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Who decides if I am disabled? If both my doctor and the Social Security disability doctors say I am unable to work, will I be approved?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  432 Comments

See who decides if you are disabled and how Social Security uses your doctors’ and the consultative examination doctors’ opinions in their decision.

social-security-disability-doctorsThe Decision Maker for Your Social Security Claim

Claims examiners, in consultation with a physician, decide whether you are disabled according to Social Security Disability rules. These employees of the Disability Determining Services, called DDS for short, make the disability decision because they are trained in Social Security law and regulations, including Social Security’s specific definition of disability. Neither your own doctors nor the doctors you might see in a consultative examination—whom some people call “Social Security disability doctors”—make the decision.

What About Your Doctor’s Opinion?

The claims examiner and DDS doctor consider all the information from your attending physicians and give special importance to your doctors’ opinions. However, to be accepted as valid evidence for your claim, your doctor’s assessments must be supported by clinical observations, test results, or other supporting medical evidence. In other words, your doctor has to explain how he arrived at his diagnosis and his assessment of your capabilities.

The Consultative Examiner’s Opinion

When Social Security hires a doctor to examine you, the claims examiner instructs the doctor to evaluate whether you have the illness or injury that you claim and to identify any limitations and restrictions you may have. The doctor is not asked to make a disability decision and when the consulting doctor’s report is received, the DDS examiner reviews the report to be sure that the conclusions the doctor has drawn from the examination are supported by clinical observations or testing.

Our article “How Does the Social Security Administration Apply Social Security Laws to Determine If I Am Disabled?” describes some of the information that Social Security requests from your doctors for its disability evaluation process. Our article “When Applying for Disability Benefits Will I Have to See a Social Security Doctor?” describes when Social Security will ask you to attend a Consultative Examination.

Who decides if I am disabled? If both my doctor and the Social Security disability doctors say I am unable to work, will I be approved?
3.2 (64%) 5 votes

  • Dear Soraya,

    It is good to have a doctor who will support your disability claim; however, it is not necessary. What you need to prove is that in addition to being disabled from your current occupation you are disabled from working in any other occupation that you could perform if you did not have the medical limitations you have.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Chris,

    To be eligible for Social Security Disability, you have to be disabled from all occupations that you could perform if you did not have your medical problems. So, I suggest that you contact your Employment office to see if they have jobs listed that you would qualify for that can be performed sitting down. If not, then try contacting the state’s Department of Vocational Services (DVR) to see whether you can get retraining services to work in an occupation that does not require you to be on your feet. If training is required and if you are earning less than $1,170 gross per month, you could apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and if approved receive it until you were retrained.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Susan,

    It sounds as if the workers compensation was fraudulently filed; however, the fact that the person chose not to have surgery does not preclude him from being eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. He does, however, to be medically unable to work in any occupation, not just occupations he has done in the past. Also, Social Security Disability may be reduced for workers compensation paid for the same period of time because there are limits on the total amount that can be received from workers comp and SSDI.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Stephanie,

    Answer whatever is true. A person can apply for disability benefits with the hope and/or plan to eventually get well and stop receiving benefits or can apply expecting never to work again.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sherry,

    It is harder to prove disability caused by a combination of symptoms when one single illness is not disabling by itself; it is, however, possible. You can file a claim if you stop work or reduce hours so that you are earning less than $1,170 a month gross wages.

    If you file a claim, I suggest that you ask your doctors who support your stopping work to write statements about your diagnosis and why they don’t think you can work. Also collect medical records particularly records from the last two years and diagnostic tests from when each illness was first diagnosed.Submit these yourself. Also on the application explain why you could no longer work in a job that you had been doing for some time with all these illnesses.Lastly, let all your doctors know you are filing the claim because of problems caused by all of your illnesses, not just due to the condition(s) for which each one treats you.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Darlene.

  • Dear Amanda,

    You have the right to make your own decisions about your medical care. That said, it could be helpful for you to see a psychiatrist and initiate counseling. You can describe your fears of medication to the psychiatrist. Also, seeing a psychiatrist, who is a physician, will be a better source of documentation for your claim that a nurse practitioner. No matter how skilled the practitioner is, SSA prefers a treating physician.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Darlene,

    As you describe your work history and medical conditions, I would expect you to be approved. Because you are being asked to attend a consultative examination, it might be a good idea to ask the claims examiner for a list of the medical records they have received (provider and dates covered) to see whether they have your most important test results and clinical findings.

    If you claim is denied, I suggest getting a copy of the claim file and hiring an experienced Social Security attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount the attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your back pay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Katerina,

    It is hard for me to judge whether your multiple conditions combine to limit you from working in any occupation that you could otherwise perform if you did not have limitations. It will depend on how severe the conditions are and you seriously they limit you and on your transferable skills for new occupations. You are over age fifty and your age will be considered in evaluating your ability to move to a new occupation.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear EJ,

    Despite your narrow occupational background, your young age will cause your claim to be carefully looked at with regard to your ability to work in other occupations. However, your physical and mental limitations will also be considered. Whether or not you are approved will like depend on the severity of your conditions.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear EJ,

    You do not give your age or work background, so it is hard for me to give you a very firm answer as to your eligibility for Social Security Disability, which has different criteria from the military and the VA. However, with the combination of conditions and the medication side effects, it is possible that you might qualify.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Richard Stewart

    Question:

    1. Can you request another doctor other than the one that Social Security wants to send you too?

    2. If you have seen that doctor that Social Security is requesting you go to, can you ask for another doctor? Especially if you don’t trust that doctors opinion.

    • Dear Richard,

      You cannot select the doctor that Social Security sends you to and pays for. You can choose to see a doctor of your own choice at your own expenses for an evaluation and a report to submit for your claim that includes diagnosis, a list of your limitations and restrictions or a residual functional capacity evaluation, and an explanation of the basis for the doctor’s diagnosis and determination of limitations.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Susan,

    You were probably sent to a second exam because of the long time that passed after the first one or because the examiner wanted some specific question answered. The consultative examination reports are supposed to be just one of the pieces of information considered together with all the information in file. However, with the consultant agreeing with your own doctor, I would expect approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tristen,

    If you have a question, please post it and I will attempt to respond.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kendra,

    I do not know what services you refer to or what “Beyond” is that you also refer to. If you would like to clarify, I will try to respond.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Andrea.

  • Dear Keayna,

    I think there is a reasonable chance you will be approved. Be sure the examiner has the updated information about your thyroid treatment change also.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Nicole,

    If your patient has appealed again, his physician could complete a residual functional capacity form and give it to the claimant to submit. On the form or in a separate statement, the doctor could provide a date to indicate how far in the past the limitations were present. The doctor should also reference the testing or clinical findings on which the assessment is based.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Anonymous,

    If you have to stop work because of your health, you can file for long-term disability (LTD), which usually initially requires that you be disabled only from your usual occupation, and for Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI), which requires you to be disabled from all occupations you could perform if you did not have limitations. Your employer should have all the application materials or online URLs to apply for LTD.

    You can file for Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI) while working if you reduce your hours to earn less than $1,170 gross monthly. However, if you do so, you might not be working enough hours to still be insured under the LTD plan, which usually requires a certain number of work hours per week to be a member and insured. I suggest that if you are thinking about reducing hours, that you request a copy of the LTD plan (and short-term disability [STD]) plan if there is one) from your employer or from the insurance company. That will allow you to see whether you can apply for LTD at the time you cut back your hours. Some LTD policies define disability as the inability to earn 80% (or another percent) of pre-disability earnings, meaning you wouldn’t have to stop work entirely.

    Of course, you would have to prove medical necessity and that gets us to your next topic. It is difficult to document pain. You might ask your doctor for a referral to a pain clinic, where your pain could possibly be better managed. Pain center treatment could also provide better documentation for a claim. If there is any possibility that you have rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia, referral to a rheumatologist could also provide better care and/or documentation for your claim. You would want to say on the application how often and under what conditions your shoulders dislocate. For example, has it ever happened at work. You do not say what kind of work you do or what your age and educational level are; those factors are considered in evaluating your SSDI claim. Lastly, talk to your doctor about the problems you are having at work and your pain levels and other symptoms and ask whether he would support your reducing your hours or stopping work.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Andrea,

    As you describe your medical condition, I would expect you to be medically approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Logan,

    If you never worked more than six months and left every job because of your health, the onset date could got back to 2011. That does not, however, mean payment would go back that far.

    If you are approved for Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI), benefits begin to accrue the later of twelve months before the month you applied or the sixth full calendar month of disability, as established by Social Security. If you are approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your benefits will begin the month following the month of application unless you applied on the first of the month in which case benefits begin with the month of application.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Logan,

    The nurse practitioner will be treated as an “Other Medical Source.” The evidence will not have as much weight as that of a physician, but it will not be disregarded.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Nene,

    Yes, you can apply for Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI). You can also apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but if you are getting workers compensation (WC) benefits, your WC income may be too high for SSI benefits to be payable.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Broome,

    I am not sure you can do anything about the doctor. There might be something in the STD claim file already signed by a doctor that says your husband was able to work at the point the claim was closed. If so, that could be given to the union. If not, you may need some legal assistance from an attorney who specializes in employment law. Perhaps case could be make that his doctor already wrote a release for the end of the STD benefit period, which would reduce the amount of the unemployment overpayment.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Nichole.

  • Dear Jess,

    Your mental health records including the report from the consulting physician has been sent to a physician for review so that the claims examiner will have a better understanding of your work limitations. A torn ACL would presumably not disable you for twelve months, which is the duration required to be eligible for benefits, and a torn ACL might not disable you from all work that can be performed seated.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Deanna,

    I suggest that you follow up with your PCPs directly and ask them to respond.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Deanna,

    If you are as limited as you indicate, you should probably not be worried. However, I suggest that you make sure that your medical records for the last two years from all your providers are submitted to the claims examiner. That way your treating physician’s records will be considered. Otherwise, the records may not be requested. If any of your physicians or your psychologist is willing to complete a residual functational capacities (RFC) form or make a statement about your limitations and how they determined what those limitations are, such statements could help.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Deanna

      Thank you for your reply. I thought SSA requested my records. I did not know I had to provide them. That would make a lot more sense to me.

      • Dear Deanna,

        SSA does sometimes request records or statements from treating physicians but not always or not all. You can call the DDS examiner and ask for a list of records they have received (ask for the provider’s name and the date range they have) and any that they have requested and not received. That will narrow down what you need to collect.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Dear Nez,

    Your son’s work activity is unlikely to affect his eligibility for disability benefits. Please see my response for a more detailed discussion of why. The post office can tell you whether you can send a pre-stamped letter as certified mail.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Nez,

    I suggest that you call the DDS examiner to explain the situation and ask whether you can fill out the form or he has to. If she says he must do so it, then review the form after he completes it. If there are errors in it, you can submit a separate statement to offer corrections, pointing out any place that you think he did not understand the questions.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Nichole,

    The judge has to understand what your limitations are in order to be able to determine that you are limited from working. The hypothetical questions are just that hypothetical. To be approved the judge needs to see that the limitations she posed to the vocational expert actually are limitations that you have. That is the reason for her getting a medical analysis of your medical records.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Christina

    Hello, My name is Christina I have many health issues I have bad anxiety ptsd insomnia battered woman syndrome and lastly Char-cot Marie tooth which is a neurological nuropothy and my hands and legs hurt badly hard to walk write type or do much of especially on my dominant side and I wondered what are my chances of getting disability?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Christina,

      You may qualify medically for disability benefits. I suggest that you file a claim. You can get tips on filing under the “Apply for SSD” tab at the top of this web page and information about the claim evaluation process under the “Claims Process” tab.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ben Smith

    Hi. Both of my psychologist and Psychiatrist filled out a Mental RFC report and marked me extreme or unable in a lot of fields. This is being sent in with my Request for Reconsideration. Will DDS use the mental Rfc reports in their decision? I have seen both of them for over three years now so I’m hoping they weigh on their opinion. Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ben,

      The opinions of your treating medical providers are supposed to be given serious consideration in the determination of whether you are disabled. Especially if the doctor and the psychologist provided rationale for their opinions (why they assessed as they did), the residual functional capacity (RFC) statements should be helpful to your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Ben Smith

        Thank you, Kay! I wasn’t sure if DDS gave any consideration to doctor and psychologist’s residual functional capacity. Could that lead to an approval?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Ben,

          The DDS is supposed to consider all the evidence. The residual functional capacities reports support disability so they support approval of your claim, but I can’t guarantee they will lead to an approval. It will depend on how they are weighed in relationship to all other evidence.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Ben Smith

            Thank you, Kay, for the response. How long does reconsideration take. I have heard sometimes it only takes a month. My lawyer’s office just submitted my reconsideration appeals yesterday. Would it even be possible to hear back before the end of January with the RFC’s submitted… Or does the whole process work like the last time where they send out those daily living forms and work forms, or do they just use the same forms in my file… Thanks, Kay in advance for answering my question.

            • Dear Ben,

              Everything in your original claim file plus what your attorney submitted will be reviewed in the reconsideration appeal. Usually reconsiderations take about the same length of time as an original claim. The very quick decisions are usually denials of appeals that just say “I disagree; I’m disabled” and don’t offer new information or evidence.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • My DSSI case is currently at the reconsideration stage since April 2016. Still no decision has been made. But I have a question… I am completely homebound due to both mental and physical limitations. I am severely agoraphobic, I suffer from panic disorder, severe insomnia, anxiety disorder, manic depressive disorder, extensive nerve damage in my hands, legs and feet, ect… I qualify for disabled in more than one category. My SSDI case has been on going since July of 2014 this time around. I have been to both mental and physical exams for the SSA. I hired an attorney for my appeal process and since then my health has declined. I keep my attorney up to date on all changes to treatments and medications and even my home health care and physical therapy at home. So, if I can’t leave my home for health care how will I be expected to attend a hearing to decide my SSDI?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michelle,

      You are apparently in a state where the reconsideration appeal goes directly to a hearing. If you never leave your home for any reason–no medical appointments, no weddings, no funerals, no exceptions, tell your attorney so he or she can explain to the judge why you are not appearing. If you ever go out or can possibly go out, you should go to the hearing because it will help your appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • hi i hav been disabled for 9 years or so after working my ass off for 14 years or so and when i got disabled they said i had 3 times the credits needed to be fully vested so yeah i worked alot of 7 day weeks and 15 hour days anyway so ive had 11 surgeries since 2008 and my last surgery lasted 18 hours on operating table and all abdominal surgieries, this has left me with severe mental and physical limitations and so they sent me a review letter asking me some questions i could hardly think straihtt so i filled it out best i could im sure it was horrible but then they told me i was gonna be kicked off disability so i went to the office and they wanted update to my records is all see i found out my initial surgery was due to toxin i ingested and misdiagnosed by the drs lets skip to my last surgery the surgoen told me he is blunt and he did make me cry by telling me my insides were terrible and that after 11 surgeries i shouldnt look forward to much recovery even after this surgery that i will still suffer from pain and flashbacks he couldnt comment on but said that my next surgery will surely be an ostomy surgery or actually illostomy as they cut out too much of plalce for ostomy and said that it is inevitible its just a matter of when well i know im over my due date as i have terrible digestion issues and result to drinking pedialite 6 days a week and eat 1 meal a week and yet still this gives me problems for the one meal i eat so i know that if i go to the hospital i will surely come out with a bag anyhow so i call social security following month after getting another canceliation letter saying i have 10 days to appeal i mailed it out on the 8th day after it taking 5 days to get to my address and 3 days before i oopened it and mailed outt ehe appeal and called the next month and was told yes that it had to have been received cause they see payments for me through 2017. so happy and load of relief off my shoulders i can concentrate on my surgery now i go to the hospital and told i have no benefits and last month was my last disability payent its ssdi and i called they said no record of receiving appeal but i told them that my account was locked and lady who unlocked me is the lady who told me im no longer in cancelation or review and that she assured me she sees no interuption through 2017 but the guy said not only do i lose my 10 day appeal but now i lost 60 day appeal and can only start a new claim which wouldnt work caus ive been sick and averaging over 1 surgery a year however the poaperwork thats supposed to say appeal by november 2016 is a mistype by them and says 2017. what i want is to get permanant disability where they leave me alone and let me work on getting approved for death with dignity act so i can die befire i totally lose my memory as its going fast and i moved far away from my family o they dont have to see it however now without disailty money i will have no way to pay for medicaitons for pain medication for anxiety depression or heeart medicaiton my rent ius very cheap cause i chose to live with a nice lady who acts as an aid to me and takes me eveywhere i need to go includig dr appt and we include the price in the rent and only in mexico can i afford this because they tricked me into thinking disability pay counts as pay when it concerns part d prescriptoin medication eveytime i tell them reply to ho wmuch do you get a month i say my disability is xxxx they say oh thats too much and 4 times ive been told no i should get benefits and 4 times i got tricked same way until i found out disability pay doesnt vcount as income for medication anyway i am stuck here no benefits at all enough money for a few weeks of medicaitons and no clue what to do besides jump from a bridge. i wanted to do it the classy way and go with blessing of a dr but the ssdi system is messed up and is hurting me badly

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Richard,

        My first thought: Is there any way you can prove you filed the appeal on time within the ten days to get payment continuation and to register the appeal within sixty days? Did you send it certified or keep a photocopy? Can you go to the office that you mailed it to to see whether the appeal might be misplaced in their office? You might try talking with the manager to see whether a decision can be made to accept a late appeal for good cause because you did submit an appeal that was lost or otherwise not handled correctly. In the meantime, you might check out the website http://www.needymeds.com/ to see whether there is a source to get medication assistance. (This may not be available if you are still living in Mexico.) If you are now living in the United States, you could also enroll in insurance through the Affordable Care Act, which provides government assistance for payment of premiums. More information is available at http://www.ssa.gov.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Donna

    HI I recently went to see a social security psychologist. I have seizures that are controlled by medicine. However the side effects from the meds cause me to have anxiety, memory problems, I loose my balance, my concentration. The Dr. highly recommended I get approved for SSI benefits. What should I expect to happen now?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Donna,

      You probably have a good chance of being approved; however, the consulting physician is asked only to confirm diagnosis and limitations; he or she does not make the decision. If you have not gotten a decision within six weeks of the appointment, I suggest calling the claims examiner at the Disability Determination Services for a status.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ashley B

    Hi Kay My son is 21 months Old and was recently denied SSI in September, because they say his Conditions aren’t severe enough, He Doesn’t Say any True Words and he has never Have, He Doesn’t eat Food,and he has asthma And he goes to Therapy for, Speech, Eating, and Occupational, And has been goin to therapy for 8 months and his condition has not improved wat so ever, And Also His Therapist have his condition as severe, I did a request for reconsideration, And now they are sending him for a Speech Evaluation! My Question is, Is that A good thing that they are sending him to a CE for A Speech evaluation? And why didn’t they send him to one on the initial Claim? If They needed more information what makes it different from the 1st evidence they had, because its all the same medical evidence!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ashley,

      I don’t know why the evaluation was not requested initially, but it is good that more information is being gathered. If he is denied again, I recommend requesting a copy of his claim,so you can see the exact reasons for the denial and the evidence in file that the denial was based on. That way if you disagree with the denial, you can tailor the next appeal to those exact reasons. (You could even request a copy of the file now to see if there are any important records missing from the claim file that should be submitted for the reconsideration.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ashley B

    Hi Kay! I Went to my Hearing With ALJ Last month he sent me to CE For A Mental Examination, I’m Diagnosed with Bipolar I, PTSD, Major Depression Disorder Severe With Psychotic Features, and Anxiety, I went to My appointment yesterday, And Both the Doctor and Psychiatrist Said I do Have the mental disability, they even took a look at my meds and recommended my doctor Higher my dose for My Anxiety med Because I Was having anxiety when I was Trying to explain something to her, My Question is ” If The CE Doctor Says Yes there is A Disability and My medical records Support it Also What are my Chances of being approved? My next court date is called a Supplemental Hearing What happens in this hearing??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ashley,

      The hearing will mostly go over the new evidence received from the consultative examination. The consultant is not expected to make a disability decision, only to report an assessment of your diagnoses and limitations that stem from them. The consultant’s report and your doctor’s opinion will be considered, but the judge will make the decision. That said, it is helpful to your claim that the consultant confirmed a diagnosis and observed your anxiety.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Ashley B

        Ty Kay! How Long dose it usually take for The CE to get the results back to DDS and The Judge? And Also I’m Scheduled for A Supplemental hearing is it possible for the Judge to Make a Decision and cancel my court date?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Ashley,

          Usually the consultant is given three weeks to submit the report, but it could be less time than that. The judge could make a fully favorable decision without a supplemental hearing.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Ashley b

            Hi Kay, I just recieved a copy of the Report, from my Mental exam where the Judge sent me to and The CE doctor has that I can work As long as I have adequate treatment of my meds and Therapy, and she also says i have No limitations, only with Long term memory I have a very low Score, 1st I feel its Unfair that someone who doesn’t. Know me and only met wit me for 20 minutes. Have the right to give an Opinion On If I Can work with my disability, My question is How Much do the Judge take in Consideration about her opinion if my Medical records. Says otherwise? the Judge sent me to this CE because My Lawyer wasn’t. Able to obtain my recent medical records. As of this year… my lawyer has sent updated records and the Judge has them now, I been a patient of my doctor’s. For 5 years and my condition is getting worser….. And also The CE doctor. gave me the same diTherapymy doctor gave me, But Says I can work With Them As long as im taking My Meds and going to Therapy, Is it a good thing atleast She gave the same diagnosis? Or bad being that she said She thinks i could still work with them if i have adequate treatment!

