I'm really curious - what do all of you consider disability to consist of?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Bellesmom, Mar 15, 2003.

  1. Bellesmom

    Bellesmom New Member

    I am in the process of applying for SSDI and I read a lot of things on this board about disability qualification.

    I really want to know what you can and cannot do. I am nearly bedridden but am able from time to time to hobble to dishwasher and load or unload, put in a load of laundry now and then, that type of thing. Then I get in that bed and wonder when I'll be able to get up again. I rarely leave house, etc, etc. I realize we need objective proof, medical backup, etc. But what do YOU, my co-sufferers really consider disabled?

    Thank you - this is a very serious question on my part.

    [This Message was Edited on 03/15/2003]
  2. Hippo

    Hippo New Member

    I am in about the same condition as you are. That is most definitely disabled. However, I applied for SSDI and was turned down because they said that since I could bathe and feed myself, I was not disabled. I was too tired to continue fighting with them. Good luck.

  3. Bellesmom

    Bellesmom New Member

    See - that's what I'm getting at. I'm sure people here on disability keep clean. I just can't figure out what the real guidelines are and what we are supposed to be able to do or not be able to do - thanks for your help.

    I just am so unable to do most everything that I feel guilty when I even try. I want my life back but in the meantime I want to find out how far down you really have to be to qualify for SSDI.

  4. phenom

    phenom New Member

    according to dictionary.com, disability is;

    The condition of being disabled; incapacity.

    1. A disadvantage or deficiency, especially a physical or mental impairment that interferes with or prevents normal achievement in a particular area.
    2. Something that hinders or incapacitates.

    - but its much more complex i know.

    I would say that when you can't function enough to earn money to keep you above the poverty line (after medical expenses ofcourse!), and that you can't do 'day to day' things that are necessary - like meal preparation, washing etc. So if you can only work one day a week (and by work i mean either paid work or house work etc) and you spend the rest of the week recovering; then unless its an EXTREMELY high paying job, that you'd be disabled. But thats just my little opinion.


    p.s. i am on a disability support pension (thats what its called in Australia) and it took two goes to get it. I got it for combination of fibro and depression/PTSD. I did not qualify for Fibro alone. BUT, i have a friend who is on it for ovarian cysts - which only play up for a few days out of her cycle. She does everything a 'normal' person does and she got it. I was appalled that she got it and i was refused, when i can't walk a step without intense pain and use crutches half the time. So who knows what they are looking for?!?! not me thats for sure.[This Message was Edited on 03/15/2003]
  5. teawah

    teawah New Member

    their job is to turn evryone down to weed out the phonies. Just keep appealing and don't stop until they get it. I didn't learn that til I had to re-file 3 times. If I had just appealed instead of getting depressed and thinking I was worthless and IT was senseless, I would have been paid for years and years of back pay. Keep on Keepin' on!
  6. Bellesmom

    Bellesmom New Member

    still be eligible?

    I am sure there are people on this board receiving disability who can take a shower and load the dishwasher. Do we have to actually lie about this stuff? I've had some hint at this when I talk face to face. I can't believe when you're this sick that you have to make something up just to get on SSDI.

    Keep the answers coming. I guess I just don't know how to word my question.

    Love you all
  7. Hippo

    Hippo New Member

    regarding the bathing issue. I would suppose that if you needed someone else to bathe you, that would work in your favor in applying for SSDI. Same thing with having to have someone else prepare your food. Maybe you need to be spoon-fed by someone else in order to be considered disabled? LOL

