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was approved for my social security disability

susiessusie Posts: 152
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Health Insurance Issues
I wanted to share that I was approved for my social security disability benefits on my first try. I
applied 10-24-08. I have pretty severe scoliosis
curves and am having spinal fusion anterior and posterior
and a discectomy in Feb. 09.
I am greatly relieved to be approved but as I write this
I have a heavy heart for those of you who have written
about being turned down. I'm so glad to have been approved but I sincerely wish that everyone who needs it would be approved. I have thought often of those who have posted about their troubles, pain and difficult times. I so hope for all others that their approvals may be in the future.
Sincerely, Susan


  • Congratulations. I'm happy for you. And wishing you all the best for your upcoming surgery. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Of course it's not so wonderful that you have to suffer with severe scoliosis,but now at least you won't have to worry about the medical bills,or working through pain! And there IS the possibility that you can get SOME relief for your scoliosis...so that your quality of life gets better and better :)))

    I'm on social security disability myself,and I know how I felt when I was first approved.It was an odd feeling of relief mixed with a sadness that I doubt a person could explain.I was glad that I was approved..but there was another story just beginning to unfold.

    Good luck with your upcoming surgery~~I'll remember that date-it was my moms birthday... :)))

  • That is wonderful news. I also was approved this past October after 2 years. It is a good feeling but also a sad feeling that I am disabled. My worry was always health care and that took some stress off of me.

  • :) what a relief that must be off your shoulders. :D now you have the opportunity for a new start without the worries that come with no income. i am on SSDI and am so grateful for it. :D good luck as you face surgery and all the best for a successful recovery! Jenny :)
  • Congratulations <:P I'm glad it went through quickly for you. Hey, don't spend all that backpay money :) I know this will make things easier for you. I have SSDI too and I'm so grateful to have it. Best wishes on your upcoming surgery :H
  • About experiences. What was it like for you personally and how long did it take? I know some people that have taken 6 years or more and some that are approved in one year. I'm not planning on filing anytime soon but it is an option for me so I just would really like to hear about the experiences of those who have gone through the process.
  • I found it to be an overwhelming experience. I had a small
    babysitting service for many years. I enjoyed it and intended to continue for a few more years - and at that time when I thought all conditions were right, then I would have my back surgery. That's how I thought it would go. In
    April my foot and leg started to hurt. In the back of my mind, I thought surely this doesn't have anything to do with my back - I went to my regular dr. and she x rayed my foot and said nothing is broken but as usual she looked my back over. I told her I was starting to think about seeing a surgeon. I was still managing but didn't realize I was at the beginning of the end of - getting by. My back - I have scoliosis just continued to get worse. I had a Dr. appt. on Oct. 24th and this time my Dr. took xrays of my back. She came in and told me my working days were over and she meant that very day. My pain was so much worse and had progressed so quickly that I felt very unprepared. My Dr. told me to apply for social security disability and to get an attorney. She said if you do it by yourself, you will mess it up. So a few days later my husband and I went to a social security disability attorney's office. They only handle disability cases. It was a very depressing place and the person who spoke to us said be prepared to wait 3 years. The Social Security office was next door to the attorney - so we decided to go on in and see how busy they were. For whatever reason, we got right in. The man who took my information was so nice. It took about 2 hours for him to take all of my information. I had just been to see the surgeon and told him I was going to file for disability. He had told me after looking at my xrays that I would be having an anterior and posterior fusion - and that he & his staff would do whatever was required to help me with my disability claim. So I thought that was surely going to help. I had to list 2 people who knew about my condition and how it had affected me. Well, I hadn't gone around discussing it, so I had to put our Pastor, who didn't know me all that well and my next door neighbor. They both received questionaires in the mail. I received some paperwork in the mail to fill out. I just told the truth - that I tried to go for a walk every day if someone could go with me. That I was depressed and was going to my therapist and taking medication for that. So I mailed in my information. When the Surgeon's office called me with the date for surgery and also told me I would be having a discectomy I called the S.S. disability examiner who had my case. I gave him the dates and we were on the phone about 2 minutes. I had applied on October 28th. I didn't hear another word until Dec. 29th, when I received the letter in the mail telling me I was approved for benefits and my first check would be in May for April's benefits. So in 60 days I was approved from start to finish. I will say that after several acquaintances telling me it would take 2 or 3 years to get it, I seriously questioned if I was up to a big hassle of trying to follow all the necessary steps while going through this major surgery and recovery. I almost felt like some people almost enjoyed telling me how long it would take and how I probably wouldn't be approved because it's so hard to get. Some people are like that, I'm glad I'm not. So for me, that was it. I know my mental health therapist sent records and she knows me really well. Also my primary care Dr. had told me to quit working that very day and to file for benefits. Also, the surgeon was I thought unusally kind. I think my condition was pretty bad because the surgeon told me in my case surgery was not optional because my spine was pushing on my diaphram. I think I spent too much time looking things up on the internet - like my scoliosis wasn't in the disability listing book - so I didn't think I had a very good chance. It was upsetting to me and I was thinking I didn't know if it would be something I could handle - I was upset enough about the upcoming surgery and recovery.I guess that goes to show that you don't have anything to lose by applying. Also, I was surprised by how many people who I didn't know all that well seemed to think they were experts on social security disability. I think it's a really mixed up process because I have read on here, many people suffering who were obviously as bad off or worse than I am. It's not fair. Maybe someday the process will be more fair. My letter did inform me that I would have a review of my condition in 3 years. I didn't have any dr.s records to send in on my own like I have read some people do who are very prepared. I don't know what made my case go so fast but I do know it's not fair that others are denied and put off and put off. It made me wonder if it wasn't just partly the luck of whoever happened to get my paperwork really cared about their job.
    I would encourage anyone to apply who feels they are disabled because I was discouraged to apply by what I had read googling for information. I know that was a long story but that's how it went for me. Even though I was approved, two others on this message board have been on my mind constantly because they seemed to deserve their benefits and I wish we all had been approved. I am going to continue to think good thoughts for them. Susan
  • Congrat's!!! I helped my father-in-law apply a year ago, he does not have back problems, but breathing problems and some other health issues. He got his quick too. In his case I think age was on his side, he was already 65 and could have retired in 2009. The money he got for disability was not that much compared to what he was already receiving.
    Hope your surgery goes well, keep us posted.
  • Well written & informative letter Susie :)))

