Applying for Disability

Members have asked about Disability and the guidelines that are set that makes one eligible. Click here for the guidelines: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/3.00-Respiratory-Adult.htm#3_07 Bronchiectasis, COPD, Asthma, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Pulmonary Hypertension & Lung Transplant all qualify. The link above includes the charts they use to gauge the extent of your illness. Keep records of everything. That means doctor reports, medications and their side-effects i.e. brain-fog, muscle aches twitching or heart palpitations. State that you are fearful of catching colds, flues, etc. (because these can land you in the hospital). State if you are suffering depression or anxiety from battling chronic illness (this can also be another side effect to medications). Describe the chronic fatigue from bronchiectasis, shortness of breath, and loss of sleep from night sweats. All of these make it difficult to maintain good work performance; not to mention dragging your body down further. Describe the medication and nebulizing schedule (that is hard to fit into a workday). State if you cough non-stop all day. You must build your case. Not all will want to go on Disability, but may opt to work from home to accomadate their situation. If you decide to file for it, remember, the sooner you apply, the sooner will get it.

5/16/19: Oh boy! I researched SSD a long time before applying. No appeal! I was awarded it 6 months after applying. It's a huge job, but I did NOT HAVE to pay legal fees! I'll share how. My PH diagnosis came 3 months after my SSD award last year!

IMPORTANT! BEFORE APPLYING FOR SSD YOU MUST HAVE WORKED # OF YEARS TO EARN REQUIRED NUMBER OF CREDITS TO MEET SSD CRITERIA FOR APPLYING. DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME IF YOU DO NOT!

I read and re-read SSD Blue Book "automatic" approval criteria and diagnoses. I met criteria with my diagnoses of venous insufficiency, History of DVT, Factor V Leiden. BUT, other diagnoses that impaired my active part-time work status as a medical transcriptionist or any other job was chronic low back pain evidenced by many xrays I'd had for it and affected levels of spine showing moderate to severe, my osteophytic hip pain that would cripple my ambulation intermittently, both of which had me in physical rehab multiple weeks on and off each time for 3 years. For 11 years also diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, COPD and emphysema. ALL of these, with above top 3 blood/vein diseases listed first, I submitted on my own!

IMPORTANT- I insisted on a paper SSD application to work on section-by-section over time, while acquiring from my own hospital access, every diagnostic test, x-ray, blood tests that pertained. I was directed how to obtain this paper application online by waiting forever to talk to a SSD rep on their 800 number, explaining I had pages upon pages of test reports to add to it and that I intended to personally submit it once it was completed. (The paper application cannot be copied from the SSD application provided online for applicants to quickly complete. )
I had a trail over several years of medical testing and I had always maintained good documentation. It must all be chronologically dated. Create a list of all your doctor's, their address/phone/fax# and the dates you began seeing them, and for what with their treatment recommendations. This should preface your actual application! Have all your paperwork and EVERYTHING in order BEFORE starting your application.

NOTE: you cannot include the necessary records with an online SSD application! Those records, plus clinical notes that ONLY SSD can retrieve, is what attorneys charge you for pulling together when your application is denied initially by SSD! It took me weeks to complete my application, and took months before that to retrieve and make copies of aforementioned records to include WITH my application from my own digital medical record access online.
I made 2 copies of each, maintaining 1 for myself. Carefully complete your SSD application onto the paper application (make copy of application in case you mess up). *All of this is just the first step to getting your application through to the next step at the SSD level without it being denied. My application was NEVER denied and I was taken thru next levels by SSD. I was also still barely working part-time during the entire application process.

My application was submitted by me, I walked it into the SS office, it was about 1-inch thick and neat as could be, completely surprising the SS supervisor I handed it to, new medical problems developed with me.

