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Applying for Disability


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#1 CynthiaM

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 03:41 PM

After months of not being able to work I finally decided to apply for Social Security Disability. I received what I thought was going to be the determination today. I didn't get denied but didn't get approved either. Instead, they have set me up an appointment with a Chiropractor and a Christian Family Psychologist who specializes in Marriage Counseling. I found that quite odd and disturbing. The three disabling conditions on my application are PD, Anxiety and Depression. I've been married quite happily for 24 years. I don't have much faith in Chiropractors after many terrorizing visits with a few of them when being treated for Scoliosis in my teens and 20's.

Anyway, I decided to do a search about Chiro care and PD and found this little interesting tidbit. They claim that Chiro care can reverse MS and PD....

http://www.news-medi...09/10/4689.aspx
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass......It's about learning to dance in the rain.

#2 Daven

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 05:13 PM

Cynthia,

I would be very reluctant to see a Chiropractor. First off, they can cause more damage than good if they're not careful. It doesn't take much to herniate a disk in the neck or lower back. If that happens, your left with years of pain, possibly for the rest of your life. I'm not sure how alignment of the spine is going to restore your substantia nigra into making dopamine again.

Sounds very strange to me.

Dave

Edited by DaveN, 19 July 2013 - 05:13 PM.


#3 KimAgain

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 08:42 PM

Grrrrrrrr... SO bloody annoying!

So, it's "before we consider Social Security--which, by the way, you have been paying for--first why don't ya try twisting into a pretzel (because, maybe a little back adjustment will cure a disease that medical science has had no luck with for, oh, donkey's years now) and, then, perhaps a bit of counseling from a religion biased psychologist to see if your marriage (or your faith) might be to blame for your current medical condition," is that it?

On a related topic (I never miss an opportunity to share this because I feel it is a big, festering secret that should be exposed at every opportunity!)... did you know that, if you have not worked (and paid into Social Security) for five years or more, you lose all rights to Disability benefits, should you have need of them--no matter how many years you worked before you quit? I certainly didn't... and, needless to say, I am unqualified to even apply for Disability benefits. (Bitter, table for one!)

Perhaps if you ask your neuro what he/she thinks of chiropractic treatments and get a letter from him/her saying that your condition will not be cured/helped by such an approach, you can respond with that? As to the therapy approach? I would respond by saying that your marriage is not your issue, your lack of dopamine is...

Good Luck dear, don't give up, persist, persist, persist. :mad:

Dx 1994, age 45.  DBS surgery, 2009:  Bi-lateral; wires to one battery - on my left side.  500mg Sinemet CR daily.


#4 CynthiaM

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 11:36 PM

Kim,

I do owe you a huge THANK YOU because I had read one of your earlier warnings about the 5 year time period. I've been self-employed for 20+ years and I stopped working in December. After reading a posting of yours, I decided I better go ahead and start the process in May. I was reluctant to do it because I felt I didn't need the added stress at the moment but I don't want to risk losing it by waiting too long.

My understanding is that the two appointments that the SSA has made for me is for evaluation services only, I don't have to submit to any treatment. Personally I question the Christian Marriage Counselor's and the Chiro's qualifications to determine if I have PD and to what level I am affected though. Looking on the bright side, at least they didn't just deny the claim immediately.




Grrrrrrrr... SO bloody annoying!

So, it's "before we consider Social Security--which, by the way, you have been paying for--first why don't ya try twisting into a pretzel (because, maybe a little back adjustment will cure a disease that medical science has had no luck with for, oh, donkey's years now) and, then, perhaps a bit of counseling from a religion biased psychologist to see if your marriage (or your faith) might be to blame for your current medical condition," is that it?

On a related topic (I never miss an opportunity to share this because I feel it is a big, festering secret that should be exposed at every opportunity!)... did you know that, if you have not worked (and paid into Social Security) for five years or more, you lose all rights to Disability benefits, should you have need of them--no matter how many years you worked before you quit? I certainly didn't... and, needless to say, I am unqualified to even apply for Disability benefits. (Bitter, table for one!)

Perhaps if you ask your neuro what he/she thinks of chiropractic treatments and get a letter from him/her saying that your condition will not be cured/helped by such an approach, you can respond with that? As to the therapy approach? I would respond by saying that your marriage is not your issue, your lack of dopamine is...

