Tim Cassidy

I am fighting for disability my 2nd shot at it. The first was turned down. I want to try something, everyone that will please write down some of the things here that we go thru that others don't understand. Maybe we all can help each other?

Asked by Tim Cassidy 5 years ago disability

Cheryl K. Moralez
Only on rare occasions is ANYONE's initial application for disability ever approved. Statistically, nearly all initial applications are routinely denied. Some areas of the US are regularly "reconsidered" immediately following denial whether the applicant requests the reconsideration or not. They have been testing new processes and this "reconsideration" process is part of that testing. Either before or after reconsideration, you will be asked if you wish to appeal and are generally given 10 days (perhaps 15 or 30 days) to respond. Whatever the response deadline, it is critical that you comply with the deadline. Once you request the appeal, you are finally in the "true" process of gaining disability. Up until this point, we are all simply going through ie paperwork hurdles set up to weed out those who will not have the patience, tenacity, or physical ability to pursue disability through the entire process. This is also the reason so many agencies and attorneys will not even get involved or take on disability cases until you are in the appeal stage of the process.

Appeals take as much as 2 years to even get a hearing date established. It is important to continue going to the doctor(s), following their instructions, letting them know how you feel, when things/protocols/medications do not work. Obtain copies of all records and submit them to your representative for your SS case. Ensure that you apply for both SSI and disability based on the years you actually worked. You can also apply to include your spouse's income if you were legally married for at least 10 years, regardless of whether or not you are currently married or not.

You will appear before an Administrative Law Judge assigned to the Social Security Dept and accustomed to hearing SS cases in your region. There will also be a person who looks at all of your abilities (not your disabilities) and consider what you could possibly do. This does not have to be something that you are currently trained to do. They are looking at what your body is still capable of tolerating, adding those tasks together, then looking for a job that can accommodate those abilities in the work force, regardless of level of pay. How long can you stand? What happens if you stand longer? How long can you sit? What happens if you sit longer? How long can you read? Do you retain what you read? Do you have problems with concentration? How much can you lift? Can you bend over? Etc. Etc. THEIR doctor(s) will review your medical records and look for every word that anyone has ever recorded that was spoken to the physical therapist, surgeon, doctor, counselor, etc. They are looking for ways to deny you, whether it means you push yourself too hard but come out the other side, therefore you CAN do it even if it is not healthy for you to do it, esp on a regular basis. They are looking for ways to "catch you lying" b/c they are convinced that we are all out to scam the system and could really work if we wanted to. Emotionally, it is (or can certainly feel like) the roller coaster from hell.

I personally believe that one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to keep a journal of what you try to do day to day, how you feel, what you try to do, how it makes you feel, what you can lift, or not lift, etc. Can you lift a full jug of milk? Half a gallon? Is it painful? Every time? Part of the time? If so, how long does it take to stop hurting? On a scal of 1-10, what is your pain? Sleep? Can you anticipate your pain and regulate it? What are the side effects of your medications? How does that complicate your ability to drive? To work? To care for yourself? How long has it been going on? Each facet, not just overall, but each piece of the downhill slide that has brought you to your current circumstances. The Hearings Officer at my appeals hearing kept trying to get me to talk about what I COULD do as opposed to what I could not do. It was very difficult for me to think in terms of what I could still do, in part, b/c there was so little that I could still do.

Rarely, but sometimes, the judge may rule at the end of your hearing. Sometimes, you will get a decision shortly after your hearing. More often, you may wait months for the decision and a couple more months after the decision for your monetary award to begin to be calculated and paid. They approve more readily it seems when people are not working at all for over at least one year. They are not supposed to hold it against you if you cannot see the doctor b/c you have no insurance, but ultimately, it can still go against you b/c you end up with no medical records to back you up. Find a doctor, an ER, or someone, someplace that can see you enough to create a record. It is OK to ASK your provider to put notes in your record that make your complaints clear. Tell them you are applying for disability but cannot get hep b/c you do not have insurance. Tell them that clear records and the more information they place in your records about your limitations, pain, etc., will help you more than if their notes are too short and cursory for the powers that be to understand what you are living with.

