Posted 23 July 2009 - 04:09 AM
I am 54, have slow-onset (limited, CREST) scleroderma with secondary Sjogrens syndrome and pulmonary hypertension. Also have a history of lymphoma (in remission past 6 years). I have peripheral neuropathy in my feet from chemotherapy/sclero. Have had complete right hip replacement due to avascular necrosis, and have recently had diagnoses of lumbago, sciatica and osteoporosis. I also take blood thinners for a history of blood clots in my legs.
Presently I work 20 hours/week as a financial analyst, but I want to go out on complete disability, perhaps in a month.
Any ideas of what my chances would be of getting SS disability? I am also planning on making an appointment with the local Social Security office to see what they recommend.
Posted 23 July 2009 - 04:48 AM
It sounds to me like your chances would be outstanding. But of course I'm not a disability expert. However, I would recommend you contact a disability lawyer, who specializes in Social Security Disability, before meeting with the social security office. They might have some good tips for you.
Search for the previous disability threads on Sclero Forums. Also, talk to the lawyer because you may not need to quit entirely. Maybe just reduce your hours to 15 per week, and still be eligible! So don't go cold turkey on work until you get a legal opinion, first.
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Posted 23 July 2009 - 10:26 AM
I was told that obtaining disablilty is usually a lengthy process, so get started on it sooner than later.
I dont know if it differs by what state you live in, but in my state there is a 3 - 5 month waiting period after you apply until you get decision, either accepted or denied.
Posted 23 July 2009 - 12:31 PM
You have been given great advice. Get started now if you want disability. I applied in November of 2005. I was turned down the first time. I appealed it and a medical examiner for the state examined me and I got it. I was approved in April of 2006 for state disability and June 2006 for social security disability. I was very lucky because I didn't need a lawyer. I get state disability too because I was a teacher. At the time I applied for disability I hadn't been diagnosed with scleroderma yet. I had fibromyalgia, Sjogren's, Raynaud's, GERD, and watermelon stomach. I also had had a botched hand surgery on my right hand and couldn't use it very well. I don't think you should have any trouble getting it. If you have a doctor that knows how to write it up it really helps.
Best of luck to you. If you have any other questions feel free to PM me. I too have CREST.
Posted 23 July 2009 - 02:52 PM
I feel with the complexity of your health conditions, you'd have a really good chance in getting it. I have some information you might be interested in that may help you in the process. If you want, send me a private message with your email address and I'll send it to you.
Posted 27 July 2009 - 11:50 AM
Would the dr(s) who diagnosed you...be a possible advocate for you?
My rheumatologist took on that responsibility, doing an excellent job, I might add, providing all of the pertinent information, regarding my case.
As a result, I provided all of the necessary paperwork required of me thereafter and everything was taken care of.
In the meantime, how are things going, in this regard?
Please do, keep us posted?
My best to you.
Posted 28 July 2009 - 12:39 PM
Best wishes to you in whaever your decision.
Posted 28 August 2009 - 07:45 PM
Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:00 AM
I had my interview on August 20, and things seemed to go well. I did my homework, so I had everything that could possibly need at that point.
My Rheumatologist is a very good spokesperson for me, so that will help. Also, we have a local area sclero support group , and they have been giving me good advice. I am confident that it should be approved, sooner or later. As with you folks, the experiences of the support group people have varied. Some seem to think that they almost always turn down claims the first time, but later they have success. So on with the process...
With the initiation of the process, I went into a terrible depression, and have gotten help. Looking back, I probably should have done this a few years ago, but staying at work let me sort of deny the problems. Also, since the disease varies so much from day to day, it's easy to feel, on good days, that there isn't much of a problem....then along comes a bad day when I can hardly get out of bed...
Posted 30 August 2009 - 11:51 AM
It sounds like things are going well. I think it's good that you are addressing your depression. Denial is so much easier sometimes.
Posted 30 August 2009 - 04:51 PM
I to was told by many people that most people get denied the first time, so I anticipated that was going to happen to me, & was totally surprised when approved the first time. I think what helped me besides my Dr.s input was my filling out of the questionaire they send you after the initial phone interview. The questionaire asks questions about how you presently function on a daily basis, from things like showering, getting dressed, to preparing meals etc.. I filled out the questionaire relating to each of these questions to how I would function on the bad days(those days that you dont even hardly have enough energy to get out of bed), then I added 11 handwritten pages of how life is on a day to day basis & trying to maintain working fulltime. Again I wish you luck!
Posted 30 August 2009 - 05:01 PM
I just noticed your inquiry about medicare also. You become qualified for medicare exactly 2 years from the approval date of disabilty. While waiting for that 2 years to pass some people qualify for full medicaid, but if not for full mecicaid due to income level, I was told all people on disabilty qualify for medicaid but it would be based on what they call a spin down, meaning medicaid would kick in after you put out a certain amount of money on medical care each month, & that spin down amount would depend on how much you make. Patty
Posted 11 October 2009 - 01:47 PM
So I guess now is the time to get a lawyer.
I was surprised at how their summary of my medical condition seemed to trivialize things: e.g. - "occasional fatigue" ("constant" would be more correct). I guess if you can get out of bed you are denied.
There also appears to be an error: They state that I said I could "stand and walk up to 6 hours in a normal 8 hour work day" That was for a different job, that I haven't done for 8 years.
Posted 11 October 2009 - 03:02 PM
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Posted 13 October 2009 - 09:58 AM
With regard to Medicare they are right. I didn't have to do a thing and it's 2 years this January and I already received my Medicare card. Now I will find a supplement that will pick up the 20% that Medicare doesn't pay and a prescription plan to cover my meds. These 2 policies will still be a huge savings to us monthly and I am so grateful that I got disability and now Medicare. I honestly don't know how I could go to work..........I couldn't. I have such terrible fatigue that it seems when the clock strikes Noon my day is done and my body has had it. I can't fight the yawns and the eyes go shut and my body has had it. Granted it may due to the terrible muscle pain that I deal with that by then my body says enough is enough but how in the world does a person hold down a job with this disease?!
I wish you good luck and if you get the medical documentation done to the degree that it needs to be to show you can't work you should be able to get it. It would be so nice if you could do this without an attorney as this usually ends up being easy money for them and they take a portion of your settlement that you get as your disability approval will go back to the day you first applied so if this takes a long time that can add up to quite a bit and the attorneys love this.
Again, good luck and keep at it.
Posted 13 October 2009 - 11:49 AM
I am so sorry. Get going asap on your appeal. I was told by my cousin who is a lawyer to not get a lawyer until you have been denied 2 or 3 times.
Hang in there,
Posted 13 October 2009 - 03:46 PM
Disability determinations are made from criteria listed in the DISM- a manual that lists all medical conditions and the thing that are needed to approve the claim. Sometimes people miss mentioning some key phrase that is needed and a lot of time, doctors only copy their medical records and send them in and those medical records do not have complete information- this should be listed in the denial letter.
There have even been cases of the wrong records being in file. Or the agency not waiting till all records are in file.
If you can provide extra information that includes the items the lletter said was not proven, maybe a letter from your doctor covering this, it may be enough for a reconsideration. Make sure all records are in file.
Usually lawyers will charge on a contingency basis- no money unless approved. Law judges certainly do like to listen to lawyers.