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

When do you apply for SSD

mcdermojummcdermoju Posts: 24
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Health Insurance Issues
I was wondering when you consider applying for SSD. I'm 42 and have had a 3 level lumbar fusion in 07, at 2 level cervical fusion in 09 and am getting ready for another cervical fusion in Oct 10. I know that surgery is going to be at least a one level but he may have to do more depending on what 2 other levels look like when he gets in there.

I'm working from home due to not being able to carry my laptop back and forth to the office and not being able to sit in an office chair...I work most of the time from the recliner or my bed. I can't take the pain meds as much as I need to during the day due to work, so I work through the pain. My quality of life has significantly decreased and I can't even do my own grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, etc. On top of it all I just found out my job is being outsourced next spring. I'm not sure who is going to hire me with my health/back issues and am wondering if it is time to think about SSD.


  • That will come between you and your doctor most times! You yourself will know when you are 'limited' in what you can do. Also too, you can go on the social security site to see "their" definition of disabled to help you decide if you are getting into that category.

    A big key is whether your doctor is on board with it!!! Admin (the paperwork) is a bummer for many doctors, but if you have a doctor that is stating to you that you need to leave your job, and too that they support (biggy here) you filing, that is a big plus. I hope this helps?

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Do you have Short Term Disability and Long Term Disability through your employer? If so, you may want to take advantage of those plans when you have your surgery in October.

    SpineAZ (Karin) is a great source of information when it comes to SSD. I am sure she will read your post and give you some helpful guideance.

    Wishing you less pain and I hope your surgery is a success.

    Please keep us posted.

  • I am coming close to Long Term Disability, so I read the entire plan document. I found a small paragraph that said that after 22 weeks, I MUST apply for SSD, and if denied, I MUST appeal it.

    Short term disability was relatively easy to deal with. I have a feeling that LTD and SSD are going to be much harder.
  • Getting Social Security Disability can be a lon drawn out issue of 2 to 3 years in which time you can't be working at all because if you ao then you have found a new career that you can handle. Secondly the younger you are the more inclined they will be to try to do vocational rehab to get you back to work. How ever if your case is straght forward enough and you have your doctors agreeing that you are 100% disabled then of course you can get it. Be prepared for SSD to send you to their own doctors and at least one appeal with a hearing judge. During all that time you will have to have other means of living wether it's from family, friends, goverment aid etc...

    Best of luck to you and God Bless
    AL S
  • Here the answer As soon as possible.

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    In order to be eligible for SSDI you must be out of work for five full calendar months due to a disabling condition that is expected to last more than a year. You can also qualify if you have severely limited income for the five full calendar months due to disabling conditions.

    If you are still receiving full pay but feel unable to continue to work you'll want to have a chat with any doctors you are treating with to let them know and get their support for any type of disability you apply for.

    If your employer offers Short Term Disability (STD) and/or Long Term Disability (LTD) or similar state programs in CA, NJ, NY, RI, PR and HI

    First you go out on disability with your employer and if you remain out of work for 5 full months that is the time to apply for SSDI.

    I had STD and LTD. STD was for 26 weeks and then LTD begins after LTD. STD/LTD plans vary in duration. Sometimes STD may last only 90 days and then LTD begins. Or STD can last 52 weeks and then LTD begins.

    My STD ended last October and my LTD began in November. My LTD insurance requires that I apply for SSDI if out of work for a year. I went out of work in late April of 2009 and applied for SSDI in August 2010. My LTD income has made it a bit less stressful as I have income coming in during the SSDI approval. If approved for SSDI, then any benefits I receive from SSDI are deducted from my LTD

    In my case my last day worked was 4/27/09. My 5 month waiting period is May, June, July, August and September. Thus the earliest my SS benefits can begin is 10/01/09. IF SSDI agrees that I was disabled as of 4/28/09 (date after I left work) they may award me SSDI retro to 10/01/09. I'll owe a portion of my back-pay to the LTD carrier. The LTD carrier provided me an attorney for SS. This helps tremendously.

