Nervous about getting approved for Disability

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ayhatch, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. ayhatch

    ayhatch New Member

    Hi folks,
    I've had a lot of advice to this point and I do have a disability lawyer on my side, BUT still... I am nervous about getting approved for disability. My doctors say not to worry, I should get it. They will write a strong arguement. But, I'm worried that the temp work I've done over the past two summers may work against me. I was working for a friend and the work was done very casually and mostly from my own home. (I could take frequent breaks, etc.) Still, I managed to work an average of 20+ hours each week for about 3 months this past summer and the summer before. I've tried to expalin in my application that the work was easier for me than past jobs, because it was done for a friend and I was able to spread out the load.
    I also find myself in this dumpy place right now, where I feel I can't even try to do anything above my ability or the "disability police" will catch me and I'll be denied. I tend to push myself around needed naps sometimes, so my kids can go to the zoo or ice skate, etc.
    I feel pathetic right now. I'm stuck between wanting to heal myself and get better AND not wanting to lift a finger till I get approved. Then what? Are they going to be spying on me? What if I have a good day and don't use my cane? what if I feel good enough to pick up my son and carry him piggy back for 20 yds? What if I climb a ladder to put up christmas decos or get a box from a high shelf?

    I get angry thinking about it, too? This is my money, right? I put this money in all the years I was working my butt off maing a very good wage.

    So, I guess I'm not seeking advice so much as someone to tell me their success story. (No denial stories, please...I'm very anxiuos!)Someone to sympathize. Anyone have a similar situation? (Temp/seasonal work only?)

    Thanks...
  2. Pianowoman

    Pianowoman New Member

  3. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    i had no choice but to work for little stents at a time.

    the judge is interested in if you can work 5- 8 hours days a week. then will ask the lost ofr words vocational person. if you can do a certain job. and will ask how much time will she miss because of your illiness. a month. stuff like that.

    don't worry that is what your attorney is for.

    jodie
  4. ayhatch

    ayhatch New Member

    Thanks for your response. I have applied for SSD. When I ask my attorney about working, they say anytime I show I can work...it works against my case. But, it's so frustrating, because SSA says they encourage you to work and make that minimum amount. (For three of the of the 5 months I worked, I did make over that amount, but barely.)
    My attorney says that she's seen people go on welfare and worse while waiting for approval.
    I'm going to sit down with my part-time employer/friend and tell her about the situation. I know she can't pay me under the table, but hopefully we will think of someway for me to be able to work for her again next summer and still be okay with disability. (Maybe I'll just take less money/report less hours. Maybe she can pay me with a fee, not as an employee.)
    And what were you refering to as an LTD?

    thanks!
  5. ayhatch

    ayhatch New Member

    Thanks for the encouragement...
    I am also worried, because my attorney says that they don't really carry any weight toward my approval in the 1st round. They said, they come in and have success in the denial process. They are helping me with filling out all these damn forms and they are giving encouragement, but I just can't help but be stressed about this. I hope I'm not making a big mistake in trying to do this, but though I can work a little... most of the time I just can't endure. When I work I really am pushing myself over my limits and the recovery time after working is longer and longer and my kids get less and less of me. They just see me sick and tired and complaining I can't do anything with them!
    That is why I'm going down this road...for quality of life.
  6. badge53nj

    badge53nj New Member

    I agree with the other post regarding surveillance. I live on a quiet street with little activity, yet I knew that I was being "watched." These surveillance "people" are really slick and so very obvious.
    Yes it is difficult to go outside in May on that first nice day to just pick up a weed in your flower bed, but that one shot of bending over will be the pic that tells the 1000 words of why you can "do a job."
    Surveillance is also in the form of "tailing" me. This is a really good one and I even do not know how they can do this with the few stops that I make; post office, gas station, bank drive through and then I see the same car parked on the side of the road as I drive to the library.
    Friends and family think that I am paranoid, but I am the one that lives on this block. I just usually open my door and stand there saying to myself, yes here I am.
  7. meowee

    meowee New Member

    I did days of paper work, the SS office called me and in the first 30 seconds of the conversation he said I did not qualify because we had too much money. We are NOT rich by far, but not under the poverty level, according to them.

    I wish you lots of luck.
  8. Rnclegal

    Rnclegal New Member

    Hi

    last June 2005 I was no longer able to work. In December I applied for Social Security. You must NOT work at all for at least a year to be accepted by Social Security. I hired Binder and Binder as a safegap but in the long run I did most of the work trying to figure out who needed what and from where.

    In october of this year I was accepted. Unfortunately, Binder and Binder had also applied for SSI for me (Social Security is federal and SSI is State). I was eligible for a one time only SSI payment which then automatically held up a very large retro payment which would have saved my house until Feb 2007. I sent them back the SSI payment with a request to withdraw so that my retro would be released by the Feds. I lose my house Jan 20 unless that money comes.

