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Sjogrens Topics => Living With Sjogren's => Topic started by: Autoimmunity on July 23, 2013, 01:11:50 PM

Title: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on July 23, 2013, 01:11:50 PM
I am going to try filing for disability online.  The checklist says you will need names of your doctors, etc.  So if my health issues have been going back a number of years, can I guesstimate the date(s) I saw certain doctors?  For instance I have changed endocrinologist a number of times.  My first endo would not treat my hashi's, but was treating me for pcos.  And I don't have actual medical records from those doctors, it has been years.  I did get my medical chart from my rheumatologist, but if I am applying on line is that even needed and do I have to chase down medical records that from other doctors?
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: slccom on July 23, 2013, 02:00:07 PM
Do you have old date books or master calendars with your appointments on them? You might have their names there.

Go back as far as you reasonably can; what is more important is the current records, as I understand it.

Sharon
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on July 23, 2013, 03:49:49 PM
Do you have old date books or master calendars with your appointments on them? You might have their names there.

Go back as far as you reasonably can; what is more important is the current records, as I understand it.

Sharon

That was a good idea.  I did have datebooks back to 2009. 

I am trying to get medical records from my gp who "retired" in April, I have to drive to another city tomorrow and sign a release and they have another week to get them to me.

**Can anybody tell me how I submit medical records with my application if I am applying online?  Should I just go ahead and do my application now?  Will they then request the records?  I have no idea how this works and don't know anybody who has done this.  Feeling a bit lost.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on July 23, 2013, 06:37:29 PM
Autoimmunity,

I filed several weeks ago. SSA is still trying to collect my medical records from the county so I will assist them in that since the county may never forward them. This is new to me too and I have found a wealth of information on the boards. There is so much to look through. More than anything we want to increase the chances that SSA will approve our claim the first time as appealing their decision can be long.

I sent SSA records as far back as 2006 since I believe that is when all of the AI stuff started. Many of my ailments in my claim started back then as well and the SSA representative said to include all ailments like the HBP, diabetes, and kidney disease as it all could be related to the sjogrens.

Even though filing online they still want your medical records as the Disability Examiner will go through your records with a fine tooth comb. After I submitted the Application and Adult disability report I hand carried one set of medical records to the local social security office. I will also hand carry or mail any additional information. It was stressful for me personally. You may want to do what you can prior to filing online as they have time limits to complete the adult disability report once you start it.

Hope this helps.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on July 23, 2013, 08:20:14 PM
Autoimmunity,

I filed several weeks ago. SSA is still trying to collect my medical records from the county so I will assist them in that since the county may never forward them. This is new to me too and I have found a wealth of information on the boards. There is so much to look through. More than anything we want to increase the chances that SSA will approve our claim the first time as appealing their decision can be long.

I sent SSA records as far back as 2006 since I believe that is when all of the AI stuff started. Many of my ailments in my claim started back then as well and the SSA representative said to include all ailments like the HBP, diabetes, and kidney disease as it all could be related to the sjogrens.

Even though filing online they still want your medical records as the Disability Examiner will go through your records with a fine tooth comb. After I submitted the Application and Adult disability report I hand carried one set of medical records to the local social security office. I will also hand carry or mail any additional information. It was stressful for me personally. You may want to do what you can prior to filing online as they have time limits to complete the adult disability report once you start it.

Hope this helps.

Ok, that is extremely helpful.  I am going to go around and sign the releases tomorrow for the records to be sent to me.  Is it better to file in person or online?  The office is in the next city about 45 minutes away, as our most of my medical records.  So I can apply online and does it assign you some sort of number and you can submit the records you have?  I am so sick right now the last thing I need is to be running around doing all this (dr. took me off meds as my white count went too low, so now I am in a ton (more) of pain than usual and just feeling completely ill, not sure why). 

Thank you so much for the assistance.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: deniselb on July 23, 2013, 08:52:08 PM
I would like to suggest as strongly as I possibly can to get all your ducks in a row before you open your claim. And I would absolutely recommend filing online. It will allow you time to think through and revise your answers. You don't have to submit the application online until you are happy with it - although when I applied in 2007 I couldn't print the application until after I submitted it. I took screen prints of the individual pages so that I could review them as I went along. I also showed them to my doctor, and he recommended that I change some things. I think what he told me helped a lot.

The application asks you for dates and locations of every doctor visit, hospitalization and test. It doesn't tell you how far back to go or whether to include things that aren't related to the illness you're filing under; you need to figure it out. I spent weeks collecting all my records, and at least eight hours to organize it all and fill out the application. You should review the Social Security guidelines for the illnesses you're claiming, which are online. You don't want to make any mistakes. Don't submit your claim until you feel confident.

My application was approved the first time, in less than four months. But I'm quite sure that it would not have been if I had followed the bad advice of people who told me to file ASAP without preparing. And the legal websites helped also. Here is one: http://www.youtube.com/user/disabilitycases/videos (http://www.youtube.com/user/disabilitycases/videos)
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on July 23, 2013, 09:12:16 PM
Autoimmunity,

I filed several weeks ago. SSA is still trying to collect my medical records from the county so I will assist them in that since the county may never forward them. This is new to me too and I have found a wealth of information on the boards. There is so much to look through. More than anything we want to increase the chances that SSA will approve our claim the first time as appealing their decision can be long.

I sent SSA records as far back as 2006 since I believe that is when all of the AI stuff started. Many of my ailments in my claim started back then as well and the SSA representative said to include all ailments like the HBP, diabetes, and kidney disease as it all could be related to the sjogrens.

Even though filing online they still want your medical records as the Disability Examiner will go through your records with a fine tooth comb. After I submitted the Application and Adult disability report I hand carried one set of medical records to the local social security office. I will also hand carry or mail any additional information. It was stressful for me personally. You may want to do what you can prior to filing online as they have time limits to complete the adult disability report once you start it.

Hope this helps.

Ok, that is extremely helpful.  I am going to go around and sign the releases tomorrow for the records to be sent to me.  Is it better to file in person or online?  The office is in the next city about 45 minutes away, as our most of my medical records.  So I can apply online and does it assign you some sort of number and you can submit the records you have?  I am so sick right now the last thing I need is to be running around doing all this (dr. took me off meds as my white count went too low, so now I am in a ton (more) of pain than usual and just feeling completely ill, not sure why). 

Thank you so much for the assistance.


When you file the online application they issue an application number. Print out the page and all information they prompt you to print. The app# will be used to access your application in the event you have to re-enter their system to complete it.

At the end of the Adult Disability Report (comes after the app) SSA will ask you to electronically sign a Medical Records Release Form. Although you sign this form for doctors to release med records to SSA they will be more than happy if you can obtain the records yourself.

It was more convenient for me to file online at the time because I was feeling horrible and just did not want to leave the house. The wait on the medical records has also bought me a little time to write a letter to SSA about my daily functioning.  The face to face interaction gives you the chance to ask important questions that filing online does not provide. I had so many questions after filing because I didn't know what to do next. Because my most recent medical records are skimpy, I do not believe they will help me; therefore, I am writing a detailed letter to the claims examiner about my limitations on daily functioning.

If you decide to go in person make sure you call for an appointment. Not calling may mean you could sit at SS for hours only for them to end up giving you an appointment to come back anyway.

I have found that SS representatives in this area are very helpful and friendly.

I'll be happy to keep you on developments of my claim.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: jpd54 on July 24, 2013, 09:49:15 AM
 My brain fog was instrumental in getting my disability.  Because I couldn't remember things, have a very long attention span and other things, I could not do any jobs.  Don't forget to add that in.  I did see a neuropsychologist and used his testing. That helped also.

  Good Luck!!!
     
                 Jennifer
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Doxie on July 24, 2013, 11:05:35 AM
I did a lot of research before I applied, including great advice from here, searching the Internet, and purchasing a few books. I found that unless you want to possibly wait a year or more, do all you can to get approved in the first place. ( I know, very obviously everyone wants to)

When I filed, I was going to do it online, but then I heard how important it was for them to actually see you and put a face with the name. I think that when I did that, it was helpful. You can ask questions, and you can tell them a few personal things that you can't otherwise put in your application.

But let me back up. I actually spent over a month after I quit work (I actually retired) gathering all of my doctors info. Like litliwlowa said, I created a spreadsheet with all of my doctors and hospitals, their addresses, phone numbers and fax numbers. (The disability dept. likes to fax them their request). It is important to note that if you can, get the records department numbers.  You will also want to figure out when you first saw the doctor, when you last saw the doc, and when your next appointment is.

I also created a spreadsheet (I already had one) of all my meds and information about them.  I expanded it so I could write in my spreadsheet side-effects from the medication, if any, to put in later forms.

Meanwhile I collected all my doctor and hospital/MRI  and get records. Make sure you know the names and dates of any important tests, who ordered them and where the records are at.

It is helpful to do all of that BEFORE you apply.  Once you apply, you are under deadlines, and things get stressful.

I then went online to the application website, found the phone number, called, and told them I wanted an appointment.  They proceeded to ask me several questions which I didn't know they were going to do, and wasn't quite prepared for. I scrambled for things I had already written up.  I guess they screen people before they will make appointments. That was my "official application".  I wasn't crazy about it, and if I had to do it again, I'd do it the same way, but just be prepared to orally tell them.  Just be aware that it may be awhile before you get your appointment, depending on how busy they are.

He then told me to go online and do the next part on the web. That's the big part where you enter all of your doctors, prescriptions, and details about your ailments. I made sure to make copies of it.  Even though I though I was prepared, I still had to save it and go in and out many times. 

I took all of my medical records to my appointment with the disability examiner.  I wasn't sure how useful they were. They scanned them in, but they said that they have to get them straight from the doctors. It was good to be able to talk to him.  He gave me estimates as to how long it would be, and that I could call him for questions. You don't get that if you do it online only.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: slccom on July 24, 2013, 11:16:03 AM
There is extensive discussion of applying for disability on this site. You can search for "applying for disability" and find the information.

It is a process. Remember that!

Sharon
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on July 24, 2013, 11:43:49 AM
Meanwhile I collected all my doctor and hospital/MRI  and get records. Make sure you know the names and dates of any important tests, who ordered them and where the records are at.


Doxie, Thanks for the info. Does DDS look at the original radiological reports?
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Doxie on July 24, 2013, 12:04:52 PM
If you put down your back, for example, they will look for any radiology reports of your back to verify your claim. For instance, do the films seem to back up what you say about your claim of pain and disability?  If it diagnosis is severe, and on the blue book listings, they will fast track it straight to approval.

The big thing though, is not the pain, but how the pain and disability affect your ability to work.  Always relate everything to that. 

The same with Sjogrens.  I looked at all they had listed for Sjogrens, and everything they had listed, that I also had,  I listed in their terms, and then explained how it affected my life, and how it kept me from working.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on July 24, 2013, 03:51:10 PM
Thank you Jennifer, my brain fog/general confusion is one of my biggest issues.  I recently went to a neurologist and he did an mri, it showed sinus problems, but I did not have m.s. like I was starting to think.  He also did an mri on my neck and it does show left sided disc protrusion at multiple levels.  He actually asked me if I had been in a car accident (no).  Now I have to go back for nerve testing.  I am now have scoliosis which I did not have before, which I have been told is "normal aging" but my back pain is severe and there is nothing normal about that.