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Ashley,

              It is not helpful to your claim that the consulting physician opined that you can work, but good that he agreed on the diagnosis. It is very good that your attorney finally was able to get your recent medical records to submit to the judge. This means that the judge will have the recent records to weigh against the consultative physician’s report.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

              • Ashley B

                Hi Kay, My Attorney sent a request for a Supplemental hearing How long dose it usually takes to get me back in court?

                • Kay Derochie

                  Dear Ashley,

                  I would expect a few months, less than six. Because times vary from office to office, your attorney might be able to give you an estimate specific to our geographic area.

                  Sincerely,
                  Kay

  • Kay Derochie

    Dear Faye,

    If you were unable to work in February before your surgery in May, your disability would begin in February. You need to prove that you cannot work in another occupation such as office nurse or some other occupation for which you have the skill and physical ability. I do note that Social Security agreed that you became disabled and that your denial was just because they thought that your would not be continuously disabled for twelve months. The letter from your doctor about the duration of your disability needs to include test results or clinical examination results that are the basis for his opinion.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Faye

    Please don’t release my last name only Faye

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Faye,

      I cannot edit how you post your name. In order to hide your name, I had to delete your post and question, which I did. I left my answer up for you to see.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Krys

    Will SSA send you for therapeutic levels of medications in your blood via a blood test? And if so what medications will they look for?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Krys,

      It is unlikely that Social Security will send you for such a blood test, which is for the purpose of defining treatment, not ascertaining limitations.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • M Davis

        I went to an appointment with a psychologist that SSA referred me to. She talked to me about my conditions and told me she’s sending her report and she defiantly believes I need the SSI so I can get specialized treatment.now I’m waiting to go to for a physical they had set your up for me prior to the mental evaluation.i guess my question is does the phycologist recommendation to approve me have any influence on the decision to approve or deny

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear M.

          The consulting psychologist’s report is considered in determining eligibility; however, it should be noted that the consultant is not asked to offer an opinion about disability. The consultant is to offer an opinion about diagnosis and limitations or restrictions, if any.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • joseph

    Hi Kay ,

    I applied for SS disability about three weeks ago and the process seems to be moving quite quickly. I’m a 60 year old man with severe flatfoot deformity ( post tibial tendon syndrome) which is progressive foot disorder that I’ve been dealing with for several years. I also have arthritis in both feet and hips, and a R hip replacement. I see a psychiatrist on a regular basis and am being treated for anxiety and depression based on my chronic condition.

    My career has been as a freelance dancer and dance teacher which I can no longer do. Let alone walk long distances etc. and chronic pain in feet and hips.

    Ssa requested Dr. Reports very quickly (as one of my physicians made me aware of it) but only one week after requesting they left me a phone call with two scheduled appointments for a SS medical exam. One at 1:30 the other at 2:30 the same day. I imagine they will X-ray the bad foot at least?

    I was just curious if they even received all the medical reports they were requesting in that short of a time? I imagine my several dr reports will get to them in the next two weeks before my appointment, but who knows.

    Do you find it odd that they’d schedule this without having all the major reporting in their hands?

    I haven’t had any major surgeon appointments in about almost two years, so perhaps they just want to do their own update ( X-rays ) on my condition?

    Lastly, given my past career and inability to continue it, what do you think my chances of being approved are? my past X-rays and MRIs speak for themselves as do the 10 doctors I’ve seen over the last 5 years about this condition.

    Thank you,

    Joseph

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joseph,

      I do not know why you are being asked to attend examinations before all your medical records are in except as you suggest, more current information is needed. I suggest that you contact your other providers to see whether they can expedite sending in your records.

      If you have had only one career that you can no longer do, at your age, I would expect you to be approved. If you are denied, I recommend that you get a copy of your claim file to see the exact reasons for the denial and the evidence it was based on and that you appeal with the assistance of an experienced Social Security attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front, and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Laurie R

    My Case Has Went To Drs Review How Long Does It Take After That To Get A Decision?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Laurie,

      If the doctor does not recommend additional investigation, I would expect a decision within a month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • My disability was approved but my work is asking for a doctors note to excuse me from work while I am on disability. I went back to disability and they said that my work should except the letter stating that I am on disability but my work wants a doctors note to go with the acceptance letter. I can not get a note. What can I do? Please help.

    • My Primary that works for Kaiser Doctor Kaiser PPO will give a doctors note but will only give it for a day or two at a time and not
      the 6 months that I need that was approved by Disability.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Sandy,

        As you will see in my response to your last post, I misunderstood what you were saying about the one to two days. However, that does not change my response.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sandy,

      I responded to your first post under a different article with some questions for you so that I could answer. You have provided a bit more information now, so I can respond. Apparently, you want to maintain your employment status on FMLA or otherwise even though you cannot work, presumably so you can return to work or keep health insurance. I really don’t have a solution for you other than to change doctors to be evaluated and to get a letter or to submit the note the doctor was willing to write that you could work two days at a time or possibly to get legal advice, which might be helpful if you work for a large employer.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Gilbert

    Hi I was recently denied disability. The caseworker received all medical records for my bipolar depression and severe sleep apnea. I was advised if I needed to see their doctor she would contact me. Well she didn’t contact me instead I received a denial letter. I receive treatment from my psychiatrist regularly and due to my conditions and numerous medications with lots of different side effects I can’t work. I been out of work since 2012. Can you be denied without first seeing a disability doctor.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Gilbert,

      You already posted this question under another article, where I also responded. Here’s the reply I posted:

      Yes, a claim can be denied if the medical information in file is sufficient to indicate the person’s illness is not disabling.

      I suggest that you request a copy of your claim file from the Social Security Administration (SSA) so you and the attorney can see the exact reason for the denial and see the evidence it is based on. If you decide to appeal, it could be helpful to hire an experienced Social Security attorney to assist you. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ellen Kayle

    Hi, I applied for disability for PTSD in late June and am waiting for a determination. My therapist, prescribing nurse practitioner, and MD from my mental health office all filled out and signed the Residual Mental Functional Capacity form, which states:

    “Ms. xxxx suffers from hyper vigilance, recurrent panic attacks and intrusive memories. Throughout treatment I have observed that Ms. xxxx often appears extremely anxious and becomes tearful and distracted. As a result, Ms. xxxx has a markedly limited ability to sustain concentration and persistence.
    I have also observed that Ms xxxx suffers from severe anxiety and phobias . Due to these conditions, she has a markedly limited ability to travel, take public transportation, or adapt appropriately to changes in the work environment.
    Throughout treatment, I have observed that Ms.xxxx frequently becomes confused and overwhelmed during discussion. As a result, she has a markedly limited ability to engage consistently in social interaction necessary to a workplace. ”

    In addition, my primary care nurse practitioner also filled out a form for me and wrote “Please refer to psychiatrist notes” on it.

    I had hoped this would be sufficient documentation for approval but someone just told me they usually make you see an SSDI psychiatrist, too. As someone who has trouble with confusion, panic attacks, and maintaining social interaction, this idea is causing me anxiety. Do you know what the usual procedure is regarding approval for PTSD disability claims and does it seem like I will have to see an SSDI psychiatrist?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ellen,

      You may not be asked to attend a consultative examination. If you are, be sure to attend because if you don’t your claim could be denied. The exam if you have one will be for evaluation only, not treatment. It may be helpful to have a friend or relative drive you to the exam and wait in the waiting for you, but it is okay to show that you are nervous or show signs of your illness at the exam if that occurs.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Priscilla Velez

    Hello. If the disability medical examiner states that I am disabled, does that mean that I would be approved?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Priscilla,

      The consulting physician’s report will be taken into consideration, but the doctor does not make the decision because the doctor is not trained in Social Security law. The consultant is supposed to provide Social Security with a medical examination report that includes diagnosis, findings, and your limitations/restrictions, not a disability decision or opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Felicia

    Our son is 2 1/2 years old. He was diagnosed with the following.
    1. ASD Level 2
    2. Drooling
    3. Speech Apraxia
    4. Cardiac Murmur
    5. PVL (peri ventricular leukomalacia)
    6. Perinatal left MCA stroke
    7. Symptomatic localization-related epilepsy

    His speech therapist said he has a 56% receptive delay equivalent of a 16 month old, 64% delay in expressive equivalent of a 12 month old & 58% delay in overall language equivalent to a 14 month old.

    SSI has all these documents along with whatever else they may have been provided by our Pediatric Neurologist. We have been at this for 6 months now, last month SSI said they needed us to attend two appts for them. (Psychological Eval & Speech/Language Eval) is this common? I just feel as if everything we have documents for already would have been far enough for a determination. Also his stroke is on the side in which his communication comes from and he’s non verbal when he does talk it sounds like an infant babbling.

    I just feel like they are going to deny him…

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Felicia,

      I do not know the reason, but for the last couple of years it seems as if more consultative examinations are being ordered even when a lot of medical evidence has already been submitted. Be sure to take your child to the appointments. At the appointments, check to see whether the physician received for review the evidence you submitted. As you describe your son’s deficits, I would expect him to be approved for benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Vanessa

    This is my story so i apply sor disability in january 2016 for ssi i have back condition i have severe arthrophy, scoliosis, DDD etc i was denied in may 2016 in june i appeal my case. But i also diret throug DTA so i receive a letter saying today from Disability evaluation services that they have decide that i have a disability that is expect to last through january 2017 can somebody help me to understand?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Vanessa,

      It appears that you have been approved for SSI disability benefits for a limited period of time; that is, it has been determined that your condition will improve by January 2017 or at least you must have a re-evaluation at that time. If you want to post the exact approval language in the letter, I can be more specific.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Fiona

    My child was born premature and at 6 months end up with hydrocephalus. She currently have a permanent VP shunt on her right side of her head. She was recently receiving Ssi but they just recently denied her. I live in Illinois and want to know do they cut her medical card off as well? Should I repeal because her shunt can malfunction at anytime?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Fiona,

      If your child is now limited or significantly behind in her development, it would be appropriate to appeal. Medical insurance tied to SSI eligibility will likely end, but she may qualify for Medicaid under other criteria. If she is not Medicaid eligible, she might be eligible for insurance under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Widowstressedout

        I applied for disability and mailed in medical records from All offices and my doctor did rfc forms for both mental and physical that were mailed also. Would determination services still send for more records if I sent records for the last year up until now? Dr specified in every category on rfc forms including needing naps multiple times a day. Chances of approval first time? Spinal stenosis lumbar radiculopathy major depression anxiety panic disorder severe pain migraine headaches numbness tingling feet pain meds depression meds etc

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Widowstressedout,

          If you indicated on the application that you submitted all your records, the examiner will not re-request the records; but, despite all the records and statements, sometimes a consultative examination will be requested. It can be difficult to prove disability when multiple conditions combine to create disability. If you are denied, hire an experienced Social Security attorney to help with your appeal.When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

        • terry

          I applied for disability 6months ago I called my disabiliy case worker she said they close the case she said they were sending it some where I ask her was good or lbad she said she couldn’t tell me over the phone I ask how long was this going to take she said2 weeks I ask her could she give me a hint she said she could tell me it look real good ! Is that good news?

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Terry,

            It appears that the claims examiner wrote a decision to approve your claim but it was selected randomly for a quality assurance review. The review could uphold the decision, reverse it, or result in the claim being sent back to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) for more investigation.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

      • LetLove

        Hi kay, I was trying to figure out how to ask a question, i hope im doing it right. I was scheduled a psychiatric evaluation, and it it scheduled to be held at a small hotel where i worked in 2015, I had many conflicts with my supervisor, and some of the employees, i was the only black working there , and during my first week of work there my supervisor called me an ugly name that has racial undertones I’ve been diagnose with PTSD dissociative subtype panic disorder with agoraphobia, major depression, with psychosis, my doctor say the goal is management, not cure, and because i have had my symptoms scince childhood. Im afraid of being in public, i fear being alone, i suffer from insomnia and extreme poly trauma, my question is can they schedule my psychological exam at a small hotel where i worked and experienced such high levels of stress, my heart has been palpating since i opened the appointment letter, and im just pacing the floor. And the letter says if i don’t go to the appointment i will be denied.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear LetLove,

          It is very important that you attend the evaluation. You might try calling the claims examiner and explaining what you have explained to me to find out if the exam can be held elsewhere. If that is not possible arrange for a relative or friend to go to the hotel with you and to wait for you during your appointment. If you are a wreck at the exam, it won’t hurt your claim.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Cindy

      Hello, I was wondering I have 2 doctor’s that support my disability. Both wrote my limitations and such they put I would miss work 4 or more days per month. They put my medications interfere with my ability to work also the judge asked the Ve many hypothetical about my conditions she named off 3 jobs one being laundry folder after the judge asked the ve 2 hypotheticals she said there were no jobs. I am having a biopsy today for cancer in my breast and the judge said she didn’t need any more information. My question is do you think i have a good chance of winning. I don’t understand why she would not keep the record open

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Cindy,

        I can’t say for sure, but it is likely that the judge did not hold the record open because he or she is going to approve your claim based on the evidence already in file.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • cindy

          thank you so much for answering me, i left out so much too, i just wanted to let you know also that this is my second hearing the first time i was denied but i had a crappy lawyer that didn’t help me at all , the only thing the judge based his decision on was the social security doctor that they sent me too, my conditions are bipolar, major depressive disorder, anxiety attacks , my lawyer changed my dates until more recently and also said that it would be fair to review my case in a year to see if my condition has improved, question is do you think the new judge who was a female will overturn the last judge as there was much more information, thank you in advance and my period key is broke

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Cindy,

            The new judge will review all the information in your claim file. I would think that the judge will review the new information; otherwise, the attorney would not have submitted it. Expressing willingness to accept a later date of disability could be helpful.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • cindy

            thank you so much for the information kay, i will keep praying on it and keep you posted

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Cindy.

  • L.Young

    Hi I posted a question on June 30,2016 at 11:05pm and I can’t find it anywhere. I know it was under claim process but I done went over every topic in claim process and still haven’t found the question. Can you help Me? I also have a new question if I went to my hearing on the 14th of June and the judge made a decision on the 16th is that a bad thing? Also, I was told it’s been with the decision writers since the 16th how much longer before I hear anything?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Laylatoya,

      You posted several questions and under two different questions and I answered them. I suggest that you send me the question again and I will respond. I would expect you to have the decision within the month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Bulldog

      Can you help Me? I went to my hearing on the 14th of June and the judge made a decision on the 16th is that a bad thing? Also, I was told it’s been with the decision writers since the 16th. I call on the 11th they said it been back on the judge deal since the 8th of July and when I call on the 15th of July they said the letter was in the process of being mailed to me. If all medical evidence point to an approval and the judge denies me is that grounds for appeal? Also, it was remanded back to the judge because he fail to take encounter of my treating physician statement that I was 100% disable and my witness testimony of how severe my condition is. I’m praying for the best this has been a long journey trying to seek assistance since I’ve been unable to work due to the pain. Dr said I would be like this for the rest of my life unless a miracle happen. Dr say I have chronic pain. The medicine I’m on have me sleepy, nauseated all the time. I have to take medicine for being nauseated which also cause drowsiness. I take muscle relaxer nuerotin metformin. I take Zoloft for depression and fibromyalgia and the judge seem like he was not convinced by that is that a bad thing?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Bulldog,

        See my reply of today to your last post. If you are denied, you can appeal to the Appeals Council.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Mike L

    Hello! I’d like to thank you ahead of time for all of your great advice. I have polyneuropathy in my ilioinguinal nerve, femoral nerve, and possible surrounding nerves.
    I also have CRPS type II. I have been diagnosed by 2 doctors with these diseases and also treated by 3 doctors for them. 3 years ago I had a hernia repair operation which resulted in entrapped nerve(s) which causes pain in my left medial thigh, groin, lower inguinal region, hip, and lower lumbar region. It has been stated that I cannot leave my bed on certain days. My doctor filled out an RFC form printed off from the ssa website. They got all of my records from every doctor and my work history. I have been forced to resign my last 3 jobs because of missing days due to pain and not leaving my bed. I can’t even jog anymore and I played multiple sports my entire life as I documented in my paper. Even though I had ample information for them from my doctors, they made me go to their doctor. He also filled out a RFC form of some kind and made my try all of these different exercises. (Example: kicking his hand which was even with his shoulder. Obviously I couldn’t do it but he said I have to try) their doctor was short, rude, ignored all of my questions related to my health, and seemed obvious in trying to find something to contradict the paperwork I had in front of him from the disability office. Also, I haven’t stated that I had a limp and he made me walk, I wasn’t limping when I did for him but he asked what leg I’m trying to bare weight from. I told him I wasn’t but not I did it would be like this(I showed how I would bare weight). I am worried he will be bias despite my scares, medical history, surgeries and obvious impairments. I now I have to wait “a month and a half” until they send a letter with their decision.

    Words of advice? Chances of getting it?

    I am in a lot of debt from waiting and I am stressed and unhealthy from the financial stress. It was hard enough from the stress of losing my ability to do anything physical.
    My RFC form my doctor filled out stated the worst possible case in every section. And also stated that “anything engaging in abdominal muscles would exacerbate pain to the point of incapacitation.”

    Everyone I’ve talked to, including the local social security office has warned me about getting denied my first time no matter what evidence is apparent. That’s why I’m worried. They see it’s obvious I’m disabled but they go by what everyone else they’ve heard about applying has said.

    Thank you so much for reading this and I hope this comment helps others. Especially with the stress.

    -Mike L-

    • Mike L

      Corrections:
      “…the paperwork *he* had in front of him…”

      “I told him I wasn’t *but if I did *it would be like this…”

      “Operation Scars” not scares.

      Also, I want to include that my doctor put in the RFC form that I have to alternate standing and sitting within every 2 hours. And that these diagnosed diseases have had symptoms lasting longer than 12 months, they are debilitating and chronic in pain, and that I am currently prescribed medicine for them for the past 3 months. I also had nerve blocker treatments which the doctor stated that it didn’t help.

      Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mike,

      This reply is in response to both your posts. The consulting physician evaluates only and will not usually give input about your health or treatment, so it is not unusual that he would not answer questions about your health. Not all claims are denied initially and if you are limited from working consistently in past occupations or in new occupations that allow you to change from sitting to standing periodically, your claim may be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mike L

        Hey Kay. I got denied today. They said I’m disabled but I have to do light work up to 6 hours a shift. Funny thing is…I can’t even get out of my bed some days so I can’t get a job. I had to quit or forced to leave my past 3 jobs cause of this. I can’t believe they would deny a person who has had multiple doctors provide paperwork that proves they are disabled. What am I supposed to do now??? It’s like they work with lawyers so they can get a get of the back pay. It’s a sick system

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Mike,

          I suggest that you appeal with the help of an attorney. Also, get written verification from the last three employers of the number of days work you missed during the last two or three months you were in each job and verification that you were let go due to absenteeism. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Hi Kay. Would it help my claim if i download a mental residential functional form for my psychiatrist to fill out for my appointment this Friday ? Could it help my chances of being approved for Social Security disability?