    When I read what you said about being surprised that so many people acted like experts on the subject of disability I felt compelled to post a reply.I felt the same way when I was applying.I'd like to say that I think that some people only act as if they know so much about the SSD because they happened to have gone through the experience-but I'd only be speculating.I know of a few other people (personally) besides myself of course,who have gone through the process,and in each case it was completely different.So if it's so different for each person how can one person explain it in a manner that would be right for everyone.

    Again,what you said about it being a "mixed up process"-I could not agree more.There are times it almost felt like a lottery to me.I watched one woman die while fighting SSD for years,and the guilt I felt was horrible,because I had already been recieving benefits for several years at that time.My Aunt,who is generally well mannered said to me,'Robin,why are you getting disability when **** couldn't get it",she was talking about the woman that died-they knew one another.How could I explain that?

    My best advice to anyone applying for SS is to be as open and honest as possible.It can be difficult to be objective about yourself when filling in the forms-but it's important to try hard to be so,and also,if you do get a denial letter,always appeal.Don't listen to the naysayers-they are everywhere in life-so the fact that they are out there even being negative about something like getting SS benefits should be no surprise to any of us.There is a great lesson there-I mean seriously-if a person is in such pain and life has taken such a toll on you/me that we cannot work anymore,and yet a person wants to hold you down even in that area,where we might have that medical coverage & those few hundred dollars a month to help relieve our anxieties..is this a person you need in your life.
  • I wanted to let you know to not put off filling. I just barely made it, my work credits were about to stop. There is a small widow when you can file as to when the last time you worked. I never knew this. Social Security will tell you as soon as you file if you have the work credits. It took me 2 years to the date to get approved, it was exhausting but well worth it in the end. Get an attorney, do not try this on your own.