    Advice: You can do the paperwork on your own if you are feeling up to it. It wound up costing me approx 3K to have Binder and Binder chase after the doctors stuff and put in the paperwork (that anyone can download from the internet). In the end, because I had also worked for the State and understood the "speak" I found out before my lawyers that I was accepted. Interestingly, I was approved by the people who are contracted by the Feds to review the applications and make a decision however the Feds didnt agree and sent it back. The people who make the decision stuck to it, resent it to the feds, along with my foreclosure notices and I was approved. The gov't decides how much the lawyer is going to be paid and the lawyer can not come after you for any additional money.

    You can NOT work during this time. I had a stipend coming from workers compensation for a severe accident in 2001. It was only for 680 a month but they even looked upon that as money I had made because I was working.... Oh and I told them that as a birthday present my mother had bought me some gift cards to the grocery store and they scored that as income as well.

    Be ready and able to wait 18 months for a decision. I had some retirement savings in mutual funds which I had to use to live on and so now that is all gone. Dont be shy to ask for food stamps or general relief if you have to...just be prepared to pay it back if your claim is accepted. (I couldnt get past my pride to do either one of those so our food intake has been very lean this past year....I say we because I include my loyal puppy Buddy who has been my guardian throughout this.

    Keep in contact with people at your lawyers or Social Security. Write down dates, contacts and what was discussed. Copy everything you send in. (I have a very inexpensive printer that is also a fax , a scanner, and a copier and its been worth its weight in gold). I fax most everything directly to the people I talk to. Establish relationships if you can so you stop being a number and become a real life person to your Social Security Analyst.

    To make your general life easier....shop online for everything including groceries and have the groceries delivered. Have the mailman come to you when packages need to go out. Start watching now for online shopping free shipping gimmicks. And if you can afford it, have a housekeeper come in once per month just to "wet the place down". (I havent been able to have that for a year, and my house knows it now because cleaning is excrutiating).

    If you can, have a specialist in pain management (called a physiatrist) look after your pain needs. They are so much more worthy than anaesthetists who just seem to want to give epidurals or limited pain meds. Don't worry about being adicted. If a pain medication brings you relief so that you can function, that is your bodies indicator that its needed. My pain meds helped me work that extra 3 years and continue to help me feel at least partly human. And remember, with opiods you build a ceiling so they will have to be increased dosage wise. A physiatrist understands this and works with you and your primary physician to ensure that your meds are coordinated and the most safe for your kidneys and liver. Get used to being tagged as drug seeking....you know its not true and so does your doc (hopefully, if you have the right one). My sister continues to yap at me about my meds while she puffs away on her cigarettes. I tell her I have no other vices, so I should be allowed to have at least one. Always make sure all the doctors you see on a regular basis are on the same page as far as what you take for meds....any changes need to be communicated. Because of my brain fog, I write want I want to tell my docs before I go in including any med changes or funny new symptoms including temperature when you get those "flu" days. This is especially important if you have applied for Social Security disability and your doctor is being asked to fill in mountains of paperwork. It goes further to proving your case. Include in that list on every visit how far you have been able to walk, stair climb, etc etc etc.

    Anyway, I probably have a lot more advice tucked in my brain, but this is getting really long and I know what my concentration level is like anymore.

    Carolyn
  9. BlueSky555

    BlueSky555 New Member

    I've read the post and all of the responses.

    My question is, if you have applied for SSD, are there actully people that can watch you? I know that I go to the grocery store and bring in groceries but there are small amounts in each bag. I haven't done any kind of yard work but I have, like I stated, brought in groceries and walked up to the mail box.

    Now, I'm concerned, is this for SSD or is this regarding LTD? I wouldn't think they had enough people to do these kinds of things on everyone.

    Thank you for your post, ayhatch,

    BlueSky555

  10. georgie0826

    georgie0826 New Member

    When I was waiting for disability to be approved I felt like I had to be careful about what I did too. When I filled out my disability forms my doctors said to talk about my worst days. We all know some days are better than others. So on a good day if I worked in my flower garden I felt really guilty. I talked to one of my doctors about this, she said the state dosen't have time or money to spy on us "little" people. That they worried more about big fraud items. I never used a lawyer and i was approved on the first try in 4 months. I did get a letter that I couldnt have a check until I had been unemployed for 5 months. I filed for dis. on the day I quit work, so I had to wait a month. I'm in Kentucky, I know some states are different than others, but mine was surprisingly easy.
  11. ayhatch

    ayhatch New Member

    I really don't get how we are supposed to live without an income while waiting? The SSA says they encourage you to work (right on the website it says that!), but the max income is $860 per month. So, why are some of you being told you can't work at all. Why is my attorney saying that any income or work I do until I get approved counts against my case? (and even the money from the period of time I'm claiming I was disabled in the previous 2 years.)
    This is so frustrating!!!!
  12. Rnclegal

    Rnclegal New Member

    The whole idea about not working is proving that you can't even go to rehab school. The gov't doesnt care how you survive....you are a number, not a person. Thats about the long and the short of it. If they think for a minute that maybe you can type or do anything, they will deny you. That is why you can NOT work at all....(I never believe brochures) because if you do, you just proved you can. I think we all know that we can work some.....maybe 10 minutes every 5 hours...just not a traditional 9-5 job or a 10 hour day like I had. Remember, to the gov't, even if you are a quadrapaligic you are not totally disabled because according to the govt you can still read. (I kid you not....I investigated this case as part of my job before I had to retire and my pain doc also happens to be this poor persons pain doc and although no names were shared we knew we were discussing the same case.) Appalling...oh yes. Surprising for gov't...ummm No.

