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Disability questions

Sorry if this is in the wrong place. I've been on work comp for 14 months. I've had two failed back surgeries this year and facing more surgery. How do I know if I qualify for disability and how do they determine your pay? I'm afraid I might not be able to work again. I can't ride in the car or even sit on my couch for 15 minutes. That's the short story.
Left side MicroD l5-s1 2/7/13. Re herniated immediately
Revision bilateral MicroD and posterior lumbar decompression 9/9/13. Failed. L5-S1 fusion on 3/6/14.


  • Call a disability attorney, they can explain everything to you. Most don't charge until they win your case.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • U need the docs behind u. Ask if u g oing b able to wok? See what they say.
  • I agree with Helen on getting the doctor on board first. There is a lot of paperwork he will need to fill out when your clain is filed. I applied for my wife on my own, downloaded the form from the SS website, got the paperwork to her doctors and then sent in the pile. From there, expect you will be examined by a SS doctor,maybe even another later. Process takes 3 to 4 months unless you get put on the fast track due to your condtion. If its denied, you can contact a lawyer for their help.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • You've had two failed mircoDs right? And you have an upcoming fusion? Two failed micos isn't an indication that the fusion will fail. Hopefully it will turn out well. Try to stay positive a little longer. Best of luck to you.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • I have been denied twice. But is slow going with the docs. I geting indegent care so its slow.

    I'm in GA. I had b denied once before I could get attorney. I filled out on line dropped off copies...copies of medical records I already had.

    But they will send for records for u .
  • on the forms that you need to fill in to get disability I don't know your system in the usa but in the uk where u am we have to fill in forms and allow them to check out doctors records and sometimes go for a medical ..it sounds to me like you would qualify ..don't forget its not necessarily what you have had done its how it affects you .two people could have had the same operation with totally different results one fine one not ..so seek help when filling in the forms or what ever you have to do over there
    good luck
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • Thank you all. My concern is about failed back syndrome. I've read that people with multiple failed surgeries don't get much relief with a fusion. Plus the fusion weakens other discs and I could need more surgery. I can keep getting surgeries for the next 5 years. I want I work and be at least half normal.
    Left side MicroD l5-s1 2/7/13. Re herniated immediately
    Revision bilateral MicroD and posterior lumbar decompression 9/9/13. Failed. L5-S1 fusion on 3/6/14.
  • You are jumping the gun, in many respects, convincing yourself that any surgery is a failure, long before it has begun to heal, let alone when the time frame medically determines what is considered failed surgery........and failed back surgery syndrome is another animal- meaning that the surgery failed to relieve the problem, not necessarily failed to achieve it's goal...
    Relax, and stop worrying so much about what has not occurred yet, stick to the restrictions given to you, follow through with the post op care and follow up and most importantly go into this with a positive attitude.
    There is little likelihood that you would qualify simply because of two failed discectomies or the potential for a failed fusion.......or possible surgery needs down the road..........that is not what disability is for.
  • terror8396tterror8396 Posts: 1,832
    edited 10/20/2013 - 5:45 AM
    my doctor put me on restrictions and limitations for one year. i had to wear a brace for 10 months after my first fusion and after the last one in may, 3 months. i could not lift over 5 lbs. it takes a long time to fully heal from a fusion. the main reason is when they put in the metal screws and braces they put in a bone paste that has to harden. if not then then fusion will not hold i had to have x-rays all of the time to check to see if the past was holding. they took bone from my body to make the paste.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • also it is true that a fusion can weaken the disc above it. it happened to me but that does not mean it will happen, it can. and failed fusion can happen but does not happen all of the time. i think some people say they have failed pain sydrome because they want more narcotics. once again that does not happen a lot but it does to some. my first 3 fusions worked but the last one was the one that has given the most problems. the call is 1/3 back surgeries are successful, 1/3 stay the same and 1/3 do not work. to have a fusion is a big decision. it the pain and the immobility are too much and one can not function at all then have one done. they are done a lot differently than when i had mine 12 years ago. my neurosurgeon told me that he would have done my fusion a lot differently if it was done today. i believe it is not as invasive as before. i had to spend 10 days in the hospital and the surgery was 12 hours with blood clot, infection, and collapsed lung. i believe it is not as bad today. there have been a lot of improvements now. so do'nt think the worse before you have one. discuss it with your doctor
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Hi, I understand the frustration you have with disablilty. I applied exactly a yr. Ago this month after a 5 month waiting period required in NC. I have been turned down twice and now am awaiting hearing with judge which is supposed to be much easier because it is a person with feelings looking at you. I have had 13 surgeries since 1994 . I was 29 and had lumbar lamenectomy. It was a success. I went next 10 yrs with occasional bout of sciatica if I overdid. From 2004 until 2008 I had many series of steroid injections and many other surgeries but none spine. Then 2008 had severe sciatica, had large herniation at same level as first surgery. I had lamenectomy in Oct.and re-herniated and had 3rd lamenectomy at L4-5 in Dec. Took pain meds on and off over next 3 yrs. For back pain and other joint pain. Had severe mid back pain in Jan. 2012 and had severe herniation at T7-8 and severe stenosis and had microdiscectomy and fusion using bone removed. This was my first failed back surgery.

    I could not return to work in 6 weeks given so was terminated but hoped to go back once healed. Never healed. Nerve damage and scar tissue and surgeon wont touch. Had 2 knee surgeries in 2013 . One in Jan. Failed and used cane and walker until my total replacement 8 weeks ago. You would think after 13 surgeries, 11 orthpedic, severe herniations needing 3level lumbar fusion which I refuse and NS in fine with that, that disability would be a breeze. Nope

    Sent a letter after second denial stating due to age (49) and college education the state of NC did not want me to have disability. Now I understood why brother(34) at time applied got within 6 months. He never finished high school and never had surgery although he deserves disability for severe blood clots and psoriatic arthritis.

    Will I need surgery in future, yes...will any of my surgeries fail me, probably....will I get disability, hope so SOON. I know this is very hard on you and my lawyer said he had never seen a patient with more documented physical problems be turned down twice. Lucky me. Reason for this long post (sorry) is to let you know that there is never any rhyme or reason why some surgeries fail and others work. I know I would trade any and all pain meds I take just to be normal again. I live with an addict and even him faking does not get him more drugs. He is given meds for his legitimate pain and no more. Just dont give up. Dont dwell on whether you may have to have another surgery or whether it will fail. Living day to day with chronic pain is hard enough. Live one day at a time. If you ever want to talk please PM me :)

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