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considering disability

delmoreddelmore Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
hi everyone,i've had 2 back surgeries in the last 4 months L4L5 fusion. c4c5 fusion. c5c6fusion and replaced 2 disc. been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. 2 herniated disc in thoracic area dont remember what levels. doctor said i had an old injury where i had 2 fractures in my back i didnt even know when it happened. im still having major pains in my lower back ,sharp pains in buttocks area down right leg,center of back around fusion area. i was having severe thoracic area pain. doctor said it was caused from cervical area so i had that surgery. that didnt stop pain and its probably worse now. before cervical surgery i had a lot of pain going down my right arm now i have pain going down both arms and the left arm is even worse. i dont know what to do painkillers and muscle relaxers dont do much,cant sleep,not able to work, i've done the same type of work for 25 years auto collision. i'm 43 years old hadnt ever thought about disability until now when i'm in pain all the time and can't physically do anything i've always been active thank you for any comments.


  • I've had pain for many years, as you have. I had a very active career and busy with family. I applied for social security disability and was denied. I did recover some after much treatment. I decided to give the career another try. I degraded again with the work, stress and pressure. I wound up having to go on disability and did successfully apply for Social Security disability.

    I recently had 4 level ACDF (C3-7)and am recovering. I hope you find some relief soon.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Delmore,

    A few things you might want to do before you start the physical steps to file for SSD. Go on their site and do a search for what "they" term disability, and see if you fit into their criteria.

    Next is a biggy. Find out if your doctor(s) will back you if you apply. Some doctors might say "You need to apply for disability", but on their next breath, don't want to support in so far as the administrative side of it! For me my surgeon was the one that told me my career was done. He, my Orthopedic surgeon, and even the agencies doctor for a fitness for duty IME pretty much echoed the same, and did complete the administrative portion stipulating their beliefs.

    Now for me, I retired a year and a half early under disability from the federal government. When I crunched the numbers, the percent was 1% more than my regular retirement would have been a year and a half later!

    This applies whether you are seeking disability from the company you are with presently, or for SSD. If SSD and the above are met I would find a social security disability lawyer - one that ONLY handles SSD. They are limited on what they can claim in your approval money wise. Binder and Binder advertises on TV all the time. Not sure if they are for you, but just make sure the lawyer is dedicated and experienced in SSD claims. Have him/her show you their win/loss stats! Please let us know how it goes.

    [my edit] Oops, almost forgot. Some try for SSD on their own first. If they get denied (around 70% do), then they get a lawyer. Just thought I'd add that little piece of food for thought.

    Again, Welcome aboard!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • i signed up for SS after my wreck on 8/15/10 and went back to work off and on until 1/19/11 I was denied cause I did work but I thought I would be better. Now I reapplied with a lawyer on 2/21/11 I had two spine surgeries in 4 months this year and another one to go in Sept or so. I have not worked since 1/19/11 two day before my surgery. I had some vac and sick days left but they terminated me in April right after my days was used up.

    That meant no health ins for my last surgery which I thought I had coverage since no one gave me notice at my work place. This was wrong the way they did. I worked at a mission which is a part of the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, KY and they are to help people but they don't and cannot even help their employees.
  • Hi,
    It's a hard decision to make, and we can all give you some advice, but as always, the ultimate decision is between you and your doctor. My doctor was the one who told me to apply for SSD, and that flabbergasted me. But he flat out told me that I was not gonna be able to do the factory work anymore, and that's all I've done for several years! He also told me he would be behind me 200% in the SSD application process, that in and of itself is the biggest and best thing in the process, in my opinion.
    I have just gotten my approval for disability, a year and a half after my intial application. Most people I talked to, said that it would take at least 2 years, so I feel blessed to have gotten it this soon.
  • I was injured in Oct 2008. Worked on and off until Feb 2009. Applied for SSD in January 2010 with a SSD lawyer. I was warned that I would be denied at least once. In April of 2010 I received a Notice of Award and was approved for SSD. Iven the lawyer was suprised. I was 49 when approved.

    Good luck and get a good disability lawyer! Research the lawyer. Especially Binder and Binder, lots of complaints.