    Im not sure Social Security spies on you but I know Workers Comp does as do the private insurance people who, while quite happy to take your premiums, dont want to give them up. Oh, and remember to go through you credit cards and see which ones you bought account protection on. In the event of a total disability, they will pay off the entire amount owing. Luckily, I had 4 that I had bought the insurance on and it sure worked out good (one had over 10K on it which is now forgivable because of the insurance)

    Carolyn
  13. badge53nj

    badge53nj New Member

    In my initial post I was referring to LTD and not SSD.
    Long Term Disability is a private insurance that is offered through my employeer. As soon as I applied for LTD, I had to apply for SSD. If I should recover some funds through SSD, I have to return those funds to my LTD carrier. And yes, LTD will check for any and ALL forms of other income. These companies have only one vested interest; their stock holders.
    I also agree that if you can get someone in to help with house work do it. If you cannot carry groceries into the house document it with your doctors. State how you feel when you do walk up the stairs or through the supermarket.
    My family does not believe me so why should an insurance carrier believe me? I say it is not only horrible, but we have to go through additional stress in order to survive over and above our illness.
    Please look at the previous posts and at least think about what you are reading.
    best, evelyn
  14. ayhatch

    ayhatch New Member

    Okay, I get it. I may very well be denied because I have done some work. BUT, I have painstakingly described how the job I had was very easy and temporary and how I was able to endure the job tasks with help. (I have a friend who had a similar situation but was approved... so I'm hopeful.) Still, I wonder what now. It was difficult to set a date for my disability because I've been feeling lousy and pushing myself through work and daily life for years. It was somehow determined that I should use January of 2005 as my date. Well I did work during the summer of 2005 and this past summer. (This is the work that was modified for me.)Do you think they'd throw out the whole claim because of the owrk or adjust my disability date to this year, after my job ended? AND... now I'm applying for state disability in the meantime. What date do I put on that? I was going to put a date after I stopped working this summer. I certainly can't put jan. 2005. I hope that the Oct disability date I put on my state application won't screw up my SSA application. I don't mind if the date of my SSA application is adjusted to this October also, but since the application has already been set in motion... I don't think I can change that.
    Oh, God... I'm so desperate for this process to end!!!
  15. badge53nj

    badge53nj New Member

    I know that this is easier said than done, but please try not to worry. I have already found myself sitting in a chair crying. I am glad that you have an attorney and it sounds like a doctor that "believes" you.

    I also believe that all SSD cases are judged on an individual basis. When both of my doctors told me I should be on disability I said what are you kidding and I marched on working until my co-workers knew there was something wrong with me.

    So the date that I used was the actual date that I stopped working and gave my employer the disability certification. I was also asked when was I first diagnoised and how did I continue to work for so long after the initial diagnosis? My reply was I did what I had to do with the hope that I will get better, stronger. I did not want to wimp out at the first sign of medical problems. It become difficult to work when your co-workers think there is something wrong with you. A supervisor even asked me if I had ADD because I could not follow instructions!!!

    best, evelyn
  16. sleepyinlalaland

    sleepyinlalaland New Member

    by the time my hearing came up (3 years later), I was "working". I had found a position as a live-in caregiver that I took in order to survive. In addition to room and board I made a SMALL salary. I disclosed this to my attorney and also (of course) the judge. I did stress that it was a very light-duty position, that I was basically just "there". It was really a fluke that I found that position, it was very unique, and I told the judge it was unlikely I'd ever find similar employment. (one reason it works is that my "charge" seldom gets up before noon)

    My attorney took my case primarily based on the report filed by the psychiatrist that S.S. originally sent me to. It was entirely in support of my case. This attorney also suggested that I seek counseling during the time I was awaiting my hearing. I went to a low-cost clinic and saw a wonderful psychologist who also entirely supported me and I think that also carried a great deal of weight at the hearing. My medical documentation was very thin because my primary disability was long-term brain-bludgeoning insomnia that was always made even WORSE by full-time employment.

    I'm sure my age was also in my favor (58 by time of hearing). But for me, the assessment of my psychologist was invaluable and perhaps that's another thing you could try. If you find a good one, you'll find her/him invaluable in this terrible process even if they're not able to help your case.

    Best to you, sleepy
  17. ayhatch

    ayhatch New Member

    Thanks Sleepy. I appreciate your input. I keep pouring over the statements I've turned in and the guidelines from SSA and I still have faith that hopefully, somehow it will work in my favor sooner than later. I do have a therapist and before you replied I was just thinking about how nervewracking it is to wait and worry. I've had good doctor's and therapists over the past few years. I'm having faith that their statements will help my case. They are all very supportive.

    Thanks, Ayhatch