Sample of Ltr. Written to a Congressman f/Help in Obtaining SSDI

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia and ME & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome' started by JLH, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I have seen quite a few posts recently regarding wanting a sample letter to a congressman regarding their help in obtaining SSDI.

    So, I decided to post the copy of the letter which I wrote for my sister last year. Here it is:

    NOTE: She lived in Ohio, so I sent it to all of her congressmen, senators, and even the governor of Ohio. You will have to look up all the officials in your state.


    ~~~~~~~~~


    Date: _______________



    Congressman Rob Portman
    238 Cannon Building
    Washington, D.C. 20515

    Dear Congressman Portman:

    REQUEST FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE RE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY CLAIM for_____________ – SS Claim #_____________

    The issue I am writing to you about is not a political one, but a social one. I am from a large family and one of own is hurting and needs assistance. I don’t know how to help her, my sister—this is why I am writing for your assistance. All members of my family are life-long residents of ______ County, Ohio, and live in _________, except for me. When I married, I moved “across the river” to _________ County, Kentucky, but continued to work in southern Ohio at the _______________. I retired from ____ in July, 1999, after 30 years of service. My late father also retired from _________ after 35 years of service. My older brother is a psychologist and is currently the Psychology Director of the youth prison in _____________, OH. My younger brother has spent more than 20 (or 25) years as a prison guard at ____ in ___________. My point is that everyone in my family, including all of my adult children as well as adult nieces, nephews, and in-laws are hard-working upstanding individuals. My sister is, too, however, she is now disabled with so many health problems that she has been unable to work for quite some time.

    My sister’s name is ____________. Listed below are a few statistics about her:
    • Address:
    • Telephone:
    • Social Security No.:
    • Date of Birth:
    • Marital Status: Divorced. (Ex-husband lives in Kentucky; pays no child support; and is on SSI due to problems resulting from 50%+ of his body being burned in a fire when he was a teenager, as well as other problems).
    • Children: One adult daughter who is married and lives in _______, Ohio; one son who is 13 years old and lives at home and totally dependent upon her.
    • Work History: She has worked various administrative and clerical, banking, and accounting-type jobs.


    Other personal information:

    • She home schools her son so that he can stay at home and help take care of her since she can not afford to have a home health aide. She is wheelchair bound, but can drive (her son wheels her to the car and loads/unloads the wheelchair). Her son also assists with some of her “not-too-personal” grooming needs (putting on her shoes, etc.), does the grocery shopping (while she rides in a motorized cart if the store has one, if not then she waits in the car), gets the mail in, cuts the grass and weedeats, does light housework (such as dusting, vacuuming, taking out trash, etc.), helps with cooking, laundry, and goes with her to all of her doctor appointments (average of five per month). Her son is doing extremely well being home schooled—he received straight A’s on his last report card. His personality has improved with the additional responsibility, and has bonded with his mother.

    • She has had NO source of income except for $305/month from the Ohio Department of Welfare. From what I understand, her lifetime limit on welfare has expired, and this month (May, 2004) will be her LAST month to receive this money, unless some type of extension can be approved. Since she has been certified “State Disabled”, she has not been working for her welfare benefits and, starting in June 2004, may get $100/month for being “State disabled” along with a small amount of food stamps (if her welfare benefits cannot be extended). Even if this is the case, she can not pay her bills and raise her son on $100/month.

    • She is living in a house that was paid for by my parents (before our father passed away) and is driving an old vehicle that was purchased for her by my widowed mother who lives on a $423 monthly pension plus social security. The transmission went out in her vehicle recently and my mother had to pay the more than $1500+ repair bill. The “new” transmission went bad two months ago. The repair shop had given her a warranty on her original repairs; however, they have kept her vehicle for two months and not fixed it, towed it to another lot so it would be impounded, and my mother had to pay to have it picked up and towed to another shop to be repaired. This will cost another $1500.00. My sister is currently checking with legal aid regarding action against the first shop to try and recover the repair cost that should have been done under warranty.

