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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.