Good Luck dear, don't give up, persist, persist, persist. :mad:


Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass......It's about learning to dance in the rain.

#5 kynlyn

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 01:46 AM

My guess is that the consult with the psychologist has nothing to do with the fact that he/she is a christian family psychologist/marriage counselor, but rather that he/she is a certified psychologist on the list of people they refer to for SSDI consultations and they are going to be questioning you about your claims for anxiety and depression. I also had depression listed as a reason for disability and had to go through a consultation with a psychologist. I am not sure why they would have you seeing a chiropractor unless you said that back or neck pain of some sort was one of the reasons behind your disability claim.

#6 Golden01

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 09:06 AM

There was a good article a couple of years ago in the Wall Street Journal about how the doctors reviewing Social Security claims were retiring or being laid off and as a result many times non-specialty doctors would be reviewing the applications. The example that I remember from the article was a pediatrician reviewing the application from a PD patient. In other words, the medical professional may not know much about your condition. That said, keep in mind, the doctor will be evaluating how your conditions impact your ability to work, not how PD impacts you over all or how well your treatment works. They have a set list of factors for different conditions to use (known as the "Blue Book" http://www.ssa.gov/d...ultListings.htm). PD is in section 11, you might review it and then be sure the information you provide includes those items listed. It is essential that your doctors have documented those items too. For example, "tremor in two extremities, which, singly or in combination, result in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements" , you could explain "The tremor in both my hands makes it so I can't keyboard fast enough to complete reports on time". Relate the symptoms back to a work duty that is harder for you to do because of your PD.

Talk candidly with your MDS and internist about the PD symptoms they feel will interfere the most with your ability to work before you go to the SS application. Use those when you are responding to questions in the interview. The Parkinson's Action Network has some very good information on documenting symptoms for SS applications http://www.parkinson...lity-insurance. My husband's doctors also scheduled more frequent visits (monthly instead of quarterly) during the time he was moving to disability.

My husband's SS application was approved without extra medical review. We did go through rounds of interviews with three different disability companies. In each case, the person (including the one hired by his company to help with the SS application) knew little to nothing about PD. We had to educate them and actually did "talking points" for ourselves so when they would make comments or ask questions about "feeling or getting better" and "going back to work", we could respond with "Parkinson's is a progressive neurological disorder and there are no treatments, at this time, that stop the progression of the disease". Another phrase from one of my husband's doctors was to say "My doctors say I cannot work". We practiced so it could sound conversational not scripted.

For us, I think the hardest thing during the process was having to focus on what my husband could not do because of his PD. The application process forced us (at least in preparation of the applications and during the interviews) to dwell on the limitations caused by his PD. Good luck to you. the disability application process takes a lot of effort!

Edited by Golden01, 20 July 2013 - 09:07 AM.

Husband diagnosed in 2005-Medicines: Azilect, Artane, and Amantadine; Sister and Best Friend from Childhood also have PD


#7 afroney

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:04 AM

There was a good article a couple of years ago in the Wall Street Journal about how the doctors reviewing Social Security claims were retiring or being laid off and as a result many times non-specialty doctors would be reviewing the applications. The example that I remember from the article was a pediatrician reviewing the application from a PD patient. In other words, the medical professional may not know much about your condition. That said, keep in mind, the doctor will be evaluating how your conditions impact your ability to work, not how PD impacts you over all or how well your treatment works. They have a set list of factors for different conditions to use (known as the "Blue Book" http://www.ssa.gov/d...ultListings.htm). PD is in section 11, you might review it and then be sure the information you provide includes those items listed. It is essential that your doctors have documented those items too. For example, "tremor in two extremities, which, singly or in combination, result in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements" , you could explain "The tremor in both my hands makes it so I can't keyboard fast enough to complete reports on time". Relate the symptoms back to a work duty that is harder for you to do because of your PD.

Talk candidly with your MDS and internist about the PD symptoms they feel will interfere the most with your ability to work before you go to the SS application. Use those when you are responding to questions in the interview. The Parkinson's Action Network has some very good information on documenting symptoms for SS applications http://www.parkinson...lity-insurance. My husband's doctors also scheduled more frequent visits (monthly instead of quarterly) during the time he was moving to disability.