    • While her vehicle has been in the shop, she has had to continually borrow my mother’s car to go to her doctor’s appointments, etc. But she has no money to get her vehicle fixed, nor compensate my mother for all of her inconvenience of being stranded without a car to do her shopping, banking, etc., let alone reimburse my mother for the original car repairs. She has received shut-off notices on some of her utilities.

    • My mother currently pays on a continuous basis my sister’s car insurance, house insurance, major house repairs, gives her son a weekly allowance, etc., as well as helping her out on an as-needed monthly basis, when she has a little bit of extra money. I have bought my sister and her son clothes, etc.

    • Just a thought between all of this info: What would my sister do if she didn’t have a home provided for her and had to pay rent or make a house payment? How is she supposed to be able to afford to replace her old broken-down car? How is she supposed to ever be able to afford to pay for her own house insurance, car insurance, and maintenance on the house and car? Now at the price of gasoline, how is she supposed to be able to afford to put gas in any car just to get to the grocery store and to her doctor’s appointments? What about shoes and clothes for her growing 13-year-old boy? Wouldn’t it be nice if she were to be able to save a couple dollars a month just in case she had an emergency and needed a few dollars?

    • My sister has previously applied for social security disability (SSDI) two times and has been denied. The first application was around 1999/2000. Then ……
    She was placed on medical leave for two years by her doctor (during 1999-2001) for four knee surgeries (two scopes to repair problems and then two total knee replacements) and was unable to work.

    • When she was released from all the knee surgeries on 4/2/02, she had to get a job where she could sit down all day. The only job that she could find where she did not have to climb stairs, nor stand up, was a telemarketer. While working that job, she never made more than $800/month. Her health was getting worse, and she was reprimanded many times for her many absences. Her COPD (lung disease—Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and asthma worsened by the continuous non-stop talking on phone calls. She was often sent home due to severe coughing spells.

    • She applied for SSDI again (the second try) around April 2002 and was denied on 7/16/02.

    • She was laid off from the telemarketer job in June 2003 due to excessive absenteeism for illness.

    • She has applied for SSDI the third time on 2/13/04. She has completed all of the required forms, and had an appointment with a social security psychologist on 4/21/04. (I don’t know what took so long for them to make this appointment. Also, she has never been scheduled to see one of their medical doctors yet—if that is a requirement.)

    • She has visited the __________ Rehabilitation Services regarding trying to do some type of work at home. They asked her WHY she was there and expressed to her that they did not think she was physically able to do any type of work. She told them she was there because she was DESPERATE, that she HAD to do something to earn to money in order for her to pay her bills, and to take care of her son.