    • Was called today by my D examiner .. he is sending me for exam through Social Security doctor

      • I have been seeing a psychiatrists for over a year in a half why a iq and mental exam?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Karen,

          I do not know the reason behind the apparent trend for more consultative examinations. In any individual claim, it could be that the attending physician does not keep good notes or did not respond to a request. It could also be that the claim will be approved and more information is needed to determine whether your are mentally and emotionally capable of receiving direct payment or need a representative payee for money management.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Karen,

      If you think you mean mental residual functional capacity assessment. If you think that your psychiatrist will show that you have significant limitations, yes, it could help your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Lisa

    Hi, I was diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disease in March 2015 via muscle biopsy and other tests, which is listed on the “blue print” of disabilities according to the SSA. I worked as a certified teacher until I could no longer bear the pain and the board of education had a conference with me and stated I either had to resign from my position or be fired due to the amount of days missed and inability to fulfill the duties of the job. I resigned and filed for disability. My doctors documented my inability to work in a normal setting due to my limitations. During the same month I filed for disability, I was diagnosed with colon cancer…All of my doctors and 7 in hospital stays have been sent to the claims processor numerous times over the past 6 months. She then sends me to the disability doctor today 6-7-16 and he is in 100% agreement and documented that I do not have the ability to work. He stated he would call the office and tell her today. Does this mean I will finally get approved? Or should I go ahead and get a lawyer? The financial burden of my unemployment along with doctor co pays and medicines is over whelming!!! Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      There is no value in getting an attorney now. I’d say you have a reasonable chance of being approved. should your claim be denied, hire an experienced Social Security attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Rose

        I applied for disability in March if this year and on April 28th I was scheduled for an examination by the doctor appointed by the Social security. I have been waiting. I called to check on the status of my claim today, and they are still waiting in a signed copy of the medical report. They already have a copy just not signed. I have keratoconus in both eyes but the right eye required a corneal transplant and that was done a week ago. I was told by my doctor that there is a procedure that can be dine to stop the keratoconus in my left eye from progressing but I have to wait. Vision in my left eye is slightly blurry but I am still able to drive during the day. I do not drive at night or during the rain. Ive fallen a few times because of depth perception. My degree is in criminal justice and I’ve worked in prisons and detention centers. I don’t know if I will be able to work in this field with my limited vision. I just want to know if it probable that I can receive benefits and if so maybe until my vision in my right eye is restored.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Rose,

          It is possible that you will be approved, and it is also possible that your benefits will be stopped in the future if your second surgery sufficiently restores your sight. If after the second surgery you are not sure of your ability to work, you can ask Social Security for a Ticket to Work and take advantage of Social Security’s return-to-work incentives, which can include vocational rehabilitation services to help you get into a new occupation if needed. You can learn more about the incentives inthe Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov and also in other articles under the “After Approval” tab at the top of this web page.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Marcia

        Hi Kay I applied for disability back in 2012 and social security sent me to their doctors for a mental and physical exam. I was later denied in 2013. Well in April 2015 I reapplied again for disability I had been seeing my psychiatrist for 5 months prior before applying for disability for bipolar disorder and physical problems. Well, I received my denial and they had all the doctors that I go to. But, my question is how and why did they use their doctors to decide my claim from the CE report dated back from 2013? Can they do this? Also, the physician that did my CE for physical is my doctor now and they didn’t even get my records from him in 2015. I am now waiting for my hearing after being denied at reconsideration. I don’t understand I’ve been seeing my psychiatrist for almost 2 years…I’m just confused and lost

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Marcia,

          The consultative examination (CE) from 2013 would only have bearing on your condition back at that time, not now. I suggest that your get your current records from your medical and mental health providers and submit them before the hearing.

          Also, you may need the help of an experienced Social Security attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Marcia

            Thanks, Kay because I didn’t understand why my CE reports are on their from 2013. But, that’s what they used to help deny me on my initial and reconsideration application. So, I got an attorney after getting denied for reconsideration.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Marcia,

              I do not recognize your reference to a form 2013. Perhaps you attorney can explain it to you.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

      • Lisa

        Hi Kay,
        I just wanted to say thank you for your input and so glad I listened! I did not get an attorney and on June 30, 2016 I was approved for my disability and had a direct deposit of back payment on the same day!

        Thanks again!
        Lisa

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Lisa.

          • cynecia workman

            My hearing is set for Sept 8th. This
            is my diagnosis;

            I have DDD in cervica spine with herniated disks confirmed by MRI, thoracic part of my spine confirmed by xray, lumbar, and both collar bones confirmed by xray and the left shoulder by MRI. Unconfirmed in hips, hands and left knee as well as progressive osteoarthritis. I have chronic pain and take several meds. Also hypertension. I am 59 years old. I’m just wondering what my chances are for disability. All my work credits have been earned.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Cynecia,

              Whether or not you are eligible for disability benefits depends on how severely your diagnoses affect your ability to work. If you are unable to do the occupations you have done in the past, at your age, it is possible that you could be approved.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Nicow

    Hi Kay,

    I just saw this post. Very informative for me. I have a question (which is probably not worth asking since I am still in my waiting period). I had a baby in 2012. I was on temporary disability for about 12 months. Unfortunately, since 2013, I still have not worked. However, I have been to many dr’s appts over and over, (sometimes weekly), due to severe depression, anxiety and ADHD. I have also been on 9-10 medications over the past 3 years.

    I found out the severe depression is hereditary. Some days I don’t even get up. Now my health insurance has changed and I have a ridiculous deductible that I cannot afford. My husband has been the ONLY source of income since 2013. Our budget is so tight, I do not have the money for future dr appts or medications and I can’t get any further health insurance coverage until I pay my deductible.

    My file date for SSDI was in Feb 2016. They said I have to wait until July 2016 for a decision. However, I have had a medical evaluation, (in which the dr told me then I absolutely qualify and he would see to it that his report was processed asap). SSDI has received his report and I’m still waiting. My question is, if they take so long for a decision, does that indicate approval or denial, or we just can’t tell?

    I call weekly to speak with my rep and get an update. Each time I let her know just how dire this is to me and how my condition is severely worse without my medication. Does any of that matter? I feel like I’m lost right now. If I cannot get meds soon, I don’t know what my mental state will be.

    Do they actually make you wait a full 5 months for a denial?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nicow,

      Typical processing time is two to five months and when SSA is asked for an estimate, the five-month time frame is given. How long the claim pends is not an indication of either approval or denial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Janis

    Will try to make this short. Have suffered from sciatica pain for years but it usually went away. Was working and went to my doctor had a few test and he referred me in 2014 to a pain management doctor. I had the series of 3 epidurals-3 times. It didn’t help. I was starting to see that the pain was in my lower back and down my leg more each day. It was effecting my work but I did my best. Just happened my position was cut and I was laid off. I filed for unemployment but knew something was very wrong with my back. Went back to my pain management doctor who rarely refers to surgeons but he sent me to one. MRI was done and show degenerated disk disease, sciatica and a buldging disk. None of these could be fix without surgery. I had surgery and after up until the 5 th month I felt wonderful. Then I started feeling heavy weight feeling like two bowling balls on both sides of my very lower back…then pain in the left leg, my range of motion was changing and overall it was getting bad. Was not the same pain as what I had surgery for. Had an MRI – 2015 and it showed the arthritus has gotten worse. Went from mild to medium degeneration. A slight buldging of the L4 disk and that was about it. Within 7 months after surgery I was almost bed bound again. I filed a disability claim for SSI and SSD. I got another current MRI on my own a month prior 2016. I am 59 by the way. Disability contacted my previous roommate to complete a form on my ability to do things. They got my medical records from the surgeon and the pain management doctors, along with records from my primary doctor. My social worker has called me a few times for questions. They felt they did not have enough medical information so they referred me to their SSI doctor who will be the decision worker. (He asked a few questions, did a few range of motion test and was done in minutes). They also sent me to a shrink because I have sleep disorders and panic attacks but I have had them for years and take medication. Not sure but have idea why they sent me to him. Bottom line they are now making my decision. I got a call yesterday from them to ask me more about my job duties. It caught me off guard but was honest. I have been in the administrative field most my life. I can’t sit more than 20 maybe 30 minutes and the same for walking. The physician they sent me to who will make the decision talked more about his date he had and what a flop it was to his co partner than anything and I don’t feel I was treated fairly in giving me a good evaluation. Maybe to my favor maybe not. Based on this, do you think I may be eligable for benefits. I have been out of work for well over a year…collected State Disability in California but now I have moved. Now I can’t go to a pain management doctor for follow ups because I can’t afford it. Zero income living with a friend who has VA disability and can’t help. Reading all this says that if you continue going to the doctor for pain/problems it is to your favor….I can’t So…what do you think.
    Janis

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Janis,

      First, the consultative physician does not make the decision on your claim. The claims examiner who ordered the exam makes the decision. it is important to try to stay under the care of a physician for continuing documentation. With no income, you may be eligible for Medicaid. I suggest that apply at your state or county social services office. If you are asked for updated medical and don’t have it, make a statement that you have no income or insurance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Linda

        Medicade is the best help out there for those who are disabled and have no or not enough income to pay for health insurance, I have no deductibles and have been going to doctors for my back and neck along with anxiety and depression for years and continue up to just had another one today, that’s all I do is go to doctors in hope of help and something to make me feel better, if disability approves me then life will go on the same as it is now for me but I will at least have some income to use for bills, it will not magically take away what has changed my life for the worse, I cry everyday on how I feel and its something I would wish on no one!

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Linda,

          Medicaid is a good public health insurance resource, but accessibility to it (eligibility for it) varies from state to state and not everyone without income can get the insurance.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • LYNN

    Hello…I’ve been trying to apply for ssi/disability for my 6year old for almost 3years now…he has severe ADHD and bipolar.. medication minimally effective and both conditions progressively worsening…he was denied once and I didn’t appeal, denied again which I’m in the process of waiting on the results for that appeal. I received a letter today stating that he had been found to meet the medical requirements for disability benefits and that they have not yet made a decision on the non-medical requirements. What does that mean? Also the letter says they only found him disabled starting 1/4/16…not when his medical group started treating him or even not by my original file date, but the date of this appeal start…how can they determine THAT as his disability onset? What happens now?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lynn,

      The medical claim examiner makes oly the medical decision. The local Social Security office will ask you for a financial update back to the approved disability date and will calculate the benefits. That is why the letter said that no decision had been made on the non-medical requirements.

      The appeal date as the approval date seems odd. There is a remote chance it was a clerical error. You have sixty days to file an appeal on the date. I suggest that you request a copy of the claim and appeal file right away to review the decision memo, which could help you decide whether or not to appeal this only partially favorable decision. You might find that there was a clerical error. For example, the decision memo had another date and the wrong one was put in the computer.

      Note that if you appeal the disability date, the issue of whether your son is disabled is automatically reopened and the result of the appeal could be a determination that he is not disabled. I’m not saying this would happen, but legally it could.) If the appeal resulted in reopening and denial, you would have to repay monies received; so you might want to save some of the SSI, being careful not to go over the resource limit, to repay if needed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • rene estrada

    the judge denied my case.even all my doctors tells me I cant work no more.and the judge had all my medical records.so I want to know while my atty reviewing my case before taking it to the appeals.i asked my doctors if they can send all my medical records to Austin tx.it wont hurt my case?

    • rene estrada

      my court hearing was on 3-21-2016

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rene,

      Please clarify so I can respond. To what agency or office in Austin would the records be transferred and for what purpose?

      Thanks,
      Kay

    • Jane D Gilmore

      I suffer from childhood trauma,neglect,abuse as a kid i was punished for having a learning disability instead of getting help.Ive managed to conceal my sever anxiety and depression until about 21 I started losing it slowly but surely .2013 I started seeing a counselor and psychiatrist been on 6 different meds nothing works for me yet.im currently on Mirtazapine.In 2015 social security sent me a statement stating how much I could receive if I became disable at 24.the amount was 769 I have 28 work credits I just turned 25 in March.I attend therapy faithfully.Im planning for residential treatment next month due to my sever illess.I feel suicidal alot.I think about death frequently.I had a breakdown at my DDS exam.He asked was I suicidal,if I had support and that he would mention my depression in his report.im very suicial and I hate it because I want to live for my son.My only support is my counseling.I had a psych evaluation done by vocational rehabilitation in March 2015 which came back as anxiety disorder depression disorder and learning disability.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Jane,

        Your post does not include a question. If you have one, please post it and I will try to respond.

        Thanks,
        Kay

  • Barbara Steinway

    Hi, my situation is complicated, so please bear with me. I am a 56 year old female. When I was 12+13, my 15 year old brother and his friends repeatedly sexually abused me, often me in violent ways.

    We moved to another country when I was 13, our lives changed dramatically and I just plain blocked out the memories as best I could. The experience caused me to suffer extremely low self esteem, which I can honestly say affected all of my decisions as I grew into adulthood. I married an abusive man, but left him when our children were 5 and 6 and he began to verbally/physically abuse them, too.

    I have suffered from anxiety and depression all of my adult life, but just kept coping because of my kids. My brother suffered terrible guilt about what he did to me throughout his adult life. About 3 years ago, his therapist suggested he sit down with me, talk about what had happened, and apologize. I guess she thought that would help, and maybe it did help him, I don’t know. For me, it was catastrophic. All of those buried memories came screaming back, and it was like suffering the assaults all over again. At that time, I asked my primary care doctor to prescribe medication for my anxiety/depression/ lack of concentration. At this point, I have been on Xanax + Adderal for 3 years, but continue to suffer terribly from sleeplessness, phobias, depression, anxiety. I had to close my child care business in June 2014 because I couldn’t cope any more, and I have not been able to work since then. At this point, I would like to apply for disability. My questions: I recently made an appt at a mental health clinic, but I believe you see a social worker, not an actual psychiatrist. Does a social worker have enough ‘clout’ to help me get on disability? Please advise me as to the most effective way to accomplish this. Thank you and I apologize for the length of this!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Barbara,

      You may be seeing a clinical social worker trained in counseling and therapy. To support your claim, I suggest that you also get an appointment with a psychiatrist for diagnosis and medication management. You can file the claim now because it can take from two to five months to get a decision and you can update your medical providers and treatment information if it changes after the claim is filed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Nicky

    Hi i was diagnosed wit a pituitary adenoma tumor i have my days i dont really enjoy doing things anymore my moods and behaviour are appalliny eye sight is bad as cudnt see a distance very fatigue stressed to d last simce diagnosed i think of doing many wrong things im on treatment would i be entitled to disability benefit

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nicky,

      I if you are not able to work or are working and earning less than $1,130 and you have been or are expected to be disabled for twelve months, you might qualify for disability benefits. The best way to find out is to file a claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Fred

      Hi, I was Considered Disabled in 2004 and was granted SSI & SSDI due to severe hip dysplasia and Osteo Arthritis. Jump ahead to 2014, my case went under review, and I decided I wanted to try to return to work after being on disability for 10 years. I let them know that and they ended my disability in Aug of 2014, I tried to work for the following year. I started a new job in June of 2014 and was good for the first 3 – 4 months, and then the severe pain started to kick back in, I missed a lot of time from work due to the fact that there were some mornings I couldn’t get out of bed. in June of 2015 I was taken out of work again due to my disability. I filed for disability again and assumed I would get it, but I didn’t, they denied me, because my disability would not end in death. I was extremely let down. I was angry due to the fact that I see all kinds of people who have disability and work under the table, but here I have a severe condition and was already approved and they denied me, even the disability DR I went to see said I shouldn’t be working, I did have a hip replacement in 2009, but the other hip is getting extremely severe. after reading a lot of the stuff on this site its really angers me that its not DRs that make the decision on your Disability, its people they hire that make the decisions.
      this is incredibly wrong….

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Fred,

        You need to appeal with the assistance of an attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

        Note that your denial letter probably read that your claim was being denied because (in their judgement) you do not have a disability that has or will last twelve months or end in death.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Marie

    Hi kay,
    sorry I have two posting my fingers go numb and than hurt. And I loose my contraction. I hope you read through my messages.
    Thank you .

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Marie,

      I read your three messages. I suggest that you request a consultation with your attorney to go over a strategy for gathering all your medical records from both states and for getting statements from your current physicians. Your attorney can likely give you forms or specific questions for your doctors to answer.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Marie

    Hi Kay, I filed for disability 4/6/15 for peripheral neuropathy which was induce from chemo and radiation for right breast cancer in 2013. The neuropathy symptoms started just after finishing treatment Nov 2013. It started in February 2014. The neuropathy affects my hands and feet. And I am very unbalanced. I take 300 mg neurotins and norco. I still see a oncologist and I have a primary doctor and was just seen by a neurologist on 3/25/16. Who did a emg nerve study. He wants to change my meds to lyrica and put together a recommendation which he us sending to my primary doctor.he said I have small fiber neuropathy . I have a very low tolorence to medication. I walk with a cane and now have a disability platecard. I have health insurance through the city, so most of the doctors volunteer their time or they are students workin under a doctor. These doctors do not fill out any paperwork for disability. I do have a attorney.
    The doctors know that I have filed for ssdi. I forgot I moved from ohio to florida in march of 2015. My last day of work was March 3, 2015. The initial files came from ohio when I first filed. How do I get the doctors here in flordia to fill out disability papers? All the doctors here do say I am disabled and my limitations of my hands and feet a very limited. I am so confused. Is this something my attorney will have to address? And if I filed on 4, 2015. How long do it take to get a hearing ?
    Any advice from you will be greatly appreciated. I had a few other things to input but my fingers are starting to tingly. Thank you.

  • Marie

    Hi kay
    I applied for ssdi in April of 2015 for neuropathy from breast cancer in 2013. I at at the stage of appeal for a hearing. I do have a attorney. I am on neutrin 300 mg 3 a day along with norco. I have a very low to pain meds. I moved from ohio to florida in march of 2015 under my team of doctor ohio that the warmer weather may help with the neuropathy. I also have restricted air ways and degeneration disc in back. The doctors from ohio all said I am disabled and wrote letters. Now I have a old differ team of doctors here in flordia. I see a oncologist who is following me for the breast cancer in which I am in remission. But am still very very sore and tender for the surgery. Right breast cancer. He do say that I have peripheral neuropathy after getting my files from my previous oncologist. I also have a new primary doc. I’m trying to make this short. My primary doc, sent me for a pulmonary test and now I have to see a ENT doc. She also sent me to a neurologist in which I just went on 3/22/16. And was to have a upper and lower extremity emg nerve study. But he only did the lower. He said he could not believe I still had neuropathy from the chemo and said I had small fiber nerve. And said he wanted me to try lyrica and said he will send his recommendation along with a treatment plan. He was not very nice and seem irritated with me when he was doing a physical test on my hand and feet be a I cause I couldn’t feel much. He kept asking if I was diabetic and I told him no. I had just had blood work done on 3/15/16 and his nurse told him that. But he didn’t even look at my file on the computer. I forgot to add that before I saw him I had to go to another clinic and the nurse practitioner noted my chart as having decease grip in my hand, and that I declining management but I decline I told her that I was getting norco from my oncologist and that I

  • Pearlonna Johnson

    I have sickle cell hypertension and scoliosis. Due to my sickle cell I developed Avascular Necrosis and I’ve had a total hip replacement in my right hip and now my let hip is getting worse and I have severe back pain. I’ve had to see the disability examiner and I was wondering if I would be approved for disability benefits. I’m suppose to see my orthopedic doctor in April for my left hip. I’ve been out of work for a year and some months. If I have another hip surgery would that qualify me as being disabled.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Pearlonna,

      As you describe your condition, you may be disabled now. If you have not gotten a decision on your claim by the time that you see your orthopedist in April, get a copy of your chart note from that appointment and submit it to support your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Keshara

    Hello, I was wondering if I’m just filing to see if I can receive SSI benefits, can I use medical records from 2006 to present date or just recent records? Just had a psychological testing done which determined I have Major Depressive Episodes recurrent as stated on test results. Also have chronic migraines, anxiety attacks, PTSD, and sleeping problems in which I have an upcoming appointment for a sleep study. Please let me know is it a chance to be approved for SSI and also should I provide medical records from 2006 to now. Thank you for your time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Keshara,

      You do not say when you stopped work. If you stopped work a long time ago and need to prove that you became disabled in the past to still be insured for Social Security Disability at the time you became disabled, you would want to provide medical records for a year or two years before the date of disability if it was a gradual onset. If you became disabled more recently but you have a history of chronic mental illness, it could be helpful to provide records for three or four years before the date you are claiming and explain that you are submitting them to show a history of illness leading up to disability.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Eric

        I was receiving ssi for about 3years. For (PTSD) I have a bullet in my head. And a few scars across my forehead from blunt force trauma that needed stiches. Then i got incarcerated for almost 2 yrs. And my benefits were stopped. We were told that all i would have to do is show my release paper’s and my benefits would start back up. But once i was released and did this i was told that i had to reapply all over again. I’ve went to all their doctor’s the psychiatrist and i still haven’t heard anything!! It’s been 11months!! It didn’t take this long for me to be approved the first time.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Eric,

          Once your have been ineligible for SSI for twelve months, a new application is required. However, eleven months is far outside the normal range for processing of a new claim. I suggest that you call the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office that requested you see a physician to find out what is going on with the claim and to be sure it has not fallen through the cracks or that the claim has been denied and the notification lost in the mail.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • nancy

    Hi my name is nancy my husban has had hip problems since he was a child he had his first hip replacement at the age of 10 and his second surgery was on Dec 9 2015 for a total hip replacement he applied for ssd and was denied he has always struggle because he cannot stand for long periods of time nor walk nor sit and his recent surgery seems to me that it didnt work now his worse than before and always in pain like before he has not been able to keep jobs no more than a year because of his condition what can i do i want to appeal do u think he will be dinied a second time also

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nancy,

      If you and your husband believe that he is unable to work in any kind of job including one that would allow a change of position, then he should appeal. I suggest requesting a copy of his claim file so he can review the information in file and see the exact reasons for the denial.