I went to the big city today and it took me ALL day in 97 degree heat driving around signing waivers trying to get records.  I mostly got "we will call you".  Total nightmare.  I did get my neurologist records, my endocrinologist stating narcolepsy and I have my rheumatologist.  Waiting on my records from my g.p. who retired in April and two other endo's I had seen previously.  I already have the MRI report and labs, labs and more labs.

Somebody sent me a link to youtube and filing for disability and I am going to watch that.  I think I will do it online.  I do not do well in crowded, loud places and I cannot think.  I am also horrible in sticking up for myself and trying to explain how I am unable to work (desk job), but being exhausted 95% of the time, in pain, severe brain fog and trying to do a stressful job with triple the workload has just become too much.  Even just this little running around for records trip today was waay to much for me.

And yes, I found it ridiculous, some of the providers no problem giving me copies of MY records, some charge .60 cents a page.  They are my records.  Both I and my insurance company already paid for that information.  I know somebody has to copy them and such (I work for a hospital in billing), but that is ridiculous.

Thank you, thank you for all the advice and information!
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on July 24, 2013, 06:54:03 PM
Ok, yes, this is literally how niave I am! "He was able to have his interview same day without much difficulty."

So you file online and then still have some sort of interview?  Sounds highly intimidating.  What kind of interview is it?  What kind of things do they ask you?
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: grammad97 on July 24, 2013, 10:34:42 PM
I filed online after my second rheumy suggested I should be on disability. I entered in all the names of docs and their addresses and that's all I did. My hubby and I each got a survey to fill out regarding my daily activities and what I could/couldn't do and about three months later. I got acceptance letter and a check. No calls; no appointments ...


Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on July 24, 2013, 11:47:02 PM
I filed online after my second rheumy suggested I should be on disability. I entered in all the names of docs and their addresses and that's all I did. My hubby and I each got a survey to fill out regarding my daily activities and what I could/couldn't do and about three months later. I got acceptance letter and a check. No calls; no appointments ...

Wow, I pray to God it goes that easy for me!  I, as most of us, am a case of I look perfectly fine, but nobody else has any idea what I go through daily or how hard it is for me or that I go home immediately after work, skip dinner, sleep for hours, force myself to get up to shower for the next day and do it all again. 
Thanks for your story, inspiring.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on July 29, 2013, 07:38:50 PM
Ok, confused!!!  Went online to apply, first off, after everything subject it would kick me off and I had to wait 5 minutes to get back on  >:( 
It has you enter you your illnesses and gives you hardly any room..guess I have too many illnesses.

At the end you can enter a statement to clarify things, so I put all my illness and a short summary of why I could not work..again, hardly any room. 

My confusion is it has you finalize and submit (haven't done yet), but hasn't asked for any doctors info. on the application??  What am I missing?  Will they come back and get that later?  I made the whole list of doctors and dates and the application is not even asking for it. 

Not even sure if my summary was good, but didn't know what to even say.  ugg.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on July 29, 2013, 08:02:08 PM
Autoimmunity,

I did the same thing. I submitted the App then SSA contacted me and asked me to go back in to complete the Adult Disability Report. They gave me a short amount of time to complete. This next part is where you need to have everything on hand, ie., dates, tests, meds etc. Please print everything you complete for your records.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on July 29, 2013, 08:08:41 PM
Autoimmunity,

I did the same thing. I submitted the App then SSA contacted me and asked me to go back in to complete the Adult Disability Report. They gave me a short amount of time to complete. This next part is where you need to have everything on hand, ie., dates, tests, meds etc. Please print everything you complete for your records.
Ok, so I can also do that online and what is a short amount of time?  Also, is it okay to put the explanation of my illnesses like I did?

Thank you!
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: slccom on July 29, 2013, 08:15:27 PM
Autoimmunity,

I did the same thing. I submitted the App then SSA contacted me and asked me to go back in to complete the Adult Disability Report. They gave me a short amount of time to complete. This next part is where you need to have everything on hand, ie., dates, tests, meds etc. Please print everything you complete for your records.
Ok, so I can also do that online and what is a short amount of time?  Also, is it okay to put the explanation of my illnesses like I did?

Thank you!

The more information you give them, the better! Share your reality with them in great detail.
Sharon
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on July 29, 2013, 10:22:40 PM
Autoimmunity,

I did the same thing. I submitted the App then SSA contacted me and asked me to go back in to complete the Adult Disability Report. They gave me a short amount of time to complete. This next part is where you need to have everything on hand, ie., dates, tests, meds etc. Please print everything you complete for your records.
Ok, so I can also do that online and what is a short amount of time?  Also, is it okay to put the explanation of my illnesses like I did?

Thank you!

I filed on May 13 and they contacted me via email and gave me until May 20th to get the Adult Disability Report into them. I had most of the info I needed but I still felt overwhelmed by the process because of the amount of tests I had.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on July 29, 2013, 10:34:51 PM
Autoimmunity,

Doxie is correct, turn in all of the information about how sjogrens affects your everyday life with the Adult Disability Report. I made the mistake of not including it when I sent the info online and now I am back tracking and may have to pay the price in the end.  am totally overwhelmed with it now...Ugghhh!!!
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on July 30, 2013, 10:43:25 AM
Autoimmunity,

Doxie is correct, turn in all of the information about how sjogrens affects your everyday life with the Adult Disability Report. I made the mistake of not including it when I sent the info online and now I am back tracking and may have to pay the price in the end.  am totally overwhelmed with it now...Ugghhh!!!

powderpuff

you can call your local SSA office and explain that you have MORE information to provide relative to your claim, and ask how to go about getting that information to them. Document date, time of the call and who you spoke with also.


Thank you LitliwIowa,

I called DDS this morning. The case worker was extremely nice and friendly. She said she had forms to send me (Function Report & Work History). I advised I started filling out the function report and she said she appreciated my proactiveness and she doesn't see that very often. She said she just received my file two days ago and that it would be several weeks before a decision was made because she has not received my records from my current doctors. This gives me more time to complete the paperwork.



 
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Doxie on July 30, 2013, 01:21:51 PM
Powderpuff,

That was good you called her.  I think you are earning brownie points when she knows you are doing your part.  The case workers are evaluated on their efficiency too. She can document your call, and knows you are doing your best. So if the doctors info isn't back yet, then no worries.  Just remember that you can  always type up what you need to and then refer it to the question number.  On many of the questions in those extra forms they send, I just said to see the attachment. 

Make sure and keep copies of everything you turn in.  Also, when you are done,  fax it in. When it is faxed in, with your case number on that cover sheet, it goes in straight to your file.

It sounds like they are on the ball in processing your claim. That's good. Now we want a good outcome!
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Doxie on July 30, 2013, 01:42:59 PM
Autoimmunity, so did you finish your application?  Once you finish it is when they give you a short amount of time.  I actually had about 3 weeks, because I had called and requested an appointment. I couldn't get the appointment for about 3 weeks, so I had that long to finish the adult disability report. You could always request longer like Powderpuff did.

Someone mentioned that they should keep the DDS updated of any new tests and doctor appointments, etc.  Just be aware that every time you do that, you delay your case. So don't do that unless it's significant.  For instance, I had been calling once in a while to find out what doctors hadn't turned in their info (so I could call and prod them).  I finally had them all in.  So after a few weeks, I called for the status, and found out they were still waiting for some doctor notes.  Say what???  When I quizzed the DDS, they said that I had another doctor appointment so they need updated doctor notes. So I called my doctor, talked to records, and they told me they send in info. When I asked when they had sent it in, it was, of course, before my last appointment.  I asked them to send in notes to the last appointment, which they did.  Finally, DDS felt like they had everything and could then start evaluating the case.

So when you tell them about new appointments and tests, they are obligated to out things on hold and request info.  Only do it if you need it to win your case at that point.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: deniselb on July 30, 2013, 02:52:26 PM
The short amount of time they give you to complete your application once you file is the reason I urge people to collect all their records and figure out what they want to say ahead of time.

When I went in for my interview the woman couldn't find the forms that I had submitted online, so she wanted me to do them again right then and there. I tried to tell her over and over that it took me eight hours to fill out the forms with the entire living room floor filled with all the papers I needed to do it, so there was no way we could just do it off the top of my head. She completely ignored me and kept asking questions I couldn't answer. Did she think I had ten years worth of medical history in my head? It was surreal.

Luckily one of her coworkers came along and helped her find my file in the system.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on July 30, 2013, 03:21:34 PM
Autoimmunity, so did you finish your application?  Once you finish it is when they give you a short amount of time.  I actually had about 3 weeks, because I had called and requested an appointment. I couldn't get the appointment for about 3 weeks, so I had that long to finish the adult disability report. You could always request longer like Powderpuff did.

Someone mentioned that they should keep the DDS updated of any new tests and doctor appointments, etc.  Just be aware that every time you do that, you delay your case. So don't do that unless it's significant.  For instance, I had been calling once in a while to find out what doctors hadn't turned in their info (so I could call and prod them).  I finally had them all in.  So after a few weeks, I called for the status, and found out they were still waiting for some doctor notes.  Say what???  When I quizzed the DDS, they said that I had another doctor appointment so they need updated doctor notes. So I called my doctor, talked to records, and they told me they send in info. When I asked when they had sent it in, it was, of course, before my last appointment.  I asked them to send in notes to the last appointment, which they did.  Finally, DDS felt like they had everything and could then start evaluating the case.

So when you tell them about new appointments and tests, they are obligated to out things on hold and request info.  Only do it if you need it to win your case at that point.

Doxie, you made some good points here. I actually have a first time appointment coming up in September with a psychologist and my PCP referred me to a neurologist. I believe the two appointments will be pertinent to my case; however, I am hoping the information I submit and the doctors notes will be enough that they will approve my claim right away. My rheumy's notes are very skimpy.

Also, SSA has asked me to file for state disability through my former employer. I was shocked since I have not worked there for over a year (June 2012).

When I left, I was ill but did not consider myself disabled and was looking for work. By the end of August 2012, I was pretty sure I was not going to be able to work for a while. Here in CA, it is almost impossible to reach the state disability people on the phone and the two times I've gotten through, they hang up.

It's frustrating because I have questions regarding who should fill out the paperwork, my former doctor or current doctor? Wouldn't make sense to go back and have Kaiser fill out the paperwork since they are not aware of the sjogrens diagnosis.

Autoimmunity, do you have long-term disability through your employer?
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 06, 2013, 12:29:12 PM
Ok, need clarification please.  Filling out the adult disability report.  It asks for when you first saw the doctor and last saw the doctor.  So I am not listing all of the appointments I have had in between, correct?  Because I thought someone had said I need to put down all my appointments and I don't see that.
The other thing is it asks if you have had labs done and when.  Ok, well if I have seen, for example a doctor for 3-5 years and had numerous labs done, what do I put down?  I do not have a specific date?  Can I just put down labs done repeatedly or something like that?  A lot of the records have attached lab work, so hopefully not an issue.
And then at the end I kind of put a synopsis of why I can no longer work and a statement to the effect that I never expected I would have to apply for disability I am just no longer able to work.  Does that make me sound "jackassy"??  LOL. 

