Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Social Security Disability Question. PLEASE Anyone with Info!!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Chronic Pain
I just recently applied in May 2009 for Social Security Disability. I contacted the person handling the case to check the status of my Claim & they said that they finally recieved all my Medical Records & will now have the Doctor who works in their Office Review my Records & then once the Doctor reviews my Records they will Send all my Documents to the Social Security Office & then Social Security will make the Decision.
They said I should here an answer next month & if I don't here from them, Call them back to check the status of my claim.
They said they can't give me an idea on the way the case is going whether it's good or bad. They also said they usually go by Order of File, but since I've been calling regularly they will pull my File out and work on it sooner.
First of all I thought they are the Determination People & the ones handling & making the decision. They said Social Security makes the Decision & not them. Did things change? I thought they were the determination People, the ones reviewing and gathering the records. Can someone tell me how it works??
They said it works like this
1.They gather all the necessary medical documents if they need more.
2.Then they have a Doctor in their Office Review the Records.
3.Then Send them to Social Security Office for them to make the Decision.
Okay here's the question. They said I should be getting an answer next month since I've been following up regularly. (It will only be a Total 3months since I filed)
Is it good or Bad that I might get an answer already in 3months?
PLEASE anyone who filed with Social Security Disability & has any Insight whether Denied or Approved please share your story! How long did it take for you to recieve Any Decision wether favorable or not?
Does it take longer for them to Deny you or longer for them to Approve you? Hmm wondering why I might get an answer in 3months.
Based on my Info I was told when I originally filed at the Office, If I recieve Disability I will Qualify for 1year of back pay.



  • Although I don't know if 3 months is good or bad in general, it wasn't good in my case :( I'll just tell you my story so far, and hope it helps, but, of course, everyone's different, so take it with a grain of salt. :D

    I originally applied before my surgery in Jan, 2009. I bugged them continually, and was denied in December. They said I should be able to go back to being a blackjack dealer... HAH! /:) This first process took the same as yours is expected to: 3 months.

    Of course, I appealed, and added that I would be having surgery soon, and recovery was expected to be long and hard in my case. So they waited until after my surgery to make a decision. Unfortunately, my disability was expected to only last until the end of July, when my recovery should allow for me to return to work. #o The stinky part of this is ONE DAY... ONE DAY was the difference between being approved then. :O (the one year mark is August 1, 2009).

    Of course, I asked for a hearing, because I still wasn't sure I would be ok to return to work. And although I am currently awaiting a hearing, recent discoveries in my recovery has led me to send them more info and a letter asking for an "on the record decision" so now I wait... and hope for a positive outcome. :W :SS (|:

    Good luck, I've heard of many people that do not have to jump hoops, and I've heard of others that jump so many, it takes years to get approved.

  • I filed for Social Security Disability several years ago and was turned down. I just dropped it coz I expected to return to work after some time....and i did.
    Everyone who has SSD that i know, has had to hire a Lawyer to get it. I do believe they work together....Lawyers & SS.
    I was thinking they paid you back pay from the date you filed, if you are approved. I could be wrong on all counts. If you hire a Lawyer and you win your case, they(the Lawyer) take their fee out of your back pay.The check goes to the Lawyer so they know they are gonna get their money.

    Best of luck to you, I will keep my fingers crossed.
    Patsy W
  • I had to fight for 3 years with Lawyer,
    I have RA with joint pain plus DDD with a great deal of back pain.It toke me getting lawyer before they (ssa)would even consider me also I turned 50.I got all back pay cept first 6 months
  • judge. I hope it's not a long long road. I'm sure it will be. If I get denied this time I will try one more time on my own to appeal the decision. Then if I get denied a second time I will get a lawyer to help me with the case in front of the Judge for the 3rd time. I don't want them to take $6,000 from my back pay. I heard it went up to something like $6,000 now. Anyone know??
  • I believe they take up to 20%, which is why I am with you on the judge, if I have to go in front of one, I will get a lawyer then.
  • Just found this :

    Social Security has special rules for contingency fee contracts in disability cases. If you and your lawyer enter into a "fee agreement," the most that your lawyer can be paid is 25% of your past due benefits with a limit of $5,400.

    at http://www.4socialsecuritydisability.com/Hiring_Lawyer.htm

    Hope it helps!
  • I thought I read some where the rate would increase in June 2009 to about $6,000. I could be wrong. If it hasn't increased Great but $5,400 is still alot of money. I really hope I don't hafto get to that point in front of a judge. That would make me really nervous. Can anyone tell me if they have gone before a judge. How does it work?? What was their experience, Is it scary?? Does the judge intimidate you or ask you alot of Questions??
  • HI Sounds like you are going through the state level. They have to give you an answer with in 90 days. They will more or less gather all the documentations your provided. Then find a reason why you still can do the work that you have been doing.

