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How can I tell if I will meet Social Security Disability requirements?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  128 Comments

Find out why your doctor doesn’t always know if you meet Social Security Disability requirements and learn how a talk with an attorney may be helpful.

social-security-disability-requirementsWhy Your Doctor Might Not Know

Sometimes we can’t be sure if we meet Social Security disability requirements. Even your doctor’s assessment of whether or not you qualify may not be accurate. This is because Social Security has its own specific definition of disability, which is fairly complex and even allows for you to do some work.

Unsuccessful Work Attempts

It can also be difficult to determine whether you have been or will be disabled long enough to receive benefits. For example, if you returned to work for six months or less and stopped work again for nine months due to the same disability, your return to work might be treated as an unsuccessful work attempt, so that months off work on either side of the return to work might combined to meet the required twelve-month duration.

How a Social Security Disability Law Firm Might Know

Talking with an attorney who is experienced with Social Security Disability claims can be helpful, because he or she will be very familiar with Social Security Disability law. If you accurately describe all your medical conditions and past injuries, your current work activity, and your work history, the attorney will be able to give you an idea of whether you may qualify. And, of course, the way to find out for sure is to file an application with the Social Security Administration and get a formal determination of whether you meet the Social Security Disability eligibility requirements. For information on Social Security Disability reviews, see our article “How Does the Social Security Administration Apply Social Security Laws to Determine If I Am Disabled?”

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  • Dear Cheryl,

    If there is a possibility of being disabled for twelve months as is required to get Social Security Disability, I suggest that you file a claim.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • cheryl

      Thank you , i did apply today

  • Dear Gina,

    A supportive finding from the consulting physician will be helpful to your claim but will not guarantee an approval. To be eligible for benefits, you must be unable to perform any occupation (not just your past occupations) that you could otherwise perform if you did not have your current medical limitations. Your young age, your education, and your work history will be taken into consideration when determining whether you can work in another occupation.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Hello, I am Michelle I am 38 , I have ptsd , so bad that I cnt go out alone , sounds ans smells throw me into panic attacks, I had to leave my last job due to a guy on the phone sounding like The man who raped me😢 I have bipolar 2 and was just told yesterday I have OA stage 3 with bone spurs in my righy knee and that much knees is unstable. (If gives out A Lot)
    My mom suggest I apply for ssi or ssd I, due to all this. I heard it is very hard to get approval. What are my chance presay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michelle,

      It is possible that you might qualify for benefits. I suggest that you apply for both Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You can get tips on filing a claim in the articles under the “Apply for SSD” tab at the top of this web page.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tobi Fraley

    Would I qualify with

    1985 Deppression
    Depression issues and gong through counceling … Suicide attempt ..Hospitilized 30days mental ward

    1996
    medication counceling for Bipolar 1 effective disorder
    Suicide attempt 72 hr evaluation

    2 MRI as Follows
    1st MRI 2008

    T11–T12….Small left sidded disc protrusion without significant central or neural foraminal compromise

    L1-S1… Disc desiccation,Supperimposed on a disc buldge is right lateral disc protrusion wuth annular tear or radial fissure with mass effect on decending S1 nerve root central canal is only mildly narrowed right neuroformen is mildly narrowed

    MRI November 14,2016

    T12-L1… Small right paracentral disc protrusion without cental canal stenosis
    L5-S1…..Small right foraminal/lateral recess protrusion displacing the S1 nerve root and producing mild right neural forminal narrowing

    Gaps in medical treatment are due to inability to afford health care

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tobi,

      Whether or not you are eligible for benefits depends on whether your conditions keep your from performing substantial gainful activity.

      Social Security defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.” Usually earnings of a certain level indicate that ability to perform substantial gainful activity. In 2016 that level is $1,130 gross.

      For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you only have that you are disabled now and tht disability has lasted or is expected to last twelve months. For Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI), if you are not now insured for SSD (you don’t say when you last worked), you have to prove that you became disabled while you were still insured.

      If you are not now earning $1,130 gross, you can apply for benefits and that will tell you whether you are insured. Or if you are still performing SGA, you can a preview of your situation by obtaining a copy of your earnings statement and information about insured status online at http://www.ssa.gov. Create a “My Social Security” account and request your earnings statement (not benefit statement).