THIS IS SO HARD!
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on August 06, 2013, 04:42:33 PM
I agree with LitliwIowa. Call SSA and get clarification. The process only gets harder, at least it has for me. I hired Allsup yesterday as I believe their professional advice will be helpful to win my claim. The small fee will be well worth the larger headache I will have if I continue this on my own.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 06, 2013, 05:05:06 PM
I agree with LitliwIowa. Call SSA and get clarification. The process only gets harder, at least it has for me. I hired Allsup yesterday as I believe their professional advice will be helpful to win my claim. The small fee will be well worth the larger headache I will have if I continue this on my own.

THANKS YOU GUYS.

I originally tried ALLSUP, but they won't touch my for 5 months.  Somebody here sent me a link and it says apply right away.  So that is what I am doing and if I need to hire allsup later, I will.  And I didn't want negative comments, but the truth is I am still employed.  I went on medical leave for a month from Feb. to March, when I went back I got much worse.  The pain was worse, lost a bunch of weight, having severe pain in my back, having disc problems with my neck..yada yada, yada.  At any rate, I am once again on medical leave for the next 2 months.  I am sure I will be fired before then as my FMLA expires at some point, but who knows when as nobody ever kept track.  Even if I don't get fired I am going to let my sick leave run out and I guess I don't want to quit, but I won't be going back, I have to many problems.  I am the girl who went back from leave in March and they trippled my work.  I couldn't do it before they trippled it, sure can't do it now.  Faxed rheumy short term disability paperwork 2 weeks ago, haven't received that back yet.  So going to try for short term, long term disability and soc sec disability.  I can't even sit in a chair for an hour without agonizing back pain, let alone 8 hours.  Very, very scary as I am single, I have NO other support, but I literally cannot do it anymore.  I got my water bill in the mail today and apparantly forget to pay it last month.  Have forgotten to pay my credit card bill twice in the last several months.  Stuff like that is getting more and more frequent and it is scary.  Not like me at all.  So I am putting my faith in God and praying for once I can catch a break. 

I truly appreciate everyone's help.  I can see how someone could easily give up, especially when you are so ill.  It is just overwhelming.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on August 06, 2013, 05:27:39 PM
I agree with LitliwIowa. Call SSA and get clarification. The process only gets harder, at least it has for me. I hired Allsup yesterday as I believe their professional advice will be helpful to win my claim. The small fee will be well worth the larger headache I will have if I continue this on my own.

THANKS YOU GUYS.

I originally tried ALLSUP, but they won't touch my for 5 months.  Somebody here sent me a link and it says apply right away.  So that is what I am doing and if I need to hire allsup later, I will.  And I didn't want negative comments, but the truth is I am still employed.  I went on medical leave for a month from Feb. to March, when I went back I got much worse.  The pain was worse, lost a bunch of weight, having severe pain in my back, having disc problems with my neck..yada yada, yada.  At any rate, I am once again on medical leave for the next 2 months.  I am sure I will be fired before then as my FMLA expires at some point, but who knows when as nobody ever kept track.  Even if I don't get fired I am going to let my sick leave run out and I guess I don't want to quit, but I won't be going back, I have to many problems.  I am the girl who went back from leave in March and they trippled my work.  I couldn't do it before they trippled it, sure can't do it now.  Faxed rheumy short term disability paperwork 2 weeks ago, haven't received that back yet.  So going to try for short term, long term disability and soc sec disability.  I can't even sit in a chair for an hour without agonizing back pain, let alone 8 hours.  Very, very scary as I am single, I have NO other support, but I literally cannot do it anymore.  I got my water bill in the mail today and apparantly forget to pay it last month.  Have forgotten to pay my credit card bill twice in the last several months.  Stuff like that is getting more and more frequent and it is scary.  Not like me at all.  So I am putting my faith in God and praying for once I can catch a break. 

I truly appreciate everyone's help.  I can see how someone could easily give up, especially when you are so ill.  It is just overwhelming.


Your story sounds familiar. I haven't worked for over a year and if not for my SO, I would be homeless.

I would love to do this on my own and not share the money with Allsup, but I just can't. I'm already in a constant state of stress and I never feel well anymore. I find myself praying my way through everything these days.

After you complete the Adult Disability Report you may want to start the Adult Function Report right away. Try to send it with the ADR if you can as it will help your case and speed things along. The AFR is gruelling. A total of 21 main questions and 50 sub questions. Just be honest, and use the worst day scenario to explain your limitations. Hopefully, I will obtain useful advice from Allsup that I can pass along to you.

(((HUGS))

Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: slccom on August 06, 2013, 06:32:29 PM
I started looking up ALLSUP. One warning from xxxxxx is "frustrating-ssdi-allsup-withdrew-what-now.205871"

I don't see read flags for this company, but be aware that: (From SS site)
Out-of-Pocket Costs

"During the course of representation, a disability attorney usually has to request a claimant?s medical, school, work records, and occasionally medical or psychological examinations; these can be expensive. The client must pay these costs separately from the attorney's fee (of 25% of their backpay). Other costs may include charges for copying and postage. It would be unusual in most instances for these costs to exceed two hundred dollars per case (and, usually, the out-of-pocket costs are lower).

Sometimes an attorney will ask for money in advance to pay for these items. This is permitted so long as the attorney holds the money in trust until it is needed. However, attorneys usually front these costs for their clients. Then, once the case has closed, regardless of whether you win or lose, the attorney will send the client a bill requesting reimbursement for any funds fronted on behalf of the client.

Before hiring a disability lawyer, you should ask whether you will be charged for out-of-pocket expenses in addition to the lawyer's fee, and what types of expenses might be included."

Be aware that I heard that Binder and Binder is really bad. One thing they do is to either make you do all teh work, which is what  you hired them to do for you, and charge exorbitant fees for "expenses," such as copying.

You should be able to find someone in an independent living center who can help you, or a relative, and try it on your own. Sjogren's is recognized by Social Security now , which makes a huge difference.
http://www.sjogrens.org/home/about-the-foundation/advocacy/ss-disability

You may well end up doing the same work and paying a large chunk of money to attorneys for no good reason.  Look in this forum for help and suggestions.

Sharon 
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 06, 2013, 06:48:11 PM
I agree with LitliwIowa. Call SSA and get clarification. The process only gets harder, at least it has for me. I hired Allsup yesterday as I believe their professional advice will be helpful to win my claim. The small fee will be well worth the larger headache I will have if I continue this on my own.

THANKS YOU GUYS.

I originally tried ALLSUP, but they won't touch my for 5 months.  Somebody here sent me a link and it says apply right away.  So that is what I am doing and if I need to hire allsup later, I will.  And I didn't want negative comments, but the truth is I am still employed.  I went on medical leave for a month from Feb. to March, when I went back I got much worse.  The pain was worse, lost a bunch of weight, having severe pain in my back, having disc problems with my neck..yada yada, yada.  At any rate, I am once again on medical leave for the next 2 months.  I am sure I will be fired before then as my FMLA expires at some point, but who knows when as nobody ever kept track.  Even if I don't get fired I am going to let my sick leave run out and I guess I don't want to quit, but I won't be going back, I have to many problems.  I am the girl who went back from leave in March and they trippled my work.  I couldn't do it before they trippled it, sure can't do it now.  Faxed rheumy short term disability paperwork 2 weeks ago, haven't received that back yet.  So going to try for short term, long term disability and soc sec disability.  I can't even sit in a chair for an hour without agonizing back pain, let alone 8 hours.  Very, very scary as I am single, I have NO other support, but I literally cannot do it anymore.  I got my water bill in the mail today and apparantly forget to pay it last month.  Have forgotten to pay my credit card bill twice in the last several months.  Stuff like that is getting more and more frequent and it is scary.  Not like me at all.  So I am putting my faith in God and praying for once I can catch a break. 

I truly appreciate everyone's help.  I can see how someone could easily give up, especially when you are so ill.  It is just overwhelming.


Your story sounds familiar. I haven't worked for over a year and if not for my SO, I would be homeless.

I would love to do this on my own and not share the money with Allsup, but I just can't. I'm already in a constant state of stress and I never feel well anymore. I find myself praying my way through everything these days.

After you complete the Adult Disability Report you may want to start the Adult Function Report right away. Try to send it with the ADR if you can as it will help your case and speed things along. The AFR is gruelling. A total of 21 main questions and 50 sub questions. Just be honest, and use the worst day scenario to explain your limitations. Hopefully, I will obtain useful advice from Allsup that I can pass along to you.

(((HUGS))

OMG there is another report to fill out??!!!  Seriously, I had no idea.  3 reports?  Is that right?  The disability application, the disability report and a function report?  Because I do not even see anything that says function report on the disability website, or are you referring to the disability report because I am about to throw myself in front of a car. 
I am going to mail in medical records tomorrow.  I did the disability application today and will finish the disability report tomorrow.  I need to go back through, add medications, make sure I said what I wanted to say.  My back is killing me, my hip is killing me, I took pain and muscle relaxers and they are doing nothing.  They sure make it impossible, don't they?
This is why I wanted to hire an attorney so I didn't have to run around collecting the records and trying to figure this all out for myself.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: ellenkerr on August 06, 2013, 06:52:10 PM
I wish you all the best, this is a difficult process, and when you are sick and have brain fog, it can be overwhelming.  I had short term & 

long term disability where I worked, and I went out on short term, tried to return, and ended up having to go on long term disability. 

The bonus was the LTD insurance can get out of paying the ongoing claim for LTD if they get you approved for SSD.  So it benefits them

to hire Alsup to apply for SSD for me and they handled all the correspondence for me.  I was denied the first time, which they claimed

was pretty common, so they filed the appeal and submitted all of the required paperwork, and I was approved for SSD.  The entire process

took about 24 months.  Since my LTD insurance paid about $1500 more a month than SSD (this was based on my salary and I had a

pretty good job at the time), they just had to pay the $1500 difference every month instead of the entire amount I was entitled to. 

That was fine, however, the insurance company said at the 24 month mark, they had to "re-qualify me" to determine not only if I could

do my "own job", they had to see if I qualified for"any" job.  Besides all the medical issues I had, the brain fog was the worst, and

that's what my disability was based on at the time, even though they had all the other medical records and notes.  When I left work,  I

could have probably qualified based on my fibro, sjs, or arthritis.  Anyway, the insurance company set up an appointment

for me to have "psychological testing" with a doctor they brought in from St.Louis, and had me test in a hotel conference room they

rented for the day.  After the testing, about a week later I received a letter from them telling me basically that I was faking and over-

exaggerating my condition, so they denied any payment from that date.  They did say I could appeal, so I wrote a letter to submit

my appeal, along with documentation from all my doctors.  My neurologist, my psychiatrist, my PCP, etc. all said I couldn't work due to

my condition.  I'm in the process of waiting for their response, but they made it clear, that they could use any reason they wanted to

deny my claim.  It's not like SSD, where the rules are the law, but insurance companies can make it harder by claiming the rules of the

policy changed, or any other reason they want to claim.  As you know how hard this journey is, I am certainly not "faking it".  Even with

doctors notes and documentation, they claimed I didn't have fibro, but the symptoms could be explained by other issues.  They said my

memory issues were probably due to poor sleep because of sleep apnea and most likely I wasn't using my CPAP.  They were correct

that I do have sleep disorders, however after losing a little over 100 lbs, my doctor told me  I no longer had apnea and I did not need a

CPAP any longer.  Bottom line was I started calling attorneys, and most of them would handle SSD claims, but they didn't take LTD

insurance claims.  One said said they couldn't help me since I had already filed the appeal.  They said if I lose the appeal, then they

might consider taking the case, but they wouldn't touch it now.   I think this pretty much tells me that I have no way of winning this

claim.   Apparently it is common knowledge that the big insurance companies can deny you on a whim.  I never saw this coming.  Its so

frustrating going to all the doctors, all the tests, etc and totally exhausting, then dealing with an insurance company that is counting

on you just giving up if they make it hard enough,  When you don't feel well, most people do just give up.

