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Disability Retirement with Spinal Stenosis



  • I was one of those school employees who never took "vacation time" because we had enough time off with summer break and spring break, etc. The more my back hurt, however, the more individual days I would take when my medication just wasn;t doing the job. And like I said, I was a school secretary so most of my day was spent sitting at a computer. I should have know something serious was up when I couldn't even SIT, huh? My daughter would love me to sue Kaiser Permanente for ignoring my back problems for 10 years, but who knows if it would have made much difference! And for 10 years before I worked in the office, I worked with little first graders, so that was 10 years spent bent over at the waist to help them all day long. As a San Diego school employee we accrued alot of hours of vacation and personal days - we even had "half sick" hours where we were paid half-time, so by the time I was needing to take time off for pain, I had plenty of time built up so I never lost any $$$ because I couldn;t work. I even sold back a month of vacation time when I retired PLUS took 2 weeks of "terminal leave", lol! I LOVED my job in the schools and I miss it every day. I was one of those freaks who even loved the crazy, hectic first and last months of school - just loved it, loved meeting all the new kids, etc:)
  • hi there, i am in the school retirement system too, I am a cook. i dont have that many yrs like you. but our contract with SERS, said if you got 5 full yrs you can apply, i have 8.5 yrs in the system and 3 yrs in subbing, which they take out retirement too.

    anyway i having back issue of other health issue spinal stenosis radidpathy numness in the legs,, so when i stand long periods it hurts and when i bending to much too. hurt like the dickens.

    anyway i applied and they sent me to one of the orthpedics which is pshiartist cant spell it right it some form of back specailist,

    then they want me to see a pschiatrist for mental static. but where i was so sick i couldnt make it and had to cancel, so then they suppose redo that,

    then i got a call and saoid they not rescehdule it just go by what they have, i said hey i go to anyone, and she said that not necessary.

    so later i fot a letter sound differnt. so i called and taLK to another superviosr, and she said that it wont hurt you not going to it and they have enough info.
    i said well want to make sure have enough and she said we know you cooperating, and then she said you take care of your self.... that was it.

    i havent heard back i worried, i not sure what it mean when she said take care of you self, i dont know if she know all the stuff i going thru,

    see im on morphine,and neurotin, zanflex and clospam, and diffent ones.
    the thing is i cant focus on these medications, i be half loopy and being around high temp and meat slicer,
    and picking up heavy thing bending i could drop and then i either my self or other by accident. so i hoipe they look at that,

    i cant sit down anytime i want, it a constant on the go from 7-1:30 so it at the hiogh school and there times were running our tails off b/c we have ran out of food. it not like mid school elemtary when you have a head count.

    the high sch they have al-cart and they might eat more then so you never know....

    but anyway im not sure if your a gut or woamn so pls excuse me.....

    i hope you the best,,,,,, people like us that has work all our life and we problay get denied while other, i dont want to do there get it and abuses it.

    i know i dont have school yrs i have been working since im was 16 yrs old and i think it unfair how they count your time in social security, i work since 16 and loose out.

    i hate the govt i thought if i work early then i have my yrs in in case things like this happen, then find out with the school they screwed you where you cant applied ssdi. oh well. i just hope i make it.

    i love working with the kids when my son was there and everyone made me feel good about my job, the kids made me me feel good and even called me mom......

    but when i came off my one med leave over my liver and we got a new boss which she only got it b/c she had a name not b.c she knew how to be a boss, if you know what i mean. she was a cook like me and i was longer cook again in a small town, it who you are and money talks.

    well anyway she hated i came back b/c she was hire her family and friends after the cooks retireed. but alot of them retired b/c of her crap. she want me out of there b/c my last position besides one more she want leave b.c she one that my boss is scred of her. so she dont bother her.

    when i came back she took my position and gave it to somone else and never did anyone else, i had a union leader that to scared b/c she was a cook she kiss ass to the boss.

    so she started putting more heavy work on me to hope i hurt and end up get fired or have to resigh.

    so just in 09 before easter i was pulling on those heavy drinks of gatorades cases and so on water and when i turn tiwted, and thought i pulled muscle, so i thought it friday i be ok get home, when it hurt the whole tile at work, when got home bent over it crack and i broek ribs 2 of them, i think it was done on the job it just did the tips and i just turn the right tirn and it just did the number.

    anyway it took me off the rest of the school yr. my boss got mad, so i got to keep my insurance thing but no pay till summer. then they said i neede a letter, then i broke another rib again and then my back started to get worst, then i went to the big union leader and ask for help, she said as long as you been back a yr.... you can ask for anothere med k,eaver if a doc has you off so i present a letter to the superintent and he agree to it..... the boss had a big fit..... so know i off till the beging of the next school yr.

