Part-time work + disability

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by AK_Rose, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. AK_Rose

    AK_Rose New Member

    Hi there,

    Almost 2 years ago I received a dx of FMS from a rheumatologist after a long period of illness, surgeries, other medical stuff, and then pain in my hip that would not go away. I was unable to work for some time, despite pain meds, finally started a patch, then improved, and have been on a roller coaster since then. I manage to work 2 days a week and pretty much sleep the rest of the time. I see a pain doc monthly, take cymbalta (which helped a lot when I had a recurrence of pain, as I was finally out of a 2 year "flare"). I have a confounding illness that can give me intense pain, flu-like symptoms, a fever, malaise, several of the sx that can be experienced w/FMS. Sometimes I don't know which is happening or if they feed off each other. I also wonder if the fact that I have two diagnoses that can cause difficulty in working, if that would increase my chances for SSDI, even though I work 2 days/week (the max I seem to be able to work).

    Overall, my income is 1/3 less than it was before all of this, and now I just lost another 1/3 of my income b/c of absence d/t to illness, so my employer cut my hours (and I have a letter stating how much work I missed and yada yada yada).

    I've read a lot about FMS and SSDI; my husband works for a place that deals with SSDI all the time, and thinks I should apply, even though I work part-time. I've read that having a diagnosis of FMS from a rheumatologist helps a lot when applying, but still have not had the "umph" to apply.

    I'm a nurse and it is very hard for me to come to grips with this. I honestly continue to say, "I've been diagnosed with FMS." and don't say that "I have" it. Weird, I guess. However, some days I feel like I need a live-in nurse/attendant to do laundry, cook, take care of me and my family (I have a 7 year old daughter). Right now my husband, who is a saint, does 99% of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. Yes, he complains sometimes, but honestly, I'd complain a lot more if I were in his position. I hate to see him work so hard.

    I found out that my doc has not documented when I would tell her I tried to increase hours and such-and-such happened, etc., so there is no medical documentation of my hours, just my documention and now the letter my boss wrote.

    Any and all suggestions regarding applying for disability when I work part-time would be SO helpful.

    Thanks so much!

    Frozen in Alaska - Brenda
  2. meditationlotus

    meditationlotus New Member

    I too have been in denial. Have been disabled since abouth 2003 and am just now getting around to applying. Haven't done it yet. It is SO HARD to admit this.

    You should talk to your doctor about augmenting the medical records so that it is documented. I have to check my doctor's records, and if he hasn't documented, I'm going to ask him to include it in my past records, because he knows what I have been going through. He just needs to write it down. (He may already have. Just haven't seen the records.)

    Technically, as long as you are making under around $900.00 GROSS per month, you can apply for disability. HOWEVER, many people say that it makes the disability a lot harder to prove. If there is anyway that you can do without your job, it would help your case not to be working.

    If you do a search on the internet, there is a booklet called (something like) "Working While Applying for Disability", which may help you.

    I quite my job, because it made my symptoms worse.

    Hope this can be of some help.

    [This Message was Edited on 12/11/2008]
  3. meditationlotus

    meditationlotus New Member

    the booklet is called: "Winning SSDI While Working".

    You can find the booklet at

    Hope this helps.
  4. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    It is better to file sooner than to wait. Benefits are based on the most recent earnings. I think having two diagnoses works to your benefit but still being able to work, even if it's just part time, may sway a judge. You can talk to a disability atty. at no cost to you and get some feedback. I had an excellent atty. He knew just what to do to "pave the way" to get approved, including which docs to see. He wins more than 96 percent of his cases. He's so good at documenting disability that the judges know him and rarely go against him. When they do, he appeals and usually wins.

    Good luck to you.

    Love, Mikie
  5. AK_Rose

    AK_Rose New Member

    Thank you SO much to everyone who sent advice and awesome info! I researched this awhile ago and found some great info (like having a dx from a rheumatologist is very helpful) but the psychiatrist the pain doc sent me to see (b/c she doesn't like prescribing AD's and thought those would help with pain -or so she said! LOL), said that I'd probably regreat applying b/c I'd make more working as a nurse two days/wk than getting SSDI. He has no idea what it takes for me to work those two days; eg: sleep at least 2 full days/wk, miss time w/my 7 y/o daughter and my husband, NO social life, plus my job (at my daughter's school, which is such a blessing) is so stressful b/c of interoffice drama (and I'm the one to receive most of the bullying for lots of reasons I won't go into here), that I think it actually makes my health worse.

    We've been struggling to keep our house, etc., and when I picked up an extra day/wk working, it helped w/our finances SO much. BUT - I was told by my supervisor I couldn't work that day anymore b/c I would not tell my supervisor that I could guarantee I would be present (who can ever guarantee anything like that?). Anyway, she sent a letter telling me that I missed too much work and since I could not commit to being present "b/c of health matters" (which I think that is a big no-no on their part) she was decreasing my hours, so now we are back to struggling with what to pay when.

    Since I can't commit to much b/c of my sx, I can't seem to do any of the "work at home jobs" that I've attempted, b/c I can't make it to those, it seems. BUT, I have done way better recently, after starting Cymbalta, but it's breaking the bank, even w/my insurance. As much as I do NOT want to be labeled w/another dx, it just seems like I am in denial. My husband has basically taken care of me for 3 yrs now so that I can work and spend time with my daughter, but that leaves him w/no energy and us w/no time together.

    Sorry to go on and on... I am wondering if anyone has tried to have a patient care assistant or aid of some sort come to your house and help out during "bad days", or if SSDI helps with any home care? My ins. now will pay for home health care, but I don't think that would include the basics like laundry, meals, etc., which is what we really need. Plus, my pain doc doesn't really "communicate" and doesn't understand about good and bad days, I guess, even though she accepted the FM dx from the rheum. So weird... But, our church will help with that home stuff, but it's SO hard to ask b/c it's SO hard to get OUT of denial (we live quite a ways away from family, and those that are close have their own stuff to deal with)...

    I will definitely go forward with all of your suggestions, and thank you SO much for the help. If you have any suggestions on the home care issue, that would be awesome also (maybe I need to put that in another thread?)... I called a friend last spring just bawling b/c I missed my daughter's soccer party b/c I felt like I had lead running through my veins, and she was all in a tither b/c she was in another state. When it was all said and done, 2 of my best friends (both out of state) said that I really needed to get someone in to help take care of me/us, but it's SO hard.

    Will definitely keep you posted and my husband (although he says I get "bummed" when I read FM stuff) will be happy that I have finally decided (I think!) to apply for SSDI. I'm not sure it will help with our income, but may help with our lives just by giving us back so much of the time and relationships we've lost b/c of this... Maybe it will, if I am approved, give us some breaks on some of the things we struggle with financially. ???

    Much love and thanks and sweet hugs to you all! You all rock and are so filled with love and compassion that it always strengthens me when I read these boards! Keep up your love and compassion, sometimes that what keeps us all going, IMO.

    Love, Brenda