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

An interesting conversation with an SSDI lead attorney

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Health Insurance Issues
I just got off the phone with the lead attorney for our area's Disability office. About 3 weeks ago, I sent in a long letter and my most recent CT/Myelo and asked for an "on the record decision" on my case. My one year "anniversary" of being unable to work is the end of this month.

He actually sounded very positive. I actually decided to ask for this decision after talking to my NS about the (what he says) "fact" that my problems will most likely not go away until I fuse (for at least 2 years). At the time he said this,, he also said I should reapply for SSDI, and he would support me.

So, this lawyer tells me he would like to see the note I mention in the letter (I didn't include it, because I thought they would send out a form for the doctor to fill out), and also I should ask for a statement from any one of my 3 doctors that includes my current limitations regarding being able to stand/walk/sit/lift in a combination that would not allow me to hold a full time job.

I will have no trouble getting this, but since I don't have a lawyer, I'm curious: he says "full time", but shouldn't he have said "any" job? If you can hold a job of any kind, or if you even work an hour a week, I thought you can't be considered for disability, is that assumption incorrect?

He sounded as though, when I get this, I will most likely have a favorable outcome... so we'll see (hopefully soon).

This may be confusing for some to read, since I have all my plans for school and such. I DO plan on attending school (full or part time remains to be seen), because I DON'T plan on this being permanent. But, attending school is a lot easier than working, isn't it?

Anyway, I hope someone can respond about the full time job deal he mentioned.



  • I'm not allowed to take any courses while receiving disability. I'm on insurance LTD disabilty from work. I hear they'll make you work in a pizza store where you take calls while laying down. I think that's really unlikely since memory and concentration is gone from the meds. Anyways a little off topic but I hope you can get disability. Take care. 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
  • I actually have looked that up Paul, and there is nothing anywhere that says it's against the ssdi rules to attend college. Of course, I will most likely be "attending" online for the first year anyway.

  • I don't know the rules either, but I "believe" concentration would be a big factor in winning SSDI and if you can concentrate for school classes, they may see that you can concentrate from home and work in some facet from the computer. I am not sure though???
  • Whyme, Good for you for pursuing further education.

    I too have been out of work, its going on 1 1/2 years now. My Lumber TLIF was May 2008. My surgeon wants to do exploratory on this area to find out if hardware is loose, or something restricting my nerves. So I guess I will be out much longer.

    I have been denied SSDI and in the process of appeals. I am told that you can work part time and still collect partial SSDI so I dont see why you cant go to school. I am sure your work duties are restricted or else you would not be pursuing SSDI.

    I think pursuing classes would be good for you mentally also. Focusing on your studies may distract you from the pain.

    Good luck, I hope you win your disablity case.

  • Thank you Diane. So you CAN work part time? I thought I had read that you can't, been trying to find something on their website that tells me otherwise. I had months to try to find something about attending college while on SSDI, but only have a week to find out about working. Can you tell me who told you you can work part time? I just don't want my doctor to end up saying can't do X for more than 1-2 hours a day, and have SSDI come back and tell me I can work part-time, therefore am ineligible.

  • Hi,

    Yes I have a LTD policy and my insurance consultant/adjuster told me this. She is also the one who told me that I needed to apply for SSDI because I have been out of work so long. My injuiry is work related and I collect workers comp and a very very small check from LTD. My WC attorney just referred me to another attorney to help me appeal my denial. Social security denied me and said that I should be able to find work with my restrictions. Again I am pending another surgery anyday now. What idiots, if they could find me a job where I cant sit longer that 30 minutes, cant bend or stand or need to use my brain to concentrate (narcotics) I would be happy to work.

    I was also told by my WC attorney that I could work part time and collect partial disablility. I hope they are all telling me the truth. I am waiting to hear from the new disability lawyer.

    I cant quote you or direct you to a website. Again this info has been told to me by LTD adjuster and my WC attorney.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
  • Well, I hear it's better to have a lawyer. In fact, I wish I had one right now.
    From other's experiences and my own, I don't think they even look at all your medical records the first time around, It's like they play roulette with your job history: "ok, it landed on a 1, that means she can still DANCE for a living". What a farce. They told me I could still deal Blackjack (which I actually had to quit doing over 10 years ago due to Arthritis).

    When I appealed the second time, it was actually my NS's fault that I got denied. Even after telling me again and again that it would be a long hard recovery for me, he had in my notes that I should be able to return to work by the end of July, which as I stated earlier, was my one year "anniversary" (officially, anyway. I was my own boss, and my adult son did most of my programming for me, and my twins did a lot of the data entry. I rarely worked more that a few hours a week. But I never paid them, so that doesn't count lol) He now has that I should file for disability, what a change.

    Funny you mention about the Narcotics. The SSDI lawyer told me if I'm taking any drugs that make it difficult to work, I should have my doctor be sure to list them as a reason as well as any of any other of the list of my "ills" that make it harder to work (I have a LONG list, and made sure to include everything from my hearing loss to my allergies), he was particularly interested in my plantar fasciitis that makes it even more difficult to stand for any length of time.