      It is harder to get approved for benefits without medical records; however, it is not impossible. Social Security is likely to send you to one or more evaluations at their expense.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • tonyv

    Hello Kay and thank you for taking the time to answer everyones concerns and questions to the best of your ability. I am 28 year old male. I have been struggling with and treated for degenerative conditions of the spine since before 1999, ion 2002 I quit my school wrestling team and gave up bowling. In 2006 I was injured helping someone steady a load of boating equipment when that item (3000 LBS) fell on top of me and I narrowly escaped. This herniated my intestines and groin and caused several bulges, herniations, fractures and slippage in my spine. these injuries were never properly healed and the intestinal hernia was not repaired until 2010 I will spare the rest of the details but after recovering from the 2006 injury I worked as a plumber for 6 yrs. or until 2013. in 2012 I began missing work often and using up all my sick days vaycay days and personal days even taking time off with no pay and ultimately left work jan 2013 have not worked since now ran out of savings. I have already filed my initial application. My question to you is this. Are there any groups or individuals that will help me in compiling information to supplement this initial application. Lawyers will only help after denial. I submitted some treating doctors whom I can remember on my app, but i know its only 10% of my real records. I do not have money to pay for records and I do not have insurance and haven’t since jan 2013. I live in central CA and need a non profit or contingency based group that can help me get all this stuff together. This is the longest i have ever been able to type.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tony,

      I do not know of organizations that will help you file a claim, but you might check with your state’s senior services department, which may also assist disabled individuals. Or there might be volunteers at your community’s senior center.

      With or without assistance, I suggest that you contact your pharmacy or pharmacies and ask them to give you a printout of all your medications as far back as they have records. You can submit a copy for your claim and the records will list the names of the prescribing physicians, which will jog your memory about your treating physicians. That will allow you to look up their contact information and send in a supplemental statement listing your medical providers and roughly the dates you saw them. Try to remember the names of hospitals as well where you had surgeries. Also, be sure to say that you have not had insurance, so have not had as much care recently. Note that it is possible that Social Security will ask you to attend one or more consultative examinations at Social Security’s expense.

      With regard to medical insurance, I would think that with no income or savings, you would be eligible for MediCal insurance. I suggest that you apply for it at your local state or county social services office. If you can’t get MediCal, try applying for government subsidized insurance under the Afforadable Care Act, which has an open enrollment period in November and December. Once you have insurance, try to get an up-to-date evaluation and treatment program.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • tonyv

        Thank you for your compassionate suggestions

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Tony.

  • Tracy McCart

    I was told the Social Security Administration will not grant SSDI to someone who can use their arms but not their legs . . . so WHAT kind of job can you have where you NEVER have to use your legs? Even when I get a scooter, I have learned with my walker that this world is not friendly to the disabled. The job I am trained for requires me to use my feet and run around the office carrying heavy case files, also use a dictaphone peddle, etc. Is there a list of jobs that the SSA will use to say you are not totally disabled?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tracy,

      If you have the ability to work in sedentary occupation, you would not be considered disabled. Ability includes mental and physical capacity and either transferable skills or the ability to learn the work on the job. Whether or not you decide to file a disability claim, I suggest that you contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to see whether your would qualify for training or job placement into a sedentary occupation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Lori besserer

    My disability hearing is October 19, 2016 I had reconstructive foot surgery which made my foot worse I have ptsd anxiety and depression and possibly could be biopolar 2 I have a social security lawyer what are my chances on winning

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lori,

      I have insufficient information about your functional limitations, work history and age to offer an opinion on your chances for approval. I can say that your attorney thinks you have a reasonable chance or he or she would not have taken your case.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Alicia Cureton

    I am diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and nerve root compression. I’m also diagnosed with having anxiety and panic attacks. In not sure what disability it would be best to apply for and also at my psychatrist’s office four months ago I failed a drug test for marijuana. I now pass all of my urine screens but what would be the best thing to do here? I’ve read the doctor can state that the drug abuse did not contribute to my illness; there for, I would be able to successfully be approved. I can’t keep work. I am 36 years old and can no longer hold my kind without having panic attacks which leads me to quit my jobs.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Alicia,