  • I got my yearly SS statement yesterday. You know the one they send out every year around your birthdate? Well my mother had me convinced that I NEVER want to go through what she had to go through. And why on earth would I even be thinking like that anyway? Yeah. She was at my house when the mail arrived. I tried to explain to her that I have a brain and spine disorder which is on the SSDI list and I want to know that the day I just absolutely can't get up and put on my clothes and drive to work I have a backup and I need to be able to pay the bills somehow. It's so hard somedays. Yesterday I couldn't get dressed it just wasn't in me. I do have a great job that let's me work from home since my car wreck (I got hit by a semi). But that won't continue for that much longer. They need somebody in the office to do things. I just don't know how much longer I can do this and my Doctor would write my disability tomorrow if I wanted him too.
  • Susie I want to share in your happiness. I too, found out today I was approved for my social security disability benefits. It was also my first time around. I applied October 29th so it was exactly 2 months from start to finish with no attorney. I am new to the forum. I just knew I needed some support so one day I decided I have to seek our support and I am very happy I found this site.
    After reading many many posts and other information I just knew I would be receiving a denial letter.
    My experience is similar to Susie's with some differences. I called for a packet of papers to fill out in August. I have vocal cord damage and my speech is very limited due to an anterior cerivical fusion I had on March 19th. I have seen an ENT who confirmed the rt vocal cord damage. I struggled with these papers until October. As most of you know trying to focus or sit at a pc is a most difficult task. Finally I had my papers completed and was ready to begin inputting it to my computer. I got the application process started but saved my work as I could no longer sit there. This was the end of October. Then one day I received a call from Social Security and a claim specialist was going to help me. Although I only have a whisper of a voice we got through the application process on the phone. I did have many of my test results which my husband copied and send to the man handling my claim. Since joining the forum I received much support from jeauxbert and paulgla and I want to thank them for their time and encouragement. They explained how important it is to be totally honest during the claim process. Since I had already filed I knew in my heart I was completely honest but still figured I would have to hire an attorney when I received my denial letter.
    Then today the phone rang and my husband told me it was social security. I figured they had more questions for me. It was my claim specialist who was informed my claim was approved and I would be getting my letter in about 1-2 weeks with my backpay directly going into my account. I must tell you tears were flying. As many have said I had mixed emotions. I do not yet feel I have come to terms with my disability. On the other hand I knew some of my money problems would now lessen.
    I have read many posts and have felt there are so many with worse conditions than I who were struggling with the whole claim process. My heart goes out to them and I pray their approvals will be coming soon. I have not listed all my physical problems but some include cervical spinal stenosis for which I had the surgery in March. Unfortunately I am still suffering from the same pain if not worse along with the vocal cord damage. I have myelopaathy also along with nerve damage left arm, hand, leg and many lower back problems L4 L5 S1 for which my neurosurgeon does not want to operate on at this time. My GP called today also and said there were problems with my bloodwork and will need to see a hemotologist.
    I apologize for my long post but I wanted to share my experience, along with Susie and let those of you who are in the claim process know to never give up hope. My dr had ordered a fuctional capacity evaluation which I forwarded to my claim specialist along with the other copies of my tests. Personally I think this test is very good in evaluating ones limitations.
    I will have everyone in my prayers and hope your soc sec disability claim process will go smoothly. Happy New Years all.
    Once again Susie congratulations!
    Jan <:P
  • I could only hope that it would go the same way for me. I haven't told very many people but I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation since my ACDF surgery in Oct. from which I still have MUCH pain. At least I now know it's not all surgical pain. I for a moment thought the doctor had screwed me up the wrong way. :))) I'm now also seeing a Neurologist. I also have PTSD since being hit by the semi but that is controllable. I really want to hang on as long as possible but I know the day will come that I won't be able to work someday and I'm only 43. So close and yet way to far away to think I could make it into my golden years without any kind of income. Even my 401k wouldn't last me for 25 years. Thank you all for your stories and keep them coming. I want to hear the good, bad and the ugly.