      I also suggest hiring an experienced Social Security attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Bulldog

    My doctor that’s treating me for my back filled out an assessment form it stated during a typical work day my condition frequently interferes with 34-66% of the day I would have to miss about three days a month, I can’t stand and walk more than 2 hours with breaks during a typical work day and sit more than 4 without elevating my legs. I can lift less than 10 pounds frequently 10 pounds occasionally 20 pounds rarely and 50 pounds never. I can never twist bend stoop or climb ladders and climb stairs rarely. I can’t operate any machinery where I have to uses caution due to the medicines I take do you think I may be found disable if I applied

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bulldog,

      If being off work three days a month was unavoidable and medically supported, it is unlikely that you could maintain any job, so if that limitation is accepted, I would expect you to be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Bulldog

        Thanks

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome.

          • Jeremy

            Hello Tracy. I have two medical conditions that disable me, but one of them is poorly understood by most doctors and the other one I don’t have severe enough symptoms to qualify for outright. I have chronic pain that comes from just two hours of being out in public. I have circulation issues in y right leg that cause really bad pain after I walk or stand for more than two hours in a day. If I go to two doctors appointments one day (a total of 2-3 hours out in public) I am in pain for two to three days afterwards. Enough pain that I can’t even drive a car and I have to take a lot of pain meds. I used to be a truck driver and now I can’t even drive a car.

            I applied for SSDI and I was denied by the ALJ last year. I dropped my case after that. I was very angry. The judge treated me like a criminal and the whole experience was very dehumanizing. They said that based on my medical information I could no loner drive a truck, but that I could work as a parts assembler. They did not take into consideration the fact that I can’t stand or sit for very long without elevating my legs.

            They sent me to one of their CE doctors for depression and anxiety. The doctor actually agreed that I could not work due to chronic pain and a GAF of 50. The judge ignored this and so did the doctor who denied my claim before it went to appeal. If I apply again and have a solid diagnosis for mental illness and RFC from a psychiatrist, will they be able to reclassify my work restrictions on a new claim? Or will they just now say that the mental illness causes me to no longer be able to work a light duty job? They have me listed as light duty only.

            The main problem I have is that my doctors do not believe my leg is as bad as I say it is and the one doctor who does will not fill out any paperwork for SSDI. I see pain management, but he does not like patients who file for disability and I’m afraid to ask him to support my claim. The only other option I have is t see this really expensive psychiatrist who will fill out an RFC for 55 dollars, will do a three hour diagnosis with some objective testing, and prescribe meds.

            Is it worth it to go through all f this. My leg would automatically qualify for the listing under chronic venous insufficiency if I had more swelling and an open wound. The vascular doc says that will happen in ten years from now based on the damage in my leg. I had mental illness for years just never got it treated. I used to drive my truck alone and not have to work around people. That is how I managed to work around my mental issues.

            I also have antiphospholipid antibody disorder. This causes the blood to clot. It also causes pain, fatigue, and mental fog. There are some expert doctors in Colorado who know about this disease and will fill out forms for disability. I would have to travel 1000 miles to do this though. I also lost all of y SSDI work credits because they ended the month my claim was denied. I just wish someone would believe my leg is as bad as I say it is. SSA said my conditions are severe, but not severe enough to prevent me from light duty work. I know I would have to miss work a few times a month because of pain, but no doctor will write that down. I also had a failed work attempt for three months last year. I couldn’t even handle a work from home desk job. Any how, any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

            Jeremy!

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Jeremy,

              Given that you did not appeal the hearing denial, your option now is to file a claim for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if your family income and assets are below the limits for SSI benefits, your claim will be medically reviewed. To be successful, you will need some documentation to support your limitations. I suggest that you discuss filing a claim with the pain management specialist who believes your pain levels to see if he supports that you have to elevate your leg periodically throughout the day and, if possible, find a way to pay your psychiatrist to complete the RFC. Perhaps the doctor in Colorado can refer you to someone knowledgeable who is closer. Also, try to get a statement from your last employer regarding the number of days you missed a month and include in your new claim your attempt to work from home and specifically why you failed.

              If you are denied again, I recommend that you get an experienced attorney to assist you. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • BULLDOG

            I was wondering what are the chances of being approve if the VE named other jobs I could do and then the judge ask how many days can a person miss within a months time. My attorney also cross examined the VE and he said there wasn’t no jobs after using my medical assessment form and he said the person is already disabled just by missing two or more days. Also, the judge fell to discuss my treating physicians records and before he could discuss them he closed the session. What are my chances of being approved?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Bulldog,

              Based on what you are telling me, I think that your appeal might be approved. If not, you might have a basis for appeal if you were not given an opportunity to provide additional medical information.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

      • Denise

        If both my doctor and the doctor hired by SS conclude that my injuries are absolutely disabling and the examiner disagrees, what is the likelihood of overturning a denial?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Denise,

          Having your own doctor and the consulting physician render the opinion that you are limited from working should increase your odds of being approved.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Tracy

    Hello Kay,

    My husband filed for SSDI on August 2014 after being on employer short term disability for a year. He has several medical conditions and was on short term disability for a bad neck/back and ankle injury post surgical. His ankle replacement surgery left him with a unstable ankle and had to wear a custom ankle brace for work. He’s been with the same employer for 35 years doing facility engineer construction work and could no longer able to carry the 150+lb ladders up and down the mountain banks let alone climb them which resulted in another ankle surgery. He has several illness/injuries to list, however my question is related to his mental health diagnosis.

    He has bi-polar and depression for which he’s been taking meds for over the past 10-12 years. His mother and grandmother have bi-polar and depressive disorders as well. After his year of short term employer disability ended in September 2014 his company had no positions available for him due to his injuries and surgeries. This caused his depression and bi-polar episodes to get worse. His DR has given him new medications to help with his mental status.

    He went for a mental examination appt that was requested by SS. The psychologist who met with him told him that he was not bi-polar and should take Cymbalta which he’s already tried and it didn’t work. My question is…..if the mental health examiner says he doesn’t have bi-polar disorder and suggest he take Cymbalta then does my husband stop talking the bi-polar meds and depression meds his physician has been prescribing for the last 10-12 years? Does he tell his physician the SSDI mental health examiner states he’s not bi-polar and suggest taking Cymbalta instead..even though his physician has already tried Cymbalta and charted it does not work for him? We’re alot confused on this and don’t want his case denied if he’s not taking Cymbalta as suggested by the SSDI medical examiner.

    We’re not sure what to do here since he’s been on bi-polar meds for so long and could it be possible that his bi-polar meds are actually working well, therefore he’s not showing extensive symptoms during his visit with the medical examiner? My husband asked me to submit a comment for help as he’s not sure how to approach his physician (who’s been prescribing his bi-polar and depression meds over the years.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated:-)

    Thank You,

    Tracy

    • Tracy

      I’m sorry….I tried adding his physician (psychiatrist) in parentheses at the end of my comment but I didn’t see it show up:-)

      Thank You,

      Tracy

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tracy,

      The consulting physician was not supposed to make any treatment recommendations to your husband. Your husband’s claim will not be denied because he is not taking a certain medication, but the opinion that he does not have a bi-polar disorder will be considered in the disability evaluation. Given that your husband worked with his mental condition, it would seem that approval of his claim depends more on his physical limitations than his mental condition.

      He could discuss the consulting doctor’s opinion with his own doctor in the context of his Social Security claim. He could ask the doctor to write a statement with specifics to support his bi-polar diagnosis and about the failed Cymbalta trials. This would be especially helpful if his doctor is a psychiatrist.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • MARLEN

        I have been receiving std for 90 days. It was actually shortened by 13 days because weekends and holidays were counted in the 90 days. Now I am using my sick days I have 103 days. Those 103 days will take me til the end if the school year. My question is the std insurance us requesting forms to be completed by myr dr. Monthly and the dr. Is getting suck of it. It’s the same forms all the time. I plan on applying for ltd when I use my sick days. The reason for my disability is blindness. What can I do about all these requests?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Marlen,

          I suggest that you call and talk with the short-term disability examiner to see whether the reports can be reduced to less frequency given your medical condition, which is not likely to change. If you are told no, ask to speak to a supervisor. If that fails, at least you will be able to tell the doctor that you tried and that the frequency should drop when you go on long-term disability.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Renee

    My husband had a heart attach in 2011 at the age of 44 and had a stent placed. In June of 2015, he had eight blockages requiring quadruple bypass surgery. In addition, he has DDD involving the cervical and lumbar spine as well as SI joint deterioration, mild emphysema, small vein disease, a blocked right carotid artery and calcification in the brain. He was turned down on initial application and is currently in the reconsideration appeal stage. Our primary physician recently filled out an RFC in my husband’s favor, and now, the examiner has asked him to follow up with the cardiologist to get the same form filled out. His cardiologist refuses to fill out forms for disability stating that he only addresses cardiac issues and that the primary care physician has already submitted everything they need. What do you think his chances are of being approved this time?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Renee,

      I suggest that you and your husband talk with the cardiologist and ask whether he can complete the form based only on limitations stemming from your husband’s heart condition, if any. If he continues to refuse, you might ask him to write a brief statement that he is deferring to the primary care doctor’s statement. If he won’t do that, then send in a statement to the disability examiner, explaining the same.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Renee

        The cardiologist has refused to fill out any paperwork for disability stating he does not want to be involved. At the same time, he has included in his notes from last visit that we discussed disability and that he does not see cardiac issues as being a primary reason for my husbands disability although he may qualify for other reasons. We are relying on our primary provider’s RFC forms at this point. This is the same cardiologist who told my husband his stress test and echo were perfectly normal, and three weeks later, he was having quadruple bypass after I insisted on a second opinion.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Renee,

          Maybe your husband needs to contact the cardiologist who provided the second opinion to complete the form.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Renee

            The cardiologist who provided the heart cath and second opinion has moved away, so we don’t have the option of seeing him again. How much weight do you think the RFC from our primary will hold?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Renee,

              The RFC will be considered. If the RFC is supported by your husband’s cardiac testing, it will carry more weight.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Renee

            RFC and cardiologist visit were completed in March as requested by SSDI. I called last week and was told the disability doc had still not reviewed them. Thinking of getting an attorney, I requested my husbands records. I was told they normally do not send out records while a case is open and normally would only send out records once the case is closed. Does that sound right to you?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Renee,

              It is correct that copies of claim files usually are not released before a decision has been made. You can ask whether specific records and reports have been received.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Renee

            I phoned the examiner’s office today and was told my husband’s case closed last week and was sent back to the SS office. When I contacted the SS office, the gentleman confirmed both mine and my husband’s ss numbers and made the observation, “there’s no representative payee listed.” We haven’t received a letter as of yet. Do you think his statement is an indicator of anything?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Renee,

              I think that you were being told that the office could not give you information and that your husband had to call. Your husband should get a medical determination letter soon.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Sylvia Lopez

    Hello My name is Sylvia and I have a appointment with social security on March 25,2015.
    Because I open a calim for depression,anixety,mentalmood after my mom was for many years and by April 2014 she got worse.

    Had heart disease ,high blood pressure and poor blood fool that they remove toes that she need a care giver and SSI with give her a nurse for 7 hours a week.

    I took over and had my job and family, but I took care of her also.
    Then she got worse had heart problems,and doctors couldn’t do anymore for her.

    So she wanted to let go in piece she was to sick of trying and never getting better.

    When my mom die May 26,2015 it was the hardest thing to do handle .
    Because I was with her everyday.

    I started getting depress more everyday, I went to speak to someone and I still do. But anixety started,and mentalmoods. I apply for disability. I just need to know if I have a chance to get it because I gotten worse.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sylvia,

      I am not able to predict whether you will be approved. The only way to determine whether you qualify medically for disability benefits is to apply as you have done.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Rachelle Dotson

        Hello!
        I work in Michigan. The DDS department made the decision to retire me from my job, after sending me to their doctor. Now, I am applying for Social Security Disibility therefore my file is going before DDS once again. What are my chances that my application will be approve being that they have already approved my retirement

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Rachelle

          Each disability program has a different definition of disability, so it is possible to be approved for one and not the other. Social Security requires that you be disabled from all occupations–specifically that you be unable to perform substantial gainful activity. Your limitations, work history, transferable skills, age, and education are considered in the decision.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Rachelle Dotson

            Thank you!

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Rachelle.

  • Jenny

    Hello Kay, thank you for helping others with this topic! I was diagnosed with CMT (Charcot Marie Tooth) hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy). My son who is 13 was recently diagnosed as well. I didn’t have the symptoms he is having now until after I turned 40. It has been getting progressively much worse. I am blessed to be a stay at home mom and have not worked for about 8 years. It was not until my son was diagnosed that I decided to go to a neurologist about my symptoms. I have been falling frequently (weak ankles), having hand contractures, intermittent pain in arms, hands, legs and feet. I lost feeling in my leg at a grocery store and fell to the ground in pain. They did an MRI and it is full of lots of supporting diagnosis for CMT such as thickening of dorsal root ganglion and postganglionic nerve roots from L2-L3 caudally, neurofibromatosis Type I, acute chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, congenital hypertrophic polyradiculoneuropathy, capacious spinal canal with scalloping of posterior cortices compatible with dural ectasia, right central disc herniation at l2-l3, mild lumbar scoliosis.

    My question to you is that I applied for SSD and now have been asked to be seen by a primary care physician for a physical exam on 3/11 and then today I received another request for me to be seen by a Behavioral specialist for a “Mental exam”. Why are they asking for a MENTAL EXAM??? This concerns me. I feel vulnerable when I am giving too much information to the wrong people. Can you help me evaluate why they might be asking for a mental exam? Thank you:)))

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jenny,

      Your medical records may mention depression or anxiety, which would cause Social Security to need to know more about those secondary conditions. Be sure to attend the exam and just be honest. The physicians report will be seen only by the people who are involved in evaluating the claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • S.

        Dear Kay,
        I submitted an application for SSI in April 2016. I am in my mid-30s and have severe physical problems (hip dysplasia, numerous serious back problems, and a genetic connective tissue disease which causes body wide joint subluxations and constant pain and major loss of function) as well as major depression with periods of decompensation, general anxiety disorder, ADHD, and PMDD. The DDS examiner assigned to my case contacted me shortly after my SSA interview letting me know of specific pieces of medical information they needed me to obtain (including physical with gait analysis, and updated hip and spinal imaging). I’ve seen numerous doctors over the last six months to try and get any help possible for and more current documentation of my conditions. I fulfilled the requests made by DDS, and also had several other appointments which I made them aware of so they might access those records as well. (All of my problems, mental and physical began many many years ago, but it was 3 years ago when I had to stop working entirely because of them. I have seen many many physicians over the years, and offered information about them and their diagnoses and courses of treatment such as PT and OT, etc. But there had been a bit of a gap/sparsity in current records of about a year ending last November during which time I was at home attending to a terminally ill family member and more or less unable to leave the home even with assistance, thus the need to catch up now on various medical fronts). Notably, I also have an MRFC form filled out by the mental health nurse who prescribes my psych meds with handwritten comment explicitly stating she feels my mental impairments alone prevent me from being able to work as well as a 4 page typed letter from my previous PCP stating I’ve been unable to work and documenting in detail my various conditions, the things that have been tried to address them, how limited my remaining options are and all the specific limitations my physical disabilities impose (i.e. Standing for >10 min, lifting >10 lb, fine motor or repetitive movements of right (dominant) hand etc etc. These were submitted along with the initial application.

        I did obtain all testing/imaging DDS requested for my claim as quickly as I could, and informed them promptly as soon as the records were available. Recently, I was seen by a provider who is a PT specializing in my rare genetic illness. I mailed DDS his written records myself, and a few days later called in order to determine a way to send them video recordings which were made during that same appointment where the doctor explained the nature of my joint dysfunctions and how they affect one another, etc. I thought these videos might be even more helpful in making a determination than the reports from orthopedics considering the nature of my primary illness is that it mainly effects ligaments which then provide poor support to joints leading to constant injuries, and ligaments generally don’t show up well or at all in X-rays or MRIs. (However, the images I did provide them from orthopedic appointments do demonstrate/show the hip dysplasia, spondylolisthesis, etc). When I asked how to get them these videos, I was told not to worry about that because they have what they need as far as the medical piece goes (“that part is all set”), and that now all I need to do is be absolutely certain to make the psychologist CE which was set up for me this coming week.

        My question is, do you think it could be an encouraging sign that I was told not to worry about submitting this further piece of medical evidence (even though I feel it is compelling and helpful)? Since the psychological CE hasn’t happened yet, and since ultimate determination is presumably waiting on that piece, I wonder if the DDS would be allowed to discourage me from providing any potentially important medical documentation I had to help substantiate my claims unless the records they already had were deemed sufficient , either to qualify me for SSI or at least account for the physical symptoms I reported so that if the CE similarly substantiates my mental illness claims I’d be deemed eligible. I know you can’t give me any firm answers, but do you think I’m right to feel encouraged by this?

        Thanks for your thoughts.
        -S

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear S.,

          You could be approved based on your physical limitations or your psychiatric limitations or a combination of both. Because the examiner refused the video, it seems likely that you will be approved or at least your physical limitation accepted. The psychiatric exam could be to determine whether you are capable of receiving and using your benefits to pay for your basic needs on a consistent base or you need a payee to do that for you. Another possibility is that the physical evidence already submitted supports the physical limitations you claim and they need more information about your psychiatric condition (especially because you are getting some of your care from a nurse) to decide whether there are occupations you could perform with your physical limitations but not with the mental limitations you are claiming.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Lostman918

    Hello Kay,

    First of all I like to say that I am a 40 year old male, whom had been applying for ssdi/ssi since 2009. I have Had a life saving surgery due to a Gunshot wound to the back in which I was robbed getting of work one night stopping at Gas Station/ I have been Diagnosed with Thoracic Radioculpathy (Severe nerve damage) and Major Depressive Disorder. I am on a regimen of pain,Psych and nerve meds as noted in my med files I have damaged nerves T-8 thru T-11 and arthritis in Back. Did I mention that I have a surgically resected lung also which causes shortness of breath because I lost a large portion of my Lungs removed Upper left lobe I have had it up to the ceiling with SSA and their wrongful denials to people that deserve help. Did I mention that I am a Veteran with 6 years of dedicated service whom was a reservist during the time I was violated and cannot receive benefits From VA because it did not happen while on Duty. Just had a CE exam 2/2/16 they say they cant find my records I took them in personally. My psychiatrist is seen monthly for last 2 years with meds. Bupropion 150 ER, Trazadone, Norco, 10/325, Neuron-tin, Cyclobenzaprine, Tens Unit and a cane for walking I feel that my denials are age based all these meds cause drowsiness except Tens Unit and cane. I have worked since the age of 16 had enough points to receive ssd but now they tell me i havent enough points so ssi is the route i should takeh all of this in writing what are my chances of finally being approved?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lostman918,

      It is hard to say whether you will be approved. If you cannot work in a sedentary (mostly seated) occupation, you might be approved. You need to present some evidence that the side effects of your medications keep you from that type of work. I would also suggest checking with the local office where you submitted the records to see it they are still there. If not I suggest getting another copy of your medical records and submitting them directly to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) examiner.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • kate

    I just filed for ssi in Va what are my chances of being approved for bipolar II, Anxiety, Depression and fibromyalgia! I’ve been suffering my whole life but just recently last year started seeking more help for it.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kate,

      Whether or not you are eligible will depend on how severe your conditions are and how much they limit you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Hi Kay,
    I have passed the non-medical portion of my SSDI and now I have to go see a state doctor for my medical portion. Here is my story. In 2013 I was taken to the ER for severe dizziness. I had a CT scan done and was diagnosed with vertigo but they also found a meningioma. The vertigo never completely went away and I had follow up appointments with a neurosurgeon for my meningioma, which was benign, but growing. A few months after the discovery of the meningioma I suffered a mild concusion which resulted in cronic headaches, migraines and continuous dizziness. In 2014 I had the meningioma removed but my symptoms, headaches, migraines and dizziness, have not subsided. I work for the state and I am currently on sick leave at half pay. Before this I had to fill out a packet of papers asking me about my ADL’s. My questions are 1)why do I have to see a state doctor? Isn’t my doctor’s (neurosurgeon) opinion good enough?, and I have worked since I was 17 and I am now 52 (I have been with the state for almost 16 years), and unable to do my current job because of my chronic headaches and dizziness. What are my chances of being approved?

