Old 02-29-2016, 09:53 AM #1
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Default Applying for Disability

I was diagnosed in 2011 with Fibromyalgia, and for the past two years I have been consistently treated for th condition. I was recently referred to a Neurologist, after other problems started manifesting themselves, and after receiving new, state-of-the-art testing, I was diagnosed with Moderate ANS damage/dysfunction, Moderate Endothelial damage/dysfunction, and Moderate Homeostasis damage/dysfunction. I am only 36, and my doctor was most concerned with my cardiovascular system and the damage that has already been done. My Mother passed away suddenly at the age of 53 due to organic heart disease. Anyway, along with these new diagnoses, I also have what they are calling IBS, which I'm sure is due partially to the Fibro and ANS issues. I've heard of the struggle with some trying to get onto to disability, and I was wondering with all the recent diagnoses would that further increase my chances of being approved for disability? I was also wondering if anyone has been approved for SSI, instead of SSDI? I do not currently possess the necessary amount of work credits to be eligible for SSDI, but do think I would be eligible for SSI based on income requirements. Can anyone provide any insight into this subject and provide any pointers as to which direction to take for moving forward with this process? Any and all suggestions are appreciated. TIA.
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Old 03-08-2016, 10:50 PM #2
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Default Re: Applying for Disability

Hey Turtle. I'm sorry you are having these issues at your age and have found that you are unable to work. I too have fibro, chronic fatigue and a host of other health conditions, including IBS. I am 51 and had to stop working at 49. I had enough credits that I qualified to apply for SSD so I can't help you with the bigger question of which direction to go in applying. What I can tell you is that I was approved the first time due to my health conditions. This is extremely rare.

When I determined that I would no longer be able to work and decided to go the disability route, I looked on Social Security's website and found out what I qualified for and how much approximately, I would get if approved. I then made a phone call to an attorney in my area. The gentleman no longer handled SSD cases, but he gave me some great information that I'll pass along to you. (In fact, I think after I finish typing this, I'll start a post specifically titled so that others can read and hopefully benefit.)

1. Start priming your physicians (primary care, neurologist, gastro, counselor, etc). Let them know it has gotten to the point that you don't believe you can continue to work full-time (that's the key for disability, unable to work full-time).
2. Request a copy of your medical records and look at them to see what is documented. It is likely that they don't have complete information in there that documents all of your ailments (amazing, huh?). I did this and realized that he was RIGHT!
3. (This is my recommendation and something that I personally did) Type out a list of all of your ailments, the approximate date you developed them and the physician that diagnosed the ailment. I was amazed that it was a page long when I broke each issue down. Don't just list fibro, but also break it down to the little details, like, Cluster/daily headaches, chronic severe fatigue (can't function or get out of bed), chronic pain (neck, shoulders, arms, elbows, hands, feet (make it applicable to you)), insomnia/difficulty sleeping, spasms in neck and shoulders/back, pass out when push during a flare up on a regular basis, etc., etc. Take the list to your next appointment and hand it to the doctor. (It then is part of your medical records!)
4. Ask each doctor if they would write a letter to Social Security on our behalf, providing a bulleted list of your ailments. (This is beneficial for two reasons. 1st, it is a concise detail of your ailments that helps the social security reviewer decypher what is going on rather than read pages and pages of notes. And 2nd, it really shows that the physician is supportive of your decision to apply. I was able to get my primary care physician, my gastro physician and counselor to all write letters. My neurologist was meticulous in his notes so his records alone were sufficient.
5. Apply for disability. In the last section of the online application, there is a block that you can add additional information. USE IT! I explained that I had worked almost 30 years for the state and had consistently started missing more and more time. That I passed out numerous times on my way to work because I believed I had to be there as a manager....blah, blah blah.
6. After you are assigned a federal case worker, contact them periodically if you have additional information to support your request. I had been on FMLA for five or more years so I was able to send her copies of each of my FMLA documents. I also believe this is a good way to make a personal connection with the person. If I went to another appointment after I applied, I asked for a detailed copy of the appointment and purpose of my visit. I then called and the gal sent me a cover letter (which is how you submit additional information). Once I got the cover letter, I attached the new visit information and sent it to Social Security.

I told my husband, my last job was to get approved. It took them 5 months, but I was approved the first time. Good luck to you. I hope this information is helpful!
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Old 03-28-2016, 12:46 AM #3
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Default Re: Applying for Disability

Thank you for sharing this information terbaer.
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:21 PM #4
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Default Re: Applying for Disability

Terbaer has provided a great framework you can use to get started. When I applied, I had no income, as I had been injured and was unable to work, which I had been doing, although it was a major struggle to accomplish, and my evenings and weekends were spent recuperating. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue just before being injured. Since I wasn't working and had no income, I was advised (I don't recall by whom) to apply for both SSI and SSDI, although I had the work qualifications for SSDI. I don't know if SSI is easier to be approved for, or if I was told to apply for that simply because I had no income/insurance, etc., at the time. Despite having disabilities since birth, I was approved due to my injuries, not all of the pre-existing conditions, and even then, it was a major fight to get approved. I've heard it's a lot easier these days, although it's still not easy, so hopefully you won't have to jump through quite as many hoops as we have had to in the past, but as Terbaer mentioned, it's good to get all of your doctors on board, and be sure every little thing is documented. Good luck.
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:37 AM #5
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Default Re: Applying for Disability

Hi8 turtle, tearbear has given you some really good advice. Take it, she is an expert when it comes to this topic. So I hope you take into consideration her advice. If you do I am sure you will be successful with your application, but if you are not successful the first time, no worries, sometimes it takes a couple more times to finally get it.
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