Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by cerise, Apr 10, 2006.
Just wondering how your SSD hearing went before the ALJ. Was it what you expected?
My lawyer thinks I got it! The judge I had was very nice and my husband and I both noticed that he actually asked me some leading questions that helped my case. He was really working in my favor. For example, he wanted to know when I quit my full-time job and why. I told him that I quit in August of 2002 because of my health. He wanted to know how many days I had missed from January through August. I told him I didn't have an exact number, but that it was enough to get me suspended from work without pay. Then his one leading question was, "So you resigned to be avoid being fired?" Different things like that. The judge did say he had a hard time understanding how I could care for a toddler, but not have the energy to fix my hair, put on makeup, etc. Once I explained to him that my son is in daycare two days a week, my mother has him one day a week, I have a babysitter come over once or twice a week to help out, and my husband takes over when he gets home, that helped me. I also told him that this is all my son has ever known. This is his life and he has learned how to enterain himself when I can't do anything.
My file was HUGE! It was so funny because the other people who were waiting to go into a hearing room had these files that were maybe 1/2 " to an inch thick - this is no lie. My file was at least 6 - 8 inches thick! My laywer is just a petite little woman and it looked funny seeing her carry that big folder! My attorney was VERY nice to me. I was surprised because when I have spoken to her on the phone she was never very nice to me. I must have really looked like hell because every few minutes she kept saying, "Are you okay?" My husband said probably once she saw me and was able to see how sick I am and how bad I look that probably changed her opinion of me.
The rheumy called in as the medical expert and he was trying to say that the FFC was not a "legitimate" source of medical testimony and because he could not find the doctors listed at the AMA, he was questionable as to the medical evidence in my file. My husband was allowed in with me for moral support, they told me no witnesses. My husband and I both noticed that the judge was making a lot of faces at what this doctor had to say and did not fully agree with him. Actually, it kind of looked like he was making fun of the doctor! I had a very nice judge and he believes in Chronic Fatigue and FM, so that part made it easier.
But because I had been seen by another rheumatologist that diagnosed me with FM, he did state that I met the CDC criterias for both diseases. He also stated that I had both to a significant degree. He also testifed that I have ambulatory issues that meets a certain criterion I guess in SSA's list of impairments due to the fact that I have Chronic Tarsel Tunnel. That helped too. The doctor did testify that my impairments would make it difficult for me to steadily work.
He was not familiar with Interstitial Cystitis, so he could not really testify regarding that but the judge got the picture because I had to excuse myself 3 times during the hearing to use the restroom.
When the judge asked the vocational expert if there were any jobs that I performed in the last 15 years that he thought I would be able to do, the VE mentioned my job as an accounts receivable clerk. The judge then asked due to my cognitive difficultes would I be able to perform this job? The VE said no. Then the judge asked the VE if there were any other sedentary jobs that I could do. The VE listed about 3 or 4 other jobs that were very easy to do, that would not really require much cognitive functioning. The lawyer and judge asked if an employer would tolerate someone who had to use the restroom 2 - 4 times per hour and needed to take a 2 - 3 hour nap every day. The VE said absolutely not. They would not put up with that at all. So all in all, I think it went very well! The lawyer said I should probably have a definite answer by the end of the month because the judges have a quota of how many decisions they have to complete per month. I really feel good about the outcome! I will let everyone know then! I am just so glad that it is over!
It is such a relief because this whole process makes you feel as though you cannot really try and get well until it's over if that makes sense.
[This Message was Edited on 04/11/2006]
From my experiences, it sure sounds like you got an ALJ who understands this DD! That is soooo important.
Judging by the questions asked of you, it sure sounds very positive to me too! I can tell, I have had 3 ALJ hearings before 3 different ALJ's in 2 states, & NONE of them asked me the questions you mentioned. Wished they had.
Were you given any indication of how long it will be to receive the ALJ's decision? I know it varies due to geographic locations and caseloads.
Great to hear good news! Gives me hope!
for beating me to the question! LOl
I've been really sick this week and have only checked the board to see if srobins was posting her results at aLJ.
Good for you, srobins!!!! You did everything just right.
My only warning is don't expect a quick answer...but when you get it, keep on top of things and make sure you get a check in a timely manner! If you don't, call an SSI supervisor, and then a Regional Manager if you have any problems whatsoever, ok?
Best of luck to you now that this ordeal (make that endless ordeal) is over...maybe you can relax a bit and just concentrate on you and your family now..
Thank you both so much for thinking of me! My lawyer said that it takes two to four months for a decision, but she expects me to have one by the end of the month. She said that the judges have to have so many decisions pushed through in a month, so she expects it soon! I will keep everyone updated!
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