I just wish you and everyone else on this site applying for disability the very best of luck.  Hang tough.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 06, 2013, 07:12:33 PM
mizzy - :O.  Wow, I would like to say I am shocked, but sadly I am not.  I am a medical biller/collector for a hospital and I have seen insurance screw people over a number of times over claims, and of course the person is sick and has no idea how to appeal, it's just ridiculous!
I have short term, but honestly, I think my issues may be pre-existing.  I have long term dis. and that is automatic paid through my employer, so not pre-existing.  I would just have to get through the 6 months first and then if I am approved for ltd the difference between the ltd and ssd payment is maybe $150, so not much.

Your story is what I am afraid of.  I have a number (more than 10) of health conditions, but my main one is rheum arthritis, and mine is the kind that constantly moves around to different joints, so I do not tend to get a lot of swelling or joint damage, but I do get a lot of pain (although I will have a few days here and there where I am ok - so much better when I am not working, honestly!) and I have narcolepsy and just the fatigue and constant sleepiness from the RA itself I can barely function.  I go to work, go home, sleep, force myself to wake up and shower after my 3-4 hours of a nap, go back to bed and do it all over again the next day.  Weekends are sleep, sleep, sleep.  Plus my brain fog, memory problems and confusion.  It would be easy for someone to say I am faking it.  The other horrible part is I had a very abusive childhood, so I internalize everything and tend to not really believe myself either and/or don't know how to stand up for myself.  I can have a horrible week, then one good day and if someone asks how I am, all I remember is the one good day.  So when people think I am faking I never stand up for myself, I just put my head back in the sand.  Not a good thing.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 06, 2013, 07:14:49 PM
Ditto to Sharon's comments.

My sense from experience in going through TWO reps? Crappy. They did NOTHING except that NOTHING they did resulted in me at the hearing level. BOTH were paid from my back benefits...even tho they did NOTHING but stall my claim.

Even though the process of applying is sort of like being a small any having to climb this huge mountain, do as much as can be done independently of an attorney or rep. SSA at the local level is very helpful. When in doubt on paperwork they request, call them directly and they will explain. Plus, local office here anyway advises that they have to document every call they receive pertinent to the claim.

It's far better to give too much info than not enough.

Oh, there is another report : Adult Function Questionare - Third Party. That one you don't fill out. You select someone who best knows your life limiting situation. I completed the one for my roomie. I am the only one really in a position to know how his disabilities impact on basic daily living and such. I actually added a three page attachment for "additional information" to be sure they understood his medical situation was ongoing impeding his ability to handle many daily activities and such.

We're still waiting for a finding. It's been a hair over three months now.

Autoimmunty, as for currently still working? Don't fret about that. As your condition becomes more and more lifelimiting, you already see the handwriting on the wall. Periods of disability leave from work also are taken into account. At least they were in my case.

No matter how overwhelming the process is, don't quit!!

Thanks litliwlowa, I think I should hire you as my assistant :)
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: deniselb on August 06, 2013, 07:46:24 PM
I had the same questions you have. Did they only want information supporting the condition I was filing for, or for all my health issues? How far back should I go? I was 57 years old and had a medical history that goes back forever. I went round and round. I had no idea what they were looking for. I could have written a book if I put down everything.

My psychiatrist advised me to put down as much information as I had. He sounded as though he was confident that he understood the process, so I took his advice. It went well. Maybe it was the right thing to do. He also told me to make sure that when I was describing how my condition prevented me from working that I kept my focus on that. They don't want to know how sick you are or how bad you feel; they want to know exactly why you can't work.

I omitted the Adult Function Questionnaire - Third Party. I just told them I live alone and there really isn't anyone who can do this. It wasn't a problem.

To Mizzy:
Quote
Bottom line was I started calling attorneys, and most of them would handle SSD claims, but they didn't take LTD insurance claims.

There definitely seem to be two distinct types of disability attorneys - some handle LTD, some SSD, no overlap. You should be able to find one who does LTD. But none of them really want to talk to you until there's a case.

Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: ellenkerr on August 06, 2013, 08:24:07 PM
Autoimmunity, this process has been a real eye-opening experience for me.  The rough part was that once you are eligible for SSD, you

have to wait 2 years to be eligible for Medicare.  This makes absolutely no sense to me.  Since I wasn't working during those 2 years, I

couldn't afford and/or qualify for medical insurance.  I made just enough to not qualify for Medicaid.  So I went 2 years with very few

doctors visits because I couldn't afford it.  I'm sure this didn't help my condition any, but I didn't have any choice.  So for my appeal to

the insurance company, I had relatively few current medical records.  I only had  those few plus all the visits I've had with specialists

since January, when I became eligible for Medicare.  They denied my benefits starting in December while I was still uninsured.  The

medical documentation I have provided these past 6 months, they say are not considered since the "diagnosis" had to be before the

December determination.  I know, that is stupid and I am screwed.  :'(

As for the psych tests I took, I can't say why the results came back as they did.  My undergrad degree is in psychology, so I am familiar

with these type of tests, and the "controls" built in to determine if someone is faking or not giving it their best shot.  There were

several types of tests that you had to chose which situation would apply to you.  I asked the Dr. how to answer these because none

of the selections would apply to me.  He said just answer something.  The questions were something like, would you rather rob a bank

or steal a purse?  Well, duh, I wouldn't do either of these.  So I'm sitting there trying to figure out the best answer...are they trying to

decide if I'm violent and would use a gun, or just sneaky and would rip off an old lady?  LOL no winning here!!!  Regardless of what I

would have answered or how I did on the test, the insurance company sent their own "expert" to test me rather than referring me to

a local expert.  They have no intention of paying LTD for the next 4 years that I am entitled to it.

What I have learned from this site and the fine and supporting people here is to trust and believe in myself.  I've decided I can

only control what I do, or how I feel.  I have decided that I will not let anyone else define who I am, or worry if they think I might

be "faking" my illness.  I know what is real and I will not make any apologies for being sick anymore.  The last 2 years I worked almost

killed me from stress, trying to work when I was sick, couldn't think to save my life, and an exhaustion and sleep deprivation beyond

description. I used to work at least 60 hours a week, plus I was working on my Master's Degree.   Yes my life is different now.  I may

have limited income, but I can take a nap when I need it, and be as active and involved as I want to be.  I can't describe how

wonderful it is to sleep in when I am tired, drink a cup of coffee on my deck in the morning enjoying the birds, sunshine, and not be

worried about being late, forgetting something, missing a meeting, getting stuck in traffic, or be on a dead run from morning to

night.  I've realized that I am  in charge of my life, and I will do what I need to do on my terms.  I think I've become a better mother,

daughter, grandmother, and friend since I've gotten sick and given up my job.  My family will attest to this!!!  I think we just have to

keep encouraging each other and remind ourselves that being sick isn't what we planned or wanted, but it can be an incredible

journey when we treasure those wonderful moments that we used to miss out on or take for granted.  I am learning to be more

patient, and kind to myself.  I'm learning to say "no" when I'm asked to do something that takes too much out of me.  The spoon

theory that I read on this site was helpful, in fact, I shared it with my family.  If one of my daughters wants to know if I will do

something for them, go somewhere, or babysit, I'll tell them "yes" if I have enough spoons left to do it!!!  They are beginning to

understand that some days I just don't have the steam, even if I look OK.  I forget sometimes and get frustrated and want to vent,

but then someone with a level head on this site will reassure me, and I immediately understand how blessed I am.  Gee, if we

didn't have a chronic illness, just think how boring life could be!!!  LOL ;D

((Hugs))

Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Doxie on August 06, 2013, 09:25:58 PM
 Autoimmunity,

It's late, but I'll try to comment briefly here, and login in the morning to write more, after I have more time to read everything.

When they ask about the appointments,  just put down your first visit and and then the last time you saw the doc.  Just put down the month and the year.  If you don't know the month, try to at least put the year. If you don't know the year, guess the year and put a question mark by it.  They are just trying to get a feel for how long you've been seeing that doctor, and about when.

Try to remember all your doctors the best you can.  If you don't, oh well. You do the best you can do.
If you list all the hospitals and doctors, that should cover all your lab work.  When it asks for tests, just put down a few really important ones you want them to especially look for.

For instance, I had some good documentation that confirmed my Sjogrens from the NIH, so I listed that on my tests.  I also had some very convincing MRIs of my back, and I listed those. I probably only listed a few others. Most all my other numerous other tests and lab work, I didn't list specifically.

When you have to talk about the doctors, you're to list what they did, you can mention that they ordered many blood tests, etc. you don't need to be specific. There is no way you could do all that. You would drive yourself crazy! They would never expect it either.

This first application part is the hardest, and you're almost done! It's information I would have had to collect whether I had a lawyer or not, so I was better off doing it myself.  Don't worry about the Adult Function Report until you get the disability report in.

If you are on sick leave or whatever, then you are not working. And if you feel you can't go back, now is the time to apply! You do what you need to do for you!

The biggest thing you can do when you put why you can't work is to just say why these illnesses, fatigue, arthritis, or whatever are keeping you from working.  More about this tomorrow.

PS -  List every single illness you have. It doesn't matter whether it is "part of your disability " or not. They all affect your health.  When I had my interview with the case worker, I was embarrassed that I listed so many things, and he did comment, that every little thing can help. (Of course not if you don't have the major things)
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: slccom on August 06, 2013, 10:54:35 PM
Mizzy, the idea is that you will, if you are considerate, please die in the two years you have to waid for Medicare.

Autoimmunity, don't panic over the "reports." They really aren't that hard. Start now to keep notes as to what you can do on a usual day. Not a good day. Not an absolutely awful day. When do you get up in the morning? How do you get ready for your day? (Can you?), including dress, shower, which I'm guessing you don't do every day, brush your teeth, cook, eat, clean up, get to whatever you go to, how long you have to rest after each activity, how long you are wiped out after a doctor visit, what kinds of mental tasks you can do and for how long, when you go to bed, how well or badly you sleep, if you can drive safely, what you have for a social life. You can get help to fill them out, you know. You just have to tell them that you got help, and that person signs that they helped.