My husband's SS application was approved without extra medical review. We did go through rounds of interviews with three different disability companies. In each case, the person (including the one hired by his company to help with the SS application) knew little to nothing about PD. We had to educate them and actually did "talking points" for ourselves so when they would make comments or ask questions about "feeling or getting better" and "going back to work", we could respond with "Parkinson's is a progressive neurological disorder and there are no treatments, at this time, that stop the progression of the disease". Another phrase from one of my husband's doctors was to say "My doctors say I cannot work". We practiced so it could sound conversational not scripted.

For us, I think the hardest thing during the process was having to focus on what my husband could not do because of his PD. The application process forced us (at least in preparation of the applications and during the interviews) to dwell on the limitations caused by his PD. Good luck to you. the disability application process takes a lot of effort!


Great Advice!

I applied and was approved for SSDI on my first attempt. However, with the backlog, it took almost 6 months for them to reach an approval decision. As a disclaimer, I'm not an SSA lawyer, but just from personal experience, a long, verifiable medical history really helps your case.

The benefits determination analyst told me the confirmed diagnosis from two neurologists (one is strictly a Parkinson's specialist at the local University) was the biggest help in my case. I also saw one of SSA's doctors for a neuro-psych exam. I've had 3 brain MRIs and a DaTscan which also apparently helped my case.

I've since gone back to work on a "trial work period". I was nearly going insane sitting at home all day. I'm pretty fortunate to have the skillset and education that allows me to work a low intensity desk job where my Parkinson's symptoms aren't a constant problem.

Edited by afroney, 21 July 2013 - 08:11 AM.


#8 Golden01

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 11:58 AM

I forgot to mention that my husband also did a "trial work period" where he went back to work part-time for five months after a short-term leave of five months to optimize medications, try therapy, etc. . It didn't work out well and made it clear to us that he needed to go on disability. That trying to go back to work probably helped with the timely SS approval for him. We also had a family friend that had been through the disability application process and they gave us advice on keeping track of when we submitted things, being consistent on answers, and being good about follow-up.

Husband diagnosed in 2005-Medicines: Azilect, Artane, and Amantadine; Sister and Best Friend from Childhood also have PD


#9 Luthersfaith

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 02:07 PM

Good Lord, I don't want to get to this point. "Lord, I wanna get up and go to work till I'm 63."
"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world." - Jesus (John 16:33)

#10 chelle

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 12:03 AM

I don't know what the ssi laws are from state to state but in Louisiana it is you have to work 5 of the last 10 years depending on age and over a certain age you have to work 10 of the last 20 years.

each year is based on credits you can earn 4 credits per year 1 for every 1130 (i think) earned.


That being said there are ways to beat every system. Im not one for lying or cheating but find it so unfair that people can get food stamps, disability, medicaid ect.... and make hundred's of thousands of dollars a year and the people who truly need it can't. weather if be physical or mental disabilities.

so just a thought.... i think that if you run a small income business such as baby sitting or something like that you can file income tax with no w2 or 1099 and your cpa should be able to file ssi for you. yes you may have to pay a little but in the end it would be worth it. I know this couldn't work for everyone but just a thought. It could really be anything. where we live you can get an occupational license for anything. as long as you don't actually sell anything then you don't have to pay your county or parish sales tax. so i could legally open Chelle's Pet Sitting pay $25 for an occupational license say i make 1130 x 4 get all 4 credits for that year and in 3 years qualify for ssi.

I am so sorry the system we live in is the way it is and I hope God blesses all on this forum beyond belief. I don't know if this will or won't help anyone but i just hope that maybe just one person can be relieved of their financial circumstances due to our situations.

goodnight
Chelle

Edited by chelle, 22 July 2013 - 12:04 AM.


#11 Jack65

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 07:35 AM

I am looking Into doing this, seems like a nightmare. Thanks for all your advice and information.
Did anyone hire an attorney to file?

#12 kynlyn

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 09:20 AM

I used an attorney to apply because I knew I would not be a good advocate on my own behalf detailing what I was not able to do anymore. Social Security Disability lawyers are paid a set fee (set by the federal govt) and only get paid if your claim is successful. She was the one who made sure all of the documents were filed on time and all of the medical records were in so it alleviated a lot of the stress from the process.

