SSDI appliation process, another small step

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ephemera, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    Last week I received 2 forms to complete from Social Security in regard to my disability application. They are a Work History Report Form & a Daily Activities Questionnaire.

    It took me 8.5 hours of working on these 12 pages to finally complete the forms & I'm fairly well organized with information within reach. I was also able to talk with my attorney for 1.5 hours on these 2 forms. At his request we went over each & every line. I'd made a quick draft in pencil (I made 3 copies of the forms & ended up using all as I kept revising my answers) & he gave me advice on answering each question.

    Wow, did I ever need legal help as understanding what the goverment wants is hard for a person who reqularly has FM fog & does word substitution. (Today's confusion was when I said onion & meant
    vanilla.)

    After 2 drafts (written over 3 days) I showed my answers to my partner. She caught several errors & suggested I add important things that I'd omitted all together because I hadn't even gone there in my head.

    Finally, to celebrate Summer Solstice, I sent the copies off to my attorney who will forward the originals. Since then I've felt like I'm on a roller coaster of up & down motions. I'm sure others feel the same whenever another hurdle (or small step) is taken in the SSDI application process.
  2. Tigger57

    Tigger57 New Member

    I'm just about to enter that "hell" myself. I was going to start filing them out this morning, but I've been too out of it all weekend.

    I've managed to spend a couple of hours up, then a couple down, etc. I haven't even slept in my bed for days because I just fall asleep on the couch surrounded by furry loved ones.

    Oh, and already I feel stupid because I didn't even know what I was suppose to be doing. I thought the attorney was suppose to be doing stuff, but I didn't know what I needed.

    One major thing I have to do this week is try and get my "certified" birth certificate and a copy of my driver's license because mine disappeared into this hell hole some time in January.


    Kep me posted.
    Hugs,
    Tigger
  3. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    best thoughts & hugs to you too tigger
  4. JLH

    JLH New Member

    ephemera: glad you got your forms completed!

    tigger: YOU need to complete these forms--not the attorney, he would not know what to say.

    Make certain that you include each and every symptom and ailment that you have, because when you total all of them up, it looks like you have to feel like crap!!!! LOL

    They will ask you the same question about all of your problems..... like what makes them start, what makes them worse, etc.

    Here is a sample of what my sister had me type out for her when I helped her with her application:

    QUESTION: Describe in your own words what each of your symptoms feels like:

    (1) Coughing. The severe coughing attacks occur all day long as well as all during the night due to COPD. The cough is so uncontrollably violent that I can not catch my breath, not mention to talk. I feel like I am suffocating and can not get any air and that I am going to die if I cannot catch a breath immediately. Coughing so much causes terrible chest pains and leaves my chest painful for hours after the coughing spell. The coughing spells also cause dizziness, a flushed feeling that overwhelms me with heat and severe perspiration, followed by a feeling of extreme weakness. Then, another attack occurs. The cycle just keeps repeating itself. I have been out in public where I have coughed so hard that I vomited. (The change in temperatures from inside to outside, to the car, etc., always results in a coughing fit that lasts up to 15 minutes. Every cough results in urine leakage, or more than just a leak, and passing of gas, which are discussed below.) I have been diagnosed with COPD.

    (2) Shortness of Breath. The shortness of breath causes many of the same feelings as the coughing does--I feel like I am suffocating and can not get any air and that I am going to die if I cannot catch a breath immediately. The shortness of breath always happens during and following a coughing spell. In addition to COPD, I have also been diagnosed with Asthma. After any exertion, I am out of breath. The feeling of helplessness is overwhelming when I am unable to breathe and feel like I just took my last breath. My weight also contributed to my shortness of breath. I currently weigh 360 lbs. and carry a lot of weight in my chest and stomach creating difficulty in breathing.

    (3) Chest Pains . As described above, my chronic coughing causes me terrible chest pains and leaves my chest painful for hours after the coughing spell. The chest pains are so painful that my doctor had me take numerous heart tests as well undergo a heart catherization for him to be certain that the chest pains were as a result of the chronic coughing and not from a heart problem.

    (4) Pain. Affected areas are neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and fingers, lower back, hips, legs, knees, ankles, and feet. Pain is excruciating and incapacitates me. My pain level is intolerable at times. I hurt so badly that I cry many times a day. My hands and wrists hurt so badly that I can’t even peel potatoes or thread a needle. I used to be good at using a ten-key calculator-— can't even do that now. My arms and shoulders hurt to terribly that I can’t hold a hair dryer to dry my hair, let alone try to use a curling iron. I can’t hold my arms up long enough to change a light bulb in my house. (Bad example, because I can’t change a light bulb anyway, because I can not get up on a stool and stand up long enough.) I stay in a wheelchair about 90% of the time. Wheeling myself around the house worsens the pain in my hands, arms, and shoulders. I am in constant pain. My lower back causes me so much pain that I can not stand up more than 5 minutes and can not walk more than a few steps. My weight aggravates the pain in my lumbar spine and legs and feet.