    Thanks so much!
  • Tonya, I know exactly how you feel. I am only 47 and worked in my same job for 29 yrs 11 mos. Had some 401k but not enough to sustain me for very long at all. I tried to go back to work even when the neuro said it was too soon because my insurance benefits would be cut off. I also have a disabled husband at home. This was the scariest decision I have ever made. I just could no longer perform my job. I was falling, could not sit, stand could not take pain meds at work so the pain was just awful. I was in tears each time I tried to go to work. It only lasted a few days when I realized along with a stern talk from my dr. that I just could not do it anymore. I don't want to say the Soc Sec dis claim process is easy. So much information and when you are in pain not an easy task at all. I truly believe I should have applied along time ago. The stress of trying to work while in pain I think can actually make things worse. Glad you are going to a Neurologist. I developed stress related shingles when I tried to return to work it was just awful and then the pain doubled along with the anxiety. I hope and pray you feel better and get some relief from your pain. I am just telling you my experiences of course I am not in medical profession or anything like that. I truly believe God was watching over me through the whole Dis Claim process. After reading many posts and what people go through I was in shock when it only took two months to be approved. Good luck to you and if you ever have any questions please feel free to ask me if I can help or just be some support I will certainly try.
  • Were any of you working the year before you filed? That's part of the scary process for me. I'm afraid they will deny me because I have been able to work in 2008. I've been working but I am getting so tired. I don't know if I can hold out. Then what if I win my lawsuit against the semi driver who hit me? How will SS look at that? Because I do want him to pay off my medical bills which have all come out of my pocket up to this point and I want a car. A good car like the one he totalled for me. I'm going to request the packet and then just pray. That's all I know to do to get me through today. But please keep posting. I read this post like 10 times a day over and over. Sometimes with tears in my eyes like now but I know that I have a great group of friends here to support me. Oh and as for my Mom's comment the other day I made it a point to show her how much SS has determined that I could receive if I became disabled and with the staggering number I keep wondering why I put myself through hell every morning just trying to get somewhere that causes me more pain. She was a waitress working for tips so she got very little. I'm a Network Administrator and have been for years and have always made good money. It's not 100% but it's a bigger number than I thought it would be after listening to her. Giving up my Health Insurance benefits would be a big concern for me too. What do you guys do about that? I see Dr.'s almost weekly and have had since the wreck.
  • Tonya, even though your post traumatic stress is under
    control - if you are taking medication for it and seeing
    a therapist, that would be another factor you could list.
    I wrote on my paperwork at the initial interview at the S.S. office and then on the paperwork that came in the mail
    that I was very depressed. I listed my therapist as well as my medical doctors. And the medication I take for that too. My husband works and we have his insurance - I was
    self employed so I didn't have anything except under my husband's plan. You sound like you are just about at the breaking point. If you have an attorney over your car accident maybe he could give you some advice. You sound like a nervous wreck and I sure know how you feel. I don't know if it would be the same for you but after adding up all the expenses that I DON'T have not working and adding in the disability amount, it comes up to really a better number. You probably have expenses from working that you wouldn't have on disability. Would you still have medical on your car accident related car insurance? I know the COBRA is very high. What a fix. I wish you could talk to your car accident attorney and add in this information and see what he says. You do sound so miserable. I'm so sorry. I hope you can get some rest and maybe be able to think more clearly tomorrow. Sincerely, Susan