    Thank you,
    Lynda

    • I got a notice in the mail the other day that I am scheduled to see a state doctor for my brain tumor and anxiety. I also have another questionaire to fill out with the same questions I already answered in the packet I sent back. Why am I asked to fill out another questionaire?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Lynda,

        The current form may be somewhat more detailed. In any event, be sure to fill it out completed and submit it. If you need help with the form because of cognitive deficits, be sure to get that help.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lynda,

      The claims examiner wanted some information that was not available in your medical records, so a consultative examination was requested. Be sure you attend and cooperate with the examination. Based on the information you have provided, I would say that you have a reasonable chance of approval if your conditions, symptoms, and limitations are well documented.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Thank you for responding. I went to my appointments and I am now waiting for the results. I spoke with a psychologist which was a first for me and I understand why. Now it’s a waiting game.

        Sincerely,
        Lynda

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Lynda.

  • John

    Hello Kay

    First of all thanks for answering my post and I enjoy reading all the posts and your answers. I go to court next week and I am feeling a little nervous. I have MRI & CT ‘Scans showing DDD in my back and X-RAY’s showing DJD in my right hip. I was prescribed a cane for balancing & to prevent falls over a year ago and I also have RA. Six months ago my RA doctor sent me to have a test done and then I was sent to a neurologist and the neurologist did more test said that I have Toxic neuropathy. I have never used alcohol or drugs and the doctor said it was caused from an auto immune system from the RA. I have been to physical therapy 4 different times and I am 50 year old male. I have been a labor my whole life at one place and had to quit this job two years ago. What do you think my chances of being approved are?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      Given your medical conditions and your age and work history, I think you have a very good chance of being approved. Be sure the judge has all the test results including whatever tests or clinical records that support the diagnosis of toxic neuropathy secondary to RA.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • John

        Thank You !

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, John.

    • Karen

      Hi kay ,
      I have been on ssdi for ten years and three years ago I had a review where I got a lawyer to help me . I have been diagnosed with anxiety, ptsd, bipolar, and depression. I recently started taking some community college classes three hours a week and I just received a new review. I filled out the short form wrong and put I have had vocational school which I haven’t had. I was wondering if I will lose my benifits I am also on 5 medications and see psychologist regularly. Been to hospital numerous times for panic attacks do u think I will lose because of going to school?

      • Karen

        Also I was approved three years ago after medical review and nothing has changed maybe has even worse.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Karen,

        Going to school will not necessarily result in a determination that you are not disabled. That said, you should as soon as possible give a written statement to Social Security that you completed the form wrong, that you have not gone to a vocational school. Give them the correct information to include the terms you have attended school, the number of hours per week, the courses you have taken, and problems you have had taking the classes if you have had problems. Keep a copy of the statement.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • denell kitko

    hello,i have been a nurse for the past 13 years,i suffer from nocturnal seizures for the past 20 years and have become deaf in both ears.i was sent to ssi doctors that verified that I was deaf under ssi guild lines.it has been 3 months since I have herd anything from ssi,when I check website it tells me that a decision has not been made.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Denell,

      I suggest that you contact the examiner who asked you to attend the examination to find out the status of the claim. Check to be sure the report from the doctor has been received. If you have someone call for you, be present so you can give permission for the examiner to release information to the person who is helping you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • denell kitko

        first thank you.
        I applied august 2015,filled out three different packets, sent them all my medical info.thet had my husband fill out paper work on me.i went to there doctors in dec 1015 and was told that I was deaf in both ears. After that they asked for a copy of my pay history for 2015.my hearing and seizures go back 15 plus years of treatment. I would think that I would be denied by now if they were going to. Called today and just got my examiner vm.hoping that the delay is good news.
        thanks for your help
        and god bless you

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Denell,

          If the disability examiner asked for your pay history for 2015, the claim is probably close to being decided. If your local Social Security office asked for it, you may have been medically approved but proof of your 2015 earnings may be needed to determine whether you are insured for benefits.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Felicia

    Hello Kay,
    I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2009. I worked up until March of 2014 but then the joint pain of working became unbearable. I’m 52 years old and finally applied for ssdi October of 2015. My work consisted of admin/secretarial work. I’ve been to a CE exam Jan ’16. Today I received a call from my case manager stating it was being sent to a medical review and asking if I can manage my own finances. Question 1) does these seem favorable for an approval? and 2) if approved would there be back pay to March ’14 or only from the time I actually filed?

    Thank you in advance

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Felicia,

      The question about capability to manage funds leads me to believe that your claim has been recommended for approval; but before it is finalized,it has to be reviewed by a physician. If you are approved with a March 2014 disability date, your benefits will begin to accrue October 2014 twelve months before you filed your application.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Felicia

        Thank you for your response. Have a great day

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Felicia.

  • jarvis britton

    I filed for ssdi for antisocial disorder, bipolar, and borderline personality disorder. I called today, and the lady at DDS said a decision had been made on my claim, and it was sent back to social security for a final decision. What does that mean?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jarvis,

      The information you received may mean that you have been medically approved and that the Social Security office has to determine whether you are financially eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or the payment center has to double check the non-medical eligibility factors (that you have enough work credits) for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and to calculate your benefits. However, you won’t know for sure until you are either contacted by your local office or receive a letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mike

    Dear Kate, I have a claim in for 11.03 epilepsy, memory loss,hearing loss,severe headaches, vertigo, tinnitus. My neurologist filled a med source statement in detail reiterating I am precluded from any work due to my high seizure frequency and poor response to multiple med’s . there will be a VE and ME @my hearing coming up soon . also my neurologist states I meet listing 11.03 . Do u think I can be approved ? Thnx Michael.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mike,

      As you describe your conditions, there is a possibility of approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mike

        Thank you kay.!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Mike.

  • Bobby

    I have bone on bone in both knees and arthritis in both knees I a in constant pain. I can only walk for a short while and I have to set. I am 54 and had to retire from my job recently with 28 years of service. I have not been good about seeing doctors. I just tried to handle the pain. I was diagnosed with the bone on bone and arthritis by an orthopedic doctor several yeas ago and it has gotten worse. Do I have a chance of getting disability Social Security? What should I do? Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bobby,

      If you cannot do your occupation of twenty-eight years, you have a reasonable chance of being approved for disability benefits. You should get to an orthopedic doctor for an evaluation and x-rays to help document your claim and also file your Social Security claim as soon as you are able. Social Security might send you for a consultative examination, but it would be best if you had some of your own medical documentation to support your limitations.

      If you do not still have medical insurance, I suggest you look into applying for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), possibly with a government premium subsidy. The annual open enrollment period is now in progress through the end of January. You can get more information at http://www.healthcare.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Anne

      Hi Kay, I called my case worker at the Social Security office, checking to see if he recieved all paperwork from my attorney. He said yes and he has closed the case 1/11/16, it was approved. My attorney should be getting in touch. I wouldn’t need to call his office anymore. Kay This has been a long journey for me since 7/2011-now, 3 denials, appeals etc. medical problems. I didnt ask him to repeat himself I guess I was in shock. I said thank you and replayed the conversation in my mind. I’ll be 55 in March, could this be the real thing. I emailed my attorney office see how case is going. I have wrote you in the past, your site is helpful. Thanks

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Anne,

        There is no reason to question what you were told. Your attorney should be getting a letter soon.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Anne

          Thanks Kay for your response, I received a letter from SSA, they will pay $1688 for June, but will recieve the Payment in end of July 2016, my disability onset date they gave me is 1/1/2016, different than my application date, (new claim filed) after denials. I’m not sure how much will be charged for the attorney fees because no back pay given, Can they take the whole check amount till fees are paid? Thanks

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Anne,

            Your monthly benefits will not be withheld by Social Security and paid to the attorney. I don’t know whether the attorney has the right to bill you for anything other than out-of-pocket expenses for photocopying and procurement of medical records, given the agreement was the fee would be a percentage of back pay. If you get a bill, consult with the Social Security Administration.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Anne

            Thanks Kay for your quick response, I am supposed to have a phone interview with the attorney 2/9/16, about options if I want to appeal the on set date. I am great full for the approval, and will pass on the appeal. Besides you can’t lose what you never had, I’m not going to risk my approval and case. Will give update on the outcome.

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Anne.

          • Anne

            Hi Kay, just giving an update on my attorney call options for appeal or to keep the approval for ssdi, reference to no back pay given. The attorney said they we could go before a judge to request the on set date change to 4/2014, instead of that date of 1/2016. I advised her I didnt want to go through the stress again, I would rather keep the approval and not worry about the back pay date due to medical bills I need to pay. She said ok and would close the case. She didn’t mention anything about their fee payment. She seemed a little quite and irritated about my decision. To be honest Kay this was an out of state attorney office (everything by email or phone) I’ve had 3 different young recent college grad attorneys since my case started in 2011. Never notified when I had
            someone new, I originally thought it was going to be the main owner (attorney) but it wasn’t. I’m glad I got approved, and I cannot take anymore from this office. Maybe I would have been awarded backpay if my case was represented right, especially after the denials 3 times and To many hands in the pot. When I went for my first appeal before judge in 2014, my first attorney represented me but didn’t say much, I was denied latter. This time APPROVED 2016 and that’s where it’s going to stay. AMEN

  • Amanda Boynton

    Hi, I have a couple questions. One I received a letter today saying I have an appointment for a mental exam for my nervous condition, however when I applied for SSDI it was for rheumatoid arthritis, is this just a formality? The second question I have is my Rheumatologist has increased one of my medications and has added three more, should I inform the person working on my case? Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amanda,

      Yes, you should report the change in your treatment right away. I suggest calling and following up with a letter to document. Be sure to attend the examination. It has probably been ordered because of some mention of depression or other mental condition in your medical records.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Belen Mize

      Hello, I had a hearing in November 2015, I called Monday, they said they the judge had my case in his hand, and than their layers would have it, then the judge, I’m confused about what this all means, I called back to 1/14/16 they had to decide by today,they just made a decision and SSI said I should get it the letter in the mail, and should get it with in one to two weeks, I have Fibromyalgia, digengertive disk arthritis, 5-6 henated disk and bulging, depression, migraines, neck to spine has bone spurs, plus much more, hips pain, and right foot bone spurs alone with plantar fasciitis. many procedures, none have worked, many more testing needed, none stop had one today, What do you think she meant this was the judges right hand lady that told me about the laywer and judge, I don’t have a lawyer neither, I represented myself, with God by My side.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Belen,

        The judge made the decision. Attorneys employed by the hearing office may be involved in preparing the letter. In any event you will have the letter and decision soon.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • erica

      dear kay…..I am confused I had my case remanded and went to the second hearing with a new judge…I had a vocational expert and a medical expert….the vocational guy said no jobs,,,,but the medical expert said I am not disabled….who has more say so in my case…..thank you very much

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Erica,

        The vocational expert’s opinion is based on the limitations that you are claiming. If the judge does not believe you have those limitations (the limitations the vocation expert was considering) due to the testimony of the medical expert, then your claim may be denied.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • concerned son

    If my mother recieved paperwork from the workmans comp dr stating she is being released back to work with no restrictions. But then in the same letter states she needs surgery. How can he send her back to work with no restrictions? Isnt he contradicting himself by saying she can go back to work with no restrictions but that she needs surgery? im looking at the paper right now. Sounds sketchy to me?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Concerned Son,

      It is possible that your mother can work until she has the surgery, especially if she works in a non-strenuous job. That said, I suggest that your mother ask her doctor to explain the apparent discrepancy.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Adam

    Called to check status of my case and they said their psychologists were looking at the case right now what does that mean. They have all the records they need.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Adam,

      Your medical records are being reviewed by mental health specialists within the Disability Determination Services (DDS) so they can provide information to the claims examiners about the meaning of the information in your psychiatric records. It is part of the review process.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Diane

      Hi been on Ssdi 10 years. Yesterday they sent me to Doctor next week mental exam. So worried gonna get thrown off. Any advice on what I can do. Should I call the case worker ? And say what? So afraid to lose money and medical. I have been working part time all this time

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Diane,

        If your conditions have not improved significantly and you are working at maximum capacity, your eligibility and benefits should continue. Right now, if you have already submitted your recent medical and psychiatric records for the last year, all you can do is wait and be sure to attend the exam next week.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Diane

          Thanks for answering so quickly I’m impressed

          • Kay Derochie

            You are welcome, Diane.

        • Jeremy

          kay, I have a complex question for you. I was recently denied disability by the ALJ and decided not to appeal the case. I have two serious conditions that are not established diseases. They are very newly discovered disorders. One is Antiphospholipid Antibody Disorder which is a blood clotting disorder and Chronic Venous Insufficiency. My doctors do not take my chronic pain and fatigue seriously even though APS is widely known to cause horrible symptoms. Also, SSDI does not have my blood clotting disorder APS and the other two listed in the blue book. And to make matters worse there are not very many doctors in this country who are experts in APS as it is a rare disease.

          I am in pain management and taking pain meds, but even my pain doctor does not understand how bad my condition is and I am afraid to push him to help me file another disability claim because he doesn’t like people who file for disability. I have damaged and completely blocked veins behind my knee that cause me a lot of pain and significant mobility issues. I went to two grocery stores yesterday, did some shopping, put the groceries away and cleaned the house for an hour. Basically that little bit of walking and physical activity will now leave me in pain and with a limp for the next three days. The only way to get my leg to feel normal again is to elevate it, sleep, and take pain medication.

          I explained all of this in my first case and my doctors brush this off as a minor annoyance and the judge said my symptoms are not as bad as I claim they are simply because I do not have open wounds on my leg. I will eventually have that according to my vascular doc and he claims that my leg is in bad shape, but he also will not fill out an RFC for me. The judge pointed out a physical exam from my first pain doctor who only saw me for 10 minutes and never examined me. He said that there were no problems with range of motion.

          I do not have a problem with range of motion. I just get extreme pain from sitting in a regular chair for too long, and from any walking or physical activity. I can bend down a few times a day, but it takes a toll on my leg. I also can’t walk up and down the stairs normally. I have to use my good leg to do all of the climbing. I can’t get the doctors to just test me to see how much I can walk, because after a half a mile of walking, my legs are burning and I have to stop for fifteen minutes. I also can’t stand longer than two hours a day without extreme pain.

          How can I get my doctors to take me more seriously. I know they do know that there is something going on because they have me on pain killers long term. I just want them to write down what I am telling them. My hematologist said she would not lie for me on the notes and I am not asking her to lie. I am asking her to write down that the damaged leg from massive DVT has completely destroyed my quality of life and ability to work. I tried to work for a few weeks from home dispatching trucks and it got to the point where I could no longer sit in the office chair.

          I literally spend all of my days with my legs elevated in a chair to prevent pain. I am not one of those people who claim to be disabled and then go out and do sports. I don’t even go to the movies anymore because sitting in a regular chair for to hours is too painful. My life is literally done. Basically the judge ruled that I can’t go back to truck driving, but that I can do light duty work. He completely ignored the face that I cannot stand for very long, and I would need an office job that would allow me to sit in a lazy boy all day in order to be able to work. I just don’t know what to do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Jeremy,

            You might try to get rehabilitation services from your state’s department of vocational rehabilitation or a private vocational rehab firm. If they determine that your health is not good enough for retraining or job placement, their records would help with a new claim.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Hi Kay,
    I am a US born citizen, and have worked over 30 years in the US. Last year I was diagnosed in the US with Sjogren’s Syndrome. I left my job and moved to a foreign country with my husband, because here we can afford to live without me working. It was a horrible struggle to make it through each work day with the fatigue, joint pain, foggy thinking, dry eyes, and depression. I also felt that my work was really starting to suffer. Recently I have been diagnosed, by a Rheumatologist in the country I live, with Rheumatoid Arthritis and am experiencing terrible swelling, pain in my fingers and hands and blurry vision. Is it possible for me to apply for SSDI while living in a foreign country, and do they accept medical evidence from foreign doctors? I don’t have health insurance in the US, but I do have a few records from the Rheumatologist who diagnosed me with Sjogren’s. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Chantelle,

      Please tell me the country you are living in so I can respond.

      Thank you,
      Kay

    • Guatemala

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Chantelle,

        Social Security benefits are payable to U.S. citizens living in Guatamala. Visit http://guatemala.usembassy.gov/federal_benefits.html for information on where to apply. I suggest paying for an official translator to translate any Spanish language medical records you submit. Also, submit a copy of your U.S. records.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Thank you so much Kay!

          Chantelle

          • Kay Derochie

            You are welcome, Chantelle.

  • lindsay

    hello ive been on disability for 3 years they are doing their 3 year review and have asked me to see a dr why?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lindsay,

      Apparently, the record of the medical that you have received over the last three years–especially the last year–is not adequate to determine whether or not you are still disabled.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Erica

        If my doctor and state doctor says i can’t work but they judge says i can work social security send it to another judge to review my medical record how long does that take

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Erica,

          I assume from what you posted that you appeal to the Appeals Council and the Council remanded (sent back) your appeal for another hearing. Usually, remands go back to the same judge; however, whether the same or another judge, it usually takes a few months for the new hearing date.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Anne

    Hi Kay, I’ll be 55 in March, denied SSDI, sometime in February 2015, back arthritis, glaucoma, I had previously seen other doctors for asthma and psychiatrist vocal cord dysfunction, but my husbands health insurance (catasropic plan) pays only after 3k deductible has paid. Medicaid denied us. My attorney started a new claim he received my RFC form back from my back Doctor, I had to omit some doctors before I went bankrupt with no money, just to walk in the doctors door is $200 for specialist, I have about medical debt My question is l still have medicine from Previous doctors that I still take. I have a mental exam from ss, should I include them or just include the ones for treating doctors now. I don’t want to hurt my case thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anne,

      I recommend that you consult with your attorney about what to submit. Tell him or her about all your medical care and the reasons for the gaps so the attorney can make an informed decision for you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Anne

        Hi Kay, just giviving you an update, I had my mental exam, it lasted close to an hour. I was asked about family, health, memory. The Psychologist gave me a memory test I didn’t remember the 3 fruits later in the exam. I only remembered Apple. He also gave me a count back test and a spell the word world backwards. I was hitting and missing it was hard for me to concentrate. I advised him I seem to forget when I used to work or forgetting things a lot in general. He said that’s why we are here to find out why, he said it was ok, don’t get up set. I gave him my medications to write down, he said it was a lot of meds. He said he would send the report to ss and asked can he call my husband and verified my home number. My appointment was last Thursday. He hasn’t called yet and it is now, Sunday, maybe he just submitted the report without calling my husband.

        Is this a good sign?
        Thanks

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Anne,

          It seems to me that the psychologist did a thorough examination and that is good because his report regarding your condition is likely to be more accurate with a thorough exam. It is possible that he will write the report without talking with your husband or it may take him a while to call.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Anne

            Thanks Kay, he still hasn’t called my husband its 12/29/15 now hum. Maybe he will base it on my report he also asked me about my growing up at home, I explained alcoholic parents and cops, mental illness. He said I was abused. Does all this sound promising?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Anne,

              Questions about childhood are often part of a routine psychological assessment. Being abused doesn’t always result in disability, so I don’t know the significance of his comment, if any, on your claim.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

    • Anne

      Kay, thanks

      • Kay Derochie

        You are welcome, Anne.

      • Anne

        Hi Kay, I received a letter from SS Administration, it’s states I met medical rules, ref. To my medical reports for the claim. Now they must Make a decision on non-medical rules for a decision. They will send another letter on decision. Ref. To my medical evidence shows not able to work, they are not able to establish if became disabled earlier than 1/1/16 due to severe conditions with standing & walking. Therefore date of my. Disability is 1/1/16. I worked for 29 years before I left 2011. This was an appeal/ started over last year
        By the request of my attorney, due to turning 55 soon, grides a little easier. Does this mean I am approved, I’m not sure if I lost all of back pay. Thanks for your help

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Anne,

          Based on what you have told me, I think that you have been approved with no back pay and that your benefits will begin to accrue June 2016 (the sixth full calendar month of established disability) with payment arriving in July 2016. HOWEVER, to be approved as I just described, you have to still be insured for Social Security Disability on January 1, 2016. If you worked steadily the five years ending in 2011, earning for quarters of coverage for each year, you should still be insured on that date.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Anne

            Hi Kay, i received an itemized statement from my attorney, for $500, the breakdown was the appeal filing $300, rest was paper work fees etc.
            The letter stated if agree I can sign and send back the form with the payment or wait for SS to review if they agree with the amount, which can take several months. Kay I am going to wait for SS to review. I don’t want to over pay the Attorney especially if their amount for payment is more than
            SS is requesting. Doesn’t this amount come out from the SSDI Check. Thanks for your input.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Anne,

              It doesn’t hurt to have Social Security review the attorneys bill for out of pocket costs; however, whatever Social Security approves you will be responsible for paying directly. The money withheld from back pay is for the attorney’s professional services, not for what he had to pay to the court on your behalf or for medical records or photocopying, etc.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Ann

            Hi Kay, just giving up date I recieved my first ssdi check, I had 15% taxes out, was granted no back pay, I call SS and the office was not opened. I noticed the full amount after taxes was in my account. Does this mean SS sent my attorney a turn down for the $500 they were requesting for pare wrork and appeal cost. The attorney closed my case 1.5 months ago. I didn’t receive any thing in the mail about if SS agrees to $500 amount. Thanks for your help.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Ann,

              By law, attorneys generally are paid 25% of back pay. If there is no back pay, there is not compensation. I suggest that you look at your attorney fee agreement to see whether there are provisions that describe your payment obligations, if any, now that you have been approved without back pay.