      If you apply for disability benefits, you should list all your illnesses so that your total physical and mental condition can be taken into consideration. You should discuss your marijuana use with your doctor to see whether the doctor does support that drug use is not contributing to your inability to work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Lisa

    My husband has received denial of initial application as well as after a 9mo wait, (since jan 5 2016-Sept 15, 2016)just received denial of 1st appeal/reconsideration request, in process of filing next appeal, he has dealt with general anxiety disorder, severe depression(manic depressive as per one therapist, not sure if a difference), mild bi polar tendencies (whatever that means), obstructive sleep apnea, mild scoliosis of spine, rhumatoid arthritis in hands and knees, shoulder separation, and all combined with suffering “widow maker” heart attack august 10, 2015 requiring 3 stents to read establish blood flow in heart as had zero upon arrival to ER, since doing heart cath in July 2016 also found 2 other main arteries in heart, slightly smaller than others, so not ideal for Stent per cardiologist, one being approx 65% and one approx 85% blocked, as well as “significant” plaquing of other arteries, diagnosed with ischaemic heart disease, told he will never perform contractor home remodeling type work I have done for 27yrs as state licensed plumber, he is 43, dropped out of school in 1989, 10th grade not completed, did obtain his GED in 1995, however everything he know and have done involves fixing/building homes, apartments etc. And per cardiologist he will never perform this work again, my body simply cannot sustain the physical stress requirement this work demands, since this he has also apparently developed what therapist is calling PTSD from trauma of heart attack, so throw that on top of already present existing generalized anxiety disorder and severe depression, he lost last employment June 24 2015, due to missing too much time from work, which was due to bouts with anxiety and depression, and have not been employed since, we have 5 kids to provide for, he had zero income since June 24 2015, thankfully I’ve been blessed with help from community members, family etc, was approved for Medicaid to cover his medical, which all 9 of his daily medications currently taking are $2390.MO without ins. And I have been able to get job waiting tables at local restaurant…his cardiologist is sending me a letter regarding inability to work and limited heat exposure allowance etc….so I can obtain help in future with power bills etc, do you possibly have any explication as to why he has been denied twice and having to now file hearing level appeal, which could be another 15-20mo before hearing date, resulting in about 3yrs of zero income all while dealing with existing issues, compounded because of stress and worry regarding providing for children all the while? Why is something he worked 27yrs at almost $55k yr paying into, that he now NEED in order to sustain and provide for children, being with held and or taking such a extremely stressful and prolonged period of paperwork and waiting, paperwork and waiting, then more paperwork and more waiting? It’s extremely disheartening and I’m afraid he is going to end up institutionalized and our kids with family before it’s all over, and cannot explain how much he will not be separated from our children as that with any parent is like a nightmare….thank you for your time, sorry so long

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      If your husband does not have an attorney, he needs to hire an experienced Social Security attorney to assist with his hearing. I also suggest that he get a copy of his claim file so he can see the exact reasons for the denial and the evidence the decision was based on. That way the appeal can address specific errors that were made. 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

  • Brett

    Update: HS graduate with 30 + work years , age= 50 have not worked since heart attack based on cardiologist requirements : shortness of breath, hip, leg, and feet pain due to claudication

  • Brett Bennett

    My Cardio-Vascular Dr has instructed me to apply for ssdi. 3 mos ago had stemi MI / heart attack and EF of 25% which has improved to 35% and implantation of ICD occurring in a couple of weeks. PAD symptoms started two years ago and progressed up to heart attack date with severe claudication. This has limited my walking to less than two minutes and requiring bed rest to improve. Minor resting pain has began and intervention has been limited due to heart risk. ABI readings are well below ssdi listings. Do you foresee any issues that may prevent approval other than its only been 3 mos ?
    Thank you – Brett

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brett,

      My response is to both your posts. You may qualify for benefits. I suggest that you file the application. It will take two to five months to process so by then you will be well into the twelve-month period of disability. If you are denied because they say your condition won’t last twelve months, you can wait till close to the end of the appeals period and, if you are still disabled, appeal with updated medical.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Duayne Logan