    At this point, if you have not all ready acquired all medical test (MRI, CT and X-rays) you should do your best to do that. Also get all the reports from your dr, since the beginning of your illness.

    They will probaby send you to there SS dr. so look you over.. Bring as much of your records as you possible can.
    They have to include that into the report on your behalf.
    The more documents you bring give more support to your case. And you may consider getting support medicaid, Food stamps and what ever else you qualify for.

    Good luck
  • Just another note here. They will send you to their Doctor who will make you do simple things anyone coud do if you have arms and legs. They did me.
    Wal-Mart has made it evem more difficult to get SSD. They figure anyone can be a greeter or a chshier.
    I was not going to draw enough to live on and it was not worth fighting for. I was hoping to return to work eventually and I did but it was very hard and I worked in a lot of pain. But I earned more than I would have made drawing SSD and well....I just wanted to work and as soon as I get my savage pain under control I will return to work again. In 97 I started my own little business but have not been able to work at it much since 2004. I am eager to get back to work and I will as soon as I recover from my SCS implant surgery. Yippeeeeeeeeee
    That is unless something else breaks. LOL
    Good luck
    Patsy W
  • Three months is almost unheard of for a positive decision. Be ready to file the appeal, as soon as you are declined. In Oregon, there are some people waiting for a decision for over 3 years! That's rediculous! People can be homeless or dead in that time frame. SUPPOSEDLY, they have only 3 people to determine claims. Unbelievable in this day and age. I know of people who have had to contact their state representatives in order to get their cases heard. You are luck to only wait 3 months. Good luck on your claim, I hope you win.

  • I have first-hand experience dealing with the SSA, and I can tell you it's a big pain in the butt but if you're really unable to do the work you previously did OR another job with "meaningful" potential, I suggest you stick at it. Here are some things that might help you.

    1. It's not just the ability to do YOUR job that they are measuring. They want to know if you are able to do ANY job (whether part time or full). If they find the smallest reason for stating you can work, they'll use it. They will most likely have you examined by a local "workplace" doctor. Typically someone who handles workman's compensation cases, etc. Don't expect them to be on your side, and don't expect them to give the same prognosis as your other doctors. They're not working for YOU, after all.

    2. All states are different in the amount of time it takes them to process claims. I do not believe they are required to give you a response within 90 days. The first time I applied it took about 5 months. The second time, it only took about 2.5.

    3. WHEN you get denied (and I mean when, not if), you have a limited amount of time to file for an appeal. SO, at that point if you are planning on sticking to your guns, you MUST hire an attorney. They specialize in the legal details on what constitutes a disability, and you will not be able to file all the necessary paperwork and handle a trial yourself. DON'T wait until you need a trial, get one to file the appeal for you as well.

    4. Most disability attorneys in the US will not charge you anything unless they win your case. They will usually not take cases unless they feel there is merit to it. A high percent of cases taken by disability lawyers are won (most of them have an 80% and higher success rate). So, it's not going to hurt you to get one. Would you rather give up 25% or $5400 (whichever is less) of your initial settlement and gain the benefits of SS, or would you rather just get nothing? It's really a no-brainer.

    5. Your appeal WILL be denied. Usually they will deny your appeal within 30 days of its submission. Don't worry about it. Your attorney will then file a request for a hearing. This is where the waiting is the worst, so be prepared. This again varies HUGELY by state. The average is anywhere from about 6-16 months from the request. I know, it stinks, but you're going to need patience to make it through.

    So, DON'T waste any time after your denial letter. DON'T try to handle it yourself. DO call an attorney as soon as possible and get a consultation (it's not going to cost you anything). You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    Good luck, stay positive, and stick it out! If you have any other questions, feel free to message me...