              Sincerely,
              Kat

          • Anne

            Thanks Kay, for your reply, on I was granted no back pay. Does attorney still get paid for paper work etc. comment. Why do Ssdi clients have to wait 24 months for Medicare, I was turned down for Medicaid, on husband catasropic plan, high deductible, really need othe medical appointments. What’s wrong with the system? People need it now

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Anne,

              The attorney can bill you for his or her out-of-pocket expenses such as amount he or she paid for copies of your medical records. Otherwise, when there is no back pay, the attorney does not get paid anything for his or her services.

              The law regarding Medicare for disabled Social Security beneficiaries has been in place for more than forty years. Congress would have to change the law. You and your husband might take a look at whether better insurance options are open to you through the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Anne

            Ok, thanks Kay for all your help, great site, for all looking for answers and direction.

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Anne.

  • Dre

    I have a pituitary tumor, glaucoma, chronic bronchitis, asthma, hypertension, and mental illness also diabetes. I see a endocrinologist, neurosurgeon, optomologist, primary care physician, psychiatrist, and orthodontist because both of my jaws where shattered I have plates and screws to replace them but I will always have nerve damage. And I have gurd I got denied by dds and denied for reconsideration now I have a attorney for my hearing which is on DEC. 9th all of my doctors said I was disabled to work including the 2 CE appointments I went to so do you think the judge will rule in my favor my lawyer said we should be OK.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dre,

      Your attorney has all the details about your claim, so it seems appropriate to trust his or her opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Kay,

    I’ve been blind in my right eye for 4 years and partially blind in left. I went to see the dds doctor today and he said I have pressure on my brain which has caused me to have severely swollen optic nerves in both eyes which is why I lost sight in right eye and over time would go blind in the other if I don’t get pressure off my brain. He said he was going to help me get my disability benefits going and he said I qualify pertaining to the blindness rule of 20% in one eye with loss of vision in the other. He said he was going to advice them that he felt I was disable. Do you think I will get approved w/o the help of a lawyer just based off the dds doctor’s notes and observation? Thanks in advance.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Angela,

      I think there is a good chance you can be approved. If you have not already been told by your own eye doctor about the pressure on your brain, I recommend that you contact your local doctor and tell him or her what the consulting physician said so it can be addressed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Chandra

    Hi Kaye i was diagnosed with severe arthritis in both my knees and carpal tunnel and tendenitis in both hands. Im scheduled to see their dr. This Saturday. My question is why does it take so long and if i work doing sitting with people, why do i have to be limited to 1000.00 a month. Im a single woman with no help and about to be homeless. This is so hard because im use to working but my hands prevent me from doing what ive done all my work life. Can you tell me what i should do?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Chandra,

      Disability benefits are intended to replace lost earnings. That is why people who are able to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) are not eligible for benefits. Absent other special factors, SGA is $1,090 gross wages or $1,090 net profit from self-employment. You might contact your state’s department of vocational rehabilitation or a non-profit such as Goodwill to see whether there are other occupations you can perform that require little use of your hands.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Karen

    I am a 55 year old female. I have been suffering from severe depression and anxiety since I have been in my 20’s. I have come to the point that I cannot perform my job . My anxiety is full blown. I have difficulty making decisions. my mind is racing, and I cannot complete my work in a timely manner.I am constantly disruptive and asking co workers and managers simple questions, I should know the answer to. I have been working steadily, but have had to take approximately 50 FMLA days in one year.I cannot perform or participate in work or social situations. I have anxiety that keeps me from doing everyday things. I do not grocery shop, socialize etc. I have been under Dr.s care for many years. I have be hospitalized in the past, and had electric shock therepy. My current Dr. For approx. 6-7 years does not believe in applying for SSDI.She has said people need to work. And not get free money. I am at a loss at what to do. I am currently on STD for one month. What could I do now, that she has this opinion.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Karen,

      You are currently receiving short-term disability (STD), which does not require as much evidence as long-term disability or Social Security; however, you had enough proofs to get approved. You can apply for Social Security benefits without getting a statement from your doctor. I would suggest getting written verification from your HR department of the number of days work you missed in 2015. I would also ask your supervisor to write up a statement about any performance problems or disruptive work behaviors you have. The supervisor and other co-workers could make statements about what they SEE (visible symptoms of anxiety) that makes them believe you are anxious. You can see another psychiatrist or psychologist for evaluation and even perhaps have psychological testing to support your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Connie

    Good morning Kay, I have read most questions/replies on your site and have a question….
    I applied for SSDI in August 2015 for Lumbar/cervical spinal Stenosis, cervical/lumbar bulging discs, post laminectomy syndrome
    (surgery 5/2013), nerve damage and other major back/leg problems. I have been seeing the same dr’s for years for my back on a monthly basis. I was fired from my job after 9 years, I was missing alot of work and unable to complete the “essential functions.”
    When I applied for SSDI, I documented my meds as requested and there were some meds for depression.
    I received a call from SS, requesting a Mental CE, she told me after speaking with her I may or may not receive a letter for CE.
    Questions: Should I get my “spine/back” doctor to complete the RCF?
    Should I go to my regular doctor who prescribed the depression meds and get evaluated again, even though I have applied for SSDI?
    And why would she call and tell me about the CE and then the end of the call, I may or may not receive an appointment letter for mental CE?
    I know it’s difficult to interpret what SS will do, but, is it positive or negative?
    Thank you in advance.
    Connie

    • Connie

      ….and one more question, because they are asking for a mental CE, does that mean my physical disabilities are not enough for SSDI?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Connie,

        Please see my response of a few minutes ago.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Connie,

      I don’t have information about what has already been submitted or requested for the physical aspects of your claim to give a reliable opinion on what more you should submit. However, if an RCF hasn’t been submitted and you are very impaired, it could help the claim.

      With regard to the mental consultative examination, either there’s not enough evidence of your physical condition and before denial your mental condition has to be assessed because of your treatment for depression or you have been found physically disabled and the examiner, at least before talking with you, thought, because of your history of depression, an examination was needed to determine whether you are mentally capable of managing your benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Shayla Seay

    I have been disabled for 11 years. Three blown discs, five surgeries, 16 medications, pt etc. I have been through it all. Now, I don’t take any medication or go to a DR. I was on meds for years and three years ago quit everything. Due to a medication I took I developed severe allergies to almost every med out there. I ended up in the emergency room due to some of my new allergy more then once.
    Recently. . .
    I went to the assigned apt for disability review and the DR. agreed that there will never in my lifetime be a surgery or med that will make me better. SSI didn’t approve a new MRI for me, just an x-ray which with a back disc injury is useless. I haven’t had a review or MRI in 8 years. So of course I received a letter stating that I’m no longer disabled.
    I already started my appeal.
    Is there any way that I can request a new MRI from SSI? A MRI would show exactly why I’m disabled and is indisputable. I don’t have insurance.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Shayla,

      It is very unlikely Social Security will pay for an MRI. If you can pay for one yourself, that is your best course of action. If not, I suggest that you get health insurance and try to get a doctor to order an MRI, though testing for disability claims usually isn’t covered by health insurance. The annual open-enrollment for government subsidized health insurance is in progress now through January 31. You can learn more at http://www.healthinsurance.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Nancy Jo

    i had two CE’s 1 with SSA CE for depression, PTSD, anxiety and the other with SSA CE for 3 spinal surgeries and residual affects over the decades of nerve damage. Both CE’s were in my favor and agreed a no work status. The local Social Security office requested any earnings which I gave copies to. All of this in less than 2 weeks. In your opinion is this likely to be favorable. The local office appreciated the copies and said she was completing my file today for submission and she needed nothing else.

    • Nancy Jo

      My question would be, is this good news? By the way this was my appeal and it’s only been 14 months. Relatively a short period of time in comparison to many others.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Nancy Jo,

        Please see my reply of a few minutes ago.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nancy Jo,

      I cannot say for sure but I think you may have been medically approved for benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Melissa

      What did the do at the CE exams. I have a mental status exam after being on SSDI For 14 years. I have been diagnosed with Sjorgens Syndrome, Cancer, Manic Depression/anxiety, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and many other health issues. I am so depressed and afraid of losing my SSDI

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Melissa,

        The consultative examination is for evaluation; not treatment. Apparently, your medical records for the past year do not have enough information about your mental health status so the exam was ordered. All your currently active diagnoses will be considered in determining whether you are still disabled. If your claim is closed, request a copy of your claim file so you can see the exact reasons for the termination, so you can address them in an appeal.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Erica

    Cause the dds said I couldn’t work the judge said she is closing the case she said that they would send me a letter in the mail in 3 months

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Erica,

      I can’t be sure from the situation you describe, but it sounds as if the judge may approve your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • david

    Thank you Kay, talked to attorney today, he paid the fee to the doctors office, said they should be completed shortly…how soon after all is completed do my benefits kick in?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear David,

      The time frame is hard to predict. It could take up to two months for the the judge to finalize the approval and for the letter to be prepared. After you get the letter, it may take another two months before you receive payment.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear David,

      After you receive the medical approval, it typically takes a couple months for monthly benefits to start and longer for back pay.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • david stone

    I recently had my hearing…the next day my attorney informed me the judge accepted my claim and set an onset date, although it wasnt as far back as id have wanted i accepted the judgement….my attorney said he just has to wait for my doctors medical evaluation forms to come back…if my doctor wont fill them out, will that void the judgement or hold it up? My attorney had already notified the judge he accepted the judgment.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear David,

      Your doctor not completing the forms could affect the judge’s decision. I suggest that you talk with the doctor and tell him he is not being asked to decide whether or not you are disabled, he is just to provide information about your medical condition.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tina

    Hi there!
    I received brain surgery January , later I was diagnosed with epilepsy . I applied for disability in March… And I’m just now going to a phychiatric . I can’t understand why it takes so long . I’m clearly unable to work and I have kids and on top of that bills are piling up . What to do ??????

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tina,

      At this point about all you can do is attend the appointment and provide everything else that is asked for. If you do not get a decision within six weeks of the exam (the doctor has three weeks to submit a report), contact your congressperson’s office to see whether they will inquire into the claim, which is taking too long to process.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Marie

    I also forgot to mention that I was just in the hospital two weeks ago for two days for chronic restricted air ways desease, which is part of my disability with chronic pain fromneuropathy in feet hands from chemo treatment being the main disability. This was also one of the reason I was trying to contact my attorney.
    Thank you.

  • Marie

    Hi kay,
    I am a little upset I have a attorney , I called him in July 2015after he filed my reconsideration for ssdi and he never called back. And than in September 2015 I was sent to see disability doctor , I emailed my attorney this tine because I had questions and he never responded. Today I looked at my social security account and it now says I am not receiving any benefits. Do this mean that I was denied and if so what is the next step for processing on with my claim and what do I do about my attorney. I have never spoke with him nor seem him. I spoke with a customer service rep early in June 2015 when I got my initial denial letter and the law firm took my case. I am just so frustrated. Any advise from you will help.
    Sincerely

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Marie,

      The fact that the online record shows no benefits is not necessarily a sign that the claim has been denied. If it has been denied, you can terminate (in writing) your representation agreement with your attorney and hire a different attorney if you want to. Be sure that Social Security gets the termination and new representation papers. If your current attorney didn’t file the appeal papers (you did) and didn’t have any contact with Social Security and you are approved, you can petition to Social Security to reduce or deny his fee request. It will be up to Social Security whether or not he is paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • marie

        Hi kay,
        Thank you so much for your response. I got my denial letter for my appeal for reconsideration yesterday in the mail. So from the letter I have 60 days to request a hearing. The attorney I have did file the appeal for reconsideration. I talked with someone in the office today and explained how upset I was. I asked to get a copy of my claim file and she told me that I would have to go into the social security office and personally request it. Is that correct? Also what is the next step if appeal? The girl was not very helpful and thus is a huge law firm here in jacksonville florida. My money is, about to run out.. I don’t think I can wait a year or two..I also know that I can not return to my former work because of the neuropathy in my hands and feet. At this point I don’t know what to do trying to work is not a option and it will only hurt my case. Also will getting a new attorney hurt my case. I just don’t know what to do..confused and frustrated here in Florida.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Marie,

          Either your attorney did not get a copy of your claim file to review or has a policy of not releasing it. You can try getting a copy yourself, but you may be told that the attorney you appointed as your representative has to get it. It is a good idea to review the file to see the exact reasons for the denial.

          Changing attorneys should not affect your claim. Just a note: to be eligible for benefits you have to be not only unable to do past occupations, but also unable to perform other occupations. While you are waiting on your next appeal, you might apply for SNAP (formerly called food stamps).

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • kieshia

      Hi I applied for ssi for my 3 1/2 year old son he has a behavior issue and neurogoly saying he have a touch of ADHD with I get ssi for my son. He goes to neurology and I have a therapist that come to the house and suppose to start going to his school

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Kieshia,

        I cannot predict whether your child will be approved for benefits. Be sure that any testing done by the neurologist and therapist and any of their pertinent records are submitted to support your son’s claim.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Fran

    Hi Kay,

    Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.

    I have been living abroad ith my foreign spouse 10 years or so. I haven’t orked full-time either here and really, only a handful of times in America as I could never properly hold a job, the reason being bi-polar disorder.
    It has progressed to the point I can’t function normally in any job or social situation. I am now concerned about my recently filed claim (which goes through the US consulate and my host country) because I was honest about sometimes self-medicating with alcohol. Am I just being paranoid or can they outright deny me? My bi-polar is real and documented throughout my life for the last 25 years (including where I live in Europe now) so I can’t imagine they would deny me, but I have read online they could just say it makes it worse thereby denying my claim.
    Do you have thoughts on this?
    Also, I have recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both knees which limits not only having a job but my mobility in general. I am in pain a lot of the time.
    Other disabilities I have are documented chronic neck and digestive issues, but those I feel do not limit my ability to work. For me, it has always proved a HUGE struggle to function (and just stay alive if I am going to tell it all) in life with my mental illness. My second biggest issue is my osteoarthritis but I am told I am too young for knee replacements.
    Can you shed any light or help?
    Thank you very, very much. Lost in the EU

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Fran,

      I am not able to predict whether your medical and psychiatric problems cause you to be disabled. If your self-medicating with alcohol is considered alcohol dependency, to be approved you must be disabled from limitations and symptoms that do not stem from the alcohol use.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Chrissy

    Hi, My aunt has been on disability for a number of years due to a knee injury on the job. She is now suffering from Dementia, is blind in her right eye and losing vision in her left. She incorrectly filled out her form, the one she does every 15 months and was kicked off disability In January. She missed the doctor appointment she was set up for because she was in a rehab center after breaking her leg. Her knees give out randomly. She spent 4 months there and it was in May we discovered she’d lost it. Her lawyer got her back in review and finally with the help of our congressman we found out the new doctor appointment is Oct 20th. This will be 5 days after she loses her federal insurance. They just found out she isn’t on disability. If she isn’t back on by Nov 15 the letter said she could never get back on the insurance. I plan to call the insurance company next week. I faxed them my Power of Attorney. I am absolutely terrified they won’t let her back on. We were planning to move her into assisted living and she needs that money. With the dementia she is more concerned about whatever current aliment is bothering her like sore neck, sore thumbs, sore toe, just anything except the real issue her knees. They cut the tendons too short and they do not bend at all. She can walk with a walker, but rides a scooter. She marked she had been incarnated. She is 79 year old and has never been in jail, she was a postal inspector.
    I am just worried her going on about other issues and the fact that she usually will not get out of that scooter is going to be really bad. She is now very stubborn. It took her 2 months to get out of bed after the broken leg, she complained of knee pain the whole time, she thought she broke her knees again. Her lawyer has been useless. She is running out of money and I am panicked. Do you have any tips or suggestions? The doctor they picked is 50 minutes from her house. I am going to take her. Will they let me go back with her? I plan to become her guardian soon, we were waiting till the disability got fixed…
    thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Chrissy,

      I suggest that you contact the consulting physician’s office in advance and explain that your aunt is developing dementia and, as such, is an inaccurate reporter. Ask whether you can silently attend the examination and at the end correct any misinformation or add any omitted information.

      With regard to insurance, usually rules are rigid. Either you are on one side of the line or the other. However, I can be specific because I don’t know what you are referring to when you say “federal insurance.” Do you mean Medicare? Medicaid? Or another medical insurance or a payment from some source? If you can clarify, perhaps I can comment further.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I don’t have insurance and want to apply for disability and so can’t go to a doctor. I am blind in left eye since birth and having difficulty seeing from right eye for sometime now. And not working now. What can I do with no insurance

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Estrella,

      You might try searching for free eye care in your geographic area. If you can get an eye exam, you might find out that you just need glasses. The Lions often help with eyesight issues. Even if you are not successful in getting an eye exam, if you think that you are disabled, you can apply for disability benefits and explain that you have not seen a doctor because of lack of insurance and money to pay for it directly.

      I suggest that you also apply for Medicaid at your local state or county social services office. If that does not result in insurance, between November 1, 2015 and January 31, 2016, you can apply for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. More information is available at http://www.healthcare.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Denise Jackson

    Good Morning, I have just a few questions and worries about my disability case. I’m 44 yrs old and haven’t worked fulltime since 2013.Ive been diagnosed with Chronic Bronchitis(Copd) and now Knee joint disorder with Chronic pain in my legs and knees.I applied for disability almost a year ago and was denied with in 6months.I found a lawfirm to represent me and they have filed my appeal.I have lots of medical evidence from several different doctors and have seen an disabilty doctor that SSC Sent me too before making a decision the first time.I have recently received more paperwork from SSC to asses my work history and also recieved an Assesment from my lawyer for my doctor to fill out.My questions are:How strong of a case do I have ?? I am unemployed with noincome.This has been extremely hard.How long will the appeal decision take ? And how important is my doctors Assesment to my case? My doctor is reluctant to fill out the Assesment forms.Im guessing he thinks he will be contacted and asked questions on my case ? Please help !!! Any answers would put my mind at ease right now ! I am so worried and do not know what in going to do in the next few months.Ive already had to move in with family a few times over the past few years.I have nothing .Please Help !!! Denise

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Denise,

      A reconsideration appeal can take about the same as a new claim, usually two to five months. I can’t assess how strong your claim is because I don’t have enough information. It is good that you have hired an attorney to assist you. The attending physician’s report is important. Perhaps your attorney can explain to your physician that he is not expected to decide whether or not you are disabled, just to provide his assessment of your condition. I suggest that you apply for food stamps if you haven’t as yet to help financially.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Denise Jackson

        Thankyou so much for your input.I have applied online for food stamps today.You have set my mind at ease for now 🙂

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Denise,

          You are welcome, Denise.

      • Jerlynn brumfield

        The Ssi sent me to they doctor December 11,2015 I called Monday to see what they have decided she said they doctor still had my paperwork is this good are bad

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jerlynn,

          It sounds as if the consulting physician has been slow in submitting his report, perhaps because of the intervening holidays. It is not an indication of whether the report will be favorable to your claim or not.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Kate

    Hi Kay,

    I have a few questions based on the following:

    Application for SSDI made in February, 2015 based on severe carpal tunnel (had surgery on both hands over last year), worn out basal joints in thumb, numbness and loss of strength and use of hands and arms, severe acid reflux with swallowing disorder because of esophagus narrowing as well as severe anxiety/panic disorder which I have been treated for over the last 15 years but has gotten worse with age and arthritis. I also found out and let the examiner know that a CAT scan revealed that I have three severely degenerated discs in my neck which lends more proof to why I have so much trouble with the arms and hands. I will be 62 in March, 2016.

    Sent for a medical CE in June.

    SSD claims examiner called me in August asking if I would be willing to go for x-rays of back based on the CE’s report. I also reminded her that she should have the CAT scan showing neck. Said yes, I would go but I never received notice of an appointment.

    A status check call around August 24, claims examiner said file was no longer pending and was in for review by SSD doctor and that a decision would be made very soon.