#13 Jack65

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 09:37 AM

So for you Kynlyn it was A very good choice? In the end were the attorney fees a lot?

My doc is getting me going on the DBS treatment. He also prescribed a wheel chair and handicap plates yesterday. He told me because of my situation and condition I will receive disability form the government. He said once my long term disability kicks in my insurance company will insist they get involved. Do you know anything about this process?

Thank you for sharing

Peace and health to you!


#14 zackabenie

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 04:22 PM

I used an attorney as well and was approved on the first filing. I had worked up until the Jan before my filing a year later, and I am bi-polar, stated so on the application and was not required to have appointment with nor evaluation from any outside provider, medical, or otherwise. As for a "christian Marriage Counselor", I would be somewhat skeptical of that request. My husband and I have seen a marriage counselor for several years. Try keeping a marriage of 25+ years healthy and happy without some help! Especially since my DH was in the music biz for the first 25 years and on tour approx 300 days out of the year. Maybe being Atheist was the help there, not sure if there are any Atheist Marriage Counselors.
I should let you know however, that even once you are approved for disability, and the monthly amount is set, you will have to wait for 6 months from approval date to draw your first check. I was approved on April 22nd, 2012, and did not receive my first months disability check until November of 2012. Dont know what folks due that this is their main or only source of income. I am very lucky that my DH is now 10 years into his second career at the University of Texas at Austin, is home every night and he has health insurance! I carried our health insurance for the first 25 years and feel very lucky that with his position at the University, we have insurance now as well, and with his 10 yr tenure now we will have insurance for the future, and with PD, that has become more and more important.
I have the disability plates on my purple PT cruiser and I think that in itself is one of the few perks of this disease. I have had 2 knee replacements in the same knee and I really appreciate the ability to find a place to park. I use a cane to walk due to my unsteadiness. I had the DBS surgery in June of 2012, and the tremors are completely controlled,but my balance and speech are worse. Some days I walk like and talk like I have had several drinks before breakfast, but I can drink my espresso without scalding myself. And - there is the added bonus of observing people who dont know me or how PD affects people watching me trying to cope. My best-friend tells me I am a bit wicked for enjoying this. I look at it as being able to laugh at myself, and having a sense of humor about what is happening to me. Oh - I forgot, my attorney fees were just under $250.00. There firm I used has a national presence in the disability field of law, so if you would like send me a private message and I will give you contact info. I am unsure how the board admins would feel about me advertising....
Joelene -
Smile every day and laugh at least once at something the PD is now causing you to do. I personally love the "left" turns that happen as I walk. The smile really works - it makes everyone worry what you have been up to!

#15 RNwithPD

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 10:53 AM

Going in a slightly different direction with this thread, how do you know when to "become disabled" (i.e. when to file for disability)? I don't think that there will ever be a time when my doctor will say to me "gee...I think you really need to stop working and file for disability." I also don't want to wait until I'm relying on all of my co-workers to do my job for me, or my director tells me that they're going to have to let me go, before I decide to file (especially since I would lose my LTD benefits). So, that pretty much means that I have to decide for myself when I am "unable" to work. The problem with that is that I keep wanting to believe that I can do more than I really can, and really feel lazy if I'm not constantly pushing myself. But if pushing myself creates stress (which it does), and stress speeds progression, then I also don't want to make things worse on myself by pushing myself to work when I shouldn't. So I guess my question is - how does one know when the time to file for disability is right for them?

Currently age 42.  Symptomatic at age 36.  Diagnosed at age 39.  Sinemet 2-tabs every 4 hrs (800-1000mg levodopa daily); Amantadine 100 mg 3 times/day; Primidone 50 mg 3 times/day; gabapentin 200 mg 3 times/day; Klonopin 1 mg at bedtime; Seroquel 50 mg at bedtime; Effexor 75 mg daily; Vit-D3 5000 IU daily;Vit-B Complex daily; Melatonin 3 mg at bedtime


#16 Rogerstar1

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 01:02 PM

A quick point while I think of it: The amount of a monthly SS disability check is determined by a formula based on reported quarterly earnings a taxpayer declares to IRS before 'going on disability'. Because the amount of your monthly check, once determined, will not be increased (except for annual, nominal cost of living increases) it is important that you maximize your income rather than 'peter out' due to your progressive condition during your remaining productive quarters. Go hard like gang busters up until your last day and retire with more income every month.