  • :jawdrop: Wow, that was an extremely gloom and doom way to put it JJ! :O Although I agree with some of what you say, there is rare, but living proof here in our Spine-health family that you CAN have a successful outcome on your appeal, and even your first application. =D> <:P

    If what you stated in 3 was even right, what would be the point of getting an attorney before your first appeal? :/ There would be no point whatsoever.

    Personally, I'm waiting till I'm all out of options (I.E. I get my court date) to "hire" a lawyer. You never know what can happen before that time.

    I am on the final stretch myself waiting for a hearing date; although I've received new "proof" recently and have ask for an "on the record decision"; but I refuse to contact a lawyer until I have a date in hand. <):)

    This is just my honest opinion.

    Hugs and best wishes to all!

  • but Hope for the Best. With Prayer and Good Medical Records I can't help but hope for a good result. I know though it's a Pain based on majority of cases. But for me personally if I get denied I will Appeal on my own just to give it one last Go for myself. Then if I get Denied for the 2nd time I will get an attorney. I really need ALL the money I can get, so I will wait until the last minute to get one.
    It's good to be Prepared though for the Worst. Thanks for the Heads up on everybody's personal experiences.
    Whyme you said you gor new proof, and asked for "on the record decision".. Can you tell me what is that?
  • Well, I called the local office (Vancouver,WA), and was asking if I should just reapply, since I had more records showing that the length of my post-surgical disability would be longer than previously reported. She said absolutely not, that I should send a letter stating what the new records show, and ask for an on the record decision, and attach any records I had.

    What I did in the letter, was repeat pretty much everything in my application, including all other medical conditions and meds I'm taking, their effect, etc, etc. I put "request for an ON THE RECORD DECISION" both at the top and at the bottom of the letter, in bold.

    I plan to call them tomorrow to be sure they got it, and ask how long that takes. The letter and info will go to the judge, who may or may not make a decision based on the current proof. It's my understanding, if no decision is made, it will still go to a hearing.

    I hope that answers your question!
  • and if so is it DLA that you want ?
  • My SSD story is long... It's all under the Health Insurance forum. My lawyers cut was 20% with a maximum of $2500.00. It was WORTH it! The whole process took 3 years. Good luck to you!
    Faith M
  • I was able to get SSDI after first application, 3 months later, BUT, there are certain reasons why. First, my occupation that I performed for 30 years, a nurse, was impossible for me to return to. Second, my age at the time was 50. Third, I have had multiple surgeries on my hands and elbows, as well as my spine. Lastly, I had excellent medical record documentation and a doctor who filled out the functional assessment that SS sends out to all the doctors you list on your application. Most doctors will NOT fill this out. There are doctors, such as physiatrists who will do them.

    So, questions to you: How old are you? What is your usual occupation? Does your doctor feel you are disabled?

    And, I did hire an attorney right at the start, but don't know if that affected my application or not.

    I wish you the very best!

  • Whyme stated:

    "Personally, I'm waiting till I'm all out of options (I.E. I get my court date) to "hire" a lawyer. You never know what can happen before that time."

    That's not a bad idea in YOUR case, but that may actually hurt other individuals who are waiting for a hearing date... mainly, will the attorney you really want be available for that hearing date? Or will you have to settle for one that's has a 50/50 track record of winning appeals?

    In Louisiana, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) won't proceed without an attorney and will ask the claimants to reschedule and find an attorney.

    There is such a long wait to even get a hearing date, I would hate for anyone's claim to be prolonged yet another 3 months or so. My advice would be to wait until the claim is denied (just in case the disabiling conditions is so severe the claim is approved at the initial level - you don't want to pay an attorney for doing absolutely nothing), then hire an attorney. They will do all the leg work for you as far as filing the appeals, requesting updated medical records, etc.

    $5,400 is alot of money, but this is just THE MOST the attorney can collect. If 25% of your back pay only turnes out to be $250.00, then that's all he will get. It's which ever amount is the LEAST. The ALJ has to approve your attorney, AND his fee. This is all to protect the individuals...

    Good luck to everyone who is filing their disability claims. If you have any questions, shoot me a PM and I will do my best to answer.