    Here's a simplified example:
    *LTD benefit is $1000/mo. Starts 3/1/10
    *SSDI approved 4/1/2011 at $600/mo
    *SSDI benefit begin date is 3/1/10
    *SSDI sends retro benefits to 3/1/10
    *LTD overpayment 3/1/10 - 4/1/11 at $600/mo
    *LTD carrier requests repayment of overpayment
    *Going forward LTD pays $400/mo & SS pays $600/mo

    Let us know if you have any questions.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Thank you all for your comments. The doctor was the one who brought it up at my last visit because of how quickly my disc seem to be going bad. I have STD and LTD through work, have to be off on STD for 6 mths before LTD starts. I am going off on STD when I have my surgery in Oct. I guess I'm hesitating about SSD probably because like all of us we want to work it's just the pain and medication and our spines that are getting in the way. Like I said to my counselor the other day, I think I'm still in denial about how bad my back really is - mainly because I get really depressed when I do think about it. I know from reading the SSD site that it's not going to be an easy process and I guess that's why I wonder about when do you start it.

    Thanks again everyone. I appreciate it.
  • Mcd,

    I think the "denial" stage is something most of us go through, especially when the word "disability or disabled" is in the mix! I became "disabled" due to the damage done initially when my C6/7 herniated. I've since now been finding I am having issues at 12 levels throughout my spine - more surgery to come. Even with all that, I still took months before "my brain" would get on board and realized "disability" was a new descriptive of my life.

    When I filed (Federal FERS), my hands shook as I realized this was a road I *had* to now go down. I'll send you support thoughts and energy to you. It is a hard 'pill' to take, and more so to consciously realize is what it sadly is.... *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I had similar questions as McDermoju because I am about 5 weeks away from LTD and was still unclear as to the process.

    SpineAZ, you presented that in a crystal clear manner. Thank you.

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084

    Even having worked in the disability and life insurance industry for 15 years I was not prepared to throw in the towel and apply for SSDI. So I did put it off until my LTD carrier said "Now is the time you must apply". They provided me an attorney and will credit me for any attorney fees.

    For example, SS is awarded in 3 years and I have back pay coming to me of $40,000. Out of that comes the $6,000 attorney fee leaving me with $34,000.

    LTD calculates how much I owe back to them and their calculation (since they disregard SS cost of living increases) is that I owe them $37,500 for 3 years. BUT, they give me credit for the $6000 attorney fees and I owe them back $31,500. So I do get to keep a portion of the back pay which is nice. Now I've totally pulled random numbers to make this example but just to show you how "Credit for Attorney Fees" works IF this is in your LTD policy. This is for MOST LTD policies in which they refer you to an attorney.

    Many LTD carriers choose an attorney firm they prefer but also allow you to choose your own. I did look into one locally that has a good reputation and good commercials, unfortunately their front line staff answered every questions about coordinating with my LTD as "I don't know, that comes later". However, the firm my LTD carrier referred me to totally understood my employer, the specific STD and LTD I received, etc. So they were a much better option.

    Since you are going out for surgery your STD approval should come quickly. However they may say "okay, when will you return to work". Don't scare the STD staff up front with "I won't be". Instead continue to discuss everything with your doctor and the STD carrier. My STD company eventually figured out I was going to LTD and the LTD eventually concluded I was approvable and returning to work was not likely. MUCH of this was because I made a point of this in every doctor visit "I'd be unable to work because my job requires x, y, z which I can no longer do"

    When you get to STD I can provide you some samples of the written information I gave to my spine surgeon and my pain management doctors so they could fill out the forms with ease. Doctors don't understand what our jobs are and probably couldn't give exact detail of what the duties of the front end staff in their office are. This is because they are focused on the medical side of things and don't see the receptionist having to accept and handle 25 lb boxes from Fed Ex every day, bending, twisting, etc.

    Let me know, at any time, if you want me to send you my "sample" of what I did when applying for STD and LTD.

    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
Sign In or Register to comment.