ALJ hearing this morning - UPDATE

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ChristineNY, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. ChristineNY

    ChristineNY New Member

    Good morning! Well this day has finally arrived, and wanted to ask you all for your prayers and well wishes that my hearing goes well today. I am quite nervous, and didnt sleep much last night but Im not as stressed as I thought I would be.

    I met with my lawyer last week and he made me feel much more comfortable and confident about everything. He said that I just need to be myself, be honest, keep eye contact with the judge, and not "overdo" any of my testimony. He said that we just need to get the judge to feel and believe in my disability to competitively hold a full time job.

    I have fibro, migraines, GERD, anxiety disorder, depression and suffer from sleep disorder. My lawyer is confident that with my previous work history (worked all of my adult life, each year making more money) and my doctor backing me up, we should do fine. He has had most of his cases with this judge and said that he is very fair. The only thing that I against me is my age. I just turned 41 - too young....wish I felt too young!!

    Anyhow thanks for reading, and allowing me to get some of the nerves out. I will post later and let you know how it all went and answer any questions. Keep your fingers crossed (not too tightly tho) for me!

    [This Message was Edited on 03/17/2009]
  2. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you got good advice from your attorney. Hope all goes well, and that you
    get a speedy and favorable decision.

  3. justmestephd

    justmestephd New Member


    Good luck to you. I know I was there a few weeks ago and I'm only 44. Your lawyer gave you good advice, same as my lawyer did and I was a wreck just like you. I won so keep the faith and you will too :)

  4. hensue

    hensue New Member

    I did not fibromyalgia, sleep disorder, highbloodpressure, depresion,
    fatigue, swollen joints.
    oh well going to try again
    keeep it up and please let us know
  5. justmestephd

    justmestephd New Member

    How you made out yesterday. I hope good!!! Let us know

  6. ChristineNY

    ChristineNY New Member

    First I would like to thank you for replies and well can never have too many people pulling for you! I hope the best for all of you as well....hensue - dont give up, thats what they are hoping you will do.

    Well, I made it through the hearing - have to admit I ended up being a nervous wreck by the time I was finished. Here's how it went.....

    Hubby and I arrived a half hour early to meet with my lawyer briefly first. We went into a conference room, and he basically was just trying to reassure us that we had a good case and kinda ran through what to expect. We went back into the waiting area, hoping they might take us in a little early, but as my luck goes - they ended up calling us in about 10 minutes late. As I sat there waiting - I was getting more and more nervous. I actually started to get a few hives and was very itchy - just what i needed!

    We walked into the hearing room where the judge was waiting for us. I sat down and began to set my prescription meds out on the table. The judge indicated that I didn't need to pull them all out of the bag and that he may not even need to see them - ends up he never did. The hearing letter that I received said to bring them - as did my lawyer, but whatever!

    I was sworn in, and right away I felt my face start to get really hot, turning bright red. I started sweating and shaking....just trying my hardest to focus. The judge and my lawyer went over the basics of the case, and my lawyer gave a brief opening statement, saying that I worked full time for 20 years earning a steadily increasing income each year.... only to stop when I could no longer handle it due to my illnesses - which my primary care doctor has indicated in his letter - were disabling and that I could not currently be competitively employed.

    Then my lawyer began the questioning - just basics - first what my symptoms are and how they affect my daily life, the side effects from my meds, what my daily routine is based on a good day or a bad day...I was so nervous that a lot of it is kind of a blur now! He asked about what type of household chores I could do and how often. I was very honest and did not try to exaggerate anything - just hope I got the point across. I am so used to downplaying things to my family ( i don't like to complain, and don't want to be pitied) that even tho I was being honest, it felt like I was exaggerating....I dont usually tell anyone, other than my doctor, EXACTLY how I feel.

    Anyhow, my lawyers final question was - Are there things that you used to enjoy doing that you can no longer do? Thats when the tears started as I described my former life. How sad when you actually put it in words...but this is what I have been given and I try to make the best of it. So, afterwards the judge asked if I had anything else to add...and being so distraught by that point I just said no.

    The judge then asked the vocational expert (VE) if a "hypothetical" person of my age with my education...and all of my current illnesses could do the jobs that I haved done in the past. The VE said no. Then the judge asked him if there were any jobs in the nation that this same "hypothetical" person COULD do. The VE said that there were two jobs..and addresser (WHATEVER that is?) and some sort of assembler.

    The judge then asked the VE if this same person was only productive at these jobs 75% of the time, due to absences, inability to focus, etc.... would they still be employable in those position? VE says no.