        Hello my name I Reggie I’ve had a Hart Attack & now have a Pace maker an have been out of work for 3 years. Applied for SSI & was denied,now have an attorney and have a hearing..I’m still out of work under my Cardio Dr orders..Do I have a chance to win my Hearing for Full Disability or should I just go for the Closed Period 3 years

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Duanyne,

          There is likely no need to limit your claim; if evidence shows you have recovered, the judge will limit the time approved. That said,I suggest following your attorney’s advice about how to approach the hearing and what to claim because the attorney has the detailed information about your health and your claim.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Anna

    Hello My name is Anna and I have been out of work for over 18 mths I was diagnosed with RA 3 yrs ago and my condition is not getting any better Im on medication for it at this point and its not working as well as it did in the beginning stages, I have lost my insurance with the company I worked for and Im in desperate need of insurance to help me with my Dr appts that I have to keep in order to stay on the medication I am taking for this, I have flair ups often and it keeps me in bed at times up to 2 days due to swelled joints and stiffness, I never know when they will hit me, Im in the process with my lawyer to get my disability, waiting on a hearing now, but I desperately need insurance and was wanting to try to file for Tenn Care, I have never been through anything like this before and I need help with this what should I do I have no income coming in at this time and bills are going to get hard to pay could I please get some information on what I need to do to apply for this insurance or SSI something to help me Ive never not worked before and its hard for me to now have this disease that can cripple me in the future, I just need some information on what I should do! Thank you for your help I greatly appreciate it!!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anna,

      SSI (Supplemental Security Income) is a federal disability program subject to the same definition of disability as Social Security Disability (SSD), so SSI is not available to you while your hearing is pending. (Note that you may have already applied for it.)

      I can’t answer your question about how to apply for Tenn Care because eligibility is managed by the state. I suggest that you call or visit your nearest state or county social services office to get information on how to apply. If you are not eligible for Tenn Care and/or you lost your insurance in the last sixty days, check the Affordable Care Act to see whether you would qualify for insurance with a government premium subsidy. More information is available at http://www.healthcare.gov. If you are outside the sixty-day window, you can apply during the open enrollment from November 1 through January 31. Lastly, you may be able to get temporary prescription assistance. More information is available at http://www.needymeds.com/.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Christy

    Hi I was wondering after reading all of these comments if I could apply for disability, I have been diagnosed with PTSD, Anxiety, and Severe Depression. My PTSD affects me daily, it even has affected me when I was working. I have been trying to look for work for two years and every application i turn in gets denied, I have papers by my doctor stating that I have PTSD, Anxiety, And Depression. Do I qualify for Disability?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Christy,

      I do not have sufficient information to offer an opinion on your eligibility. Given that you are not now working and are experiencing life-disrupting symptoms, I suggest that you file an application. You can get started online at http://www.ssa.gov. Be sure to be specific about the symptoms and why they interfere with working. If you left work due to your health or were let go related to your symptoms, say so and try to get a statement from your last supervisor or a co-worker about any the observed about any mental health related problems. You can get some additional information about filing a claim and how a claim is reviewed and decided in the articles under the “Apply for SSD” and “Claim Process” tabs at the top of this webpage.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tamalz Smith

    My question is I suffer from severe depression and anxiety that I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist for since if been 18 years old I’ll be 41 next month,due to my depression and anxiety I have a hard to with New things and people I stay in my room all day everyday,i haven’t worked since 2008.for the fake my anger depression and anxiety is really bad also I suffer from severe cronic bad pain the limits my modilety to about 3 or 4 mints at a time my axioty and severe back pain prohibits me from being able to stand and wait for the city bus,and also not being able to ride it.i have a 8th grade education and I receive $5 a month cash I suffered a tramatic child hood that make me not be able to be comfortable around people.my back pain is so severe I need assistance walking ,i use a shower chair to bath because I can’t stand and when I’m able to sit down in a regular chair my limbs start going numb and I have to pay down to ease the pay do I qualify