And the attorneys can't do this for you. Nor will they. One person said that she got the records, offered to make the copies for Binder and Binder, and they wouldn't let her. They charged her $1/page to copy. What state are you in? I'll look up an independent living center for you.

You can do this without getting ripped off. We'll help.

Hugs, Sharon
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: quietdynamics on August 07, 2013, 12:17:23 AM

Reading all you are going through I am so happy I used an attorney.

I used a Nationally accredited Disability Advocate (they are not referred to as attorneys when you google...I heard about them on a NPR talk show one day)

I did not pay out of pocket for records, or anything...the attorney subpenaed them for the case. I physically met with them twice. One phone interview with SSA; focused on strongly on limitation and detriment of ability to safely perform job responsibilities. Clear, real examples and lost time from work, etc. as compared to work performance prior. Education, accreditation, etc.
(There is a great deal I learned during the meeting with the advocate about the process and the interview, what to focus on, etc.)

Everything was so well documented that I did not have to go to a hearing.
I was approved; I believe it was about 5 months or so.
I was notified over the phone by SSA...I actually thought it was a prank call?!!

Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 07, 2013, 12:36:16 AM
Mizzy, the idea is that you will, if you are considerate, please die in the two years you have to waid for Medicare.

Autoimmunity, don't panic over the "reports." They really aren't that hard. Start now to keep notes as to what you can do on a usual day. Not a good day. Not an absolutely awful day. When do you get up in the morning? How do you get ready for your day? (Can you?), including dress, shower, which I'm guessing you don't do every day, brush your teeth, cook, eat, clean up, get to whatever you go to, how long you have to rest after each activity, how long you are wiped out after a doctor visit, what kinds of mental tasks you can do and for how long, when you go to bed, how well or badly you sleep, if you can drive safely, what you have for a social life. You can get help to fill them out, you know. You just have to tell them that you got help, and that person signs that they helped.


And the attorneys can't do this for you. Nor will they. One person said that she got the records, offered to make the copies for Binder and Binder, and they wouldn't let her. They charged her $1/page to copy. What state are you in? I'll look up an independent living center for you.

You can do this without getting ripped off. We'll help.

Hugs, Sharon
Ok, so that brings up a question.  As I have stated, I have been diagnosed with narcolespy within the past several years.  I take nuvigil.  I have fallen asleep like when I take my car in for service, I have literally fallen asleep when I have gone to the dentist and had my teeth drilled, etc.  Once, and only once, maybe a year and a half ago on the way to a doctor appointment in another city I didn't take the nuvigil, thought I was fine, fell asleep driving!  I know, I am ashamed!  It was only for a second or so, but it happened.  So thankful I did not hurt anybody.  Do I include that story?  I have never even told my doctor as I was afraid of having my drivers license taken away or should I be more subtle - I am unable to drive without the narcolepsy medication?  Up until that point I really questioned that diagnosis as it's one that is just so out there, but not anymore.  Thanks!

One other thing, do I put down the hospital and the imaging center where I get lab work done and had my mri/xrays (there is the section for hospital or other facility).  I started to, it just didn't seem appropriate.  It seemed more like for admissions or ER visits.  I have copies of the important labs, my xrays, mri reports that I am going to attach with each doctors medical records who ordered them (some already had labs/reports attached), so is that good enough.  See, I do make myself crazy over-analyzing everything.  It takes ten times as long to get anything done.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 07, 2013, 12:40:36 AM
Autoimmunity,

It's late, but I'll try to comment briefly here, and login in the morning to write more, after I have more time to read everything.

When they ask about the appointments,  just put down your first visit and and then the last time you saw the doc.  Just put down the month and the year.  If you don't know the month, try to at least put the year. If you don't know the year, guess the year and put a question mark by it.  They are just trying to get a feel for how long you've been seeing that doctor, and about when.

Try to remember all your doctors the best you can.  If you don't, oh well. You do the best you can do.
If you list all the hospitals and doctors, that should cover all your lab work.  When it asks for tests, just put down a few really important ones you want them to especially look for.

For instance, I had some good documentation that confirmed my Sjogrens from the NIH, so I listed that on my tests.  I also had some very convincing MRIs of my back, and I listed those. I probably only listed a few others. Most all my other numerous other tests and lab work, I didn't list specifically.

When you have to talk about the doctors, you're to list what they did, you can mention that they ordered many blood tests, etc. you don't need to be specific. There is no way you could do all that. You would drive yourself crazy! They would never expect it either.

This first application part is the hardest, and you're almost done! It's information I would have had to collect whether I had a lawyer or not, so I was better off doing it myself.  Don't worry about the Adult Function Report until you get the disability report in.

If you are on sick leave or whatever, then you are not working. And if you feel you can't go back, now is the time to apply! You do what you need to do for you!

The biggest thing you can do when you put why you can't work is to just say why these illnesses, fatigue, arthritis, or whatever are keeping you from working.  More about this tomorrow.

PS -  List every single illness you have. It doesn't matter whether it is "part of your disability " or not. They all affect your health.  When I had my interview with the case worker, I was embarrassed that I listed so many things, and he did comment, that every little thing can help. (Of course not if you don't have the major things)

So helpful, thank you!  I do have beginning/ending dates but I got the impression early on in this thread, and I am sure it is me, like I have said I have memory/confusion problems, that I had to list each and every date I had seen that provider.  So that really helps.  Okay and I will list the labs that are more significant.  I listed 10 and then checked the box that I have more than 10 illnesses, so what more can they expect?  I am clearly not a healthy girl.  Really, thank you!
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on August 07, 2013, 02:20:38 AM
The brain fog and fatigue makes all this seem harder than what it is. These posts are very helpful and makes me wonder why I hired Allsup when I've already done the initial work for them.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: quietdynamics on August 07, 2013, 02:23:35 AM
"Ok, so that brings up a question.  As I have stated, I have been diagnosed with narcolespy within the past several years.  I take nuvigil.  I have fallen asleep like when I take my car in for service, I have literally fallen asleep when I have gone to the dentist and had my teeth drilled, etc.  Once, and only once, maybe a year and a half ago on the way to a doctor appointment in another city I didn't take the nuvigil, thought I was fine, fell asleep driving!  I know, I am ashamed!  It was only for a second or so, but it happened.  So thankful I did not hurt anybody.  Do I include that story?  I have never even told my doctor as I was afraid of having my drivers license taken away or should I be more subtle - I am unable to drive without the narcolepsy medication?  Up until that point I really questioned that diagnosis as it's one that is just so out there, but not anymore.  Thanks!"

Definitely, list the narcolepsy and how it "affects your ability to perform your job" if that applies.
If your job requires you to sit at a desk and sitting in a place for awhile causes you to fall asleep....problem.
If walking gives you leg pain due to other Dx' ...then a position requiring you to be on your feet is not an option.  See my point? Your symptoms are then a catch 22.

But, you need to tell your Dr. so that the Dr. can document this in the medical records and of course make any necessary adjustments in meds for you.
Because if you do drive and have an accident...
'someone' is going to examine your medical records and willful negligence is not an excuse.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Velcro on August 07, 2013, 06:05:57 AM
Ok, I don't have a horse in this race as I haven't dealt with any of this, but I would think that if you told your Doc and he did say you couldn't drive any longer...would that not help your case?  How can you work if you can't get there?  And honestly, my thoughts are that you really shouldn't be driving.  I know that makes life hard, but the situations you are describing sounds dangerous to both yourself and others.

Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Doxie on August 07, 2013, 08:18:32 AM
@Autoimmunity: What Quietdynamics was writing about the Narcolepsy is spot on.  You list it in your application, and then mention how it affects your ability to work.

You don't need to put in your application about forgetting your narcolepsy meds that one time.  In fact, they don't care whether you can drive or not, whether you have a car or not, or even whether you can take a bus to work or not.  Their job is to find out whether you can work. If they find you can work, then it's your responsibility to find a way to work, they don't care how. So that part is a non issue.

I'm not sure that you need to mention the incident about forgetting to take your meds to your doc or not.  Maybe it depends on how long ago it happened.  What you do need to do is make sure you don't forget again.  :)

@Powderpuff, I was wondering why you did hire Allsup since, from what I know, you've already done all the work. You have your paperwork in, right?  Where are you at with your Adult Function Report?  Have they requested that yet?
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on August 07, 2013, 08:59:41 AM
@Autoimmunity: What Quietdynamics was writing about the Narcolepsy is spot on.  You list it in your application, and then mention how it affects your ability to work.

You don't need to put in your application about forgetting your narcolepsy meds that one time.  In fact, they don't care whether you can drive or not, whether you have a car or not, or even whether you can take a bus to work or not.  Their job is to find out whether you can work. If they find you can work, then it's your responsibility to find a way to work, they don't care how. So that part is a non issue.

I'm not sure that you need to mention the incident about forgetting to take your meds to your doc or not.  Maybe it depends on how long ago it happened.  What you do need to do is make sure you don't forget again.  :)

@Powderpuff, I was wondering why you did hire Allsup since, from what I know, you've already done all the work. You have your paperwork in, right?  Where are you at with your Adult Function Report?  Have they requested that yet?

Hi Doxie,
I suppose it is just fear and a lack of confidence on my part. I received the Adult Function Report from DDS yesterday. I've completed most of it already and need to send it back within 15 days.

My problem is that SSA has asked I file for State Disability before they process my claim. I've filed; however, none of my doctors will complete the physicians certification. I've seen my PCP once and my rheumy twice and they are not ready to say I am disabled. I'm stuck!!!


Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Doxie on August 07, 2013, 11:14:22 AM
Powderpuff,  that's longer than they gave me to fill out my AFR.  Luckily I knew about it and had started typing up some responses to it already.  Just remember, you can't be too detailed.  Explain everything.

Here is where you can also explain how SJS affects your life.  Use the link that Sharon put in her reply. It's great.  I used that a lot and even used the key words like the fatigue and the malaise.  If it affects you that way, put it down.  The AFR is the place where you can emphasize the illnesses you have affect your ability to work, and how it affects other aspects of your daily life.

Sift through it with a fine tooth comb. If any of it applies to you, use it, with a little bit different wording.  Just be honest. I explained how after I shower, I have to lie down and rest.  Of course you have to type it up because it won't fit in their little boxes.

If you have filed for state disability, then you can tell them the date you did, even if you haven't completed it yet.  Just tell them you are in the process.  Another thing, state disability is not a requirement for SSDI.  You have to be careful, but let them know that you'd like to go ahead with processing the SSDI.  Try to get that on record (in a nice way, you don't want to alienate them).

To be honest, I wasn't sure that any one of my doctors would have been willing to make "the certification" of disability for short term/long term disability, and didn't want to go that route.  I don't think they would have wanted to stick their neck out.  I was lucky that I had 30 years in the school system and could actually retire and then apply for SSDI.

Several of my docs also mentioned that they thought that SSDI should consider everything going on with me, all of my illnesses, and that it was also a combination of things. That tells you that sometimes, it shouldn't  be up to just one doctor to "certify".