  8. tandy

    tandy New Member

    I"ve been getting SSI for a few years now~ This is a hard question to answer,but i'll try my best.First off...just like many of you,I had to fight the fight to get it!(meanwhile may I add,a very close relative got SSI on the first try for alcholism!) I got mine on the second try with a lawyer. I consider myself disabled in that I know I could'nt hold down a full time job!! But I am able to cook dinners for my children 4-5 days a week.(we order out some nights....and each sunday we have dinner brought in by grandparents!nice!) When I go get grocerys-something that wears me out! I have my oldest son carry them inside the house.I do your basic cleaning of my house,pacing myself....but any heavy hard cleaning,I will ask my SIL to give me a hand and she has no problem with that. So I'm greatly effected by my DD,but i'm not ready for a nursing home!!lol Honestly,I think one has to stretch the truth a bit when they are answering questions for SSDI.Either call it truth stretching or basing info on your worst of days!! I'm sure they're ARE days when you absulutely cannot do a thing!!!The pain&fatique are overwhelming!! I have many~ As i'm sure you do~
    So if it were me,I'd go by my worse day.
    At times I have sciatica act up w/low back pain and the works,at those times I need help putting on shoes and tying them!as I can't bend that far.
    I never even told my Dr. treating me that I was gonna file for SSI. SSI just got my medical records and took it from there~ I had plenty!and I had seen 5 different drs. from around this area.I had gone to PT for 3-4 months.I had so many tests done,MRI,IVP's,etc... All those copys were sent in to SSI to determine my case.(don't leave out a thing!)Er visits,current DR reports.....
    I believe you can win this! I just reread your post and you said you hardly leave the house. I don't much,just to do what needs to be done. I certainly don't go out and visit friends/socialize!! (would be nice thou huh?)
    I have a hard enough day at home.....I know I can't work an 8 hr day!!! I think I'd collapse!
    (now honestly,in the beginning of my illness,probably the first 3-4 years,I could have done some part time.But now-no way!!) I have people say "I'm lucky" that I don't have to work.....to them I say"I'd be more than glad to trade places with you". I'll work and have a life!! you have Fibro, and herniated disks/sciatica,etc.... Then tell me I'm lucky!!
    I wish you well pam~ Keep fighting!
    I hope this helped some~ Any other way I can help...just ask~ (sorry for rambling)
    after this long reply...I deserve a nap![This Message was Edited on 03/15/2003]
  9. Bellesmom

    Bellesmom New Member

    I am hoping to get more responses by making this comment. I think a lot of people that come to this board really don't understand that they ARE disabled and have heard so many awful things about applying (and most of them are true) that they just put it off.

    I know I have a distant relative that has oh, so many physical problems and has put off and put off until she probably isn't even eligible (because she didn't work enough to qualify within the guidelines). Folks miss this by a mile because they don't know the facts so I'm trying to find out if all of you are bedridden or what.

    I will not give up on my quest for SSDI. Am very excited about 1st appt with attorney which will be March 28th.

  10. Dara

    Dara New Member

    by my attorney is that an employer has the right to expect you to be able to show up for work on a dependable schedule. If you could prove that you would miss at least three days a week then I would think that would mean you are unable to hold down a job. I know that if they could prove that you could work four hours a day then they say you are able to work full time. Isn't there ever days when you can not take a bath or shower because you hurt too much or you are unstable on your feet to stand in a shower? I have learned that when you are describing what you "can not" do you should word it as what it is like on your very worse days. Sure, there are some days when we can do the normal things, but how often does that happen? I know for myself that if I'm really having a good day, I get carried away and do too much, then for the next three to five days I'm unable to do anything. I wish you luck at getting your SSD, it's not easy. I have been turned down twice now and am waiting for notification of my hearing in front of the ALJ. I originally filed over a year ago now. Let me know if I can help you with anymore questions.

  11. Hippo

    Hippo New Member

    I am not 100% sure about this, so please don't bite my head off if I am wrong. SSDI comes from what you have put into Social Security during the time you were working. You have to have worked so many quarters out of so many years in the recent past. For example, I stopped working in 1987. When I first applied in 1990, I qualified to apply but was turned down as mentioned previously. Last year, my husband left me and threatened to cut off support. I immediately looked into trying to apply again, only to be told that since I have not worked since 1987, I no longer qualify to apply because my work credits are too long ago.

    SSI, on the other hand, is available to anyone who is disabled, but you have to be indigent. I believe the definition of this is that you have no more than $2,000 in assets.