    (5) Joint Pain. My joints are affected my arthritis which cause s great stiffness and soreness in addition to the pain. It is hard to move around due to being so stiff and aching in all my joints. Sometimes my fingers and hands are swollen and not easily moveable. Being confined to a wheelchair intensifies the stiffness, soreness, and pain.

    (6) Muscle Pain. I have this deep muscular aching, burning, gnawing, throbbing, shooting, stabbing, fibromyalgia-type pain that hurts every muscle in my body every minute of the day and night.

    (7) Inability to Sleep. I feel like I have been run over by a Mack truck or a semi all of the time. This feeling comes from a combination of my symptoms—the inability to obtain quality sleep as well as my constant fatigue, weakness, and pain. I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, as well as trouble breathing while lying in bed. Pain wakes me up when I do finally fall asleep and I must continually toss and turn to find a position where a part of my body is not in pain. Coughing spells also wake me up and keep me awake. I have to continually get up to go to the bathroom. I find it hard to stay awake and concentrate the following day due to not enough quality sleep—my head always feels “spacey” and fuzzy—and my eyes burn. I have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and sleep with a CPAP machine and oxygen.

    (8) Fatigue and Weakness. I feel like the fatigue has sucked the entire life out of my body. It is overwhelming and debilitating. I feel like I do not have enough energy or strength to stand up or walk even if I could do that without pain. I have been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

    (9) Inability to Walk and Stand. I use 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. How does this symptom make me feel? Awful. I can’t walk and stand due to a combination of my problems-—the pain in my low back; the pain in my legs, knees, and feet; and my weight. One of the reasons that I have to use a wheelchair is pain, and then using the wheelchair causes more pain (in my upper body and stiffness/soreness). This inability of walking and standing on my feet also adds to my depression and anxiety. I feel like I am trapped in my home.

    (10) Cognitive Dysfunction. I can not concentrate on anything. I have trouble with short-term and long-term memory. I go into a room to get something and can’t remember why I went into that room. My head feels so fuzzy all of the time that I cannot drive many times—my brain feels as fatigued as my body. I feel dizzy and lightheaded a lot due to lack of quality sleep.

    (11) Depression. I don’t like being depressed. But I can’t help myself. I can’t seem to overcome these feelings. I am physically and mentally not able to work. This has created quite a financial burden for my family and me. The amount of pain that I must tolerate each day depresses me, as does my problem with urinary incontinence. Not being able to go anywhere because of the urinary urgency, leakage, and worry about an offending odor is depressing. When you have urgency and are unable to move quickly, like I am, is a problem. Waking up every day after not being able to sleep, not being able to quit coughing long enough to breathe, to overcome the feeling that you can die when you can’t breathe, and the feeling of hopelessness is depressing. Having to continually ask my family and friends to help me do things, to help cook for me, to take me places, to clean my house, and to help me financially is depressing. Being extremely overweight is more than just depressing.

    (12) Anxiety. The feelings of anxiety make me feel like those that make me depressed. I hate to go the grocery store because I am afraid of dropping things before I get them in my basket. My hands and arms are so weak at times, that I drop a lot of stuff. (I also have been diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that probably contributes to the wrist/arm weakness.) I am also afraid that I might have a problem with my urinary incontinence, not be able to make it to a public restroom in time, and end up wetting myself. The embarrassment and humiliation would be too much for me to bear. I get overly anxious about what people will think about me due to my size. I am so afraid of snide comments, jokes, stares, etc. that I sometimes get afraid to leave my house and/or answer my door. Also contributing to my anxiety is my inability to be able to work and provide for my family as well as the financial burdens it has placed on my family and me. I have had to sell most all of my possessions. My quality of life is going downhill fast. My level of anxiety seriously limits my daily activities.

