Here's what I did to get disability

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by louguins6, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. louguins6

    louguins6 New Member

    I'll try to explain briefly, but thoroughly, of what I did to get approved the 1st time when I applied for ss.
    First, I did have an attorney, but only for advice. He told me to go ahead and apply, and I think he assumed I would get turned down and that was when I was to call him again.

    Anyway, the biggest and most important thing I did was document everything! I kept a diary of my daily pain. When I had doctor appts, I prepared A History of My Pain. You know how when you see your doctor and you can never think of things to say...well, I wrote all mine out ahead of time. Day by day details of how I hurt, where I hurt, how it was affecting my job, how it was affecting me emotionally, but most the drugs I was taking was affecting me--in every detail--from grogginess to lack of concentration to zombie-like to totally stoned.

    This is also important because now your doctor has your documentation in his/her file. How many of your doctors will actually write down everything you tell them? This way, they have it. And how often do you remember to tell your doctor everything? My biggest problem was that I might be feeling good on the day I saw my doctor, but that is one day among thirty in a month when I might only feel good. So I neglected to tell my doctor everything.

    I did a lot of online research too. I found the articles written by Scott Davis to be Very helpful. I followed all his examples to the letter.

    I filled out my own disability papers. I have no other health conditions other than a very bad back for which I need a spinal fusion. I also had four people--my best friend, my sister, a co-worker and my supervisor send letters on my behalf. And again, I had them read the recommendations of Scott Davis and they filled out the paperwork accordingly.

    I did not have any exams, nor any kind of hassle from ss. In fact, I expected to be turned down just like everybody else and I assumed I would need to use the attorney to help me win my case.

    I live in Omaha, Nebraska and I work at Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company...and I have been in disability from Mutual for the past six months also. And I don't even think Mutual recognizes fibromyalgia as an actual disease or illness. But I had doctors on my side---rheumatologists, chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, psychologists, and yes, even a psychiatrist.

    Plus I've had years & years of treatment. I am 49 and I was diagnosed in 1998, but I suffered for many years before that. How many doctors have you gone to? I'm sure you've done the after doctor.

    And I remembered every physical therapy that I went to, all the chiropractic appts, even acupuncture. You have to be very thorough in your dates of treatments and where & with who when you fill out the paperwork. And when I couldn't remember exact dates, I called the providers & asked to talk to someone in medical records, and they looked it up for me.

    I called social security in September and told them I wanted to apply. I was told someone would call me back and we set up a time of when they would call. Sure enough, I got the phone call at the exact time they said they would call. The man was very helpful explaining details of disability, etc. and he looked up by my ss# and told me how much I would get if I was approved and that February would be the starting date of my disability.

    I received the paperwork probably two or two and a half weeks later. But like Scott Davis not concentrate on your pain!!!!, but concentrate on how it has affected you and your you react with the it leads to lack of concentration thus poor job performance or inability to even work.

    It took me about a week or two to fill out the app. I sent it back in, and then I received another form to fill out, but this one concentrated on me and my daily activities, and meal preparation, laundry, keeping know, how you can or cannot do your daily activities. I am alone, so I have a lot of microwave dinners and I only do laundry once a week. But house cleaning, stairs, yardwork--all these things were getting increasingly difficult to do and I have to rely on friends and neighbors.

    This was also the time they requested names of four people that they could contact on my behalf. I think this is what really helped me. And of course, Scott's article: "Winning Your Disability Case with the Help of Co-Workers, Family Members & Friends".

    A few of his other articles were: "Completing Disability Forms: Five Critical Tips to Keep in Mind for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia Patients"; "Disability Benefits and Fibromyalgia: Getting Your Ducks Lined Up"; "Obtaining Disability Benefits: How and When to Talk to Your Doctor"; and finally, "Winning Your Disability Case in Three Words...Frequency, Severity & Duration".

    You will never know the relief of being accepted until you are accepted, but You have to Prove your Disability. And I think I did it with very thorough documentation. I also emailed Scott Davis and thanked him for all his help with his articles.

    I hoped I was able to answer some of your questions, and if you have any more please don't hesitate to contact me.