    Now, two days ago, I received another call from the examiner asking me questions about my mental health and was I being treated. I was puzzled by this as all this information with doctors and phone numbers was provided on the initial application. She said she would request more info from the current psychiatrist who I have to see in order to have my Lexapro and Ambien prescriptions filled. This doctor will not send the records as he sees me for 5 minutes every two months asked me the same three questions regarding hurting myself or others and shoves me out the door. I told the examiner I doubt she will receive any records from him. The examiner also asked me more questions with regards to my past work history and job duties while at those jobs. I just reiterated what I had answered on the work function reports I sent back in March when requested. Here are my questions:

    1. My claim has been in for initial determination since February. How long will they leave it pending again and knowing that my psychiatrist will never send any records? Will the claim just hang in limbo forever? I am worried because my benefit eligibility expires in June 2016, if I have to appeal.

    Since my file was out of “pending”, and went before the SSD doctor and the claim is now back in pending, is that a probable sign that it will be a negative decision based on your experience?

    If I file for my regular social security benefits in December to collect at age 62 and I am in the middle of appealing a negative disability decision, will one conflict with the other. In other words, can I still collect my regular social security while still trying to win disability benefits which would be a monthly amount more in line with what my full 66 age retirement benefits would be?

    Thanks for all your help on this site!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kate,

      You can file for reduced retirement at age sixty-two while having a Social Security Disability appeal pending. If you are approved for disability, your benefit will be increased. You do not have to be insured when you file the appeal; you only have to be insured on the date your disability began, as decided by the Social Security Administration.

      While your claim is pending, provide everything asked for even if you have already done so. The questions are probably being asked because the in-house reviewing physician wants more detailed information. Also, contact your psychiatrist’s office and ask that he submit his records for you even if they are minimal. If they are not submitted, your claim will be decided without them. To prove the medications you have been taking, you can get a printout from your pharmacy of all the meds you have taken beginning with the date you are claiming disability.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kate

        Thanks so much for all the help on your site.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Kate.

  • jesse

    I was sent to a mental exam…. the examiner working on my case said that they got all the records back, and that the doctor is requesting more medical records. Sept 15 will be the 120 day mark…. why would dds need more records after a ce? Also, the local office said my case was pending and if i didnt recieve payment by sept 15 to call back…. i dont know what to do… should i just stop calling amd wait for a letter in tne mail?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jesse,

      Be sure that the medical records that were requested get sent by the medical provider who has the records. The records were probably requested because of something that came to light during your consultative examination. Whether or not you call is up to you, although calling will not speed anything up. As a side note, given that you do not have a medical decision yet, there is almost no chance you will receive benefits by September 15.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Missy

    Hi Kay,

    This website has been so helpful. My situation is that after having a car accident in 2013. I decided to go back to school. Since I am partially blind (blindness happened in 2012) Vocational Rehabilitation helped pay for for it. During my time at school I had a lot of anxiety. Couldn’t concentrate or retain what I was learning. Long story short. VR set me for a mental health evaluation in April 2014. I was diagnosed with major depression and PTSD (past mental and physical abuse). I had not
    Ever had any mental health treatment or counseling. After I graduated school two months later I found that I had a herniated disc in my neck due to past trauma from abuse and car accident. I have numbness in my right arm and hand. Upon urging from my psychiatrist I filed for disability in September of 2014. She also had me get a disability attorney. I’ve been denied twice and it was appealed just last month to the hearings office. My psychiatrist filled out a mental health capacity form and I sent that into the office last month too. I have since asked my attorney if he would ask for a OTR. I actually spoke with his paralegal via email. His paralegal indicated that it wasn’t a guarantee I would get approved and the attorney usually discourages for that reason. My reply was that there was enough medical evidence along with my psychiatrist stating I can’t work. I am also in physical therapy twice a week. He still has not gotten back with me. I have a disconnect notice for my electric, not sure how I’m going to pay rent and barely any food. I am praying for a miracle! My question to you is that if my attorney refuses to file this OTR can I do it on my own without hurting my chances?

    Thank you

    • Missy

      Also the disability office never requested my vocational rehabilitation records. Which I feel would have been a tremendous help with much information.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Missy,

      I believe that requesting an on-the-record (OTR) decision usually does not speed up getting a decision. An if there is any question of approval, attending the hearing is typically better. The OTR review would occur right at the time your appeal was set for a hearing, which is typically only about three weeks before the hearing date. So, either way, hearing or no hearing, you are still likely looking a year’s wait. I suggest that you apply for SNAP (formerly called food stamps) and consider taking in a roommate to cover rent. See if you can get a disability statement from your doctor for the electric bill. Some companies do not disconnect disabled people’s power.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Missy

        I did contact the electric company and they said there is nothing they could do. They referred me to my local Trustees Office. I’m still waiting for a response. Thanks again for your help.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Missy.

          • Missy

            Kay,

            Unfortunately since my last post my situation remains the same. In two days my landlord will be turning me over for eviction proceedings. I’ve reached out to all agencies as well as the Trustees office. They are out of funds. The Trustees office did pay my electric but since I made a choice to pay my car payment as well as my home gas bill they would not help. They gave me a denial letter that stated “wasted resources”. I made the choice to pay my car because I knew agencies will only help with rent not car payments. My two children who are over age 18 live with me they are both mentally disabled. One intellectually and the other due to mental illness. They do get SSI. My attorney told me that once the eviction happens he may be able to file a OTR. My question to you is how is that going to help our current situation? We need help now not a year from now. My attorney gives very little advice or information. It seems every door that I find gets shut. I know I’m not alone with this. It is just very sad and unfortunate that our system is so broken. I belong to a NAMI support group whose leader is very resourceful and has helped me a great deal. But she too gets very frustrated. She has been in the mental health field for over 20 plus years. Any more suggestions from you would be most appreciated. Thank you

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Missy,

              The only thing I can think of is to use your sons’ SSI that will come on September 1 to rent rooms in a rooming house or a very small apartment for the three of you.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • trina

    Hi Kay my mother is sixty two and filed for early retirement and disability due to her illness they approved her for the early retirement will she likely get approved for disability.. She applied in January seem both doctors they sent her to in June 2015 how much longer b4 a decision??

    • trina

      She has seizure disorder,High blood pressure,depression,diabetes,copd,early dementia and anxiety

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Trina,

        Given that she has dementia, it is possible that she will be approved.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Trina,

      The criteria for disability and retirement benefits are different, so your mother’s being approved for retirement does not predict whether she will be approved for disability benefits. I would think that she would get a decision at least by the end of August. If she hasn’t, I suggest she call and follow up with the examiner.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jodi

    My disability claim examiner passed all my claim information on to her supervisor. Why would she do that?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jodi,

      Probably the examiner had a question about some aspect of what was submitted for your claim and she is asking the supervisor’s opinion; or maybe the examiner is new to the job and all his or her decisions are being reviewed by a supervisor before finalization.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Bree

    Hi Kay, I have an attorney, denied 2x, medical problems, rfc 2nd time denied. 29 years worked. Back arthritis, depression, fibromyalgia, asthma, will be 55 in feb 2016. My attorney said we should start a new claim because at 55 we have a better chance of getting approved.

    My back doctor recently charged me $50 for a 12 question Rfc, my psychiatrist said she doesn’t fill them out doctor or SS must request medical records. Can’t give them to me to mail in due to nature of personal comments about me from the phychiatrist. I have a high $3500 deductible that has to be paid before any insurance payments are paid. Thanks for your input I retired In 2011

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bree,

      Your attorney has more detailed information about your claim than I do, so he or she is more qualified to give the advice you are seeking. A couple things to consider and discuss with your attorney are if you continue with your current claim and request a hearing, you will likely wait a year or more to get the hearing, plus another sixty days for the decision. If you file a new claim, you will not receive as much back pay, but it could be processed more quickly than going for a hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Bree

        Thank Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Bree.

          • Ronnie

            II applied on January 16, 2015. I saw the Social Security Doctor June 4th. I have had a Learning Disablity My Whole life. I’m Very Limited. I gave all my IEP Forms on the Application and my Attorney took care of that for me. When do you think I would get a Decision and what would my Chances Be?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Ronnie,

              I don’t have enough information to predict the outcome of your claim. You may get a decision within six to eight weeks after the exam.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Kristen

    Hi Kay, I applied for ssdi and was denied at the initial level. I am now in the reconsideration stage and I am still waiting on a decision. I applied for my reconsideration appeal on March 9, 2015. I called my caseworker last week and she has been saying, since May, that my claim is still being reviewed by the medical consultant. I have not been sent to another CE exam by them. I was sent to one at the initial level but not at the reconsideration level. I don’t know if I was supposed to be sent to one or not. I applied for major depression, anxiety attacks and some other symptoms. Could you offer any advice on why it may be taking so long? Could it be a good thing? Thanks in advance

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kristen,

      I think that your appeal is just waiting in line to be reviewed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tam

    I have been diagnosed with epilepsy. I have grand mal as well as petiet mal. Why do i keep getting denied for ssi. My dr revoked my dl and will not help with my claim. What do i need to di

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tam,

      I suggest that you hire an experienced Social Security attorney to assist with your claim. Also get very clear on why you cannot work in any occupation so that you can explain that to the attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Krystal

    Hi,

    I applied for ssi as well as SSdI.I have anexity,depression,as well as HIV..I returned all the needed information to dds that they requiredrequired..I filed back in june2015 how long will it b before I’ll get a decision back on whether I got approved or denied

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Krystal,

      Initial claim decisions typically take two to five months to process.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Cyndy

      I’m new on this site and new to SSI. I applied in June 6th 2015 with an attorney, I was given 5-10 page of question for my Primary Dr to fill out, my Rhemutolgist, my sleep Dr and my phychologist. They all filled then out at my visit. I returned then to my lawyer who faxed them to SSI. Its been only six weeks since I applied and now SSI has made two Dr appointments with their drs next week. Is this When I should expect to be turned down. Can someone fill me in

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Cyndy,

        Being sent to a consultative examination (or two) is not necessarily a sign that your claim will be denied. Apparently, there are still some unanswered questions despite the information you have already submitted. If your attorney is not already aware that you are being sent to examinations, be sure that he or she knows. The attorney’s office might want to check to be sure that all the questionnaires have made it to the examiner.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • I have kerataconus applied for ssi. I have very low vision in both eyes have to wear rpg’s to see alittle. Is thus considered a disability? Am waiting for decision have created to psch doc soon.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Denise,

      Your low vision may be a basis for disability. If you listed a mental health condition also, that could explain the consultative examination.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Thanks for replying Kay. Is keratoconus even considered a disability? How hard is this to prove? Will I be approved do you think?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Denise,

          Keratoconus is a medical condition; whether or not it is disabling depends on how severe it is and how much it limits eyesight.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Hi Kay
            I had my ce with a neuropsychologit last week. I have been diagnosed in the past with major depressive disorder and anxiety d/o nos. I however applied for ssi for kerataconus. I also have trichotillomania, I pull out my hair. During my exam I revealed this to the psychologist. Can you be disabled for a disability that you did not apply for. How likely am I to be found disabled for mental illness? How long will it take to hear back from the dds worker?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Denise,

              All your medical and psychiatric conditions will be considered in determining whether you are disabled as defined by Social Security law. Many people have been approved based on mental illness; but I cannot predict whether you will be. The consulting neuropsychologist has three weeks to submit his or her report. You could get a decision within a couple weeks after the report has been received by the DDS; however, it can take longer. It will depend on workloads in the DDS.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • John

    Dear Kay i received a letter that said i did not qualify for Disability but the same day received a SS doctor appointment.What do i do?I went to the appointment today . Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      Apparently, an error was made and the appointment date should have been cancelled. However, I suggest that you call the examiner to make sure that the doctor appointment and not the denial letter was a mistake. If the denial was intended and you think the appointment resulted in the doctor supporting your claimed limitations, you could cite the examination in your appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Robb King

    Dear Kay,

    I had a appointment with a ss disability doctor for arthritis and mental health.When I went my artristis in my shoulder was stopping me from cleaning but I could still shop and cook.Weeks after the SS doctor appointment ,the problem has gotten worst and I can no longer shop or cook.I have to order most of my food because the artristis has worsen. My condition has changed since I went to the SSdoctor.I am arranging a appointment with my doctor but I want SS to know that my artritis is causing me more pain and is worst.What do I do in this situation ?Are their any more appointments or was that the only SS doctor appointment?

    Best,

    Robb

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Robb,

      Call the disability examiner and tell him or her about the worsening and the date of your next appointment with your own doctor. Follow up the call with a letter saying the same thing. Then when you see your doctor, ask him or her to write up detailed account of the findings so that you can submit the information to the examiner. It is unlikely a second exam will be scheduled to evaluate the same condition.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jhomely

    Hello Kay,
    What should one do if the DDS doctor did not agree with the finding of my regular doctor. The DDS doctor only checked for issues with my asthma and declared I am find to work when in reality I have scoliosis in my lungs.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jhomely,

      You do not indicate where you are in the claim process. If your claim is still pending, call the DDS claims examiner and point out that the consulting physician did not address the scoliosis in the report and call the examiner’s attention to your physician’s report and test findings. If your claim has been denied, file an appeal with the help of a good Social Security attorney. You can reach a knowledgeable Social Security attorney by completing the online form on this page to request a free Benefits Evaluation from Disability Advisor. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Juliet

    Hi Kay,
    I have been in contact before with concerns. I am 53.5 years of age. I have multiple physical illnesses. I applied for ssdi March, 2013. I worked for 34 years within the SS system. Much of my work was as a registered nurse. I was initially denied. I had a hearing with an administrative law judge Aug. 2014. I didn’t hear from ss until Jan. 2015. They had me to sign an authorization for me to release medical/education information. Prior to the denial, I was sent to a psychologist. After seeing the ALJ, I was immediately sent to a doctor by ss for evaluation of my back. During the supplemental hearing, I learned from my attorney that this doctor supported the fact that my back is degenerating. I have had back surgery. At the supplemental hearing the 8th of May, the judge gave my attorney 2 weeks to get him the last date that I worked, in which he asked for
    Aug. 2014, also. My attorney also had not gotten my recent medical records from 2 doctors. The judge gave my attorney until the 22nd of May to get this information to him. However, I received a letter from ss from the office of DDS requesting that I see another psychologist. I have not had very good insurance and have not been able to see anyone lately for this condition. Therefore, I have been treated for anxiety from my rheumatologist with neurontin, which also treats multiple conditions. I am on strong pain medication for my RA and my back that causes drowsiness. Could you shed some light as to what could possibly be going on with my case and why did the alj send my file back to DDS? Also, why this decision was reached before the allotted time that the alj had given for my attorney to give him the info. I know that my attorney had not provided him all of the requested information by May 20th.
    I also received a letter from my long term disability yesterday stating that my disability will be continued because of the information that’s in my medical records. It’s almost appears that I am having such a hard time because when I am approved for state/federal disability the amount that I would be paid would be more than average because I have worked so long and I have made decent money.

    Thanks,
    Juliet

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Juliet,

      For whatever reason, it seems as if the judge’s review is somewhat piecemeal, that is, he or she sees one thing to investigate further each time he or she looks at it. Also, it would seem there is an effort to have the latest information. The claim would be sent to the DDS to set up the consultative examination. The good news is that you have not been denied and your claim is continuing to be investigated for possible approval. I suggest that you get the requested cease work date and requested records yourself if they have not been submitted yet and submit them yourself. (The planned psychological evaluation has by default given you an extension of time to submit the date last worked and the recent records.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Juliet

        Kay, thank you so much and May God Bless!! I now know what is going on and I know to get my own information if necessary. After I obtain the requested information, do I give it to the alj or do I give to the office of DDS?
        Again, I am truly grateful for you and that you are kind enough to share your vast knowledge with those of us who are in need of help.
        Juliet

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Juliet,

          I would say that once you get the records, check with your attorney about where to send them. (Off hand, I would say that if your physical appeal file is still in the hearing office and only a request to set up an examination has been sent to the DDS, you should give the records to the ALJ and also a copy to your attorney so the attorney can review them as well. If the entire claim file has been forwarded to the DDS, you should probably send the records to the DDS and perhaps notify the hearing office about the submission.) However, consult with the attorney.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Juliet

            Kay, thanks so very much and blessings! !!
            Juliet

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Juliet.

      • James

        Hi Kay my name is James dds says I’m case is done and waiting on doctor review how long does that normally take

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear James,

          Assuming the physician review agrees with the recommendation of the claims examiner, you are in the last step before a final decision is made on your medical eligibility. How long it will take depends on current workloads at the Disability Determination Services, but I would say that you are looking at weeks not months.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Andrew D

            Hi Kay I wasn’t sure how to post so I just jumped on a reply. I am 39 years old. I have been diagnosed with degenerative disk disease, spinal stenosis, arteritis, and have herniated disk in l4 l5 and s1. I have started with a chiropractor in 2007 and currently go to pain management. I take morphine, Norco, gaphentine and anti-inflammatory. I have tried several jobs over the years everything from telemarket, server, manager, and construction. I have not been able to keep a job because I have days that it is very hard to get out of bed. Even though I try to keep finding work either I can’t pass the drug test because of medicine or physically can’t do it. Even setting down causes pain. I have plenty of documentation over a 10 year period. Do you think even at a young age that I would qualify for disability with use of a lawyer. Thanks I hope to hear from you as me and my family struggle with this choice daily.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Andrew,

              You may qualify for benefits. I suggest that you file a claim. Be thorough in listing your health care providers, giving the best dates you can for the range of time you saw them. also get and submit x-rays, MRIs, and any other tests that document your conditions. Get a printout from your pharmacy of all your medications for the last couple years. Ask your pain management physician to make a statement regarding the credibility of your pain and about your functional limitations. You might also try to get services from your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to see whether they can identify occupations that you can do with your limitations and drug regimen.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Pamela Paige

    Hi I just went to see take my exam for my Ssi the man told me that the decision he make will help me and benefit me so does that mean I’m approval

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Pamela,

      Based on the doctor’s remarks, I believe that the doctor’s report will be positive evidence for your claim, but the physician who performs the consultative examination does not make the decision to approve or deny your claim. The physician’s report will be considered by the claims examiner, who makes the decision, along with all the other information in your claim file.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mary

    I just found out that i haveva pituitary brain tumor with a edema on the brain high blood pressure high clestorl never prombeems i just i applied for ssi with a lawyer what are my chances of being approved im 38 i do have a work history and i have been married for 11 years and separated for 4 is their benifits there as well

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mary,

      It is possible that you will be approved for disability benefits. If your spouse is receiving Social Security and you have a child of his under age sixteen in your care, you can apply for young divorced spouse’s benefits. The application would be processed quickly because no disability decision is needed for eligibility.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jeff

    I know this is wild but my wife is permanently disabled and we are in bad shape. I have had 15 jobs in 15 years because of my mental problems.Now I have re-injured my back with a fall and fracture. I have only held on this long because I was working for a company from bed. We need to try and qualify under the dire circumstances because all we have are food stamps and my wife’s $840 a month check to live on.

    1. Neurological disorder
    2 lumbar laminectomies – one in 1984 & one in 1992
    1984-L5-S1 right side no fusion
    1992-L4-L5 both sides
    2015 L-2 fractured in Feb
    Current disc herniation – have not had resources to confirm but I know because I went months both times before prior surgeries with same pain placement.

    I believe L-4, L-3 & L-2. Not sure about cervical but have burning sensation after about 2 hours at computer monitor. Also cannot stand for longer than 5 minutes. Tried new job in 2014 and lasted about an hour before I was in agonizing pain, trying to count inventory.

    Cannot sit longer than 30 minutes before I have to get up and move and have to keep moving my position.

    The pain I have is constant stabbing pain in hips, buttocks and back of left thigh and occasional shooting pain in knees. My left leg and foot are permanently numb since fall in Feb-2015.

    Only when reclining with pillows under knees is pain alleviated. Pain has reached point that strongest drugs available do not work.

    Spinal stenosis was diagnosed in 1992 along with Degenerative disc disease.

    Pain in neck, burning sensation from spinal stenosis in cervical vertebrae.

    Left leg and foot is numb. Pain in left and right groin and unable to strain when trying to urinate.

    2. Major depressive disorder-diagnosed after overdose in 1999 and admission to psychiatric hospital. Have had years when I did not get up for weeks.

    Bi product of depression
    Poor personal hygiene. Currently bath about once a week and only have 3 top teeth due bad personal hygiene. Sometimes don’t brush for a month.

    Also:
    Frequently dehydrated because will not sit up to eat. See March 2015, ER visit which required 2 litres of IV for dehydration.

    3. Bipolar disorder which is why have had 15 jobs in last 15 years with most lasting no more than 12 months. Unpredictable and odd behavior if asked by any prior employers or peers. Taking loaded gun to work, crazy behavior. Genetically father was bipolar, brother is schizophrenic, son is bipolar with borderline personality disorder.