  • That is so great for you! I am hoping to get disability too. I am fused from top to bottom and now have severe arthritis (of a 70 year old), plus herniated disc and 2 bulging disc. A cyst too. Life has been very painful for the last year and my NS said I probably wont be able to work again. I can't stand or sit for a certian amount of time. I wish I could find something to do at home on the computer. I have looked but everything looks like a scam. That way I could sit and stand and strech and work when I can't sleep, you know. Work in ways you could never work in public. That is so great for you,which means there is hope for the rest of us suffering with scoliosis. I will keep everyone posted.
    Peace, O:)
  • Tonya,
    I went off work Nov, 2007 severe weakness in legs lower back issues, neck problems due to accident at work. I received short term disability until May 08 also had insurance until that time. Then after almost 30 yrs of employment dr's. put me off permanently. Husband had no insurance and disabled was on mine. He signed up for Medicare part b and I was allowed to stay on my work ins for six months but had to pay the premiums, was very expensive. Although I was just approved for soc sec dis. I am not eligible for medicare for approx. one year and few months. Had to get a conversion policy. Since I was on ins at work I was able to convert but not through work at all. Just the same insurance company. We called an agent who helped us with the process. The reasons I tried to go back to work was all insurance related. I tried so hard to get through the days but it just didn't work. I was freaked out and scared. I too, have a WC claim pending. This could take a long long time and I have no clue as to what the outcome will be. I believe depending upon what happens with that there is the possibility I will have to pay back monies to social security. I also have applied for Long Term Disability which should be approved since I was approved for Soc Sec. Believe me everyone will get their monies back. I know the stress you are going through its all a waiting game and you have no clue as to what is going to happen. I had to get an attorney for the WC claim but not for Soc. Security. I have been a nervous wreck for over a year now not knowing how I was going to get through the next day let alone trying to deal with the pain of my disabilities. I have prayed alot thats for sure. Getting my approval for Social Security on the 31st was truly the first wonderful thing that has happened for us in a long time. Also after 30 yrs at my job which I loved having all my friends turn their backs on me. I am sure because of the WC claim which my boss told me to file. Its been an emotional roller coaster. I just had to let go of being hurt from my co-workers. I faced the realization my health had to come first and having a nervous breakdown wasn't going to help me. I still cry if I think about my so-called friends so I try to focus on something else. Finding this support group has helped me alot. Everyone is so nice here. My husband kept telling me we have been through alot and we will get through this too. I am still scared for many reasons, my husbands illness, my problems and what the future holds for us financially but I truly feel everything will be okay as long as I have hope and faith. I apologize for the long posts just trying to help.
  • Tonya,
    I just wanted to add as far as working in 2008, In May I did go back to work but I would work one day then go off took vacation days, then maybe I would work a half day here and there. This only lasted a week or so.
    I believe when I filed for Soc Sec they said something about if you don't work more than so many days in a row. Perhaps someone else can add to this who has more knowledge. So technically I guess I did not actually work according to the guidelines of Soc. Sec in 2008.
    I continue to pray for everyone in my new support group!
  • I've used up so many vacation days since Sept trying not to go out on short term disability but today once again I had to call out. I was out more days than I actually worked. I'm waiting on a phone call from my Neurologist this morning because my numbness and tingling in my right hand is now going down my entire right side and into my legs. I know what myelopathy feels like I just pray to God this isn't what is causing this today. I was becoming paralyzed on my left side last time but my Ortho fixed that. Hopefully, my new Neurologist can fix this one soon.
    Oh and after reading this last night I sent my attorney's paralegal an email asking if they handle SSDI cases.
  • I don't think that it matters if you worked the year before filing. You just have to be disabled for 5 months before you are eligible for payments. I worked right up until my surgery last December and applied in January for SSDI. I was denied 2 times already but, they said that they do believe that I am 100% disabled but do not believe that my disability will last 1 year or more. That is another requirement is that the prognosis be that you will be disabled for 1 year or longer. I am now waiting for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge which should be some time this year. I will keep you all posted.