If the case worker still doesn't want to process your case, maybe explain that you have started the process, but it will take a while because of the multiple issues involved with Sjogrens and your other issues.  Tell him/her that you would like your case processed ASAP, as it is a hardship to you, and in the meanwhile you will continue with the state disability, but "may need to find a lawyer"  to help you with it ( ok, so don't tell them about Allsup - besides, they may not help you with the state disability). That right now, you wouldn't want SSDI to have to say they were waiting for you to get a lawyer . . . Let them know how ill and overwhelmed you are feeling, and you'd like them to start evaluating your claim . . .
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: slccom on August 07, 2013, 11:50:46 AM
Always put down every single "little" thing that affects you. Do you stumble a lot? Can't remember important things? You drop things a lot? There are times when your eyes won't focus? Nights you can't sleep. Strict medication schedule that can't be deviated from? Require random periods of rest? Two and Two is six? Your legs quit functioning after just a little exertion? Your back hurts when you sit, when you stand, and when you lie down? You have chronic infections? Need to hit the bathroom 16 times a day? Have random days when you simply can't get up due to exhaustion? Absolutely must eat at certain times of the day? Crash for extended periods after any major exertion? Can't function more than a few hours a day, on random days?

Employers are looking for people who won't incur Worker's Comp claims, won't make a lot of mistakes, can work overtime as needed, can put in a full day's work, and are flexible. The more you can show that you can't meet these requirements, the more likely you are to get accepted.

List every doctor and lab and imaging center you have been to that you can remember. Get as many records as you can, and keep the originals.

Also, and this is VERY IMPORTANT: keep a copy of your reports. Know where they are. When you are asked to re-certify, you MUST be consistent. Use the original reports to work on your re-certification report.

Work on this bit by bit. Get help as you need it. Have someone review what you wrote. And never sign a contract with an attorney without having it reviewed by another attorney whom you trust.

It does sound overwhelming, but it really isn't. Keep a little notebook on a string around your neck, if you must, and jot down passing thoughts. Did you just stumble? Jot it down. Enter a room and forget why? Jot it down. Don't worry about anything else now. Just jot things down as they occur to you.

Next step: go through that notebook, and look for patterns. Take a sheet of paper, make headings as you see something. Then just write the date and time of the event under the heading.

Stumbling     Dropped something  Forgot  Mis-added   Eyes out of focus  Pain  Bathroom

6/4                6/4                      6/4: 14 times            6/4                     6/4   6/4: 14 times
6/7                 6/13                   6/5: 5 times              6/17                   6/7    6/5: 10 times
6/9
6/14


Etc.

That will make it much easier to do your report.

Hugs, Sharon
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on August 07, 2013, 01:42:55 PM
Powderpuff,  that's longer than they gave me to fill out my AFR.  Luckily I knew about it and had started typing up some responses to it already.  Just remember, you can't be too detailed.  Explain everything.

Here is where you can also explain how SJS affects your life.  Use the link that Sharon put in her reply. It's great.  I used that a lot and even used the key words like the fatigue and the malaise.  If it affects you that way, put it down.  The AFR is the place where you can emphasize the illnesses you have affect your ability to work, and how it affects other aspects of your daily life.

Sift through it with a fine tooth comb. If any of it applies to you, use it, with a little bit different wording.  Just be honest. I explained how after I shower, I have to lie down and rest.  Of course you have to type it up because it won't fit in their little boxes.

If you have filed for state disability, then you can tell them the date you did, even if you haven't completed it yet.  Just tell them you are in the process.  Another thing, state disability is not a requirement for SSDI.  You have to be careful, but let them know that you'd like to go ahead with processing the SSDI.  Try to get that on record (in a nice way, you don't want to alienate them).

To be honest, I wasn't sure that any one of my doctors would have been willing to make "the certification" of disability for short term/long term disability, and didn't want to go that route.  I don't think they would have wanted to stick their neck out.  I was lucky that I had 30 years in the school system and could actually retire and then apply for SSDI.

Several of my docs also mentioned that they thought that SSDI should consider everything going on with me, all of my illnesses, and that it was also a combination of things. That tells you that sometimes, it shouldn't  be up to just one doctor to "certify".

If the case worker still doesn't want to process your case, maybe explain that you have started the process, but it will take a while because of the multiple issues involved with Sjogrens and your other issues.  Tell him/her that you would like your case processed ASAP, as it is a hardship to you, and in the meanwhile you will continue with the state disability, but "may need to find a lawyer"  to help you with it ( ok, so don't tell them about Allsup - besides, they may not help you with the state disability). That right now, you wouldn't want SSDI to have to say they were waiting for you to get a lawyer . . . Let them know how ill and overwhelmed you are feeling, and you'd like them to start evaluating your claim . . .

I spoke to SSA today. You were right, he explained that I paid into SDI and thought I might want to take advantage of that benefit. So, if my PCP will not complete the form, so be it.

I contacted Allsup. I explained that at this point there is nothing they can do that had not already been done and perhaps I could use them if SSA denies my claim. Of course they are stalling, saying wait until the representative calls me.  I'm not sure how good my chances are. I have a neurology appointment on Friday, and psychiatry appointment next month. Everything is at a snails pace. I need PT because I cannot even open my legs because my pelvis is so stiff. My former PCP promised me PT and then told me to "Google exercises".  :-\. Not sure if I should keep Allsup.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on August 07, 2013, 01:55:12 PM
Always put down every single "little" thing that affects you. Do you stumble a lot? Can't remember important things? You drop things a lot? There are times when your eyes won't focus? Nights you can't sleep. Strict medication schedule that can't be deviated from? Require random periods of rest? Two and Two is six? Your legs quit functioning after just a little exertion? Your back hurts when you sit, when you stand, and when you lie down? You have chronic infections? Need to hit the bathroom 16 times a day? Have random days when you simply can't get up due to exhaustion? Absolutely must eat at certain times of the day? Crash for extended periods after any major exertion? Can't function more than a few hours a day, on random days?

Employers are looking for people who won't incur Worker's Comp claims, won't make a lot of mistakes, can work overtime as needed, can put in a full day's work, and are flexible. The more you can show that you can't meet these requirements, the more likely you are to get accepted.

List every doctor and lab and imaging center you have been to that you can remember. Get as many records as you can, and keep the originals.

Also, and this is VERY IMPORTANT: keep a copy of your reports. Know where they are. When you are asked to re-certify, you MUST be consistent. Use the original reports to work on your re-certification report.

Work on this bit by bit. Get help as you need it. Have someone review what you wrote. And never sign a contract with an attorney without having it reviewed by another attorney whom you trust.

It does sound overwhelming, but it really isn't. Keep a little notebook on a string around your neck, if you must, and jot down passing thoughts. Did you just stumble? Jot it down. Enter a room and forget why? Jot it down. Don't worry about anything else now. Just jot things down as they occur to you.

Next step: go through that notebook, and look for patterns. Take a sheet of paper, make headings as you see something. Then just write the date and time of the event under the heading.

Stumbling     Dropped something  Forgot  Mis-added   Eyes out of focus  Pain  Bathroom

6/4                6/4                      6/4: 14 times            6/4                     6/4   6/4: 14 times
6/7                 6/13                   6/5: 5 times              6/17                   6/7    6/5: 10 times
6/9
6/14


Etc.

That will make it much easier to do your report.

Hugs, Sharon

This is where I run into trouble,  trying to explain how I feel. This is why I initially felt I needed Allsup.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on August 07, 2013, 03:43:36 PM
Sharon and Doxie,

You have no idea how much your posts have helped me today. ((((Thank you!!!!!)))) :)

Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: slccom on August 07, 2013, 04:42:46 PM
Search this forum for other discussions; on applying for disability and many other suggestions.

I am more than willing to help privately as well.

Hugs, to all, Sharon
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Doxie on August 07, 2013, 05:04:59 PM
Your welcome! I'm glad I could help.  :)  :)
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 14, 2013, 02:41:35 PM
Ugg!  Got a letter today "before we can make a decision about your request for Social Security benefits you must file an application".  Ok then... :o  Well, if I didn't file an application, how is they have my name, address, and ss #???  I went online to check status and it says they are currently reviewing the medical portion of my file.
I tried to call them to find out what they are talking about as I completed both the application and the adult disability report online and they closed a noon.  Frustrated!
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on August 14, 2013, 02:50:44 PM
I call the 800 number when I cannot reach my local social security office.....1-800-772-1213. They may be closed as well depending on your time zone.

Did you print a copy of the Application for your records?
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 14, 2013, 02:55:13 PM
I call the 800 number when I cannot reach my local social security office.....1-800-772-1213. They may be closed as well depending on your time zone.

Did you print a copy of the Application for your records?

I don't think I printed it, I think I got a copy of the adult dis. report.  I tried to re-log on - it allows you to save and continue your application and it won't let me back in as I already did it?.  I will just have to call in the morning and make see what the problem is.  I just want this to go smoothly.

Oh, and I had tried calling the other number the last time I had a question, I held for 50 minutes and then had to give up.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: slccom on August 14, 2013, 03:09:24 PM
Sigh. Hang in there!
Sharon
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on August 14, 2013, 03:09:35 PM
There is also an option for them to call you back. I always use that option rather than holding forever.

I could be wrong, but I thought completing the Application was a must before moving on to the disability report....? Uggg!


Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 14, 2013, 03:16:38 PM
There is also an option for them to call you back. I always use that option rather than holding forever.

I could be wrong, but I thought completing the Application was a must before moving on to the disability report....? Uggg!

Haha..thank you!  Something is just not right. 

And I never got an option for them to call me back?  Hmmm.  I will just try early tomorrow and worry about it until then :)  keeps my mind off the anxiety of a stupid drs appt I have on Friday.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 23, 2013, 12:13:20 AM
Can I get advice??  Wasn't sure if I should start a new thread, but I am in pain (jaw) and already have this going.  Posted this elsewhere, but I never get responses there.  Kind of a rant, sorry.  Not sure if I should go back to work or ask my doctor to extend my medical leave (and I assume my employer will be happy to let me go) and keep on with the disability.  This happened last time when I was on leave, felt a lot better.  Went to work, felt like heck.  Feeling better now, not sure what to do.  My mom encouraged me to stop working, and now she is saying if it were her, she would go back and do the best she could.  Ugg!!  Stress, what stress could I possibly have?