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    It's worth applying for SSDI. Especially if you've been out of work for a while as you don't want to loose your eligibility for SSDI. I assume you've worked in the recent past? Are you currently employed? If so does your employer offer STD or LTD (short and long term disability) benefits?
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • SpineAZ is right see if you have short term and Long term Disability where you work. I went out on STD and then LTD and still able to get government benefits when they asked me to apply after one year with them but depends on your insurance policy if you have one. So I get LTD with government benefits now and have been injured over 3 years at the age of 47. Best wishes. Charry

    SpineAZ-Thanks for all your help about disability with all your experience.
    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
  • hello everyone i want to thank everyone for your comments. iam still employed and have std that is good for 1 year but no ltd ive been off work for 5 months now and just had another surgery last week a anal fisurectomy to many pain killers and constipation. very painfull. i feel like my neck fusion is doing a lot better but my l4 l5 fusion is still giving me a lot of pain. still contiplating over disability i know it may sound silly but i enjoy working and staying active. thank you all, Dave
  • Hi; and i just wanna wish you the best with whatever decision you make.
    I applied for SSD, and got approved the 1st time around with no appeals.
    Which i am thankful for, as i know i can no longer do my job.
    But along with that there is also alot of things at home that i can no longer do.
    Due to my back injury and surgery.
    But we all still need some sort of "income", so make sure you also think into the future, when making your decision.
    These injuries and illness'es might limit us, but we still need to live.
    It's a tough decision that only you can make.
  • for me this was the scariest part of my injury on how to survive without my income. My wife works but I made 75% more than her salary so I was concerned. This make 4 months next week since I reapplied for SS. I know I can't do any kind of work since I can't even mow our lawn now. Even going to the store is difficult for me but I do go every few weeks with me wife just to do something.

    I can relate to those who are injured but with Stenosis it will not be cured it will only get worse so that make me think. With surgery it can help and slow down the process. Felling so helpless is a scary thought. From doing the easiest task becomes hard for most of us. For me getting dressed and doing my hygiene is not like it use to be. Prayers are my hope I can still count on. I seen some people never work and draw a check while they are working on the side and playing sports like nothing is wrong with them. But people like me that work hard most of their life takes forever to get SS and after they are turned down a few times.

    I know SS is abused and for me I would trade my health just so I could work. If i could win the lotto I would not be any more happy than I am now. It will let me live with less worry, but I still couldn't do anymore than I could now. The feeling of not knowing you will be any better is bad at least when you break a leg or something you know it will get better. With this no.
  • Have been calling people for two days now and can't get any answers. When I had my surgery (cervical fusion l4/5) it didn't work. I was told by my surgeon that I'd never make it to 65 and if I wanted a disability she would back me. I told her I wanted to try working because I love my job and need my income. I tried it and after 6 months realized I couldn't do it. I went back to her and she put me on a disabiity for 6 months. I should have known I was screwed then. I have been being treated by my family Dr for pain and muscle spasms and recently for depression/anxiety. Now the disability co. thru where I used to work wanted an update and no one will fill it out. My Dr. says she isn't treating me for my back issues and my surgeon says she is done treating me that it's my Dr's responsibility. I went to see the neurologist and he said I don't have a "disease" so he can't treat me. SOMEBODY has got to be treating me. I gets meds and therapy and they asked if I wanted another full spine MRI (don't know why). Besides my cervical/neuropathy problems I also have 3 blown disks in my lumbar area which they found with a discogram (never again will I go thru that!!) Now I don't know what to do or why this is happening to me. I'm not obnoxious and feel I am always polite with my drs. Never rant or rave. I just want them to tell the truth. Just want to pull a blanket over my head and push the world away.
  • I thought I was all alone before finding this site. Here we can share our spine problems and most will understand and maybe learn something new. I know how a freebird feels like if you cage it up now. This is like your confined and can't go to the places like before. Even getting things out of your pocket can be a challenge. I know some are worse and better then me. But the felling you have with this is rough. I'm working on selling my chevy Z71 truck just to get a better mpg car to save money my wife has a trailblazer and it is not the best mpg. Our home will be in need of repair and upkeep but until I get better I don't know what I will do.

    I always thought about when I would retire I could enjoy life but now SS will be rough to make it even if i did have more money I'm not able do do the things a retired person could do. I was making in one check what my SS would be in one month pay. but for now it's only my wife's income so you can imagine how bad I feel. The man is supposed to be the money maker. I'm just so grateful I have a wonderful wife who supports me in my journey through this.
  • for the info Metalneck.
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    Having just gone through the gauntlet of SSD, I have grown to have a respect for the substantial methodology they employ in their determination.

    I will share the highlights with you:

    A. Common statements include: Do you have a Condition/Illness or disorder that will (or is expected to) last greater than one year.