  • Jeaux, thank you for bringing that to our attention! >:D< Fortunately for me, I still believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that this is not PERMANENT. I guess that gives me more of a cowboy attitude, and it shouldn't. My family is broke, and yes, it's because of my current disability, and no, I can't work right now. For that reason alone I should be less "cocky" about it. But since my request is already in, I will still wait until they make or don't make a decision on it to get a lawyer.


  • Don't give up my husband got approved within 3 months for Social Security Disability although his was related to mental issues. During the time though the case manager was encouraging me to apply as well because his appointment at their office was 2 weeks before my two level ACDF.

    I am considering applying now. Wish me luck and I wish you all the best as well:)


    C2-3 essentially normal

    C3-4 There is DDD w/spurring and a bulge eccentric to the right. These changes are causing at least mild flattening of the thecal sac and mild-moderate narrowing of the right neuroforamen.

    C4-5 There is moderate DDD w/ a minimal bulge and uncovertebral spurring. There is at most slight flattening of the thecal sac and neuroformina.

    C5-6 There is fairly prominent loss of disc height and disc signal. There is extensive right-sided uncovertebral spurring w/ possibly associated disc material.However, I mainly believe this is a spur. This abuts and flattens the right ventral surface of the spinal cord and is causing mainly severe right neuroforminal narrowing although there is fairly prominent central canal stenosis as well. The left neuroforman is atleast moderatly narrowed.

    C6-7 There is fairly prominent DDD w/ uncovertebral spurring and a disc bulge, more prominent on the right compared to the left. The CSF space is nearly completely effaced but no spinal deformity. Moderate central canal and bilateral neuroforminal narrowing.

    C7-T1 There is a minimal bulge and hyperthrophy w/o significate mass effect.

    No acute bony changes present there are a few scattered hemangiomas.

    Lumbar spine

    L5-S1 Normal

    L4-L5 Normal

    L3-L4 Normal

    L2-L3 Normal

    L1-L2 There is a small focal central disc herniation superimposed upon a mild to moderate circumferential bulge. There is also mild to moderate narrowing of the disc space. These changes, plus minimal facet hyperthrophy, are at most causing slight flattening of the ventral surface of the thecal sac. Also some small osteophytes.

    Thoracic Spine


    1. T 7-8 Tiny central disc herniation which abuts w/o distorting or displacing the spinal cord

    2. There are a few scattered hemangiomas

    3. No acute bony abnormalities are identified


    Please help had ACDF on C5-6 C6-7 surgery on Dec. 16th 2008 still in alot of pain. I actually feel worse now the before my surgery. This is MRI was done before my surgery.
  • I filed my claim for SSDI in Feb and received an approval letter in Oct which started benefits retro to July. So, it took 9 months to get a response and they denied the first six months of my disability. (I was claiming disabled from Jan) -which, I think is the protocol...to deny the first six months.

    The whole process really ticks me off because I know if you're working, it's an instantaneous denial. I was "lucky enough" to live off of 401(k) money until I was approved. My "back up plan" was suicide if I'd been denied. That sounds horrible but it's more a case of logic - for me. There's no one else around to feed me and working simply isn't possible. Yeah, there are days that I could be a Walmart Grumpy Greeter...but I couldn't tell you which day it will be...until I wake up - and THEN...wait an hour and it could change from "I'm okay" to "Okay, kill me NOW".

    I seriously wonder if the government is PUSHING for us to do the unthinkable by making so many wait for so long. Daily living takes such persistence that I wouldn't have the fortitude to battle "them" too with all their stinking paperwork, lawyers, appointments and crap. I find the "simple" (har har) process of wading through doctor/specialist crap HARD ENOUGH.

    gee..I'm just a barrel of sunshine this morning, ain't I?

    Very Best Regards -
  • :? I have had my hard times, or I should say my family has. I worked for the railroad for about 10 years and I started having problems with my neck and low back. I had to go on sick benefits in february '08 and that lasted to february '09. When I had my C4-C6 fusion my Dr recommended I file for total permanent disability. I was told about additional surgeries in the future, etc.. I discussed this with my family and I filed in June '08. I went to the IME that the Railroad Retirement Board demanded. The Dr gave me a fully supportive exam. Things like never bend, twist, stoop, crawl, climb a ladder, avoid steps and uneven surfaces, etc... never lift over 10 lbs ocassionally or 5 lbs frequently. I was fully supported by my Neurologist. I had his Functional exam and a letter written by him supporting me and it was a page and a half. Anyways I was denied in October. I got an Attorney and requested a reconsideration. I was denied that in January '09. I am now waiting for a possible on the record decision from the Judge. How long has anyone waited for "On the Record" decision after requesting it? I hope everyone here gets what they deserve and have a fullfilling life regardless of there hardtimes.
  • Did you file your disability claim from the railroad?