  2. Kathryn

    Kathryn New Member

    I printed up your tips and will combine them with the bits of information I am collecting from the 500+ thousand FM sites on the net. I find myself studying harder than when I was in college, but I am enjoying it far less. I figure that I will have a battle on my hands getting my SSDI, so I want my arsenal as full as I can get it. It sounds like they are finally starting to award claims based on these illnesses earlier in the process. That should be good news to all of us.
  3. azcrum

    azcrum New Member

    I guess now I really need to do my homework. I have been fighting for 2 years now and just got turned down again. And you are so, so right on when you go to the dr on a GOOD day and they say in their notes how good your doing. They don't write down everything you say and I have thought about that. Everything you said what a burst of hope for me atleast. Thank you so much.
  4. azcrum

    azcrum New Member

    I guess now I really need to do my homework. I have been fighting for 2 years now and just got turned down again. And you are so, so right on when you go to the dr on a GOOD day and they say in their notes how good your doing. They don't write down everything you say and I have thought about that. Everything you said what a burst of hope for me atleast. Thank you so much.
  5. poodlemommy

    poodlemommy New Member

    Great work. I am very organised too. I keep notes, files and all appointments. I have 3 excellent doctors who have also provided good letters. I just got approved a month ago for my Long term disability with my employee benefits. I didnt have to use a lawyer and it only took me 9 months to get. You must be persistent, articulate, thorough and make sure you have good medical support. It is importnant too to be honest that way your are consistent in your symptom reporting and your appearance when being scrutinized by the insurance doctors. I just applied for government disability last month so just waiting for the outcome of that. Any how congrats on the hard work and great advice to others.
  6. Goodday

    Goodday New Member

    Is being awarded mostly because of the psychriatric reports, not because of the actual disease. Do you think Social Security wants 6 million people on its disability list? No! Therefore you have to prove how it messes up every aspect of your life. It is sometimes so stressful and so depressing to keep all the records and diaries, doctor appointments, etc. but being so ill what choice do some of us have? If working is impossible, go for it. Good advice here on how to do it. From one who has gone through it all for 15-plus years now!
  7. blondieangel

    blondieangel New Member

    was my attorney, and I got the letters from friends and family really important tip: when the SSD paperwork comes a second time and asks if you are the same or better, you are never the same...or they will turn you down again! You are ALWAYS WORSE. Also, if you have trouble filling out the forms for whatever reason (brain fog, exhaustion, etc...) write that down on the questionaire...I have more tips if you click on my profile and go though my posts!
    Good Luck to all needing IS getting more recognized, although they still don't have a 'code' for it, so make sure you ad CFS, which they DO have a code for! And sometimes if you can't get the SSD on FM, you may get it for Depression, anxiety, etc...which we know come w/ FM!
  8. louguins6

    louguins6 New Member

    Hi Lane,

    I know that ss requested records from my doctors because the person in records told me that. I know that it is better if you supply your own records, that way you're assured of them getting everything.

    But I do know that is also costly when you request records yourself from the providers that you saw.

    But no, I did not supply any medical records other than my own listing of all services, therapies, treatments,etc. with exact dates for all.

    My pain goes back fifteen years, and I would be very upset if they didn't make a genuine effort to obtain All of my records. So I assumed that they did...but honestly, I don't know how much they digged.

    I hope this helps.

  9. louguins6

    louguins6 New Member

    I don't know what you mean.
  10. mapessd

    mapessd New Member

    I don't believe it I came back on tonite to see if you had posted any more info.. i forgot to look earier,, so as im reading i get to where you live and behold I am in Omaha tooo. Small world i also met someone in a chat room from Omaha w/fibro small world .And Congrats on your SS coming though for you . I may have to start looking into that soon to . THanks for all the info .
  11. LErdman

    LErdman New Member

    You were VERY thorough in your post. Thank you for answering our questions.

  12. Zappedme

    Zappedme New Member

    You really did your homework!

    I'm actually replying to the person who wonders if she should submit records from her neuroligist ~ she has seizures.

    BY ALL MEANS. It's a must that you submit any & all records from any & all doctor's you've seen for illnesses that keep you from working. The Review Board has to be convinced that you really CAN'T work.

    LOU ~ it took me 3 months to get on disability but I cheated. A friend who was already on disability explained to me what you said ~ we have to provide ALL info you mentioned. Before I applied, he told me to write down all hospitalizations & the year & list all professionals I had seen because of depression & anxiety which is what I'm on disability for but since then, my chronic fatigue & fibromyalgia has beaten me down.