    (13) Urinary Incontinence. I have daily spasms and bladder irritability causing urinary urgency and extreme incontinence. This makes me very depressed and adds to my level of anxiety as explained above. In addition to the financial burden already upon me by not being physically and mentally able to work, the cost of products for my incontinence (feminine pads and diapers) is astronomical. I have had surgery and done exercises, but neither has helped. When I was in the workplace, urinary incontinence is a most distressing, embarrassing, and humiliating problem. It’s nearly impossible to wait for the scheduled break times in any job I’ve had for the last several years. I’ve had accidents on the upholstered chairs at my workstations, and, in a previous position, I was certain that it played a factor in my lay-off. I wear a urinary pad at all times and a diaper when I go to bed. During my last two years without being able to work and receiving only $305.00 a month from welfare, I’m forced to not to leave my home for this reason as well, because I had no money to get pads or diapers. I can not begin to describe the horror this condition played on me when I had each knee replaced. I don’t visit family or friends, eat out, or even drive 80 minutes to see my own daughter for I know I can’t make it there. I don’t have company because my furniture and bed constantly smell of urine. I’ve had three bladder surgeries, even stapled it to my spine to no avail. I’ve begged my doctor just to catheter me for good but they say diapers are my best bet. I’m sure they can afford that – I cannot. Most depressing is that I fear intimacy and the companionship of a man, so I have no sex life whatsoever. In addition, wearing a pad 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and sitting in a wet pad has produced skin irritations that I have to continually treat and have even had to have an abscess surgically removed.

    (14) Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I have chronic diarrhea and constipation, abdominal pain, abdominal gas, and nausea. These problems combined with my urinary incontinence make it extremely hard for me to leave my house. I can not move well, or quickly, and it is hard to find a public restroom at the exact minute that I need one.

    (15) Headaches. I have recurrent migraine and tension-type headaches. I have a headache at least three days a week. I get headaches that seem like the come straight up my back, between my shoulder blades, and neck. They make my neck and the back of my head hurt so extremely bad that I think my head is going to explode. Many of the headaches that I get are the “sick” headaches that have me vomiting. I must stay in bed in a dark, quiet room to get rid of them. The light, noise, and movement make me sick.

    (16) TMJ in Jaw. I feel pain in my jaws (in the joint under my ears) when I eat and open my mouth wide. I also experience dizziness at times.

    (17) Circulatory Sensitivity to Temperature and Moisture. Hands, arms, feet, legs, and face tingle and become numb, like in Raynauds Syndrome and Neuropathy.

    (18) Hearing Loss. I have experienced a hearing loss and have problems hearing what people tell me. I ask people to repeat what they have said so many times, that it is embarrassing Then, after they repeat what they said, I can’t remember what they said to do.

    (19) Morbid Obesity. I currently weigh xxx lbs. and carry a lot of weight in my chest and stomach creating difficulty in breathing. My weight also puts a burden on my frame and artificial knees which causes severe back, hip, leg, and feet pain. It is extremely painful for me to stand on my feet to transfer from my wheelchair to my walker to get to places in my house where the wheelchair will no go (like the bathroom). In order to cook, I must transfer to a 4-foot stool so that I can reach the stove (my wheelchair is to low). It is hard to contain my excess weight and balance on a stool, and painful for my back to try to climb on to the stool. It is hard to go out in a public place and find seating and other accommodations to fit my frame.

    (20) Acid Reflux. Although GERD (acid reflux) is not disabling by itself, it causes me great discomfort and contributes to my stress level. If I do not take my medication prescribed for this problem, I have constant heartburn, stomach burning, and nausea.


    Hope some of this helps.

    Janet

  5. mrdad

    mrdad New Member

    Have you been made aware of www.disabilitysecrets.com (??) Someone posted this website and there is much useful information on it if you would like to see it.

    I know the "brain fog" and fatigue can make paper work difficult and none of us like it anyway!! Hope your goals are accomplished soon.
    MRDAD
    [This Message was Edited on 06/25/2006]
  6. Andrea4

    Andrea4 New Member

    it took me about 2 weeks to do my paperwork....with the fibro fog, anxiety and so on. I just got my first denial letter last week. I have a call in to a Social Security attorney. Good luck!
  7. kb101

    kb101 New Member

    Having an attorney on your side from day 1 of the SSD process is definately smart and might make a huge difference in how things are decided.
    I had my Attorney early on and finished the whole process, acceptance and all, in about a 3 month period.
    KB
  8. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    thanks for all your thoughts & support & suggestions.

    as a self employed person I thought I'd need an attorney from the start. we'll see if it helps. I had to shut down my website in March & haven't had any income since then. Right now it's hard with bills, etc. & i'm hoping I don't get rejected at the state level. I was held up for 6 months on the local level after they rejected me because they said I could work 3 hours a day & that was too much.

    those 3 hours aren't productive, continuous or anywhere but here in the house where I can take breaks when I need to. Any work outside the home would get me fired for trying to be on someone elses's schedule.