Edited by Rogerstar1, 31 July 2013 - 01:55 PM.


#17 RNwithPD

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 05:13 PM

Good point, Roger, thanks for the heads up.

Kevin

Currently age 42.  Symptomatic at age 36.  Diagnosed at age 39.  Sinemet 2-tabs every 4 hrs (800-1000mg levodopa daily); Amantadine 100 mg 3 times/day; Primidone 50 mg 3 times/day; gabapentin 200 mg 3 times/day; Klonopin 1 mg at bedtime; Seroquel 50 mg at bedtime; Effexor 75 mg daily; Vit-D3 5000 IU daily;Vit-B Complex daily; Melatonin 3 mg at bedtime


#18 Rogerstar1

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 11:10 PM

See this item reprinted from the Wash. Post of August 1, 2013:

Retiring to live only on Social Security is risky retirement planning, but lots of people do it anyway.

I read a report recently from Social Security that said 23 percent of elderly married couples and 46 percent of elderly single people count on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income.

Even if you are prepared to live a frugal lifestyle in retirement, depending on Social Security alone won't leave you much breathing room. The Social Security Administration offers these calculations that explain why. They are based on the assumption that a beneficiary and spouse will be collecting jointly.
•A couple retiring with $25,000 in final income can expect to receive a total Social Security annual benefit of $19,311, which is 77 percent of what they earned during their last year of employment. That will put them about $3,800 above the rock-bottom federal poverty level of $15,510 for a two-person household. They might be able to get by on that, but it isn't going to be pretty.
•If they retired with a household income of $50,000 -- close to the U.S. average -- Social Security says they can expect a joint benefit of $30,438, which is 61 percent of their final income. Most experts believe that they need a minimum of 70 percent to 80 percent, but by some calculations, 61 percent is doable.
•If they retired earning a household income of $100,000, then they can expect Social Security to replace 44 percent of their final income. Let's hope they managed to save some.
•For high earners, with a final household income of $250,000, the total benefit is only slightly more than what lower earners get because of the $113,700 cap on Social Security payroll taxes. Big earners max out at a total annual benefit of $45,608, which is just 18 percent of their final salaries at this level -- less if they made more.


Granted, these calculations assume that one spouse will qualify for only a spousal benefit -- half of what the higher-earning spouse is getting. In many households, both halves of the couple qualify on their own for worker benefits and collect more than what Social Security says here. Nevertheless, these numbers make it obvious that putting as much money as you can into the retirement kitty is an excellent idea because Social Security just won't be enough.




#19 CynthiaM

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 03:39 PM

I had my meeting with the Christian Marriage Counselor. It went ok. He basically just had a form from SSA that had a list of questions he asked me. Judging from the questions asked, I'd say they are trying to gather enough information to determine if anxiety, depression and memory problems affect my ability to work.

At the end of the hour long interview he made the statement that "When you do get approved and are covered by Medicare, you should really consider finding a counselor because meds alone are not a cureall." Makes me think that he feels I will be getting approved. He did point out that the decision isn't his to make. He was actually pretty good at drawing information out of me if he didn't feel my answer was detailed enough.

I asked him about the Chiropractor. His best guess was that it is because I put on my claim that I also have chronic pain and range of motion issues in addition to the PD diagnosis.

I am trying to stay positive about the process. At least they didn't just outright deny my claim initially like I've heard they do to a lot of people. I'd rather not have to hire an attorney but if I have to appeal I guess it might be an option.
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass......It's about learning to dance in the rain.

#20 MarciaJ

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 06:47 PM

I went into the social security office and a clerk typed my answers . She said she did not make the decision but another office would. Then at some point I was contacted because the person dealing with my account could not get one of my doctors to send my file. He asked me to call which I did and then I received my accepting letter. All of that took about six months. I did have multiple diseases which one was breast cancer and then PD. I finally had health insurance. Medicare.

Hang in there.

Mj
<3.<3.<3.




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