Any positive SS disabilty stories for FM?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by claudiaw, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. claudiaw

    claudiaw New Member

    I have my hearing in March and I'm nervous. I have heard so many horror stories, I need some positive ones.
    I tend to put on a good "show" when I talk to people and I look fine , so many don't understand how disabling this is for me.
    I also hate to speak in front of people, especially people I don't know. And trying to explain this condtion is hard enough when you know the person cares about you. These people are looking to not help me,so that just makes me more nervous.
    Anyway if you have a good story I could use it otherwise just pray for me or wish me luck!:)
    Claudia
    [This Message was Edited on 02/13/2006]
  2. kmcerio

    kmcerio New Member

    Hi CLAUDIA, I went out of work in 2002 and 6 mths. later applied for SSD in Sept. got denied in Dec. 2002 Iimmediately got a lawyer the next week and got a hearind in Oct. 2003. I won my case. I had so much medical info plus I had a dual diagnosis of depression and the Fibro. and they say that helps. Anyways my lawyer asked me all the questios and he advised me that when you are asked what you can,t do anymore be specific for example if I try to do dishes I can only stand at the sink for 5-10 mins. at a time and then I have to go sit or lay down for a while and go back to them later. They like a time span. My judgement was for full Disability and I just got papers in Dec. for a review. I guess that is standard. It will take 60 days to hear if they will continue me and I can,t imagine them taking it away then they don,t evaluate you again for 3-7 yrs. the papers said. I have a severe case of Fibro too. I don,t sleep , never have a pain free day in the last 3 yrs. ,I truely feel for you. Don,t be nervous as the only people in the room for my hearing was my lawyer, me the stenographer, and the judge. I don't know if you've got a lawyer for this but if you don't and get denied GET ONE! Find one in your area that specializes in SSD and they don't get anything unless you win. SSD pays them their fee right off the top of your back money. They will pay you back money up to a year. I don't know how long since you first filed but it goes back to when you first filed. I hope I was helpful and if you have anymore guestios please feel free to contact me. Best of luck and I will pray for you . This is the first I have been back to this sight in over a yr. and I have truely missed all of you so I will try to stop in more often. Good Luck. Karen
  3. claudiaw

    claudiaw New Member

    I have an advocate who use to work for SS. She quit and decided to help people who really need it.:)
    I guess my biggest concern is that I will try to over explain ( I feel like I have had to do that to try to make people understand). I also try to put on a happy face so I am more " normal".
    I just have to remember this is the time where I can just be me and go ahead and complain.:)
    Thanks again for your help.
    When I saw no posts, it definatly was discouraging!:)
    Claudia
  4. sleepyinlalaland

    sleepyinlalaland New Member

    your reluctance to truly attempt to describe your condition to a judge. After a lifetime (for me) of learning to "underplay" it, I have to say it was sheer torture for me to make my plea before a judge (last summer).

    Also...my word-finding ability is challenged when under stress, making this little scenario a real hard one to live through. But I did. The bulk of my claim was based on mental fatigue due to chronic long-term insomnia. Details of how one functions on the job are real important, but I had a real hard time remembering any specifics (even tho my attorney warned me to think of some before hearing)! I think I summed it up like this..."did you ever have a hang-over?...well, my brains feels hung-over EVERY DAY. Each day I feel like I'm trying to run through quicksand. When I try to push through 8 hour work days, I create a cycle of fatigue that worsens each day". I also had very sympathetic written testimony from a psychologist who believed in my credibility (plus sleep study and long-term doctor's support).

    My attorney had prepped me by explaining that THIS WAS THE TIME to bring up ALL your "complaints" and to ELABORATE! Well, I all but froze in that spotlight, and only briefly answered the judges many questions. I finally managed to summarize by describing the hang-over syndrome. Oh, I also mentioned that I had tried marijuana (I'm a boomer, grew up in 60's), but that I hated it...because I always already felt spacy!