    Judge tells me that he will send his decision in the about 30 days. We left and out in the hallway, my attorney said he thought it went very well and expects a fully favorable decision...
    Well I will be keeping my fingers crossed!!
    Thank you for letting me share this with you all. I know it was long but I wanted to provide as many details as I could remember - for those who will be going thru the same process. Im happy to answer any questions.

    Wishing you all a sunny day!
  7. hensue

    hensue New Member

    Hope you get it, and we will keep on and on fighting!
  8. justmestephd

    justmestephd New Member

    Thats pretty much how mine went too only the judge didn't talk to the vocationalist he just talked to the medical expert, said he didn't need anything from the vocationalist. I have my fingers crossed you get it. I knew that day I was approved.

    That was Feb 10 and my money was just depostited on March the 10th but they sent it to an old bank account I never realized that I closed that one I used when I filed so now I have to track it down, they are doing a trace now. SSDI says they never got it back and the bank says it was sent back..... grrrrrrr all these years of waiting and now more LOL> I was actually surprised how quick it came.

    Good luck and let me know how you make out
  9. ChristineNY

    ChristineNY New Member

    Was wondering.... was your hearing on Feb 10th? And they sent your money already? If so, that was really quick compared to what I have if you could just get your hands on it!! I hope that they find it quickly for you - seems the waiting never ends!! Lawyer says I will wait about 30 days for decision in the mail, and if favorable - another 30-60 days before I see any money. Guess I've already waited over 2 years, and dont think there is anything else that I can lose at this I wait

    There was not a medical expert at my hearing... just the vocational expert. The judge that I had never reveals his decision at the hearing. That is the only thing that my lawyer said he doesnt like about this judge....otherwise he is a very fair guy, just trying to get things right.

  10. justmestephd

    justmestephd New Member

    Yes my hearing was Feb 10th and I got my favorable decision in the mail like a week later and then my lawyer sent me a letting telling me they have 60 days to appeal their decision and that I would probably get my monthly check before my back pay. Monday I open my mailbox and there is a letter from them telling me all I was getting and when to expect it and it said around March 20. Well like I said, it got sent to my account I had closed on March 10!! So now I wait and see what happens with all this, they put a tracer on it yesterday. I was shocked myself that it came so quickly. My lawyer said up to 120 days for back pay. Good luck to you. My lawyer said my judge never gave decisions on the day either but she knew by the way things went. I kind of knew too when he had no questions for me (the judge).
  11. willruthie1965

    willruthie1965 New Member

    I also had my hearing. I was told about 2 jobs which I didn't understand what they were anyway. SO has other people won disability when the V E said there were a job or 2 outh there? The VE did say that I wouldn't be able to work if I was in pain even 4 days a month. I wish i was in pain only 4 days a month! LOL Ruthie
  12. butterflydream

    butterflydream New Member

    HI Christine
    Sounds like your Hearing went very well.
    Thanks for sharing with us and please let us know when your Approval Letter arrives so we can Congratulate you.

  13. Debra49659

    Debra49659 New Member

    Keep positive....if your attorney said it sounded positive then I'm sure it will be:) Keep the faith and my prayers are with you!

  14. kellygirl

    kellygirl Member

    Hi, I just read how the hearing read and it has helped me a lot to prepare. I received a letter in the mail that my hearing is going to be scheduled within 3 weeks.

    I am going to prepare my answers to those two questions you were asked. I also have started keeping a journal on the computer of symptoms as they are different each day.

    Years ago, in the 80's, when I was first hit with the viral onset of CFS, I did recreive SSI. I guess it was a vocational person there and she told me later, she believed me and that was why I had won. My file was not that thick, but I guess I looked pretty sad with no muscle tone and crying from exhaustion.

    I did well over the years going to work again and school in the evenings until I had anesthesia last year for simple surgery and now am in chronic pain from head to toe. The FMS and MPD flared up.

    So, I will try again........thanks again for posting of your experiences.
  15. ChristineNY

    ChristineNY New Member

    I hope that your hearing goes really well and you find out quickly that you are approved! I am still waiting for that decision letter. Today is 4 weeks since I had my hearing so hopefully it will get here soon. The waiting is driving me crazy!!

    I will keep my fingers crossed for you!!

  16. Debra49659

    Debra49659 New Member

    You must be going out of your mind!! My hearing is next month and while I feel that it will be heart starts pounding like crazy because I don't now what will happen if I don't get it:)

    God Forbid...

    I am keeping you and willruthie in my prayers that you both get that favorable letter very, very soon!!

  17. charlenef

    charlenef New Member

    I hope all went well I am from NY im guessing you are also My judge told me I won on the spot which was a relief! I went to court in Buffalo. I feel for people who have to sit and wait.