    Her list of medical problems/symptoms include:
    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). She has portable oxygen attached to her wheelchair to use during the day. (She also sleeps with oxygen and a CPAP breathing machine.)
    • Coughing. Severe coughing attacks that occur all day long as well as all during the night due to COPD. Easily triggered by others’ colognes, strong smells, smoke, dust (when heating and A/C vents kick on), etc.
    • Asthma. Uses a nebulizer breathing machine for treatments.
    • Shortness of Breath. Major problem due to asthma compounded by her weight.
    • Chest Pains . Due to constant severe coughing attacks.
    • Arthritis (all over body). This causes pain, stiffness, and inflammation, as described below.
    • Severe Pain. Affected areas are neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and fingers, lower back, hips, legs, knees, ankles, and feet. Pain is excruciating and incapacitating.
    • Joint Pain and Stiffness. Joints are affected by arthritis, which causes great stiffness and soreness in addition to the pain.
    • Muscle Pain. This burning, gnawing, aching, fibromyalgia-type pain affects every muscle in her body.
    • Sleep Apnea and Inability to Sleep. She has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Trouble breathing while lying in bed. Pain wakes her up when she does finally fall asleep and must toss and turn to find a position not painful. Coughing spell awaken her and keep her awake. Hard to stay awake and concentrate the following day due to not enough quality sleep. She has sleep apnea (stops breathing periodically when asleep) and sleeps with a CPAP breathing machine and oxygen.
    • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fatigue, and Weakness. Overwhelming and debilitating fatigue and weakness due to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. (CFS is defined as fatigue that is persistent, relapsing or debilitating; does not improve with bed rest; and reduces or impairs average daily activity level by more than 50 percent. CFS may also include short-term memory problems, multi-joint pain, headaches, sleep disorders, post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours, bowel disorders, and more.)
    • Inability of Walk and Stand. Uses a wheelchair 90% of the time. Can only walk a few steps at a time and can not stand more than 5 minutes at a time due to back problems (on top of the arthritis and knee and foot problems—she recently had surgery on both feet to replace the joints in most of the toes.)
    • Cognitive Dysfunction. Inability to concentrate. Trouble with short-term and long-term memory. Head feels so fuzzy all of the time that she cannot drive many times—she states that her brain feels as fatigued as her body.
    • Depression.
    • Anxiety.
    • Urinary Incontinence. Daily spasms and irritability causing urinary urgency and extreme incontinence.
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Constant diarrhea and constipation.
    • Headaches. Experiences chronic tension and “sick” headaches, which includes vomiting.
    • TMJ in Jaw. Pain in jaws as well as cramps, dizziness, and pain in the TMJ joint.
    • Circulatory Sensitivity to Temperature and Moisture. Hands, arms, feet, legs, and face tingle and become numb, like in Raynauds Syndrome and Neuropathy.
    • Hearing Loss.
    • Morbid Obesity.
    • Acid Reflux. Constant heartburn, stomach burning, and nausea due to GERD.
    • She takes a “ton” of medication for all of the above problems. In addition to sleeping with oxygen, she has a portable oxygen tank on her wheelchair to enable her to breathe better during the day.
    • Her medications include: Singulair, Ambien, Astelin, Ipratoprium Bromide Inhalation Solution, Albuterol Sulfate Inhalation Solution, Advair Diskus, Albuterol Sulfate Inhaler, Atrovent Inhaler, Neurotin, Zanaflex, Pamelor, Fioricet, Lortab, Nexium, Paxil, Darvocet, Lasix, Diovan, Ultram, Xanax, Lidoderm Lidocaine Patches, and Bactroban ointment.
    • Her surgical history includes: (1) hammertoe and arthroplasty of the second, fourth, and fifth toes on the left foot on 1/7/04; (2) hammertoe and tenotomy of second toe on right foot on 11/19/03; (3) right heel neuroma; (4) heart catheterization on 11/11/03; (5) LESI—lumbar epidural spinal injections for pain block in 9/03, 10/03, and March 04; (6) four surgeries to left knee and one total knee replacement on left leg – 1999 and 2000; (7) total knee replacement on right leg in 2001; (8) pelvic area abscess removal; (9) lung exploratory; (10) appendectomy; (11) kidney stone removals; (12) bladder tucks, three times; (13) hysterectomy; (14) tonsillectomy; (15) ten teeth surgically removed in 2003; and (16) benign tumor removed on left side of neck.

    As you can see from the list of her ailments above, Congressman Portman, my sister is sick and unable to work. She is 45 years old and has worked all of her life, until her health started failing her a few years ago.

    She is desperate. SHE NEEDS HELP NOW!!!!

    Her welfare benefits are about to be exhausted! She has to have money to live, to pay her bills, and to take care of her son. My widowed mother has drained her savings in helping her pay her bills and is no longer able to help her - PLEASE HELP! She is sick, truly disabled, and is deserving of social security disability benefits.

    CAN YOU CONTACT THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION AND EXPEDITE HER DISABILITY CLAIM? Her claim number is #______________.

    If she is approved by SSDI, will she be able to keep her food stamps and Medicaid – since she would not be eligible for Medicare under she has been on SSDI for two years? As sick as she is, and as many doctors that she must see on a continuing basis, she desperately needs the Medicaid and can not afford to pay for private insurance.

    Assuming that her SSDI is approved, is there any way for her to keep receiving any type of welfare benefits until she begins receiving her SSDI check?

    My sister, ________, is depressed. I am her sister trying to help her. My mother and I, as well as the rest of our family members, pray for her daily. We do not know where else to turn. Please help us with this problem. I am sending a copy of this letter to her former Congressman, Ted Strickland, since he is also from _____ County, as well as the Ohio Senators and Governor. Maybe they, too, will see the importance of the Social Security Administration expediting their claims and what a bind a lot of former hard-working Ohioians end up in when they are legitimately not able to work due to their health. All of my sister’s current doctors support her.