  12. Tattoopixie

    Tattoopixie New Member

    Hi, have you looked at the articles here on disablity? There is a purple link at the top of this page that will take you there.
    I have filed & been denied on my 1st try. I am going to hire any atty & appeal the decesion. I was told I was denied as I could do 'less demanding work' than I used to do! I did not have a very stressful job....
    Spacee is right to say that you must use your 'worst day' as your guide when you answer SSI's questions.
    You can also search this message board w/the search box up at the top- use SSI orSSDI or disability (sp?).
    Good luck & keep us posted!
  13. srollins

    srollins New Member

    Your replies from Dara and Tandy really said it well.
    Hang in there Pam and if you don't have a lawyer yet GET ONE!!!
  14. Bellesmom

    Bellesmom New Member

    By way of explanation, yes, I called the other day and got an appt with an atty for March 28th. I was just turned down on the reconsideration part of process.

    The reason I was wondering about how everyone sees disability is that I know there are days I can do a little something here and there but I pay a BIG price for trying most anything. And I DO consider myself unable to work - that is why I signed up a year ago for SSDI.

    You are right - I got some very good answers on this board. I think I have some doubts every now and then about myself because I always considered disabled as someone, you know, outwardly disabled. This invisible illness thing is just troubling to define. I guess I can see why so many of us keep getting denied. I did get some good replies and would like to just hear from more folks about how long they've been on disability and just what they can and can't do on a week to week basis.

    Well - as far as this being a progressive thing, in my case I believe it is. I'm really believe that God will touch me in some way but realistically speaking, the longer I go in this condition the more I realize I need the disability. Another person I know is reluctant to begin the SSDI process as she feels it shows that she doesn't think God will heal her.

    I told her I just didn't want to wait too long and then lose out.

    I rambled but we have an excuse for that, right? Hard for me to form words these days.

    I appreciate all of you out there so much!!! You just don't have any idea how much I look forward to the few minutes I am able to spend here.

    Love ya
    [This Message was Edited on 03/17/2003]
  15. onecangomad

    onecangomad New Member

    Unfortunately my experience with SSD showed that there wasn't much in the area of thought involved.

    Strictly an impersonal beurocratic decision.

    They have a list of conditions for which you can recieve disability.....you must have one from column A :)

    You must show many doctors visits.
    You must show many medications.
    You must have at least one doctor who states you cannot work.

    Everyone is turned down always unless terminal so that the end of "payout" can be clearly seen.

    I had breast cancer when I applied.
    I tried doing it myself.
    Was told breast cancer is only considerd an "eight month illness" and did not qualify as you must have at least a "12 month illness".
    I also had FM/CFS but was as yet undiagnosed.
    Back then though FM was NOT on the list.
    Happily it is now.
    I spent 17 months in the rejection process, without food, or medicine until reaching the "in person hearing".....and for that I got an attorney.
    I went to the hearing....and the lawyer pushed all my buttons...cruelly...made me cry through the whole thing....made me look so pathetic I could hardly bear to see myself in that light...I choked out my story of how I was ill, abandoned, and broke.....I dumped my little brown paper bag full of drug samples on the table showing that I could not afford to buy medication.....they granted my SSD on depression to get me out of the room.

    Until you get to an in person hearing....they are only looking at facts that will fit the list of conditions they are given.
    Matching one from column A to one from column B.

    Good Luck
    Speed your process by hiring an attorney now.
    You may be spared the humiliation of the "in person".
    Most get benefits more quickly with an attorney.
    They work on contingency, and will take 25% of your back payout when recieved.
    (You will be paid retro to the day you applied.)

  16. Fibrolady37

    Fibrolady37 New Member

    Hi Bellesmom,
    Well i get Disability & ill give you a few tips ok?
    You tell them you CANT do anything at all for yourself.
    You DONT tell them you can hobble to dishwasher & washer whatever you do do NOT tell them that.
    You tell them you cant do anything at all for yourself & that youre in serious need of some help.
    Youre doctor will be the 1 you need to go to as he can recommend that you need it.
    They listen to doctors you see & also tell youre doctor you cant do anything at all.
    Dont go in there & say well i can just about get to the dishwasher & washer,no way.
    Say i cant do anything for myself & i am at my wits end & i desperately need some help.
    Turn the tears on honey,that always helps,good luck.
    sharon d(UK)
  17. Sumo412

    Sumo412 New Member

    Sharon you have it right. The most important part is to have your Doctor list you as disabled. Then you apply for your Disabled Parking Placard. Both will give your claim to being disabled more substance. Another good thing is to claim you can't travel to the interview for the SSDI. Do everything by mail and then they will do phone interview. As they said in an earlier post, Always use your worst day median for your daily life. We all know good days can be far and few from each other. My wife was lucky enough to get on her first try.

