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Starting the disability process

I am a female, age 55, had an 8-level cervical fusion (C2-T3) Jan 2014 with revision for hardware failure Dec 2014. I have done my best to continue working, but have found that I just can't physically do it any longer. I have residual pain issues and see a pain doctor. I've had several trigger point injections that help somewhat, but I still have issues and my range of motion seems to be getting worse within the last few months. I am turning in my resignation from my job on Monday and plan to start the disability process soon after. I'm a little scared and terribly confused after reading all the info online...not sure which info to trust. For example, one source will say there is no way an attorney can help file an initial application, but another says it's imperative to have legal representation. I've also not had much support from any of my doctors when discussing potentially filing for disability in the past. I just know I cannot work any longer. Along with the spinal fusion and the issues with that, I have arthritis in several parts of my body, including my knees, both of which are bone-on-bone and need to be replaced. I also have occasional lumbar spine issues from a lumbar laminectomy many years ago.

One more item of interest. I had an on-the-job injury back in 2005 resulting in a torn rotator cuff. I received a settlement on that which included a 10% disability, due to the condition of my shoulder, even after surgery. I had to request a copy of that as I had lost track of it over the years. So I have that, too.

Any good advice for me? I just don't see how I WOULDN'T be approved, but I've heard so many horror stories that I'm a bit nervous about it all.
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1

Comments

  • Do get a attorney right off the bat. They can help I'm now fighting again. This is my 3nd try as my first application was denied and I couldn't wait the 2 years for the court hearing. I have had a filed spine surgery resulting in spinal cord damage at l4 through S1. I also had a dural tear resulting in a CSF leak and have positional headaches that can be debilitating if up to long. I'm now in my 2nd appeal for the 2nd filing for disability. It is a nightmare having to get everything around when you feel so bad. A attorney can help by filling everything out from you wording things better and getting all the documents you need to give you better odds at getting it right off and if not they know the ins and outs of what all to do. This is just my opinion and wish I had got one when I started the process this 2nd time. Wish you the best of luck and hope you don't have to go through everything I have because it can and will just drag you down to the point you want to give up. I also hope the Dr's they have you see if any are better then the ones. Saw as after seeing them and being treated like I had been I was about to just end it all. To make it worse I was given no way to report the way I was treated even my case manager said he didn't care and to just deal with it or give up either way he didn't care. 
  • Thank you for your input, Garrett. Sure hope your case gets settled soon.
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  • It took 6 months just to get my denial for first go round. I'm thinking probably be August before I get my 2nd deNiall letter 
  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 644
    AnnieDrews - I know that every situation is different, but if you haven't turned in your resignation, don't!  You give up a lot of rights when you resign.  I was terminated by my employer because of too many missed medical days, but my attorney that on my SSDI case told me that only added support for my case that I was terminated.  I got SSDI without any appeal.

    It sounds like you are working with a doctor.  If you "hurt so much that you can't work", request from your doctor for a short term leave from work.  I am not making light of anyone's pain.  I was on so much pain and not sleeping that I ended up in Cardiac ICU for two days because of elevated troponins.     
     
      
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    I used Disability attorney right away, first thing.
    And I started to receive benefits at the six months.

    Attorney did so much guidance for me, doctors, etc.... and at no cost to me. Definitely win-win!
    Sue
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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  • nutcase007, thanks for the input, but I really have no other choice than to resign. Most days I can barely move when I walk in the door and my neck/upper back seem to be getting worse just within the last few weeks. I did some very light work around the house yesterday and now I think I've inflamed the occipital nerve on my right. If anything, I'm starting to worry I may injure myself on the job.

    Savage, thanks for sharing your experience. How were you fortunate enough to have the help of an attorney at no cost? I plan to call a local law firm tomorrow that was recommended to me.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    The Disability attorneys work that way. 
    If you are awarded Disability within six months as I was, the attorney received nothing for that.
    They receive their money when a person either takes longer than six months to start to collect Disability or for another reason it is declared...retroactive pay..to you.

    Attorney takes a percentage of retroactive pay, so it is not out of your pocket.
    I do t remember percentage, but remember thinking it was fair. There is also a cap on how much attorney can take as payment. Sorry,  I don't remember what that is either.

    I, like you, had no other choice but to resign. I had become not very dependable and my ability to perform my job was less than adequate.
    Even conversations off point were irritating to me as I was trying to control my pain and think of my job...I had become inflexible.
    Sue
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 644
    The max fees written into social security law/regs are 25 percent of retroactive benefits with a cap of $6,000 on retroactive benefits, which ever one is smaller.
  • Definitely stay in work and file for disability. You'll start with short-term and a doctor will have to submit paperwork in your behalf. Find out who the carrier is for STD and LTD with your company first, HR will be able to guide you. I was out last year with a heart attack and everything went smoothly, I had the option to go LTD if I was not doing well.
    Diagnosis: Thoracic facet syndrome & cervical and thoracic radiculopathy from car accident trauma.
  • I spoke to a local attorney (who was recommended by a friend) yesterday and he thinks mine is a pretty strong case. Thinks there should be no problem, but if there is that they can help me file reconsideration, etc. Regardless, his firm can advise me through the initial steps, at no cost. He did address something I had thought of....that an attorney might purposely see that the initial request is denied just so they can go ahead and help file for the reconsideration, etc. and get money. He said he absolutely does not do that. That said, I will be in contact with someone at his firm at the first of next week to start gathering what I'll need to file.
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