    4. Panic attacks more frequent in last 2 years which combined with other problems caused me to miss about 2 days work per month on last job. Was able to hold prior contracting job only because I was able to work from a bed; either at home or in hotel. Still left that job when in mental breakdown. Had police called to check on me twice in 2014 because of suicidal thoughts.

    5. Ösler-Weber-Rendu-disease -frequent nosebleeds at least one per day that can last as long as 30 minutes. Have had over 30 cauterizations, but did not stop it because new spots would pop up -finally was recommended to have surgery which would cause other problems (IE., lost of smell)so I chose not to.

    Family history of this on father’s side. Grandmother died from disease when bleeding in brain.

    6. Arthritis hands, fingers, elbows, knees, hips. Fractured two fingers on each hand (middle finger and ring fingers) when swinging on rope in high school and fell and landed hands first. Broke and dislocated right pinkie carpel when hitting a wall in 1979. Bone is turned sideways.

    Fingers are swollen on the end and get cracks in nails.
    Can barely make a fist and hands and fingers hurt when trying to hold writing utensils or using fingers for anything. Arthritis on fathers side- debilitating arthritis. Have it in hips knees, and elbows. Fractured right elbow about 1988 & was never fixed.

    7. Had diagnosed avascular necrosis of left hip by MRI in 2001, when being seen for abdominal pain.

    8. High blood pressure-family history as well. Just another straw on the camel’s back.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jeff,

      You do not ask a question; however, I will respond to your posting by saying that you should file a Social Security claim. Be sure to list all your conditions and describe why you were fired from each of the jobs (there’s a place on the application forms to do this.) The fact that you keep trying to work could be in your favor. Call your last three to five employers and tell them that you are applying for disability benefits because you cannot hold a job because of mental and physical illness. Ask whether they would write a brief letter that describes the unacceptable behavior that resulted in your being fired. Explain that your behavior waa a symptom of your illness. Do the same if you left any job due to physical problems that were visible to the employer.

      Try to get into a low-income clinic to get an assessment of your back. You do not say whether you have current medical or psychiatric care. If you do, tell your providers that you are filing a disability application based on multiple conditions and be sure to briefly tell each provider about the medical and/or psychiatric conditions they are not treating so they will have a full picture of your health.

      If you are denied, request a copy of your claim file and appeal using an experienced Social Security attorney. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award at the time it sends your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jeff

        Thanks for your help Kay.My wife has SSD and Medicare and sees doctors every week.She was not expected to live this long. I do not have insurance and have made sure she was taken care of. Even if I tried to get a job after a declined appeal for social security it would be hard to get a job because all but one of my front teeth have fallen out, because of poor hygiene because of my bouts with depression.

        We are in dire need and will likely be evicted long before the process would be completed. I would like you to see my SS earnings statement, which shows in 2007 I was making six figures and by 2011 it was down to a third of that.We simply do not have the help to stay together with my wife’s brothers both being seriously ill along with her mother, my brother is paranoid schizophrenic, my son has schizoid disorder. My mother is very ill too. The sad thing is all of us are under the age of 55. I am 54. I have to confess one other thing.Because my wife takes the same Rx that I took when I could afford a pain doctor I was taking hers just to be able to work. I cannot jeopardize her ability to get medication and I know that was wrong, but the alternative was living in a homeless shelter. I know God will work this out because He always has.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jeff,

          Apparently I misunderstood. I thought from your previous post that you were not working and that you had not filed a claim. With all the illnesses that you listed, you thought you be approved on initial claim.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Jeff

            Kay, I apologize for the rambling. What I have to do find out if I can draw unemployment comp and still file for disability or use the dire need reason to have my case heard quicker. We can not survive on my wife’s disability and that and food stamps are all we have and the stamps only last 2 weeks. I have a tele appt next week with social security. I had diagnosed spinal stenosis in 1992 but the hosptial that had those films says they do not keep them that long. SS will not order or pay for films and I could not get the ER to take a mri or ct. They did xray only and said I have a L-2 fracture. I just want to ask: should I throw all symptoms and problems on my interview or just stick to one item? I also will likely be homeless long before the case is initially heard.I held out as long as I could because only my job and being able to buy medicines for my wife has kept her alive. She has been on SSD since 1992.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Jeff,

              You do not say whether you are completely unable to work or you may be able to work only part-time. If you think you can work in a limited capacity and are willing to look for work and take work if you find it, it might be legal to draw unemployment. I suggest that you check with your state’s employment division to find out.

              A person will be approved for Social Security Disability if he cannot perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), which for non-blind people is usually the ability to earn $1,090 gross per month. If you have the ability to earn less than that and get unemployment because you are trying to get limited work, the fact that you get unemployment should not affect your disability claim, though you would want to explain how it was that you were filing for both. If you get unemployment, you might not be eligible for dire need status on your claim, but you would also have less need for it.

              You did not say whether your fracture occurred on the job or due to your job. If it did, you could file for workers compensation. If you had health insurance while working and lost it when you stopped work and it has been less than sixty days since you lost your insurance, you can apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and you might qualify for a government subsidy to pay for the premiums. Another option would be to check with your state to see if you and your wife qualify for Medicaid now that you are not working.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Jeff

            Correct that I am not working. I could draw unemployment because it was a medical issue that caused me to resign,but if I do that then I lose my option to file for disability, since my applying for unemployment i am saying i can work.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Jeff,

              Please see my response of today to your previous posting.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Indica Bob

    Disability is pretty crazy. I know my illness makes me well qualified. They cut me off on my food stamps after experiencing bad back problems that left me unable to work with nobody to back my claim. In the meantime they cut the foodstamps so it’s pretty much weed and food theft over here in the meantime.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bob,

      Do you have a question? If so, please post it.

      Thanks,
      Kay

      • I filed for diability in February since filing for 3 heart attacks I have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure my ef number is 15 will this help me get approved for dddi?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Larry,

          Your most recent diagnosis with an ejection fraction of fifteen adds to the seriousness of your medical condition. If you have not already submitted medical documentation of the diagnosis and test findings, do so right away.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Problemswith Adjudicators

    Hi Kay….

    I am looking to get in touch with a couple of doctors that made negative decisions on my SSA case. I tried goggling, but they can not be found, numbers are disconnected, I have contacted all the clinics and their affiliations, no one knows where these doctors are.

    Is there someone at the SSA Office that knows there whereabouts and their telephone numbers?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Problemswith Adjudicators,

      If you are referring to physicians within the Disability Determination Services (DDS), they are employees of the state and DDS is under contract with the federal government to make disability decisions. Employees’ private addresses and phone numbers are not available to the public the same as your private contact information on file with your employers when you worked was not available to the public.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Chris B

    After arriving to see the SSDI doctor, I was required to fill out and sign a form with only a few questions. The questions were, Did you drive yourself to the doctor? Do you smoke? Do you drink? Have you had a DWI? Have you been in jail or prison? Why are these questions, especially the DWI and jail questions required before the SSDI doctor prior to the examination?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Chris,

      Some physicians routinely ask these questions.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • christina

    This is my husband’s second time applying for Social Security Disability and he was denied and we appealed the first time and lost. This time applying there has been more serious health changes as he has been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure with a ejection fraction of 32% and had a Defibrillator put in and has had to be put on a medication to slows the heart rate down, The other medical conditions are Diabetes type 2, Hypertension, Chronic Ischemic heart disease, COPD, Atherosclerosis, Depression. The cardiologist had totally disabled him from working, the question I’m getting at is why would they (Social Security) send him to their doctors for the depression part but not for the physical part which is the most important one and the main reason why he filed? I also would like to ask would they most likely approve him this time?

    Thank you,
    Christina

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Christina,

      It’s possible that the claim could be approved on the physical and that a psychiatric examination had been ordered to determine whether he is capable of directing the use of his benefits or needs a representative payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I’ve just expirenced a 3rd cervicial fusion , anxiety , depression 5 lbs weight limit nothing over head . Numb hands , severe muscle spasms. I jumped thru all the hoops I am currently being treated from the neuro surgeon ( I was notified today after seeing my dr and their who both deemed my severaty as crucial they both sided with me . How is it that the adjudication person decided I can work . I’m so confused , I’m ready to be evicted . Have not food shopped for weeks . I’m still under the care of the dr . I don’t understand . Please help. ( yes I have a lawyer but they are talking a year to a year in a half for appeal . I’m losing everything . I’ll be homeless .

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Antoinette,

      I suggest that you apply for SNAP (food stamps) at your local health and human services. Also inquire whether the state offers any cash assistance to people who have filed a federal disability claim. You might also contact your state’s department of vocational rehabilitation or a private non-profit such as Goodwill to see if you can get rehabilitation services to return to work within your limitations. If they turn you down because of your limitations, that will help with your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Thank you

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Antoinette.

    • Problemswith Adjudicators

      You need to contact your senators (in your state) and all other (49) states. I have contacted every senator in all 50 states…Adjudicators s/n be deciding a case, doctors should.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Problemswith Adjudicators,

        Doctors are not trained in Social Security law; the claims examiners (adjudicators) are. They also have access on physicians on staff with Social Security to answer any medical questions that are outside their training.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • william

    Hi,
    Just a question. My g incentives applied for ssi and was sent to 2 exams today for a consulting exam for ssi. She told the dr she wanted to go back to work and he said that is just not an option for her. He was a very nice man. She suffers from anxiety, depression, and her heart rate and blood pressure will get dangerously high she was seen by another medical condition she is in the process of being tested for. The examiner knew exactly what they were looking for and said it sound like it to a t. He also recommended that she not be left home alone because she has disorientation spells caused from this condition. He was very helpful as far as putting her at ease but my question is if her dr feels she is disabled and the ssi dr feels she is disabled will she be approved?. She also had a physiological exam too and the examiner let me in the room with her because she get very anxious around strangers. Both examiners were nice my fiance feared being labeled crazy, but they agreed she shouldn’t be working. Do you think she will be approved?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear William,

      The information you provided is supportive of your fiancee’s claim being approved, but all the information in her claim, including medical and psychiatric records will be considered in making the decision. If her own physician has not submitted a narrative statement in support of her disability, it could be helpful for him to do so. He should be specific about the clinical and laboratory or other test findings that support inability to work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jennifer gosling

    I have a lawyer I been waiting for a year now to see if I can get my ssi I had it when I was 16 and they cute off I have a lot of mantel issues and a leaving disability what the chances I’ll get my ssi

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jennifer,

      I cannot predict whether or not you will be approved for disability benefits; however, your attorney took your case because he or she thought you could be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Craig smith

        I have copd,bad back,leg 3/4inch short,art in back,ext,depression and axi,be to dd doc 2 doc letters saying not to work and was denied for disability from indiana don’t know what to do have about 50 days left to appeal or see if they will let me lawyer say everything is all right judge said I could work docs say no what do I do this is indiana

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Craig,

          You have the right to appeal the judge’s decision to the Appeals Council. There are special rules for this appeal so having your attorney file the appeal would be a good idea.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Uyenthi

    Dear Kay,
    I work for a government agency for 21 years in Maricopa County of Arizona, as an employee for the county, I am a part of the Az state retirement system. It was happen last year i had a neck pain and got treated for 2 months, i was better and went back to work, this year my neck pain came back and got worse and I am now on my short term disability, in december it will be 180 days before i go into longer term disability if my condition would not get better and that i may not able to perform the duties of my job. I am quite insecure at this stage that I may loose my job if my FMLA is run out in Nov of 2014 I also feel insecure of the complicated process of filling for LTD since i was just recently established my medical history with a new doctor and afraid of not know how our relationship is going to be. I just don’t want to keep changing physicians when I really want to properly established my continuous care. I have quite a few medical conditions and as the result of these medical conditions preventing me from performing my job such as depression, diabetes 2, degenerative join desease, epilepsy. I also don’t know what kind of specialty attorney to help guide me through this process. I contacted a few for advice but all of them said that they can not help me until my case denial. If you have an advice for me, i would value them very truly.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Uyenthi,

      If the long-term disability (LTD) insurance company is the same as your short-term disability (STD) insurance company, application for LTD may be no more than providing a medical update. I suggest that you meet with your doctor to go over your medical history and to let him or her know that you are currently receiving STD benefits and may need to apply for LTD. Be sure the new doctor is aware of all your conditions and is also aware of the physical and mental demands of your current employment. Discuss whether he agrees you cannot do that job. (Most LTD policies initially only require that you be disabled from your most recent occupation.)

      If you do end up being off work for a year, I suggest that you also file an application for Social Security Disability. Information about applying can be found in the articles under the “Apply SSD” tab on the navigation bar of this website.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mary

    Dear Kay,
    I filed for SSD in June due to multiple health conditions. I have Ménière’s disease as well as arthritis, and chronic diverticulitis and anxiety and depression. My menieres is well documented because I have had it for many years. However my most recent doctor, a neurotologist won’t support my disability claim, but will only send records (which should support). I already had a consultant exam last week for psychiatric and physical. I really cannot work anymore, am 61 next month. Should I see another neurotologist? How do I knpw in advance if they will support me? I’m worried.
    Mary

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mary,

      You probably cannot know in advance whether a new doctor will support a disability claim. If your Meniere’s has been controlled and you have been working with it, you may need to emphasize your other diagnoses as the disabling conditions. You might also make sure that your current neurologist is aware of all your other conditions and the symptoms you have from them. If he or she doesn’t now know about your other problems, having more information may change his or her mind.

      If you are denied and truly feel you cannot work, I suggest that you hire an attorney who is well-versed in Social Security Disability law to help with your appeal. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • adrianne

    lord i been waiting since 2008 to get my disability please pray for me

    • Kay Derochie

      Will do, Adrianne.

      • Adrianne

        Thanks Kay, just had my consecutive exam with disability doctor he gave good report lord Jesus bless me in your name at my supplement hearing in August.

  • Allison

    I wish I would had read this sight before I went to the doctors examination
    they only 20 minutes apart.

    One Dr. asked if he could tape it I just yes?
    If I had said No I thought I would get denied.

    First off
    They are not there to be your friend
    A Big ZERO
    On Bed side manners
    and the “First Do No harm”
    Out the window
    they are the for SSI Not your feelings
    They do try to twist your words
    Yes They are rude
    in between Doctor visits
    I was sitting in the waiting area.
    The two doctors I could see behind the sec Window
    He said “You Got Her Next”
    I have Vertigo and actually had a spell while he (DR.)
    was exaiminng me.
    and started mocking my movements.

    Unbelieveable

    how long does it take Once they examinng you
    does it take to hear back
    I do have a lawyer ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Allison,

      The doctors have three weeks to deliver their reports and it could take a month after the reports are received by the Disability Determination Services to get a decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Charles

    This Charles again I forgot to say i did recive letters in the mail saying i was to become disabled i had worked enough years and earned enough points. not sure if that is helpful in any of the previous questions. i am also 32 years old till oct 5th. thank you…

  • Charles

    What are my chances of approval for disability if I file??
    I am at wits end and unsure what to do. I worked at a maximum security for 8 years 2 months and 10 days. During which time i witnessed and seen horrific acts of vialence n death over the years. During this time as well I began being treated for depression, severe anxiety issues and being bipolar. I also became a severe alcoholic as means of escape. I went to rehab and was treated for the alcoholism almost 3 years ago but is still a struggle at times not to start drinking again. I do not have a doctor right now and have not for many years. I left working at the prison just a few months after quitting drink. I mentally could no longer take it and do the job and if I did stayed i new i would start drinking again. As i stated before i have not been able to afford to go to the doctor for several years now let alone be on medications i need. Since leaving the prison I feel my depression gets worse at times (still did even while on meds) my anxiety issues have got worse and I am still very much bipolar. I also feel i have worsen mentally since the last time i seen a physician. I feel i have become schizophrenic, hearing things outside like someone messing around when no one is there or that people are watching me when i do venture out. As well as not trying to thinking about the security cameras while out in public (like walmart) cause the feel and fear of the security cameras. I am also suffering from severe anger issues and at times fits of rage that is really starting to scare me.
    Since ending my employment at the prison I have tried too work. I only have a 10 grade education with a g.e.d. I tried to work at a restaurant but having authority issues I was fired only after being a month tops and drew unemployment for about a year. I was able to find a part time job about 6 months after the unemployment ended working at a jail making about 800 month but I was fired from there on april 22 of this year having only being there about 6 months. Authority issue are still there as well as not being able to be civil let alone pleasant to fellow coworkers and the threatening of inmates that were incarcerated there lead to me being termanated from the part time position.
    I just dont know what to do anymore and i am barley surviving and getting by with not being able to work with all of the issues i am having mentally. Would I qualify for disability if i apply even more so since i do not have a doctor. I can get all the medical records of my past treatments and medication i was on. But if i do not apply for and get disability benefits then i am unable to afford getting a doctor to get and help figure out medications i need let alone being able to afford a psych doctor to help figure out all the mental issues i am having. Any advice or thoughts on my matter at hand or what i need to do would be greatly greatly appriciated I am lost and just unsure what to do anymore. If you are able to reply with any help can you please email your reply? I am unsure if i will be able to find you site again to see any helpful reply. Thank you…
    sincerely Charles

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Charles,

      The only way to find out if you are eligible is to apply. Submit the medical records you have and explain why you haven’t had medical care in recent years. Also indicate that you used to have an alcohol problem, but have not drunk in three years. Indicate that your mental problems preceded your alcohol use and have continued after you stopped drinking. Explain all the mental symptoms you currently have including the anger control and also explain how your being fired from each of your jobs related to your mental condition. You can get information on how to file your claim under the “File for SSD” tab on the http://www.disabilityadvisor.com website. If you are denied, I suggest getting legal representation for your appeal.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Scott

    Kay,
    I applied ( M 54 years old) for SSDI May,2013. have been off work since 1-2013 non comp case. Three surgeries same doctor / hospital was denied September 2013. I filed a appeal for reconsideration September 2013. I have since been seeing the doctor regularly as in every month and he has submitted a RFC and formal letter saying no way I can work any longer. SSDI subsequently sent me for CE in April 2014 for which SSDI doctor agrees. I have copy of the report. Long story short, its been eight months for the reconsideration and they have all the records and both parties doctors say the same thing.. Is it me or is their something seriously wrong with this picture. I have called and they say it was sent up to medical review. Eight months? Slow readers….

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Scott,

      I would say that most of the eight months, your reconsideration has been waiting its turn for review and that they are now actively working on it, as evidenced by your being sent for a consultative examination (CE). It could be a couple weeks or a couple months from the date on the CE report for you to get a decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • I was denied SO I and have a lot of medical problems. I am looking for a disability doctor to do an exam on my medical history that can possibly help me get SSI.
    My mother in law is helping me with this but cannot seem to find a doctor.
    I can be reached at 515 729 0630

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Trevor,

      Usually the way a person establishes disability is to present medical documentation of diagnosis and severity of symptoms. One of the best sources is a record of treatment with a specialist in the type of illness or injury you have. With some conditions such as injuries, getting a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation by a physical therapist or physiatrist can be helpful. Many doctors will not render a a “disability opinion.” In any event, a “disability opinion” may not be helpful to your claim because the Disability Determination Services (DDS) that Social Security hires makes the disability decision applying Social Security law to the facts of your claim. They do not ask doctors to make a disability decision–not even the doctors they sometimes send claimants to for evaluation. In those cases, the doctors are asked to examine for diagnosis, symptoms, and severity of limitations only. So…I would suggest examination (and testing if applicable) by a specialist in the field of your illness.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Tony Emerson

    I had a hearing on 19 dec .2013 . Ptsd back injury left wrist 100% p& t with va . Rfc said that I could do packers work light and med 500 jobs in area light 700 jobs in area med 0 jobs sedentary the alj said that he would consider sedentary . My lawyer had little or nothing to say other question to me day to day living and my diferent conditions. Alj said Decision should be in two to three weeks. What do you think?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tony,

      Apologies for the delayed response. Our site has had a software problem, which is now resolved.

      I do not have enough information to offer an opinion on how the judge will rule. I will say that it sounds as if the identification of occupations you could perform was related to your physical condition only. The judge will consider both your physical and mental limitations in making a decision.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  • Jim

    Hello Kay
    Thank you again for you help. Is S.S.D. taxed in N.Y.S. Also after I reach age 62 will my S.S.D. check be reduced ?
    Thank You
    Jim

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jim,

      If you are still disabled when you turn age sixty-two, your SSD check will not be reduced.

      With regard to state taxation of your benefit, I suggest that you contact the New York Department of Revenue to learn whether your SSD will be taxed.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Erica

        Hey I have a question if the examer says I can’t work is it that I won the case

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Erica,

          In some cases, the examiner can make the final decision. In other circumstances, the examiner makes a recommendation that has to be reviewed and finalized by a staff physician.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

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