Although it is NOT automatic blue book approval, I was diagnosed with bilateral cubital tunnel syndrome and bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, severe with denervation on left hand. These diagnoses and any other were submitted to my SSD assigned worker as I received them. (My SSD worker only made one phone contact to me to let me know my case was being worked on by her and mine was one of 90 other apps active in her caseload.) My new hand diagnoses were a result of 40+ years using keyboard from high school through my entire work history to age 62. I was recommended for immediate surgery on left hand. To date I've not had right done due to events health concerns that arose. Venous insufficiency impaired my ability to sit/stand long periods of time and now my hands are impaired producing inability to grip/hold. My back/hip also impaired standing/sitting for more than 30-minutes at a time. I couldn't maintain my transcription work or any other job because of these.
So much more involved in this application process! SSD sent me for consult to one of their physician's 5 months AFTER I submitted my own SSD application. He told me at end if our conversation only that he was asked to determine my integrity along with my physical health based on observation. During my entire 20-minute conversation with him, I was having difficulty breathing, running out of air before ending a sentence. He noticed it and commented about it. (I'd not been diagnosed with or tested for it diagnosed with Pulmonary hypertension until 3 months later!)
Exactly 4 weeks later I was awarded SSD! I did it myself, no appeal, no attorney. Only 23% of applicants are approved without legal help! Research, careful documentation and inclusion of directly-related diagnostic tests over time did it.

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@tamarrillo2

Hi Terri,
I was just reading about Supplemental insurance plans (Medigap) because I need to get one now. I am 65 now but my understanding is if you have both Medicate A & B due to disability, you can add a supplemental plan prior to age 65. I’m going to call my areas state office tomorrow for more info. I am in Oregon.

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@tamarrillo2 Hi there. Thank you for responding. The supplemental laws vary from state to state. I could not buy it in Arizona or South Carolina, but was told I could in Florida, but I would have to switch over to Medicare Advantage. I do not want to go with Medicare Advantage because it is too limiting of coverage with my rare lung disease. So far, I am doing ok with paying the 20% copays. They still come out cheaper (thus far) than paying for the secondary insurance even if I could buy it. (I know that can change)

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@windwalker

@tamarrillo2 Hi there. Thank you for responding. The supplemental laws vary from state to state. I could not buy it in Arizona or South Carolina, but was told I could in Florida, but I would have to switch over to Medicare Advantage. I do not want to go with Medicare Advantage because it is too limiting of coverage with my rare lung disease. So far, I am doing ok with paying the 20% copays. They still come out cheaper (thus far) than paying for the secondary insurance even if I could buy it. (I know that can change)

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Hi! 🙂
I didn’t realize each state is different. Good you’re only having to pay 20 %.
My secondary insurance has been through my husband’s work for many years. They are now going to switch to Kaiser insurance which would not work for me to keep all my doctors. I have to figure out a supplemental before the end if the month. I have many medications so I’m feeling a little nervous about it all working out ok. I turned 65 in September. I’m worried if I will be penalized in any way for not getting a supplemental sooner but I will know soon enough. I will call a local State office here to get more info. 🙂

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@rosebrown

How long is the processiing of the document-approval for the Disability, will it take four to eight weeks???. Thanks.

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I'm in Michigan. Mine was exactly 6 months from the date I physically submitted my own handwritten application to the Social Security office. I was awarded SSD on July 18, 2018 and SS actually backdated my disability to November 2015, and I was still employed part-time. No appeal for me! Because "they" took my disability back 2 years, I was automatically approved for Medicare, but I don't use it, because I am still on my husband's insurance thru work.

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I also got approved first try. I started the paperwork online but ended up in the hosp. And so when i got back to it i was trying to do it online but ended up calling to figure out why i couldn't and they completed the application on the phone. A couple of months later i got the approval and it to was backdated to my last working day.

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@rosebrown

How long is the processiing of the document-approval for the Disability, will it take four to eight weeks???. Thanks.