    I apologize for the length of this letter, but I felt it was important for you to know all of the information you could about my sister’s case in order that you may help her.

    I know this is not a political cause, but please help _________ as another Ohio citizen, PLEASE!


    Respectfully,


    Janet _____________

    cc:
    Congressman Rob Portman
    District Office:
    175 E. Main Street
    Batavia, OH 45103

    Congressman Ted Strickland
    Local Office
    11692 Gallia Pike
    Wheelersburg, OH 45694

    Senator Mike DeWine
    Regional Office
    200 Putman Street, Room 524
    Marietta, OH 45750

    Senator George Voinovich
    Southeast District Office
    417 Second Avenue
    Gallipolis, OH 45631

    Governor Bob Taft
    77 S. High St., 30th Floor
    Columbus, OH 43215

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Note:

    After all of the people who I sent copies of this letter to, I received a reply from all of them.

    They contacted my sister directly and asked her to sign a release for them to get some info on her and to "talk" about her - the release had to do with the Privacy Laws, etc.

    Within a couple months, the Soc. Sec. Adm. contacted her and said that her claim was approved!

    Be sure to state in your letter everything that you wrote in your post ... about living off your credit cards .... which you won't be able to pay back by the time you get your SSDI , with such high interest rates!!! etc., etc.,

    Good luck. Hope my info helped.

    Holiday Hugs,
    Janet


  2. ruby711

    ruby711 New Member

    So kind of you to post this info. Thank you.
    ruby
  3. JLH

    JLH New Member

  4. luv2float

    luv2float New Member

    How can I get a list of names and addresses to send my letter to? I live in South Carolina.

    Any help would be appreciated.
  5. Carol66

    Carol66 New Member

    I am getting ready to apply for the first time for SSDI and I am scared to death harding the horror stories! Thank you for this, I never thought to write to them and ask for help. I have Fibro and PCOS and a heart problem, I am 39 and was told it is hard to rec'd SSDI. God bless you for helping your sister and posting this.
  6. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Even though my sister's lawyer told her it was "unneccessary" for her to contact her local officials, I did it for her anyway, and did not notify her attorney!

    Sometimes, people are only a telephone number to that attorney and they could really care less. The longer they string you on, the more money they make from you!

    I know they can only make 25% of your backpay, but if they drag the case on FOREVER, your backpay will be more, so their 25% cut will be more!

    So I decided to take things into my own hands to help my sister. I must have just been "luck" that after all of the got this letter, she soon received a letter stating that she won her case (on the third attempt)!

    Everyone should write their state officials and tell them what desperate financial shape you are in and how much you need his/her help in speeding the SSA along with their decisions!!

    Good luck ..... and

    Happy Holidays!!
    Janet
  7. pirtpain

    pirtpain New Member

    Just 1 thing to keep in mind for those that have never applied for this before. I have heard that EVERYONE is turned down the first time. Another thing is that they always drag their responses out until the last minute, i.e. if the law says due in 90 days they wait as close to 90

    days as posssible. Try to keep the best records as possible and keep in mind that payment is retroactive.
    It took me 3 yrs. before I received payment and I had a lawyer. The lawyer only took money if I won the case. He

    cost me $6,000.00. It took forever to get the backpay. Be sure to check with your tax consultant regarding how to claim the large sum of backpay.

    PIRT
  8. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Not EVERYONE is turned down the first time!

    I applied for SSDI without the help of a lawyer, and was approved on my first try!

    My claim was "randomly" chosen to be audited by the regional or district office (whoever was over the office where my decision was made) -- which took even longer.

    Even with this extra audit, I was approved and had received my award letter and first check in 4 months!!!

    Luck was just on my side, I guess!

    However, if you are having drastic financial problems and really need to get your claim moving, sometimes it helps to write to your state officials. That is why I did for my sister who was on her 3rd attempt and had no money.

    Holiday Hugs,
    Janet