and cant do nothing about it? Can i speed the process up with any new evidence from doctors or chiropractic?

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Hi Melissa. Sorry to hear that you're in so much pain and that you've been waiting for 3 yrs. to get some resolution of your disability claim.

I was a Social Security Disability attorney for a short time (until I had to quit b/c I couldn't sit all day!). I'm a little confused about where you are in the process -- a state agency usually makes the initial decision on behalf of the Social Security Admin. as to whether someone meets the definition of "disabled." If denied, the 1st appeal is back to the state agency and is decided "on the record" (i.e., without a hearing). If denied at this first appeal, the next appeal is to a federal Administrative Law Judge. Your lawyer is correct that there is a long wait to get a hearing date for the ALJ (the statistics in our region hovered around 2 years from the time the hearing was requested). It is an absolute outrage, but that's another issue.

Because SSD cases don't pay very well, the only way the attorneys can make money is by carrying a large caseload and relying heavily on paralegals to do most of the legwork. That being said, however, there is no excuse for your attorney not returning your calls. She may not be able to call you back the same day, but you should at least get a call back the next business day. She also should have told you that it is CRITICAL to the success of your case that you have RECENT medical evidence to present when you go to your hearing before the ALJ. It won't necessarily "speed up" the process, but it will be essential to show the ALJ that you are still seeking medical treatment (because it can be hard to convince the judge that your pain is so bad as to preclude work if you aren't continuing to seek treatment).

When you do get a hold of your attorney, ask her whether she would recommend that you pursue vocational rehab through your state. In my (albeit limited) experience, 1 of 2 good things can happen -- (1) voc rehab can help you find a job you can do within your limitations (with education/job skills training, etc -- in our state they even help pay for college), which would be better than "wasting your your life away" (and a lot more lucrative than collecting SSI). (2) if the voc. rehab. caseworker concludes that they can't help you because you are too disabled to work, your voc. rehab file can be used as evidence at your SSD hearing -- and the voc. rehab. caseworker's opinion carries a lot of weight with the ALJ. But you should talk with your attorney first.

Good luck to you!

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Thank you so much, the only thing I am confused about is my case is at the council office right now pending, but the lady told me it could take up to 10 months? I dont understand how it can take so long? I contacted another lawyer, Binder and Binder. They told me they cant help me right now because how my case is in the appeal process at the council office, but if i would get denied from that they can help me.

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Hi Melissa, the fact that your going for SSI saids that your don't have enough credits to get SSD. I if you get involved with work with a job rehab , this will weaken your cased as this just proves that you can work doing something else.

The second area is that you need to go to a Medical Doctor. The chiropractor report does not "carries as much weight" as a Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), physiatry /fɨˈzaɪ.ətri/ or rehabilitation medicine, is a branch of medicine that aims to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to those with physical impairments or disabilities. A physician having completed training in this field is referred to as a physiatrist or rehab medicine specialist. Physiatrists specialize in restoring optimal function to people with injuries to the muscles, bones, tissues, and nervous system (such as stroke patients.

I am assuming that your problem is on the spine? Is it on the Cervical , Thoracic or Lumbar? You need good documentation that shows your problem beyond reasonable doubt. You should have a good record of what you tried medically. Have you tried Physical Therapy? Are you on any medicines ? You should have some anti inflammatory meds and what ever else you made need. You should have MRI reports, and most importantly a letter from a medical physician or Physicist that the doctor states clearly, something like " due to Ms. Smith medical condition based on the MRI and other test that she is not able to work and should certainly be consider disabled."

The more medical support you can get like from a Physical Therapist will add weight to your case. It all need to be well documented cause if not it will be rejected again.

If you get to the ALJ level, one judge will basically ask you questions and some of them will be trick questions. You Attorney should fill you in on all that part.

Don't concern your self with getting something to do cause one of the first question is "are you working?" Have you worked since you filed for disability? If you answer yes and you tried but you had to level this will work in your favor, if you are keep the job the Judge will said that you found work that you can do. Have a nice day! You loose..You'll just have to file again get a different attorney and made sure you have give h/she all the documentation.

Don't depend on the attorney, as I said, make sure you have all evidence in your own records from doctors ect.

It's a tough fight. Read as much as you can from other people and try to find some support in your area that can explain the process to you. If you are "low income" you could get help from local social services and can get an advocate that can help you built up your case.

I wish I had better news for you. They don't make it easy. Depending on your State if you are going for SSI only you will get a certain amount from the Federal Gov and you will get the balance from the state. You can find out how much your would get from the state as they have a chart.

Good luck in your fight. Please let us know how it goes. Other people might add other bits of information.
Look for some legal sites in Google that will explain in more details how to develop a good case.

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about all you can do is be patient , I know thats hard to do but all the times they deny you when you win it they must pay all the timm you have applied for it called your back pay. they do it to practly everyone.

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Yes its for my spine, i have spondylothesis, and mild scolios. I have been going to my Doctor and i just went to a neurosurgeon and i started physical therapy. Now do i need to contact my lawyer and tell her where i am going and getting done? Thanks for giving me tips. Its very hard waiting paitently for this, going to be 4 years next year.

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HI Melissa, ok good for you. Don't sit on your hands waiting for something to happen. Check and see what's going on. Don't assume because you have a attorney that s/he is watching your cause. You are a case number!

When you say "council" level, what do you mean ? Are you in the USA? Or some other country? As I don't believe we have that level. Could you explain please. As the rules may be different/similar there may be different processes to reach the same result.