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I finally got approved for disability….about 2.5 years after applying. I was denied twice, then hired a lawyer. A lawyer will get 25% of your back pay up to $6,000 maximum. So mine got it approved and she got $6,000 of my back pay. It was worth it to finally get it approved. File as soon as you can, because it does take a while. Document EVERYTHING. Keep a daily journal of your symptoms, how you feel, doctor appointments, etc. I had over 200 appointments at Mayo in 2017, documentation of everything, diagnosed with CHF, myocarditis, fibromyalgia, had 9 hospital stays in one year, and still got denied twice. I think they hope you just give up. Don't give up. It's very frustrating, but stick with it. When you do get approved, you get back pay. I got approved about a month ago, got my back pay, and got my first monthly check this week. Yea!! It doesn't replace the 6 figure income I was making, but it does help. I'm happy to answer any questions.

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@michelecallahan

I finally got approved for disability….about 2.5 years after applying. I was denied twice, then hired a lawyer. A lawyer will get 25% of your back pay up to $6,000 maximum. So mine got it approved and she got $6,000 of my back pay. It was worth it to finally get it approved. File as soon as you can, because it does take a while. Document EVERYTHING. Keep a daily journal of your symptoms, how you feel, doctor appointments, etc. I had over 200 appointments at Mayo in 2017, documentation of everything, diagnosed with CHF, myocarditis, fibromyalgia, had 9 hospital stays in one year, and still got denied twice. I think they hope you just give up. Don't give up. It's very frustrating, but stick with it. When you do get approved, you get back pay. I got approved about a month ago, got my back pay, and got my first monthly check this week. Yea!! It doesn't replace the 6 figure income I was making, but it does help. I'm happy to answer any questions.

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Glad to hear that you got approved. Mine took about a year.

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@amyintucson

Glad to hear that you got approved. Mine took about a year.

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I wonder if its what your reasons are ore just God Almighty helping but i got my transplant on Jan 5 2018 and i finially finished applying on the phone in February. I was approved by the end of March and have been receiving checks(my last day of work was nov, 2017) since June 2018. I had a review which got me a little nervous but passed it. So ive heard all the stories about automatic denial the first time. I feel really blessed.

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My transplant was 12/28 at Mayo/Phoenix.

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@michelecallahan

I finally got approved for disability….about 2.5 years after applying. I was denied twice, then hired a lawyer. A lawyer will get 25% of your back pay up to $6,000 maximum. So mine got it approved and she got $6,000 of my back pay. It was worth it to finally get it approved. File as soon as you can, because it does take a while. Document EVERYTHING. Keep a daily journal of your symptoms, how you feel, doctor appointments, etc. I had over 200 appointments at Mayo in 2017, documentation of everything, diagnosed with CHF, myocarditis, fibromyalgia, had 9 hospital stays in one year, and still got denied twice. I think they hope you just give up. Don't give up. It's very frustrating, but stick with it. When you do get approved, you get back pay. I got approved about a month ago, got my back pay, and got my first monthly check this week. Yea!! It doesn't replace the 6 figure income I was making, but it does help. I'm happy to answer any questions.

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I would like to add a word of caution about the wait period after you have filed. Do not make the mistake that I did. I worked as a temp for one month to fill in for an employee who was recovering from surgery. All I had to do was sit at a desk and greet customers.This was to help a friend. I had no idea that it was not going to be off the books, or that it would effect my back pay. That one month of working caused me to lose $20,000 in back pay.

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@windwalker

I would like to add a word of caution about the wait period after you have filed. Do not make the mistake that I did. I worked as a temp for one month to fill in for an employee who was recovering from surgery. All I had to do was sit at a desk and greet customers.This was to help a friend. I had no idea that it was not going to be off the books, or that it would effect my back pay. That one month of working caused me to lose $20,000 in back pay.

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@windwalker Good advice. The mistakes we make that are costly are so annoying.
JK

Liked by amyintucson

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@windwalker

I would like to add a word of caution about the wait period after you have filed. Do not make the mistake that I did. I worked as a temp for one month to fill in for an employee who was recovering from surgery. All I had to do was sit at a desk and greet customers.This was to help a friend. I had no idea that it was not going to be off the books, or that it would effect my back pay. That one month of working caused me to lose $20,000 in back pay.

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That’s crazy to be penalized like that.

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