    B. Does it impair your ability to perform ADL's (activities of daily living).

    Now for the heavy stuff: Applicable Law(s)(abridged)

    The Social Security Administration has established a 5 step sequential evaluation process for determination whether an individual is disabled. The steps are followed in order. If it is determined that the claimant is not disabled at a step of the evaluation process, the evaluation will not go to the next step.

    At step one the ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) must determine whether the claimant is engaging in substantial gainful activity (currently working) if he/she is.... then they are not disabled regardless of what their physical or mental limitations maybe. They will not proceed to step two.

    At step two, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant has a medically determinable impairment that is "severe" or a combination of impairments that is "severe" within the meaning of the regulations.
    (Significantly limits the ability to perform basic work activities). If the claimant does not have a "severe" or combination of "severe" medical impairments ... then they are not "disabled" and can not proceed to step three.

    At step three, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant impairment or condition or combination of impairment meet of exceed the criteria of impairments listed in 20 CFR part 404 Subpart P Appendix 1. If the impairment or combination of impairments meets or medically equals the criteria and meets the duration requirement then the claimant is disabled if it does not, the analysis proceeds to the next step.

    Before considering step four of the sequential evaluation process, the ALJ must first determine the claimant’s residual functional capacity. An individuals RFC is his/her ability to do physical and mental work on a sustained basis despite limitations from his/her impairments. In making this finding the ALJ must consider all of the claimant’s impairments, including those that are not severe. Next at step four the ALJ must determine whether the claimant has residual functional capacity to perform the requirements of his/her past relevant work. If the claimant has the residual functional capacity to do their past relevant work, the claimant is not disabled. If not then proceed to step 5.

    At the last step of the sequential evaluation process the ALJ must determine whether the claimant is able to do any of work considering his/her residual functional capacity considering age, education, and work experience. If the claimant is able to do other work, he/she is not disabled. Although the burden of proof of proving disability at this step, a limited burden of proof shifts to the SSA. The SSA (Social Security Administration is responsible for providing such evidence that work exists in significant numbers within the claimants RFC considering age, education, and work experience.

    The SSA may also bring in other criteria to be considered on a case by case basis to arrive at a final determination. In those cases the SSA must determine the extent that the other criteria are a factor in the determination of the above criteria and could use those factors to allow or disallow the determination of "disability".

    My case had 5 1/2 pages of determinations and justifications covering each of the 5 points ....After 16 months - 2 obligatory denials a date hearing was set. The ALJ finally got my case and gave me a fully favorable determination without an actual hearing. Interesting!?

    Power of prayer? (or I'm just a mess).

    I hope this summary helps - You may want to google or Bing - Disability Secrets for more information and tips.

    The govenment site is WWW.SocialSecurity.gov and has a ton of information. (as it should)

    As always ... Warmest Regards to all,


    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • Wow, this is all such good information. I am hopefully not ready for that step but I feel much more empowered and educated when it happens. Thanks to all.


    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • march122014mmarch122014 Posts: 1
    edited 02/09/2014 - 12:34 PM
    my name is tia and i am 19 and have been fighting for disability for over 2 yrs. i was born with 2 spinal chords and tethered chord syndrome. i have had 3 surgeries. the first to release one side of my second spinal chord that was being tugged on by a bone spur and to release my spinal chord from the walls which it was tethered. the 2 and 3rd time was to release my spinal chord again from the walls because it tethered again. i am in constant pain and discomfort. i can only carry 10 lbs comfortably for short periods of time and can only stand or walk short periods of time before my hips legs and lower back hurt me. even sitting for to long is painful. i have had two jobs prior to my surgeries. one being a landscaper/retail at a green house . were at this job i watered planted and loaded and unloaded semis of plants. then my second job was at a country club where after school i landscaped then went to kitchen a few hrs later to clean dishes. after these surgeries i havent been able to do much without being in pain while doing it or being in pain the whole next day. i dont think i could do a sit down job now cause like i said sitting hurts too and i know i couldnt do a job that requires alot of physical labor. so should i be rewarded disability or not?
  • In 10 years time have had 2 acdf surgeries, a posterior laminectomy, right carpal tunnel, left thumb arthroplasty, and shoulder surgery for a complete rotator cuff tear. Have lumbar dd with pars defect and spondylisthesis, too. I still work but am barely hanging on and couldn't afford to be on disability. I am employed by a Catholic church and they have been great-don't know any other employer who would keep a new employee who had two major surgeries in 4 months time. Back for another MRI due to cervical radiculopathy and continued pain, weakness in right arm. Have had all kinds of therapy and chiropractic (which gave me spasms). Sorry to say no improvement. If you can make it on disability do it. I wish I could.
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