I'm just having a hard time and very confused. I was off for a month on fmla in February, went back in March, they trippled my work load, due to the stress and a lot of factors I got much worse. Lost over 15 pounds (and I have hashimotos and can NEVER lose weight, even when I starve myself, so that was pretty significant. Had days where I could barely walk, fell one day getting out of my car as my knee gave out, yada yada. I had my doctor put me on leave again (2 months) as I was getting worse and just cannot do it anymore. Hoping to apply for std and then ltd. 1 month later still waiting on the std papers from the doctor. I was told they should be done this week.
I have RA, narcolepsy, raynauds (which flares in the office as the air blows on me constantly) and have severe back/neck pain, and memory problems and get confused quite a bit. Had an mri of my neck, showed bulging discs pushing into my nerves and spinal cord at one point. Have a f/u appt with the neurologist tomorrow for nerve testing. My left ankle reflexes were totally absent when he did reflex check.
I applied for social security disability maybe 3 weeks ago as I just cannot go back, sitting in my chair alone for 8 hours I am literally in agony. I fall asleep at my desk (despite medication) and frequently sleep on breaks and lunch and then come home after work and sleep the rest of the night (and weekends mostly). My mom works in the same office and can see how sick I am and said no way I can continue on like that. So anyway, being off work I am so much better, my pain, my fatigue, etc. Now my mom is saying I should go back to work and "just do my best". heck, I have done that for the past 4 years. And I had asked to move to a small private office due to my immune compromised status so I have heard they are moving me - to the center of the big room we all share (aka punishing me??). I literally do not think I can do this anymore and just wanted other peoples stories and advise. I get confused, I am slower, typing is painful and not to mention I will not be covered for any sick days as my fmla will have been maxed out. I just don't think I even want to live anymore if I have to put myself through that, physically, mentally exhausting. I am not lazy, have worked since I was 13 years old, but get the feeling others think I am just gaming the system or something. I did not ask for all of these problems and would be thrilled if they could be magically cured. And winter is coming and I am always SO much worse, my pain, stiffness, exhaustion. I am hoping to get disability and then maybe when I am feeling well maybe a part time job that I enjoy.
Can anyone relate? Give me advise? I have also heard my employer is going to lay off 50-80 people in the next 3 or so weeks, but in my dept., very unlikely it would be me, I truly wish it was.
I would even go back to work there part time waiting for ssdi decision, but I make to much and would only be able to work 10 hours per week; I highly doubt any employer would accept that.   
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 23, 2013, 07:49:48 AM
Amanda, thank you so much.  Yes, I am currently on my 2nd medical leave of the year and have to go back towards the end of Sept.  I called social security due to the letter they sent me and the girl told me that they sent me the letter as I supposedly marked yes on the are you apply for ssi box.  I know for a fact I marked no as I thought ssi was for people who did not meet the criteria for ssdi.  So she said they had everything they need, just not the ssi application which I am not applying for.  Or at least didn't intend to unless I am not working then I guess I might qualify, but otherwise they said they have my application.
That was my fear is that I am so much better being off work and then I start to feel like I am ok, even though really I have a lot of issues and am not.
Also, I am praying (as is my mom) to be one of the people laid off - how sad is that - and yeah, I couldn't due the work before they trippled it, let alone now, and add to that any additional with lay offs.  I am just one of those people that really needs the support of those around me and if they say anything critical, it makes me double, triple think everything and doubt myself.  It doesn't help that I am single and have no other support, so of course I am scared and my mom is scared for me.  The entire thing just stresses me out.
I appreciate your response!
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Velcro on August 23, 2013, 08:51:17 AM
I am so sorry.  I think, from what I read, that people just "know" when it is time to quit.  It sounds like with everything you wrote, that you are at that place.  The stress of your situation is just making your health worse, which in turn, makes the stress worse.  You are in a never-ending cycle right now and you need to do something for yourself.

I know that's easy for me to say, because I'm not there and honestly, if I ever get there, I have no idea how we will be able to handle the financial strain either.  So I know it has to be scary for you being single and not knowing what to do.  I certainly hope that SS comes through for you soon so you will be in a better place to make a decision.

Big hugs.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: powderpuff on August 23, 2013, 04:21:14 PM


Dear Autoimmunity,

I hope you can make a decision regarding what you need for you soon.

Deep down it sounds like you know what you need to do at this point. I struggled with it myself for a time because I was in denial about my disability and could not come to grips with it.

The reason you feel good now is because you've taken a rest from your job. What will happen when you go back into an even more stressful environment?

Sounds like a significant amount of stress is coming your way if you continue working. Even if they decide to lay you off will unemployment take care of your financial needs. Here in CA if you are on unemployment you still have to look for work. Are you up to looking for another job and the stresses of starting a new job? In the end you may regret waiting for a lay-off (not saying they will) vs opting for disability. Only you know what you need to live.

We are here to support you in whatever you decide to do.

Many hugs,
Powderpuff

Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Doxie on August 30, 2013, 07:51:14 AM
Autoimmunity,

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. It has been one of those weeks.

I think that deep down, you really know what is best for you. You know your body, and it sounds like your body is screaming and yelling at you. It is telling you that you can't handle full time work anymore.  That's what I hear you telling us many times in your posts.

What Velcro said about knowing when it is time to quit, well I think that is only partially true. I guess deep down I knew it, but I struggled. I soon was in tears all the time at work, and at home. I wasn't handling work very well anymore, and felt so sick all the time.  I talked to family and a few close friends.  But I had to make the decision, and it was SCARY.  I went back and forth. I knew it, but I had to finally accept it, make the decision and make the commitment and go forward.

Like Powderpuff said, you are feeling better because you are not working.  I retired, and went on disability last year.  Every once in a while, (not often though) I think, "Oh I'm feeling pretty good, I could go work and do such and such".  Then I go to the store and end up dragging myself home exhausted and in pain.  OK, reality just sent me a reminder.

The bottom line, you applied for disability. You won't get it if you go back to work and are working full time.  You could go back and try again to give it another shot. If you can't handle it, you could tell the disability case workers that you thought you'd try again. But how many times are you going to do that?

Let us know what you decide!
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 30, 2013, 10:09:44 AM
Ugg.  Was going to come back here and post, I just got the short term disability back from my doctor, 5-6 weeks later?.  Anyway, he puts on there that I have fibromyalgia!!  I just looked up the symptoms and I would say yes, but he never mentioned it to me!  He frustrates me to no end.  He also put on there that "if current flare ends" I am returning to work 9/27.
You are right, I went to the post office the other day and barely had the energy to walk inside (it's up a small flight of stairs).
I ended up having a root canal Monday and have been in pain ever since!  I am feeling totally nauseated, unwell, weak everyday which is how I feel frequently when working.  I was taking high doses of tylenol/motrin per the endodontist, but drastically had to reduce that due to being so ill.  I barely got out of bed yesterday and don't know if I previously mention my neck problems, but my neck has really been bothering me and I feel like my head is just so heavy.  Sounds ridiculous, but I just feel greatly unwell and there is no way I could be working these last few weeks.  One of the biggest issues is if I went back I will have no fmla/sick time coverage and there is no way I can go a few months let alone another year without calling in sick.
Problem is doctor is not really supportive.  He will do what I want, but doesn't really understand.  One time when I brought up not working his response was "everybody has to work".  And it's not that my arthritis is so, so bad, it's just that I have so many things going on I feel unwell or in pain a lot.
I was thinking about going back to work very part time (10 hours a week) which is the only way I could work and continue with my disability application, but my employer is not going to go for that, so may just have him continue the leave and they will fire me at some point.  I don't care, that job is too stressful for me (my boss brought up about me being put in a seperate area back in March due to the immune suppressing meds (and really, the area is so loud would have helped me just be able to think), as soon as I agreed she took it back.  I put in an official request and just now end of August, I here they are moving my desk, to the center of the room!!! I won't be able to even put my head down for a few minutes if I am feeling unwell.  There are others there with their own offices who totally screw around and I have been there the longest, but I think they are trying to punish me out the door.

Another question I had was when should I expect to hear something from ssdi?  I checked status online and it just says processing the medical portion?

Thank you so much!

Molly
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Velcro on August 30, 2013, 11:58:42 AM
Grrrrrr...please tell me he put down your other diagnoses as well?  What is the freaking deal about Doctors putting stuff in writing that they don't feel the need to discuss with you!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: slccom on August 30, 2013, 02:27:28 PM
That is exactly what they are trying to do. It is called a "constructive discharge," where they make life so difficult that any sane person would quit.  If you want to put a stop to this, get an attorney to write a letter spelling out what they have done that any jury would construe as "constructive discharge," and they may stop that. You also need to invoke the ADA "reasonable accommodations" with them. Then it is not just a simple request.

If you are in the U.S., this is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and they can get into big trouble for it. It also demoralizes the other employees, knowing that if they get sick they will also be treated the same way.

Sharon
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 30, 2013, 03:42:27 PM
Grrrrrr...please tell me he put down your other diagnoses as well?  What is the freaking deal about Doctors putting stuff in writing that they don't feel the need to discuss with you!!!!!!!

Yes, sorry.  He put down my primary diagnosis and then the fibro as 2ndary although we had NEVER discussed fibro once and put down depression as another 2ndary.  Maybe before you give a patient a diagnosis it would be appropriate to advise them what you have diagnosed them with?  So of course I did not put that on my ssdi application, because I was unaware.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 30, 2013, 03:53:09 PM
That is exactly what they are trying to do. It is called a "constructive discharge," where they make life so difficult that any sane person would quit.  If you want to put a stop to this, get an attorney to write a letter spelling out what they have done that any jury would construe as "constructive discharge," and they may stop that. You also need to invoke the ADA "reasonable accommodations" with them. Then it is not just a simple request.

If you are in the U.S., this is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and they can get into big trouble for it. It also demoralizes the other employees, knowing that if they get sick they will also be treated the same way.

Sharon

I cannot remember exact wording now as this was back in March, but I made it clear it was for my disability, although I did not use the words ADA.  I am sure this will come up next week when I see my rheumy and discuss returning to work or lack thereof. 

One of my coworkers told me I should have asked for my own room!  I was like I did, months and months ago!  Nobody there gets why they were moving me where they did except for me, I see it as a punishment.  That, plus that last time I was off on fmla and went back they had given me another girls insurances as they were too much for her??, but they never even told me, just here ya go.  Ok, if they are too much for her, and she has been there long enough to be equal to me, why would you give it to the girl who has just missed a month of work and is out a lot on sick leave. 
At this point I don't care, they can show me the door, I cleared out my desk and took all my stuff when I went on leave this last time ;), I am just praying to get approved for disability. 
I might also consult a lawyer about disability and can maybe discuss this employment crap as well.  I am just the type who cannot tolerate any type of confrontation (horrible childhood), and I rather just walk away than get into something or go up against my boss who is a tough bum lady (who plays favorites and her little friends seem to get the easiest assignments).  Hmm, whoever knows, maybe she will be one of the people laid off.  Heard they laid off two managers so far, of course older ladies who had been there forever!!  Real nice.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Doxie on August 30, 2013, 06:48:37 PM
Autoimmunity,

If I were you, since you already filed for your disability, I'd wait to see if you were approved before you consult with a lawyer.  Once you consult with a lawyer, they could get 25%, even if you did the work. Wait to see what happens with your application first. If you are denied, then get a lawyer quickly!  Of course, that's just my opinion . . .

You need to find out the status of your application.  I'd find out the number of your local SSDI office and call them. When they answer, you just tell them you want to know the status of your application.  If they aren't clear, get specific with them. Ask them if they have all the records from your doctors. If not, which doctors records are they missing?  Then, you can call the doctors and encourage them to get them in. If they are all in, ask them when they got them all in, and if your case is now under review by the medical examiners. If not, where in the process your application is.  You have a right to know this information.

Also, you can call every few weeks to find out the status. Let us know what they say about where you are in the process.

Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on August 30, 2013, 06:57:58 PM
Autoimmunity,

If I were you, since you already filed for your disability, I'd wait to see if you were approved before you consult with a lawyer.  Once you consult with a lawyer, they could get 25%, even if you did the work. Wait to see what happens with your application first. If you are denied, then get a lawyer quickly!  Of course, that's just my opinion . . .