    I remember when I worked for the disability office, we never touched the railroad claims. I was told they had their own program for disability.

    Is this the case for you?
  • I recently got s Disability Attorney. I found out that Disabilty did not work on the file at all, even after I kept sending further evidence. In the evidence CD they sent me, apparently i was given Psychiatric review without being seen??????? I dont get how they did that! It said Psych eval done June 15, 2009?????? I never saw anyone. Anyone filing for Disabilty should always maintain their own medical history file for their own records and make a copy for Disability! I burned the Atty a copy of the Evidence CD and I kept the original. I'm letting the Attorney gather anything else I need to prove my case and letting him stress for me, I have enough to do to take care of myself! It may cost a fee, but its worth it. The Atty told me also that Disabilty considers it your responsibilty to prove your case and provide evidence. I filed on May 07, got my denial 6-8 months later, I appealed for a Hearing, and now gearing up with representation.
  • No kidding?!?! They actually listed information that was not pertinent to your claim? Not good.

    Did they send you on any appointments? Usually that's the wording that's used when this occurs...

    Other than that, they have medical doctors and psychologist/psychiatrists on staff at the Disability office because of the different types of claim that HAVE to be reviewed medically...

    You did the right thing by hiring an attorney to "Stress over all this". That is exactly what they get paid to do. Good luck in your fight!

  • Reading all this makes me think I'm pretty much screwed...lol. I'm still waiting back on their decision. The lady is pretty good at keeping in touch with me though. I've already had my "appt" with their ortho and physch docs. She was just waiting on my files from one place, so I called them to get it done. Now I'm just waiting for my denial letter...lol.
  • Brandy SC,
    I have never posted on this site and have been here many times as I have been battling back, leg, foot pain for over 10 years. I have been through three surgeries. After reading your posts, I felt that I should tell you to not give up !!

    I had the same thoughts as you did as my knowledge about the SSD approval process was not great. Growing up, my stepfather had a severe heart condition and couldn't work. He had to fight for disability benefits for over 3 years and was approved AFTER he had passed away!

    I was taken out of work in Jan. 2008 due to severe pain. I had my second back surgery in 2008 hoping that would fix the issue, but it didn't. I had to have my third surgery in March 2009 and am still battling pain. I had been on long term disability from work. They asked me to apply for SSD. I filed in Feb. 09. Fortunately, I had paperwork that went back prior to my first surgery in 2002. I have seen a lot of different doctors (over 15) and I listed every doctor and every test that I have ever had which was a lot. It took about 5 hours on the phone with the SSA representative. I, too, expected to be denied and have to start the appeals process. However, I was approved in April 2009. So, please let me encourage you that it is possible to get approved on the first try. I think it really depends on the level of information you provided for review. So hang in there and think positively! :)))
  • Thanks for the encouragement. I'm going to try and stay positive. I just feel after reading a lot I have a lot going against me. I'm young, haven't had surgery yet, ect, but I guess you never know until you try. Hoping to hear something either way cause the waiting is the worst. Unfortunately if I get denied I have choice but to try and go back to work, cause we need the extra income with three kids. Not sure how that will go with all my problems, but I guess you have to do what you gotta do.
  • I am sorry if I had not answered your question. I am kind of in and out with my meds being changed so much. My disability is handled by the Railroad Retirement Board. I have a Tier I and Tier II benefits. My process is the same as SSA but done by the RRB. When they make a decision it is affirmed by the SSA.
  • Last month I was sent to be seen by their doctors on the 15. I saw an ortho, had x-rays, and then saw the pysch doc. I just received a letter in the mail saying I have appts on the 20th with them again. I called to see if it was a mistake and am waiting on a return call. I'll call my caseworker tomorrow since she's not in on Mondays. Is it normal for them to want to see me two times? Is that good or bad?
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.