    the dr said i dont think you beable to go back and do that work so that why i applied.

    i hope you the best...

    can i ask in you contract do they have like you on medical leave they said that how our retirement one works and if anytime within, they think you can work then you job has to give you your job back,,,, which that sounds nice, buut that makes a boss my pea off.

    do you have that???? i cant take insurance it to high i wish i could.

    i lose about 450.00 of my old wage... that sucks.... it the time anyway i hope yopu the best keep us posted. if you need to talk just mess me

    Email Address Removed

    ps in my area there hard to find attroney to find to fight it, and the ones i found they want 2 grand or more to start, that crazy... take care..... ang

    sorry if sloppy tired not been to sleep.


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  • John,

    First, I am sorry to hear about your pain situation. We mostly know what you are dealing with in that area.

    I retired from the military after 20 years. I had injured my back during the first Gulf War but continued without treatment until retirement in 1998. My low back had always hurt after the accident and continued to worsen. Long story short, I applied and receive full disability from the VA. However, after my doc told me that my back will never get better and working was not an option, I applied for SSD. I did everything on my own and they denied me. So, I did an informal appeal and was awarded SSD of $1700 monthly. I also had an issue with PTSD so combined is what was the deciding factor. But, I know of several others who applied and received full SSD on their back alone. They key is documentation. You have to ensure your medical records are up to date with all complaints of back pain and all treatment received. You have to have an MRI, Xrays, etc. proving back injury and chronic pain.

    Good luck.
  • SSD will take a while if approved (7/12mnth. I would suggest that you apply for disability and in the meantime see your doctor, have MRI and undergo any treatment your doctor recommends. Once you apply for disability everytime you see or dr or have xrays contact your Social Security Administrator so they can review you records.

    I was denied the first time and even denied on appeal however I applied agin and was approved. I have been dealing with stenosis for the last 3 years.

    Good luck
  • i am new here. any canadians with ODSP/CPPD experiences?
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  • Hey John my name is Chris, I was diagnosed with having Spinal Stenosis and Spondylosis. I was having a stabbing pain in my lower back. Sometimes it felt like I was being eletricuted. I was having radiating pain down my legs and numbness. I had a lower back fusion L4, L5 and S1. Before the operation I was having acute pain, after the operation I am having chronic pain every day. I also have Degenerative Scoliosis which limits my walking, by me walking causes severe pain to radiant from my mid back around my rib cadge causing it difficult to breath. I am taking Noraco which Hydrocodone 10-325 for the pain, which helps sometimes and sometimes not. I have also been trying for 2 years to get disability from the State Of North Carolina. I also have a total left hip replacement which adds to the pain and the difficult of walking. The way they have been treating me is you need to be completely not to do any usual work. I you can sit and answer a phone, they say well you can do something. I was a Electrical Engineering Technician when I suffered for 20 years before leaving my position for LTD.
  • :W I just applied for Disability and SSI here in Tennessee...just got 4 thick envelopes of paperwork to fill out this weekend...all about how my "problem" has changed my life, work ability, and pain.. What a laugh...I think I'll need a book to write all of this... Wish me luck guys....

  • I started my epidurals for my lower back. The Orhtopedic Pain Mgmt doctor did 2 injection of the left and right sides, this was on a Monday. Maybe this is a coinsidence but I ended up in the E.R. two days later with and attack of Diverticulitis. I did research and found corticosteroids can cause perforations and attacks of Diverticulitis. I knew I had Diverticulosis but had never had an attack before. It was not pleasant. I've finished my regimine of antibiotics and am much better. I did call my pain mgmt speacialist and she cancelled my next series of epidurals and we have a consulataion on Feb. 18. The epidurals reduced my lower back pain by about 25%. My upper back that I have had a epidural in the C7 area is still hurts severely if I work at the computer from 30 minutes-2 hours.

    As previously posted, I'm a high school teacher. This has just turned into such a long drawn out process. I imagine, it will be recommended for me to have another Colonoscopy, which I don't look forward to but would be wise to see what going on in my colon. I highly suspect my late mother had either IBS or Chron's disease. She just wasted away the last year of her life. I'm still attempting to work a job that is extremley high stress and the 10-11 hours days and the pain have really taken it's toll on me physically and mentally. The pain meds Norco 10/325 are a double edged sword, they don't work for my upper back and most of the time for my lower back pain. Thes meds also constipate me severley so I'm on stool softeners and eat prunes every morning with a lot of water. This just turns into blowing my system out and it very watery. I just don't know if this pressure(trauma) caused my problems or not.