You need to find out the status of your application.  I'd find out the number of your local SSDI office and call them. When they answer, you just tell them you want to know the status of your application.  If they aren't clear, get specific with them. Ask them if they have all the records from your doctors. If not, which doctors records are they missing?  Then, you can call the doctors and encourage them to get them in. If they are all in, ask them when they got them all in, and if your case is now under review by the medical examiners. If not, where in the process your application is.  You have a right to know this information.

Also, you can call every few weeks to find out the status. Let us know what they say about where you are in the process.

Ok thank you Doxie.  That is exactly the information that I needed!
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Doxie on August 30, 2013, 07:33:03 PM
You're welcome.  :) let us know what they say!
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Velcro on September 03, 2013, 07:14:30 AM
Grrrrrr...please tell me he put down your other diagnoses as well?  What is the freaking deal about Doctors putting stuff in writing that they don't feel the need to discuss with you!!!!!!!

Yes, sorry.  He put down my primary diagnosis and then the fibro as 2ndary although we had NEVER discussed fibro once and put down depression as another 2ndary.  Maybe before you give a patient a diagnosis it would be appropriate to advise them what you have diagnosed them with?  So of course I did not put that on my ssdi application, because I was unaware.

I don't understand it either.  I found in mine when I got copies, not only the Sjogrens B positive, but also that he had listed as one of my diagnosis as thoratic outlet syndrome.  I was all "WHAT?"  Yeah, he never said anything to me about that either.  Never ordered any tests for that or anything. 
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on September 05, 2013, 04:54:32 PM
I kept calling and getting a voicemail, I finally left a message for a call back.  Then today in the mail I got a form to fill out about my former employment (I ALREADY DID THIS ONLINE!!!) UGG! and another form - FUNCTION REPORT.  OMG, hard!  what do you do all day?  Are they trying to trick you :)?  I don't know, not much.  I don't sleep at all anymore, totally exhausted which I was anyway, have to take care of my dogs, I mostly rest, have tv on, sometimes go on facebook, sometimes do some chores, but hard to say, certainly not partying it up!  Hardly go out and do anything.  Mostly it is doctor appointment after doctor appointment, after dentist appointment.  Jealous yet?  haha. I've been off more than a month, my house should be clean, but no, I have not had that kind of energy and especially with my severe back pain, then the severe tooth pain, and then back to the back pain, some days luck if I can get up, take a bath, then exhausted and back to bed.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on September 05, 2013, 05:33:11 PM
I kept calling and getting a voicemail, I finally left a message for a call back.  Then today in the mail I got a form to fill out about my former employment (I ALREADY DID THIS ONLINE!!!) UGG! and another form - FUNCTION REPORT.  OMG, hard!  what do you do all day?  Are they trying to trick you :)?  I don't know, not much.  I don't sleep at all anymore, totally exhausted which I was anyway, have to take care of my dogs, I mostly rest, have tv on, sometimes go on facebook, sometimes do some chores, but hard to say, certainly not partying it up!  Hardly go out and do anything.  Mostly it is doctor appointment after doctor appointment, after dentist appointment.  Jealous yet?  haha. I've been off more than a month, my house should be clean, but no, I have not had that kind of energy and especially with my severe back pain, then the severe tooth pain, and then back to the back pain, some days luck if I can get up, take a bath, then exhausted and back to bed.
take each question on the function report one at a time. Answer it as fully as you can. I think on the function questionaire they sent you, you can also have someone (like friend or family member) help you with it.

I think before writing your final answers on the actual questionnaire, draft the answers first in like word doc, then look them over and make sure you didn't miss anything. Then it's easy enough to write the drafted answers on teh form. That's the only way I can accurately complete those kinds of ugggg hard questions, as the limitations I recall are the ones I am experiencing at the moment! Mostly as I am noticing them at the time.

Think of things you've become so used to being limited that you don't think about them in that way. An easy example, when my hands flare - I have great difficulty with things like operating a can opener. Things along that line and of course more obvious things specific to you, where they may seem small or not worthy of mentioning are part of how your disabilities (conditions) limit your daily functioning.

We adapt as we go. So when it comes to these questionaires a lot of things we don't think about, as we've adjusted to the limitation as part of our normal.

One question at a time...you'll get through it!! Oh and do note the return by date. SSA doesn't give a lot of time on these things.

Oh and remember, even social activities are impacted by FUNCTION - for example, my face to face social activities are limited even by multiple chemical sensitivity. Ever been to a social event or church or whatever - even dining out where there isn't at least one person doused in a whole bottle of foofoo? (perfume, cologne, body wash, hairspray, etc)

Now expand that example to work...ever been in a workplace where someone doesn't douse with foofoo? And no job is going to accommodate by asking folks not to wear scented products. Heck, add in doc office waiting rooms. Gets me migraine and asthma flare all at once!

That's a simple example specific to me. But I hope that helps you to think about your own situation and how limited your daily life really has become in your situation. ;)

I have to tell you your example is ironic because I do suffer migraines and I cannot stand peoples perfumes.  I work in a hospital business office and there is a girl that wears a gallon of perfume!  The rule is little to no perfume because it is a hospital.  A long time ago I did complain because it totally effected me.  The boss wouldn't do anything because this girl was one of her clique.  She said she would do something about it, but then it would be my fault that everybody would suffer..like the letter of the law on every little thing.  She was such an bum about it (surprise), I just dropped it.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on September 23, 2013, 07:18:31 PM
I called social security today, was told they are still waiting on records from a certain doctor.  I said I had sent in what records they had, that doctor had retired and before that went from private practice to joining a health group, so the records were very limited.  He looked and said they have those, will review and decide if I need to see a doctor or if they have enough information.  I asked how long that should take and he said a week.  I asked if I could call back and check at that point.
I am wondering how long it should take from here?  Praying I don't have to see one of their doctors.  I am also freaking out!  I am supposed to go back to work Monday, my doctor did change my fmla for me through to the end of the year, but I am freaking out they are going to fire me now.  If I could just get an answer and if it is denied I would just go back to work, as hard as that will be, but I don't want to be fired in the meantime.  It seems I am close to an answer now?
Then when I went to my rheumy I wrote down on his paperwork that I didn't feel I could go back to work, can no longer sit in a chair for 8 hours, cannot type for 8 hours a day, and his records state "patient believes she will not be able to return to work because of increased stress of her job"!  He does also note I have seropositive RA with a palindromic pattern and notes fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.  I don't think social security has or will get these records, but I need to send them in for my short term disability
So now I am freaking out, not sleeping, I will sleep about 45 minutes, wake up in a panic worried about losing my job, I just feel like I am a mess.
Going to email H.R. tomorrow with the letter from the doctor, state he has extended my leave, but that I don't expect it to last that long (he put end of December) and maybe say I am starting on a new medication, I do not want to lose my job, I am hoping to return, just need more time?

I don't know, any thoughts to ease my panic.  Then I am thinking just go back, but I would hate if I was going to be approved for disability and lost it as I went back.  Also, wouldn't get in to see the doctor to get a release between now and Monday anyway.

Sorry for my rant, no sleep and can't make a rational decision.
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Doxie on September 23, 2013, 08:03:36 PM
You are getting close!  Don't give up on it yet!

 Now about that doctor, does he still have your records? Did you give his current place of employment to the SSA? If so, they sent him a request, and you can call the doctor/the records department and tell them to fax them in right away. When you call them directly they are usually really good about getting them in. Regardless, wait the week and call SSA again, and see what the status is. Keep on them!

I hope you don't have to see another doctor. Do you have a lot of other doctor records?

The good news . . . The longest part . . . Is about over!  It usually takes a long time because they have to wait for all your records. They have to wait for all the doctors to get back to them.  Once they get all the information in, they have to move on it fast. In fact, once they have everything in, they are under pressure to get things rolling quickly. They like to make decisions fast.  So unless they want you to see a doctor, you could have a decision in a few weeks.

You are so close!  Don't ruin all of your hard work and chances by going back to work and suffering!

How did you do on the other paperwork they had you fill out?  That is really important. They will look at that, especially with Sjogrens.  So don't worry about what your doc said in his notes.  They look at the whole picture.

Hang in their and keep us up to date.  It is just around the corner!
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: Autoimmunity on September 23, 2013, 08:24:00 PM
You are getting close!  Don't give up on it yet!

 Now about that doctor, does he still have your records? Did you give his current place of employment to the SSA? If so, they sent him a request, and you can call the doctor/the records department and tell them to fax them in right away. When you call them directly they are usually really good about getting them in. Regardless, wait the week and call SSA again, and see what the status is. Keep on them!

I hope you don't have to see another doctor. Do you have a lot of other doctor records?

The good news . . . The longest part . . . Is about over!  It usually takes a long time because they have to wait for all your records. They have to wait for all the doctors to get back to them.  Once they get all the information in, they have to move on it fast. In fact, once they have everything in, they are under pressure to get things rolling quickly. They like to make decisions fast.  So unless they want you to see a doctor, you could have a decision in a few weeks.

You are so close!  Don't ruin all of your hard work and chances by going back to work and suffering!

How did you do on the other paperwork they had you fill out?  That is really important. They will look at that, especially with Sjogrens.  So don't worry about what your doc said in his notes.  They look at the whole picture.

Hang in their and keep us up to date.  It is just around the corner!

The medical records they said they were waiting on where from my primary care doctor who retired in December.  I have a bunch of records from my rheumatologist who I see every 1-3 months, records from the neurologist (although everything turned out fine, but the mri he did shows my neck is a mess), got records from my old endocrinologist who diagnosed me with narcolepsy (and thus severe fatigue), so there should be quite a bit of records there.
It's just so stressful!  It's a job that I hate (but it pays very well), and before I left I didn't even care if they fired me, now I am freaking out about losing my job, losing my house (applied for a moretoreum, they told me would take 30 days, has been 45-ish and they are saying 3 more weeks!  They call me and send me threatening letters, I call them back and there is nothing to say as I filled out paperwork, but they want the payments in the meantime.  LITERALLY HAVING A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN! 
I will just notify my work that my leave has been extended and I hope to be back soon and will say something like I hope they hold my job for me.  I don't want to give up on disability yet.  How do people stay sane? 
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: slccom on September 23, 2013, 10:30:12 PM
"My doctor has extended my leave until the end of the year, but I am looking forward to getting back to work long before that. I am trying a new medication and the doctor and I are optimistic. In the meantime, are there any questions that the person doing my job needs to have answered? If so, please feel free to give me a call."  This distracts the employer into thinking about what information they need from you, rather than the fact that your leave has been extended.

If they ask about the new treatment, say "It is so new it is called by some combination of letters and numbers that I can never remember."

Practice saying this or some script, over and over, until it sounds like you believe it. Try really hard to sound optimistic.

Let me know how this goes!

Hugs, Sharon
Title: Re: Need assistance with filing for disability...
Post by: grammad97 on September 24, 2013, 06:56:59 AM
I filed online in 2009. I looked up Dr names addresses online in yellow/white pages. There is a release on the form online for all records. Social security gets them for you. I did not have to do it. Best of luck.