    I wish you the best with your appeal!
  • I want to apologize for going off in my earlier post, but I'd like to explain.

    I don't want to go into great detail (but knowing me, I probably will), but I have been fighting with myself about school for months. I have questioned whether I will even be able to attend when the time arrives. Most people here don't really know as "bad as it gets" for me, and that's the way I like it.

    I never really committed to disability because I keep "looking on the bright side" "thinking positive", and all those cliches I so like to use.

    No, I definitely am NOT as bad off as many here, but there is still a huge element of uncertainty among other things, that I fight with every day. My decision to go back to school was reached because I believe without goals, we are useless. I won't be a bump on a log simply because I don't know my future. A lawyer I spoke to a while back about disability, when I was considering dropping the whole thing, told me I should still request a hearing. He made me face what I really didn't want to face, that I really don't know what my future will be.

    Then, I made my goal. I checked and double checked to be sure that the two would not be in conflict. I fought with myself. "if you're well enough to go to school, you're well enough to work". "But I know I can't work now" "It's ok, because you filed your appeal". "But what if I can work even a day after I get disability?" and so on the voices raged in my head. My kids, my friends, all comforted me... "school will be nowhere near as hard on your health problems as working would." I know this is how I have to do things. Because for me to sit here day in and day out -- without any plans or dreams, waiting to see if everything turns out ok for me -- is just unimaginable to me.

    So I suppose I let my anger, and maybe a bit of my depression of late, use my keyboard to write something that, looking back on, was just an attack on myself disguised as an attack on everyone here.

    I am truly sorry.
  • Well, if it does it does, I'm not going to let go of my dreams because I need money and insurance.

    Yes, I AM that hard-headed.
  • Then I think I'm safe, as long as they don't ask me a specific question. I'm too honest, and as I've said in the past, I need a filter on my thoughts most of the time. But, if I put my mind to it, I CAN "ignore" certain aspects of my life for certain people.

    Thanks for the heads-up.
  • I am on SSI. It has sililar rules to SSD. I attend college right now, and they can not deny you the opturniy to educate yourself. They see it as that you are getting education for a job. Thats it. As far as a full time job, but only a small amount of hours a week or you get pentilalized. The social security office will take money out of the social security check you get. It works out that you never get a head. You earn it, they take it from your check, so in the long run, its not worth working. Go to school. If your qualify through school, you might end up making money going to school. I get government grants for school and end up with money in my pocket for it. So my advice try going to school.
  • I agree with Paul. I did not see the earlier post when you "went off" and I'm glad...I may have taken it personal. :) WEll, I was just letting you know what a judge may see or how he/she may view school as opposed to working. God bless. You should always follow your dreams if you are physically able. I have a similar situation. I want another child, but don't think my body can handle being pg, but I am sure that wouldn't be looked upon as ok in the eyes of SS...so I probably have given up on that "dream" b/c I have heard I won my case. My husband had a vasectomy...so if God miraculously provides the 'dream', I'll take it, but we are not going to actively pursue it now. The economy is so bad and I do need the money/insurance badly.
  • I'm sorry to hear that you feel you shouldn't follow your dreams because of some unwritten rule that you feel has been placed on you because you receive SSDI. I feel sorry for anyone that are afraid to succeed because of limitations they feel are placed on them by the government and social programs.

    This is not meant to be mean, and does not pertain to most on this website. I just can't imagine that a person would give up anything they are ABLE to do just to keep getting money from the government. If I could go out and work today, I would do it... even if I knew my doctor would tell SSDI that I can't. I'm not going to stop living my life just so I can receive money from the government.

    Again, I'm sorry if this offends anyone, and it's not a slight on you, Tarheel, just what you said made me really think about what everyone's said in regards to SSDI. It seems that a lot of people perceive restrictions that just shouldn't matter. If someone can do something that can potentially threaten their disability, maybe that person shouldn't be on disability. (again me thinking to myself... if I can go to school, shouldn't I be able to work?)

    Maybe I'm wrong here, but not to do something because of a written rule for SSDI recipients is one thing. But, not to live because of a PERCEIVED rule is just sad. And this is just my opinion.
  • I wanted to let you know that you CAN work part time and receive SSDI and I know this because my sister received SSDI last year and she works part-time 2-3 days a week as a recepionist in a real estate office. She had to go in front of the judge to win her case but still she won. She had to turn in her wages from her job and they calcuate her benefit from that.
    I think your doing a great thing wanting to go to school, I would love to myself but I just couldn't handle it right now. Its hard enough to just get out of bed everyday.
    Good Luck!!
  • No need to feel sorry for me. Hopefully I made it clear that I don't think my body can physically handle a baby...although it would be a dream to have another one...I love babies. And IF I could go out and physically get a job now, especially doing what I used to as an L&D nurse, I'd do that in a heartbeat and make 3 times what I can make on SSDI. Also, my husband had a vasectomy, so it makes my "dream" even harder. And, about people not wanting to jepordize their SSDI payments...well, I know some on this site are very much in my situation...since not being able to work and with this economy...it is detrimental and life changing to get a monthly SSDI (praying I do...haven't recieved my letter yet)...My mortgage is behind and we will soon have no place to live...and if I were well, I could prevent most of this, even though my husband's career is threatened in this economy. If I could be a nurse, I could keep us afloat. I'm sorry if I gave the wrong appearance to you or anyone on this site. MANY of us have our dreams crushed by our disabilities...it crapy, but that's what God has in store for me...so I'll follow it...not a dream, but His will.
  • Tarheel, I thought I made it very clear it was not you I was talking about in particular, just a general idea that people feel restricted by more than just their disability. Again, sorry if it offended you, it's my opinion.