    Has anyone had attacks of Diverticulitis after corticosteroid treatments. It has been document in medical journals that corticosteroid therapy has cause perforations and bleeding in the diverticula(if I understood what I read). Please let me know if you have had attacks what you Pain Mgmt. doctor told you and your GI doctor and your results of your Colonoscopy.
  • Hi John, Just wanted to see how things have been going for you. I had 20 yrs with a school system before I had to go out on disability retirement. Not what I had planned on doing. I drove a school bus for 17 yrs then decided to switch over to custodial work because I was looking at the retirement end of the job then. It would be more hours, less cost for insurance (I covered the family) and would be better bring home for my retirement pay. I was only going to put in a total of 25 yrs and possibly retire then because my husband is already retired. Everything was planned out well and working. Except.....My back occasionally would bother me. Not realizing it, I had been going to my Family Dr averaging once a month or so to get adjusted and to get a Torydol injection. Then I would feel great again. After 3 yrs though that wasn't working so well anymore. I had to take a few vicodin just to get through the night to do my job. It was a very physical job. Turns out I had a herniated disc, bulging disc, and off to surgery I went. Never to return to my job. My perfect layed out plans all changed. Poof!!! Now being on disability retirement is not all you think it might be John. So think twice before you have to be on it. Don't get me wrong. For me it was a blessing. I carry the health insurance for both my husband and myself (He has existing issues) so by the time that is taken out there really is no income left to pay for all the doctor visits and medications needed montly. The insurance is terrible and only gets worse each year. Nothing like what we had while we were working. Now I realize you are a teacher and your salary is higher but all the rest is the same. Also every 2-3 years you go under revaluation to see if you still qualify for the disability. I am due next month and even though I am worse than before I still get nervous because one man's opinion determines the outcome of my insurance/pay. SSI people don't go through this that I know of. Once they get it, it's theirs for ever. I still think that is a rip for me. I payed into SS for years before ever working for the school system. I have enough credits but because I did not pay into SS for the last 10 years I could not file for SSI. Oh well, good luck to you. Things are really getting shook up now with the schools now. My son is a teacher and I worry for him. We are in Ohio.
  • Hope things are as well as can be expected with you.
    I'm in the same situation as far as SSI also but my Dr. already told me, there is no way my case is that severe. I just think they don't want to deal with disabilty issues at the upscale Private Hospitals. No insurance, there is the door or unless you're wealthy.

    Not too much has changed, except my contract wasn't renewed(No surprise). My pain mgmt Dr. has really left me high and dry for 4 months(no epidural treatments, still handing out vicodins prescriptions. I called my referring Othropedist and asked what the hell is up. So I have a consult May 11 with same pain mgmt. Dr.I don't know if my attack of Diverticulitis scared her or what. There is a correlation/proof of patients on long term corticosteroid therapy treatment having colon perforations from the steroids.My referring Orthopedist along with my Gen. Practioner think the attack of Diverticulitis was a coincidence but I had never even had a minor attack before but I knew I had Diverticulosis.

    I was hoping to solve my back pain long enough, that even if I decided to leave the classroom, I could work for a school food service program that counts toward TRS system. When I was in my 20's, I worked in institutional food service from cook to mgmt. for civilian contractors that ran dining halls and I've managed retaurants also. School Cafeteria food is pretty much preprepared. Not much real cooking involved. If I can't get my back pain under control, doubt I could be on my feet all day.

    I can draw unemployment for a good year plus at $415 a week, I did nothing wrong to be terminated, just my contract wasn't renewed(really what I wanted). Large city school districts are having massive layoffs due to Texas' budget deficit. I'm going to check into COBRA for health insurance and see how much assistance I can get with premiums. The problem with Spinal Stenosis, you're lucky if the epidurals last a year but a pain free year would be great, I need to get off the Vicodins ASAP. If I can hang in ther 4 more years, maybe S.S. will be there. If I take an early retirement when I turn 59 it would be approx. $12000 p/year if I can just make it the rule of 80 it would be over $20000 p/year, need 3 years in the TRS system in some capacity, substituing doesn't count. I need to speak with the S.S. people to see, where what I make in retirement starts affecting my S.S. benefits negatively.

    Just have to keep things in perspective of how much worse things could be. Our economic system in the USA is a real disaster waiting to happen.

    Take care.
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