Also, do some research and look for organizations on your particular issue(s) and get letters or articles that describe the normal course of the level of AS, cancer, MS, RA, etc. That you have. All of these factors that affect you and your case will join together to help in getting a good award. Remember that they will also be determining what is called an "onset date" which determines how far back they must go. This is both a way of determining when you could no longer work (in their eyes) and to determine how much back pay you will be owed. It is also a means of limiting back pay awards while still awarding disability. No matter how you look at the back pay issue, your records will have to help to establish when your condition got so bad that you could no longer work even part time. Keeping a journal or diary and records of your medications, medical history, and all of your doctors is important. So is keeping a record of all of your jobs or attempts to work and why you were either let go or had to stop working each job. All of these things will come together to establish your case for disability. Each case is personal to you and your situation.

Unfortunately, they seem to be more willing to grant mental health claims than physical claims, regardless of how desperate a physical claim might be. They also seem to be more inclined to grant physical claims when a mental health component (ie. Stress, depression, etc.) is added, AND documented. If your struggle with SS, applying for disability, and the fact that you can no longer work like you used to is creating a struggle, do not be afraid to find some support. Do not be afraid or ashamed to include it in your application for disability. You may be surprised in the difference they take in your claim!! Also, along that same line, you should include all of your medical issues. They ask for the primary one or two, but others may be aggravating your primary problem or perhaps you have multiple issues that are equally devastating -- include everything and explain how they play off of one another and complicate your overall mental/physical ability to address life, work, etc.

Best of Luck - Don't Give Up!!


by Cheryl K. Moral...  5 years ago

Lisa Davis
Tim,  I am fighting for mine also. After being denied, I immediately called a  disability advocate group. They have been handling EVERYTHING for me from that point. When screening me, they asked me questions that I never thought about that will have an impact on how my illness will be seen by Social Security.

by Lisa Davis 5 years ago

Jerry Grynspan
Emphasize that you can't sit for long periods without joints locking up. Eye problems make it hard to maintain focus on a computer screen. Drugs for the pain make it hard to concentrate on your work, and you would fail any drug testing because of the fact that you take painkillers. People won't hire you because of adverse effects on their medical insurance rates. You can't stand for  the extended periods that retail requires, and you can't bend or lift for those jobs. You have to lie down several hours a day. Ask if there is a job you can do with all these limitations.

by Jerry Grynspan 5 years ago

R. Watson
Don't give up! That's the key thing. Follow through every denial with an appeal. SSA is weeding out the freeloaders. The denial that you receive in the mail usually says "Based on your education" which has nothing to do with a disability. Follow through until you at least reach the appeals court. It might help to call your local congressman and ask his/her office if they would flag your file or monitor your case. This will could help your case due to the fact that all future decisions will be required to explain the reasons for their ( SSA, or Judge ) decisions to the office of the congressman. Sometimes the fight is a 10 month process or more but, not to worry, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, you will relieve back pay compensation from the time of disability. Just be patient. I hope this helps Tim.

by R. Watson 5 years ago

Vic Parnell
The pain isn't the only thing that causes disability, it is the stress and fatigue that go along with the daily pain.

by Vic Parnell 5 years ago

My question for you guys is I have been in pain management I have been discharged from two seperate places due to positive drug screens for cociane but there is no way I have touched nor been araound it how is this even possible? I am so confused and am afraid that this will effect my disability tedetermination. Help me with answets please.

by Kim 3 years ago

Hi There, I know this is an old post but...I live in Canada and went to see my dr about disability I have Degenerative Disc Disease.  My had told me and my husband everything he was putting down on the forms, you would think that was good, right??? Wrong!
  My Dr. Back doored me... When I got my rejection letter from disability it stated from the specialist inoperable...but my Dr.. Who helped ( in which i thought) stated not disabled enough...I was and still am livid.How can someone who is progressingly getting worse not disabled enough, also told disability that I was only seeing him for 10 years instead complaining for well over 20, in my opinion maybe something could have been done way back when.Been off work since 2008 and there are days I can't even get out of bed without assistance.  I know disability will not take my pain away but I think I should be compinsated for me not being able to work.I have put in an appeal 2 months ago and it's just the waiting game now.Anyone know how to deal with my dr lying to me and disability?thank you sorry for rambling,