    KEEP THIS IN MIND: I've been reviewed to see if I'm still disabled every 3 yrs. Therefore, I've kept a list of all professionals, including the dates I saw them, for my next review. I've never had a problem. Then again, getting shock treatments was a real plus! haha[This Message was Edited on 03/01/2003]
  13. Renee

    Renee New Member

    I read your post because of the disability information. However I noted you're from Omaha. I am about 60 miles south and doctor in Omaha. Do you mind telling me the name of your doctor? It is good to know we're not alone. I'm not quite to the stage of disability but don't know if I can make it working 10 more years (which is what I have left to retirement). Thanks for your tips.
  14. louguins6

    louguins6 New Member

    Hi Renee,

    I do see Dr. Deborah Doud, and although she does not believe in disability, she really had no choice in my case but to go along with it especially because of my latest injury-a fractured vertebra.

    It really depends on the doctor you go to--when I first contacted an attorney he said I would have to see another doctor because Dr. Doud was not at all helpful with some of his cases.

    I'm 49, and I had been working two jobs for the last three years and I just can't do it now. I am too wiped out. And the meds makes it worse because then I'm high & wiped out.

    Good luck to you.

  15. nancyw

    nancyw New Member

    Hi Lou: Recently diagnosed with Fibro, but have probably had it over 20 years. Do I need doctor visit appts from that long ago. SSI paperwork asks for when first symptom appeared and I'm confused about what to put down. My "fibro-fog" has really been getting to me lately and I don't want to mess up the SSI from the get-go. I've been on antidepressants for last seven years and chronic tension headaches since car accident in 82. I've e-mailed Scott Davis, but haven't heard back yet. Thanks for the great info on keeping a diary. No problem with documenting this last year with specialists (neuros, ENT, ERs, prim doc, etc.), but of course, all those types of test came back negative. Diagnosed myself about 3 weeks ago and found doc at a clinic in Durango, CO who has it herself and confirmed my diagnosis. I'm meeting with my prim doc this Thursday to discuss disability because she's the one who knows how miserable I've been this last year. Nice to hear that Scott Davis is good guy because you never know. Thanks!
    [This Message was Edited on 03/02/2003]
  16. belindakbee

    belindakbee New Member

    Had you been off work for sometime in order to get SS??
  17. Rosesark

    Rosesark New Member

    Glad we have people like you who will share info with us. I just got my denial letter today from my first try. They did not even get my medical reports from the rheum i saw out of town. They listed only the one i too to them, and it came back in just 20 days!!! I called about apealing and the lady there said she could not believe how fast they sent me a denial. So now i start over and am a little smarter thanks to you. I am still in the beginning stages of testing. The appnts with the rheum are so far apart. He told me the first time i went that he believed i had CIDP and fibro. No tests yet, no nothing. I see him again march 18 and boy do i have a lot for him!!!!! I am being given morphine for pain, neurontin for neuropathy and spastrin for the bad sweating, but no real concrete diagnosis yet. Thanks for sharing. Rose
  18. libbyhorse1

    libbyhorse1 New Member

    I wish I'd seen this last week - but I think I said a lot of what you sugested. I first applied a year ago after being hospialized with severe case of ischemic colitis and I never got well enough to go back to work. I was denied and I truly thought I would get well soon and go back to work! One year later -still sick as a dog - a rheumotoligist diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and I applied again. I wish I'd known all those stratagies. I did ask my PCP to corroborate my disability this time and told my hemotologist who reffered me to a neurologist "just to reassure me the mental confusion wasn't early onset dementia" My psychologist snapped up the fibromyalgia right away and added Welbutrin to my vast aray of pills and told me to keep a diary !
  19. louguins6

    louguins6 New Member

    Hi Nancy,

    In answer to your question---tell all!!!!!! List every doctor, every physical therapy, every session you ever had with anybody and list it for the past twenty years if it goes back that far.

    I wasn't diagnosed until 1994, but I believe it started ten years earlier. I listed every doctor, pt, chiropractic treatment, massage, accupuncture...I mean not be afraid to list all of it, regardless of test results or anything else...list it all.

    I called the place where I had treatment and if it was too old to be on record I was transferred to medical records, and they were able to list dates of services for everything.

    As for your fibrofog--don't worry about that either, but when you describe how your medication affects you, you can say that the fibrofog could be a result of the meds. Do not type out your application--write out everything, and do it on your bad day--do not worry about errors because errors will only show your physical & mental state of mind.
    Perfection, on the other hand, shows you as being a capable person.

    I hope this helps,

  20. louguins6

    louguins6 New Member

    Hi Belinda,

    My last day of working was August 22, 2002. I applied for ss diability in September, and I received the letter from ss that I was accepted on Feb. 28th, and I will receive my first check in March.