    Congratulations to Susie and Spunky!
  • I was working the year that I filed my claim.They DO seem to wait until you are not working or they think you won't be working for 12 months...and I can't speak for everyone of course.Every case is different..but I filed my claim in 1995 and I've been on disability since 1996...and typing that makes me sad.

    I was approved pretty quickly after I appealed,and can't remember all of the details right now,but I went on unemployment in Jan.05..sometime after that I filed my claim.In other posts I mentioned that I filed my disability claim at this time,but it was after I was on unemployment...so,sometime AFTER Jan of 05 I filed(lol)and I do know that I recieved my benefits in April of 06.With backpay that added up to about 6&1/2~7 months pay.It's been years so please forgive my memory.Or lack thereof.I realize that a lot has changed,but I do get information from SS and I visit their website from time to time.

    I'm helping someone go through the process right now~his appt was Dec 22nd and he recieved a denial letter today!!! I'm glad this is the weekend so I have time to help him work on a letter for his appeal,that has to be done in writing...I've never seen SS move THAT fast before though???!!!
  • I know my pain from the ACDF surgery will hopefully resolve sometime sthis year but the Chiari Malformation in my brain will be with me for a lifetime. There is a sister disorder of the spine that goes with this diagnosis called Syringomyelia. I don't know if I have it and am really afraid to find out. It can turn really bad really fast. If you look up the symptoms of Chiari, that's me. So hopefully my Neurologist will be my advocate and not have to rely on my Orthopaedic Surgeon. I downloaded the paperwork and now I just need to start filling in the blanks.
  • - please don't forget to add your depression and anxiety - I think that counts for a lot. I know I had
    under remarks put in a lot about my lack of short term
    memory and how I was in such a state of panic and anxiety
    that I would try to handle normal household paperwork and would lose myself after a few minutes and was constantly starting over when doing the most simple of paperwork, I just couldn't keep focused on it and that after always keeping a checkbook balanced perfectly - I had no idea how much money we had in checking because I would fail to record checks written - thinking I'd do it later and then would draw a blank on where a check had gone. Finally I told my husband, I had just screwed up our checkbook. He took it over and we had to wait until all checks were in to find out where they had gone. I would never have believed a year ago I would be unable to get myself together on something like writing a check and recording it in a register. I also included I had always kept an immaculate house and now I have to have someone else do most everything. I said I could dust things I could reach - then go rest for a little while and then get up and maybe spray and wipe out the bathroom sink and counter and then go rest where as my usual routine had been to clean everything from top to bottom - every day - so nothing ever got dirty. I pointed out that I used to do that while babysitting 3 little ones and how now I couldn't pick up a half gallon of orange juice - I would feel a big pull in my back. I don't know if those details meant anything but I put them in. Also how riding in the car was not worth it - maybe that gives a picture of a person along with the medical records - or maybe it is just disregarded - I don't know but that's what I did. I just hope you include your depression because I am sure it counts. You sound like you are getting your plans made, oh, I hope you get it submitted and then myself and I know many others will think good thoughts for you. Susie
  • I am going back to my Ortho on Monday and he and I are going to have a very open and honest conversation about this because he can't keep sending me back to work on drugs unable to sit or stand for any length of time. My therapist has notes too. There's a reason I'm on Valium. It started out to be to help my muscle spasms but it doesn't do anything for them but does help me with my panic attacks. If I didn't take Valium I would NEVER be able to get behind the wheel of a car again.
    Congratulations to ALL of you have been approved. Like I've said before you give me hope.
  • I applied for SS in Sept. 06...I was finally approved in July 08....I started getting my monthly checks on Oct. 08...I still haven't gotten my back-pay? When I call they say it's in being processed.

    I have suffered due to the financial strain, I could really use the money.
  • Why on earth is someone like Titanium Girl still waiting? I just read your list of surgeries and cringed. I cannot imagine why on earth your case is taking so long. What have they told you is the hold up? Do you get any response other than it's being processed? What was going through it like for you? I would be homeless if it took me that long.
  • Well, it was really hard. We had to file Chapter 7...were in foreclosure....I hit rock bottem. My depression got worse...as did pain brought on by stress.

    They even told my the dollar amount I was getting...still no check. I don't understand the logic. I think I'll go to the SS office on Monday & see what they say.

    Also, I didn't know my daughter was able to get benefits too. Only when I took her with me to the office. They NEVER asked if I had kids! So that's a blessing!
  • I'm sure you've probably seen many doctors but who was your best advocate? I see 4 now. My GP,Ortho,Neuro and a counsellor I just figured out last night that my one child who is still under age is also entitled to benefits. I didn't know that either.
  • As others have mentioned please when filing claim include all anxiety issues. About two weeks before I was approved I got a phone call from the person handling my claim who asked me many questions about my anxiety problems which my drs put in their reports. I really had not listed much of this in my claim just the medications I was on. I too, suffer from panic attacks and anxiety but I thought the main issues of my claim were my cervical and lumbar spine problems along with several other medical issues. I never considered my anxiety when first filing. I think I was lucky my claim person asked me so many questions. He mentioned I might have to see one of their psychologists but I did not have to. So anyone who is filing be sure to list your anxiety issues along with your primary disability problems. The fact that we suffer from chronic pain I would say a good majority of us suffer from stress also.
    Good luck and I am keeping you in my thoughts.
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