by Julie 3 years ago

The last post being two years ago, I would hope that you have your disability.  I'm 70% disabled via the VA and just filed for SSD.  We'll see what happens.  Also filed for 100% VA.  My knees are junk and PTSD symptoms severe enough that I can't work at all.  I've tried and that makes it harder to explain the number of jobs and what times and what I did etc.  It's a pain and a huge added stress.  I hope it goes through.  I'm so tired of this fight.  Been doing it for over 4 years.  My family is struggling financially and if it wasn't for the wonderful woman at my side (why she stays I don't know) I would be lost.

by  3 years ago

Kimm Anderson Bernier Irving
Why is this so hidden a problem? It infuriates me that no one even learns of this situation until they are faced with it and so unable to fight.  After years and years of tax deductions who ever knew that when your day came to need help, by using your own money, you would be denied? This is criminal...why is SSA allowed to conduct business this way? How are they allowed to force these helpless pain ridden people to loose their homes, car, become suicidal, not have insurance for pain medication, etc? We should be screaming our outrage over this! So let's all commit to sending Anderson Cooper information...he does a show called keeping them honest...we must start somewhere...please let's make a statement. May God bless you all and lessen your pain and frustration.

by Kimm Anderson B...  4 years ago

Roxanne Dumouchel
I have also been denied a disability back in July of 2011.  I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and fibromyalgia.  As well I suffer from PTSD from an assault incident at work and anxiety.  I also have OCD and the specialists that I have seen said that the combination is really bad.  My OCD will want me to do things, but my other diseases will burn me out.  I spend alot of time in bed.  My job position is an office job but they don't seem to understand that even sitting for long periods is hard.  And never mind the fact that I can hardly focus on anything and often forget simple things.  It takes me forever to get moving in the morning and if I even so much as vaccum my house, I will be bed ridden for the next couple of days as I am burned out.I am from Canada so our system is very different as well.  The insurance company for the disabiltity had their doctor look over all my medical reports and he concluded that I was on the wrong meds, and that their was no physical reason for my pain and that I should have no issues doing a desk job.  I am so stressed out about this but am continuing to fight as I know my body and what I can and can't handle.  I am looking at getting a lawyer as well to look over my case for me, hopefully that helps.  I guess they figure that because I am 29 years old, that I should not be affected that badly.  They are SO WRONG.  Until they live a day in the body of any of us who have these debilitating diseases they will never know what it feels like.

by Roxanne Dumouch...  4 years ago

Tim, It's been 5  months now from all these posting and I found out that my disability was denied as well. I have an attorney but still was denied.  All this information has came in handy to look back over it again to help me figure out how to fill out this same paperwork again on this appeal. Sorry you were feeling this way but you were a big help to many, I want you to know, me included.  Hope things are going better for you.

by Chris 5 years ago

Not to take away from your question Tim, but I applied a year ago and was denied, and in November I applied again after taking some advise from a friend that is a Circuit Judge who is friends with the local ALJ, and I was recently sent to see the SS doctor the other day, and during the examination the doctor told me "I don't see any reason you would get denied disability benefits,..you should at least receive temporary benefits." So I guess that's a good sign, but time will only tell. I don't really understand what "temporary Social Security disability benefits" are, maybe one of you can explain. Anyway best of luck to all in your cases, its a true battle, I myself have became somewhat suicidal due to stress and pain, and being completely honest I think helps, but like I said I haven't received anything yet, what do you think?

by Bradley 5 years ago

Deb Lynch
Get an attorney, my claim went straight thru in 4 months.

by Deb Lynch 5 years ago

Dorathy Griffith
The most important commonality I have seen among those approved was to fill out those forms & testify as if for the worst days of your illness. As humans we naturally try to show our worth by stating the "best" we can do. For example, "how far can you walk?" You will say a block or something, but on your worst day you can barely get to the bathroom! Adding to this tendency are questioners who challengingly, impatiently ask "well what do you DO all day?" like you're some worthless person. There is an entire movement & clubs out there of disability examination doctors who say no one should ever get disability & we are all freeloaders & drug seekers. Keep your chin up, we all stand with you. Never think of yourself as less or feel bad about getting disability. We all have paid the price for this coverage to be available. I am sure you & your parents have paid taxes & social security contributions so it's YOUR money to begin with!