Never the less, you should make sure that you have all your ducks in order. You lost once.. Make sure you have good solid evidence. Remember the key question about disability is Can you do your job? if no can you do something else ? So you body has to show the doctors that you can't work because of your condition. Your doctor, PT, have to state that in a letter, "In my medical opinion, Melissa Graham - based on the MRI and Xray and other tests she is NOT able to work." Something strong and clean. Your attorney can talk with the doctor about the process.

Make sure you maintain your own documentations, I have heard of lawyers not able to make the hearing.

Good Luck!!

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Hello, When i say its at the council office, when i first applied they denied me so i went and found a lawyer and we went to court, couple months after court they denied me again of false information from a free clinic. My lawyer appealed it again and i called the social security office and they keep telling me it is at the council office and it is waiting for a judge to view my case. Now i call my lawyer and her receptionist keeps answering me and keeps telling me my lawyer is waiting for a court hearing. So i am very confused. When i was at court they named me jobs that they think i could work at and i cant, some jobs they included were stocking shelves at stores or work at a bank. This pain is unbearable and i am going 2 times a week to see a physical therapy and i am also going to make another appointment with a back doctor to get more opionions since every doctor i went to dont want to do surgery because i am young. Thanks for your advice!

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Yes that is the first step, they have a work councilor to show that you can do other jobs. You should get your surgeon to write a letter stating that you are unable to do any work. There is a name of that... I think it might be called "Temporal Disability" given to you by the doctor. Until you have your hearing. This will be before a Administration Law Judge. If I understand what you are saying,

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I am only a few years older then you. I am 27. I have high grade 3/4 spondylolisthesis My doctors said when my symtoms warrant the need for surgery thats when you have surgery. What are your mri reports saying? I only see top specialist because of my condition and most neuro's and ortho's are not qualified or have not had enough experience to perform surgery on my back.

If you are in that much pain I get that they want to go the safe route because once you cut you can't go back. Are you doing everything in your power to get the relief you need?

I am just asking because if I was pain the way you describe I would not settle for the answers you are getting and you shouldn't either. It is your body and you shouldn't have to live in this type of pain.

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Ive been taking my flexerial pills and naproxen like usually, and still going to therapy they have me strenghening my back. And they just told me that it looks like its my L4 and L5 of my spine that is bothering me. I explained to them everything how i cant wash dishes for long period of time my back starts throbing in pain and than it will get stiff so i need to sit down to rest. And walking a whole mall bothers me i will start getting the pain in my lower back than into my hip and i will realize i will start to walk funny like almost limping. I was very upset with going to that neurosurgeon he would not talk to me at all or give me answers just go to therapy and than after 4 weeks of therapy i should go get injections in my back. I am planning on calling another doctor and see what happens from there. Im at the point i want something done if it has to be surgery, but it also scares me. Thanks for everyones advice!!

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Neurosurgeon never read the mri report to me at all he had his receptionist call me and say no need for surgery. I told therapy there suppose to read me it. Im gonna mention it tomorrow morning when i go again!

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Melissa, you have a RIGHT to have a copy of the MRI report. If the Dr gives you a problem, go to the place where you had the MRI. They usually give it at no charge.

Start taking charge of your situation. Don't depend on the Doctor or the Lawyer. If things don't work out at one place you'll have the records to show the next doctor. If you have any county or state assistance,you can obtain a lawyer at no charge if you are getting any type of assistance, Call your social services for specific answers or go to there page,

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hi melissa you need to go and see another surgeon my surgeon looked at my old mri and told me I needed 8 screws and rods and other things. there is someone out there that should be able to help. good luck on a dr writeing up a paper saying you cant work. or you are disabled.

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Thanks. I am planning on finding another back doctor to give me better answers than the last doctor. Today i asked the therapist to look at my MRI and she said shes not really suppose to read the results to me but all she said was that my mri came back normal saying i dont have any bulging disc's or anything and she said my pelvis was out of line so she tried to re align it today. I'll let you guys know what happens as soon as i find a doctor. I am planning on going to the hospital to pick up my MRI and Xrays so i have them ready for SSI.

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well the therapist re aligned my pelvis and as of last night i went to bath my 5 year old son i turned to wash him and something popped in my back, you could actually hear it pop. The pain was unbelievable i almost went to the ER but i sucked it up and just put ice on it. Today i wake up and i am sore and its like a tight feeling so i called my therapist up and she said it might of been my pelvis popping out so she had me come in and have her look at. She checked it and she said it wasnt my pelvis and she has no clue what it could of been, she told me to relax and put heat on it. I think if it gets any worse the pain il be calling that neurosurgeon back up. Is it normal for your back to pop like that and hurt so bad?

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So you don't know what is wrong with your spine? First you said you have spondylolisthesis, then you new mri says you don't? If it is spondy why would they realign you? That isn't going to fix the problem. If you have a low grade spondy that may be the reason they are saying no to surgery. They usually want you to go through the conservative method( pt pain management injections) before they cut. I would try the injections. They work wonders for me. I have had 4 so far this year in l5/s1 in both sides. My leg pain on my left is gone and my right leg which shoots numbness is finally gone also. I am avoiding surgery for as long as possible.

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They had me get MRI's to see if any bulging disc's and that, the doctor never told me what grade or level my spondylothsis is, I've been doing physical therapy for 3 weeks now and I think its making it worse, I dunno if I am going to do the shots, I had a very bad experience with epidural when I gave birth to my child and a lot of doctors thinks that's what caused my back all this trouble but my not 100%. Now the physical therapist thought maybe the reason why I was walking funny and she saw my one leg is shorter than the other was because of my pelvis and that is why she relighn it. But thanks for ur advice though!

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