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6 surgeries and denied

Faith MFFaith M Posts: 287
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Health Insurance Issues
I applied for SSD 2 1/2 years ago. At that time I had been through 6 surgeries and was diagnosed with permanent nerve damage. My surgeon wrote "she is completely disabled" on the SSD form. I was denied because they said I had been treated for all of my issues, and they thought I could work a 30 hour work week doing bookeeping! What a joke. Since then I've had a 2 level lumbar fusion and another cervical fusion. I certainly haven't gotten any better. I finally have my appeal in one week. My lawyer says my medical is really solid, the only thing that could hurt my case is that I don't look "disabled". I have faithfully done my PT excersizes ALL THESE YEARS and I have not given up. To think this could work against me is astounding! Lawyer said he wishes he could put a hunch back on me,grey hair and some pounds.(If only he'd seen me a few months ago! :& ) I am an honest person and I will not ugly myself up or use my cane if I don't need it. If I went in with no makup on it would terrify them all! I haven't used my cane since fusion 1 year ago. I feel very blessed although I still have major problems with my foot. I also just had a cervical fusion 7 weeks ago. That herniation happened just pushing a 1/2 full grocery cart. So are they going to say I've been treated for all my issues again? My surgeon said there is a 100% chance I have 2 more fusions in my future. Could I still be denied with 8 surgeries,permanent nerve damage,and 2 surgeons saying I am disabled? I am 45 will my age hurt me too? Ugh! Sorry so long, any input would be appreciated.

Faith M


  • I am sorry you are having to fight like this!

    This is awful!
    Surely disabled is all about how your life has been affected and limited by your pain and mobility issues?
    And it depends what your start point was too...professional runner versus office worker - different level of incapacity will make a huge difference or not to these two ppl.
    I wish you luck in your fight!
  • Faith,
    I can relate too well to your Lawyer saying you don't look disabled. My OS has told me the same thing many times, you don't look disabled, I was very athletic before my surgeries and I have been lucky to keep in shape so well. I wish I knew what disabled LOOKED like, but medicaly I am disabled with another surgery this month. Good luck during your hearing, I am still waiting on mine, appealed things in June of 08...

  • For the good luck wishes. I guess the worst that can happen is they say no. They've already said that and I can deal with it. I won't give up. I think the judge will see that I am an honest person because I didn't put on a hunchback costume. I am going as ME! I worked disabled with a cane for many years teaching preschool. I worked until I couldn't work anymore, I deserve to win this after 11 years of he**. I will fight for myself.

    Faith M
  • Faith, I am sorry for all your pain and mental abuse you have to go through. I too am waiting for an appeal through my lawyer. Your age is AGAINST you. I don't know about your educationm, but, having a Degree will also be against you. Don't give up. Will pray for you, Please keep us up to date
  • I also agree that people perceive we have to look a certain way. But I have to say I appear as the typical back patient-packing the lbs, gray hair taking over, hunched over sporting a cane. However I am vain and will wear lipstick. I was awarded SSDI at 27 but wasn't back related. I think my lawyer said my age would be against me but I stood a good chance. It took 3 years to win my case.

    Faith, don't give up. You have had so much happen to you and you need to get this help. The vocational expert will look at your past employment and determine if you are able to do it despite your condition. I did have a job that require me to be on my feet most of the time multitasking and there was no way I could handle that again. Even if we have a sedentary job, sitting at a desk is damn near impossible with lower back pain and permanent damage. I hope you win your case but meanwhile hang in there and don't let them discourage you. Take care
  • It can be extremely frustrating to try and navigate the system and get approved for benefits you have essentially earned throughout the length of your working career.
    Benefits are based on your earnings over past quarters (same method used for short term disability.)
    In my experience, the certification from the doctor has to be very persuasive and specific regarding your limitations.
    Including the potential need for additional fusion surgeries is also very important.
    I was given SSDI about a year after I applied. I guess I was fortunate in getting through the entire process without needing an attorney. I had a face-to-face interview with the disability folks in the local Social Security office and the questions asked got very nit-picky, looking for all possible sources of income other than SSDI.
    I believe whoever handles your initial review has a lot of influence in getting approval. My disability assessment was a very lengthy process (reams of paperwork!), but my reviewer greeted me warmly and said she was really glad to meet me and she looked forward to getting me my benefits!
    It may have been a really good day for her, but I was awarded all benefits back to the day of my injury and lost time, which was a godsend as I was living pretty close to the thin edge of homelessness!
    If your attorney knows his stuff and fights for you, you stand a better chance of getting approval from the administrative law judge. It might also help if your prior employer doesn't object to the process. My employee benefits person assisted me quite a bit.
    It does NOT help to try and pose as anything but what you are in reality. No canes, wheelchairs, facepaint etc. can substitute for a very thorough doctor's certification.

    Good luck and I hope you succeed! <:P :H

  • Thank you mrlee, meydey and kittyluv for your support. I really appreciate it! My(recent)past employment- I was a bookeeper for 9 years until 1995(pencil and paper). Then I was a preschool teacher for 7 years. I do not have any degrees or college education. I have 2 really good Dr. certification notes, both saying I can't work a sedentary job. They both state I have permanent nerve damage. My most recent surgeon I nicknamed the minute man, your'e lucky if he gives you 1 minute in his office. Fortunately he took the time to fill out the note. He answered everything, how long I can sit, stand etc. He did NOT note that I'll need 2 more fusions. He's a great surgeon but a crappy docter, does that make sense? I'm worried and I have butterflies about court on Monday. I'm not that great when you put me on the spot. I hope I don't yammer like an idiot. I'll be checking back in on Tuesday, I'm sure I'll have plenty to say!

    Keep Hope,
    Faith M
  • Since this system seems so frayed, I'd go buy a walker from a thrift store in a heartbeat. I can give back BS as much as I take it. Pride and vanity really have no place in a land where it's all subjective to a handful of people whether you get approved or not.

    I wouldn't go as far as renting a gray wig...but a walker, heck yeah! I could actually use one now and again. And I'd enter the court in one of those battery-operated chairs like I use at Walmart and Target if I could, as I truly need those when a lot of walking is needed.
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