by Dorathy Griffit...  5 years ago

Carl Justesen Jr
My first go around they said my doctor told them i could work.  They lied, and my doctor was very mad that they said i could work.  My suggestion is get a lawyer or advocate group because social security reps can lie like they did with me.  Every rep is different and you don't know what kind of person they might be.  Good luck.

by Carl Justesen J...  5 years ago

Denise Cornell
Wow, everyone gave you some great suggestions.  I really don't have much to add because everyone else covered it.  If anything, I would put an emphasis on stress and how it can cause you to get worse.  Stress = pain.  Good luck, let us know the outcome and what you did to convince them.

by Denise Cornell 5 years ago

Cecily Price
I wish you all the luck in the world. I was over 50 when I applied and was denied. I was told to get a desk job,or something similar. I had no insurance at the time, and a lawyer told me w/o extensive tests, and a multitude of doctors reports I could forget it. I just said heck with it. I was way to tired to fight it. So you have my prayers and good wishes for better luck than I had!

by Cecily Price 5 years ago

I'm from Canada so I only know our system.  But I have been told that applications that state that your condition will not go away, cannot be cured, and is likely going to  get worse help in the process.  Good luck.

by Beckyg 5 years ago

Elizabeth Winchell
The fact that you can go to bed feeling fine, and wake up miserable without any warning and unable to work.  Based on US Supreme Court rulings, the ADA does not protect us from being fired for excessive absenteeism or excessive lateness to work.  But still we are saddled with a disease that makes us sick frequently, and that makes us not know when we go to bed at night if we will be able to get out of bed in the morning at all, or how long it would take to get ready for work.  If we always knew how bad we were going to feel in the morning, we could plan how early we have to set the alarm in the morning, but we just cannot know.

by Elizabeth Winch...  5 years ago

Jackie Aitchison
The pain, fatigue,the depression, the not knowing how you will be  from one day to the next, when you might have a flare up and how long it will last, the struggle to get pain relief that works, the side issues, eyes for example. When you are tired due to either the fatigue or lack of sleep due to pain/discomfort, it can be difficult to be your best and to concentrate, can make you clumsy. If you have to stand a lot, sit a lot - both as bad as the other. I retired early on health grounds a couple of years ago, also receive a very small disabilioty benefit (I am in UK so system different)

by Jackie Aitchiso...  5 years ago

I think it is hard for those who don't suffer with extreme daily pain to understand that it places limitations on you.  Extreme pain is very debilitating.   Fusing adds to the limitations as well.  For example, when you have stood up for a certain length of time your knees may not let you stand for even another minute.  Some people say that you need a job where you can sit.  Many of us know that your back, neck and sacroiliac joints as well as keeping your knees bent for any length of time makes a sitting job difficult too.  Tim, I will be praying that your disability is approved this time.

by Cathy 5 years ago

Jacqui Gleason
I was turned down twice 3 years ago when i was 47.  An SSA worker said if I could wait until age 50 when the stipulations are way looser, get an attorney and it would for sure go thru.  And they just take the back pay.  7 more months to wait for me!!   Good luck with it!

by Jacqui Gleason 5 years ago

Tim Cassidy
If you could tell a hearing judge something what would you tell them about AS.

by Tim Cassidy 5 years ago

Steffie Jo
My son applied and until he got one of those SSI lawyers he kept getting denied.  It took a few months for the lawyer to get it for him but he got back pay from the day he applied. The lawyer didn't cost much and he took it out of the money my son got from back pay.  I have been told they deny everyone untill you get a lawyer.  
Good luck!

by Steffie Jo 5 years ago

Answer this question

I am fighting for disability my 2nd shot at it. The first was turned down. I want to try something, everyone that will please write down some of the things here that we go thru that others don't understand. Maybe we all can help each other?

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