    Anyway, I won. In spite of myself. Good luck to you.
  5. ClasiAnFun1

    ClasiAnFun1 New Member

    My lawyer told me to be sure & focus on specific symptoms, not diagnosis...that helped a ton,I did finally win.
    Will pray for you
    deb
  6. hopeful4

    hopeful4 New Member

    Here's a tip. The judges just want you to answer their question. You don't have to explain everything under the sun. Just focus on what they're asking, and when asked about a particular symptom, talk about your worst day, not your best.

    Don't wear makeup. Don't dress up. Don't wear jewelry or nail polish. Just wear what you normally do. These were tips from my attorney.

    You don't know whether the people involved are trying to help or not. Some judges are actually fair.

    You will not be the only person who has to speak. You have your attorney, and there will be a doctor (medical examiner) and a vocational expert.

    Just be yourself. Your medical records and diagnoses will have weight. If you have seen a psychologist and have a psych diagnosis, that is in your favor. My case was won on depression, not CFIDS.

    Think positive. Hang in, you can do it!
    Hopeful4
  7. hopeful4

    hopeful4 New Member

    There is an attorney named Scott Davis who has written some very helpful articles on obtaining SSD. You can see them at this website:

    http://www2.rpa.net/~lrandall/disabled.html

    There are also some of his articles right here at ProHealth. You can search them in the Library tab above.

    Do you have an SSD attorney?

    I have cut/pasted a few pointers from him here. Hope they help. Good luck!

    ***** ***** *****

    Your case is won or lost based on the severity of your symptoms (limitations) and not on the CFS diagnosis With the new ruling, winning a CFS disability case is now 10% documentation of the diagnosis and 90% documentation of impairments and limitations! Never lose sight of that crucial fact!

    Remember, no one is disabled simply because of the diagnosis…it is the severity of your symptoms and limitations resulting from CFS that makes the difference between obtaining disability benefits or not.

    If you learn one tip from this article let it be this…adequately documented medical records and medical opinions from treating doctors are everything in a disability case. Focus on the severity of your symptoms and limitations…not the diagnosis!

    It is critical to have all of your limitations (physical, psychological and cognitive) and their severity documented in your records. The primary limitations in a CFS case generally will be unrelenting fatigue, multi-joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, cognitive dysfunction…resulting in unreliability as an employee.

    If your symptoms are not documented in the medical records, SSA and/or a Judge may deny your claim because the records fail to show how your condition meets the criteria set forth in the ruling.


    Do Not Focus on the FM Diagnosis to the Exclusion of Other Conditions.

    A problem I see every day are claimants who focus on the FM diagnosis and forget about other diagnoses that may also be disabling. In my practice, people with FM are unable to work for three main reasons: pain, fatigue and cognitive problems.

    However, I have won FM based cases due to other diagnoses such as carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic headaches (migraines), IBS and psychological disorders. Usually, a claimant is unable to work due a combination of diagnoses and symptoms, not just FM. With regard to your disability claim, if you have ever been diagnosed with a psychological disorder, don’t be afraid to develop this as contributing factor in your inability to work.

    Pain is a Critical Component to Any FM Claim. It is of no surprise that pain is the primary component to a FM diagnosis and disability claim. However, it is the severity of your pain, how well it is documented, how significantly it affects your life, and whether the ALJ believes your reported level of pain that often determines whether you win or lose.

    Thus, with regard to pain, it is critical your doctor documents the severity, frequency, location and its response, if any, to medication/therapy. In my opinion, you should try every type of therapy prescribed to alleviate your pain (i.e. medications including narcotics, injections, physical/aquatic therapy).

    An ALJ will expect that you are either taking pain medication or you have a very good story why you are not (i.e. you’ve taken them in that past and received no benefit). If your medical records adequately reflect the severity/frequency and limitations due to pain, then your testimony should be accepted by the ALJ and you should win. If your testimony is not supported by your records or doctor, you will in all likelihood lose your case.