    I am not one to give up just because I've been thrown a ton of curve balls. I have not worked in a year (over if you count the fact that my children did all my work for me in my business for several months prior to the official "last day". I have been close to losing my apartment for about 5 months, I lost my vehicle last week, and I am still having backlashes from my surgery.

    So, I DO understand the necessity of Government programs. I thought I made it clear that what I said had nothing to do with most people here.

    Although I wasn't talking about you in particular, what you said "I want another child, but don't think my body can handle being pg, but I am sure that wouldn't be looked upon as ok in the eyes of SS...so I probably have given up on that "dream" b/c I have heard I won my case." made it SOUND like you gave up completely because you won your case, not because you were physically unable. This is what I mean when I say I'm sorry you feel you shouldn't follow your dreams because you "think" it will affect your SSDI.

    To me it's like saying "I'm going into work today even though I have a fever of 106, because if I don't, I THINK I'm going to get fired."

    I'm sorry tar if you took this personally, the original post was not meant to be a personal attack.
  • Whyme, you have a healthy way of looking at your abilities, dreams and SSDI. You know at this point working a full time job is not physically possible but believe it will be in the future. You wish to enhance yourself and your earning potential by getting an education.

    Most importantly if getting your education disqualifies you for SSDI, then you don't qualify...so be it. To not take the college course work you want just to qualify for SSDI, you feel like you would not be being truthful with yourself or SSA.

    I applaud your high standards. I do honestly believe that you should be able to at least take part-time courses. You can earn income on SSDI, this quote is from SSA's Q&A.
    We have special rules called "work incentives" that help you keep your cash benefits and Medicare while you test your ability to work. For example, there is a trial work period during which you can receive full benefits regardless of how much you earn, as long as you report your work activity and continue to have a disabling impairment.

    The trial work period continues until you accumulate nine months (not necessarily consecutive) in which you perform what we call "services" within a rolling 60-month period. We consider your work to be "services" if you earn more than $700 a month in 2009. For 2008, this amount was $670.

    After the trial work period ends, your benefits will stop for months your earnings are at a level we consider "substantial," currently $980 in 2009.
    There is also the Ticket to Work program, so SSDI is supportive of disabled persons who try to return to gainful employment. A great way to do that is supplement current skills with additional education.

    All my best.
  • Hello everyone,

    My WC told me I was okay to work, and sent me to school. I was not well. I averaged an A-, yet, my homework had to be done twice, and checked. I never had time for more than noodles. Would fall asleep at the keyboard. I am VERY stubborn. But, I knew I couldn't hang for 3 whole quarters. They said when I dropped out, that I was just having a bad week. I argued that I merely had 5 months of good days. Sometimes I wouldn't come in unless it was a test, then I left.I cannot explain how trying and taxing it was to follow their dream. I am now waiting for SSD, and NOT SSI. Although, SSI told me could help if I were working a little. When they had my phone interview, they explained it all fairly well. So, when I got the paperwork, it stated I was not eligable for SSI, because I had refused it. Nice.
    I believe that SSI says keep us posted...
    SSD says good luck then.
    If I eventually go back to school, it will be on my terms and timeline. Unfortunately, it will not be for
    any kind of work. I used my Biol classes to argue with doc. Then found new doc to dx me for real.
    Sorry so long.
  • Social security has a variety of incentives,including the ticket to work program.
    Another is work incentive. These programs help as a bridge between disability benifit and finacial independence.
    They will deduct some monies from your benifit while you work.
    Also if your disability claims gets approved because you can't sit for more than a few minutes,I'm sure they would be wondering how you would be able to sit for an hour or so in a classroom. Regarless if it's at home or at a campus.
    Unless you have some type of self pace program.
    Most of there programs are to help a disabled person find employment that they can do with there limitation.
    Not pay you while you go to school.
    There are other program run by federal and state goverment that will do that.
    You can't forget the reason that you are disabled.
    If you can't work due to those limitation,then it would affect anything else you do as well.

    Good luck to you!
  • Hello - I didn't see the post. I can certainly understand having dreams and wondering what they would be, all of us have them.

    I have spent the last 25+ years wondering what would have happened if I had not worked, on a Sat morning in March. I do the job that I do because I still am able to, for right now, but I know that when I cannot, I will do all I can to change my path and remain productive.

    I have had to put all kinds of dreams into a box, cause I cannot do them anymore. 25 years of setting things aside.

    GO-GO-GO - never give up, ever.
Sign In or Register to comment.