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coacht

Disability

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Hello all,

My DW has reached the point they don't want her to work much as a substitute teacher. She is really out of it the days she does work. I mentioned applying for disability and she is considering it. What was the tipping point where your PWP applied for disability? How hard was it to apply and what all did you have to do to document the disability? I am looking at the SSI website, I just need some pointers as to best how to proceed.

 

Thanks,

 

Coach T

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My husband did not apply for disability, but friends that have say it is essential to hire a good disability lawyer.  There are too many "mother may I" requirements to traverse it on your own.

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My husband applied for disability when his doctors told him he needed to quit work. He took a short term disability (was supposed to be five weeks and turned into five months) where he tried new medications, completed "Big Therapy", completed "Loud" Therapy, and then went back to work three days a week but symptoms got so bad he wasn't doing well at work and could barely function when he wasn't working. His disability applications went smoothly (his company's insurance carrier, a private policy we'd had for a long time, and then Social Security). Some friends who had been through the process helped us a lot (keep good records, be consistent in your answers, and follow up). We did not use a lawyer. We had consulted an employment lawyer for another reason who gave us excellent advice on being sure we had the full plan description from the company's carrier. His company did provide a consultant (Advantage 2000) to help with the Social Security application as they could decrease his benefits as soon as he qualified for Social Security. One of his doctor's gave us the best advice, he said that when they asked why he couldn't work to say "My doctor says I cannot work". He said to simple repeat that again and again, if needed. Another doctor suggested we use these words when talking to the interviewers who don't now anything about PD, "Parkinson's is a progressive neurological disorder, there is no cure". Because he had the "trial to work" after the short term disability, I think it helped his applications go through easily. The fact the school does not feel she can continue to substitute teach probably will be an important factor. We would write out talking points before each phone interview and return to those pretty much in answering most any question. I think for us, the hardest part was focusing on what he couldn't do because we always focus on what he can do. We would sort of change directions when filling out the forms and going through the interviews and then switch back to our more positive view. We learned that his MDS had documented at the very first visit, seven years earlier, concerns about him being able to continue employment (soft voice, etc.) and in subsequent visit notes as well. That probably helped too. We did find the doctor's concerns aligned more with the employer's possible concerns (ability to walk and potential for falling) than the things that were more troubling to us (like fatigue) so those were the ones identified in the applications. Outlining job duties and how PD interfered was important too. Good luck. 

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