    Another thing is have the Doctor write when the first day of your disability started. If it was Dec. 1, 2001 for instance, and you get approved for disability. Your claim starts that day and you get rertoactive compensation. Hope this helps a liitle.
  18. Sumo412

    Sumo412 New Member

    Sharon you have it right. The most important part is to have your Doctor list you as disabled. Then you apply for your Disabled Parking Placard. Both will give your claim to being disabled more substance. Another good thing is to claim you can't travel to the interview for the SSDI. Do everything by mail and then they will do phone interview. As they said in an earlier post, Always use your worst day median for your daily life. We all know good days can be far and few from each other. My wife was lucky enough to get on her first try.

    Another thing is have the Doctor write when the first day of your disability started. If it was Dec. 1, 2001 for instance, and you get approved for disability. Your claim starts that day and you get rertoactive compensation. Hope this helps a liitle.
  19. IndigoSC

    IndigoSC New Member

    but I thought I'd tell you about a friend of mine who finally got it. She's had 6 back surgeries, 2 of which ended in malpractice suits, and is completely paralyzed now from the waist down. However, it took her 3 tries (appealing twice I guess) to get it, for one thing because she is a computer programmer and was told over and over that she can still work because her job would be all sitting-down. She finally did get it though, because even though she can sit down, it still kills her back to be anything but lying down most of the time.
    On the other hand, I know someone who got disability on the first try, just from depression!
    To me, it seems to be a luck thing whether you get it or not...I have not even considered trying, as I don't feel the energy to fight for it, nor do I have a doctor.
  20. ForeverFlaring

    ForeverFlaring New Member

    I am in the same boat and have many of the same questions. I got a nice little packet from Social Security a few days ago asking me about my activities of daily living.

    Some questions are...

    1)Who depends on your for care? (spouse, children, pets, etc)

    A lawyer I spoke with told me that the fact that I have children automatically counts against me. It is sad to say but my 8 and 9 year olds have learned to be very self sufficient. Last Saturday for example, I woke up at 11:30 am. Immediately my first thought was my children, and the second thought was guilt that I had slept so long. I went downstairs and they had already had cereal for breakfast and had tv dinners in the microwave. God Bless them, I hate that they have had to become so self sufficient at so young of an age. So how the heck do I answer this question without the dept of welfare knocking on my door with charges of neglect?

    2) Do I use a vacuum cleaner?
    3) Do I have any limitations on personal care?
    4) DO I cook meals?
    Do I grocery shop? DO I rest during shopping? Can I load and unload bags from the car? How many bags can I carry at once?
    5)Do I clean my home?
    6) How many steps can I climb without stopping to rest?
    7) How many times a day am I able to climb stairs?

    You get the idea here of what they ask. It is very comprehensive. It is hard for a person with fibro to answer these questions. SOme days I cook, but usually rest so often during cooking that it takes an hour and a half to prepare a 20 minute meal. Some days I can clean. I am actually proud of myself if I can get one load of laundry washed, dried ,and folded in a single day. Forget putting it away. I am afraid to exaggerate on this thing. Yes, there have been many days when my husband has had to help me get out of the tub. I can rarely stand in the shower anymore so a bath is much more comfortable and realistic. I have a potty chair downstairs in the kitchen as I only have one bathroom and it is upstairs. I sleep on the couch most nights as it is hard to walk upstairs. None of this is counted in the questionaire though. I am stumped on how to fill this thing out and still stay within my moral and ethical boundaries.

    Best of Luck to you!