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tamaiz,

      You might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You can start a claim by calling the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 1-800-772-1213 and requesting an appointment to file a claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tim

    Hello Kitty Hello Kay my question I’m thinking about filing for Medical disability do to i have had four left knee scope surgery 3 left knee injections right shoulder surgery left shoulder surgery and now in 2016 I’m going in for a left total knee replacement for my left knee my question to you is it I have a good case or will I be denied because I’m thinking of going out under medical disability.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tim,

      If your disabling limitations from your multiple conditions are expected to keep you off work for at least twelve months, your claim will be approve for Social Security Disability (SSD). You may even be able to claim a disability date from before you stop work this time if your past periods of working between times off were less than six months each and the disabling periods were due to related causes. If your company has a short-term disability (STD) policy, apply for STD benefits to tide you over while your SSD claim is being processed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • maria

    Ever since I was little I had back pain… During my pregnancies (3) I suffered mayor back pain. Recently during my last pregnancy I had a MVA and my back pain became intense to the point I had to stop my employement. After I had my baby, my pain continued and my doctor had finally decided to have me get an MRI. I was told everything was fine but the following are the findings of my MRI …

    FINDINGS: Alignment of the lumbar spine is normal. Vertebral
    body heights are normal. Marrow signal is mildly hypointense on
    T1-weighted images. No marrow edema is seen. The conus is
    located at the level of T12-L1 and is normal in morphology and
    signal intensity. There is disc space narrowing and desiccation
    throughout the lumbar spine. Visualized kidneys and aorta are
    unremarkable.
    Axial images:
    T12-L1: Normal
    L1-L2: Normal
    L2-L3: Minimal diffuse disk bulge asymmetric to the left but no
    significant stenosis.
    L3-L4: Minimal diffuse disk bulge asymmetric to the left with
    minimal bilateral facet osteoarthropathy results in minimal left
    neural foraminal stenosis.
    L4-L5: Minimal diffuse disk bulge asymmetric to the left results
    in very mild left neural foraminal stenosis.

    L5-S1: Normal

    IMPRESSION: Very minimal degenerative changes in the lower
    lumbar spine with minimal left neural foraminal stenosis at
    L3-L4 and L4-L5. Mildly hypointense marrow on T1-weighted images
    is nonspecific but could be seen with anemia, smoking, metabolic
    abnormalities or less likely infiltrative disease.

    Since the doctor said everything look good, but I still have constant back pain, which has been effecting the strength in my left leg as well I was referred to a Pain Management Clinic. There I received a few doses of SI joint injections, but my pain hasn’t changed. Due to that, im still limited on what I can do. Can’t stand/sit/walk for long period of time, bending and squatting hurts even more. Cant sleep well either. This problem hasn’t only effected me physically, but emotional and mentally as well.

    I was recommended to apply for SSI. But not sure If I would qualify since I know they have certain conditions they don’t accept as disability. Any suggestions on what to do??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Maria,

      Based on the MRI results and how you describe your condition, it does not seem likely that you would be approved for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability. You must be unable to perform all occupations for which you would qualify including occupations that allow you to change positions and are not physically demanding. Perhaps physical therapy or other muscle strengthening programs and/or chiropractic treatments could help your symptoms. All that said, if you genuinely think you cannot work with the discomfort you have, you could file a claim to get a formal decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Brian

    So I have a disability from when I was younger, I had severe hip problems growing up and had a femoral slip when I was in jr high and later that year fell and broke my femural head and had a pin put it. I’m now 34 and have arthritis bone deterioration of my hip. I’m a big guy 6’6 and while growing parts of my leg/body wasn’t able to grow properly and now due to this I have knee issues, 3 bulging and 4 protruding discs in my lower back. I’m not able to stand for long periods, or sit for long periods at a time, I’ve worked my whole life and not until 2007 I started to have issues as far as pain and all that and have been on all sorts of strong pain meds like post surgical kind of meds for my pain. Was wondering what are my odds of being approved, as I had to work to survive but bounced from job to job because of my chronic condition.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brian,

      I cannot predict your odds of being approved. If you are unable to do any occupations you have done in the past, it will depend on a combination of your physical limitations, your education, and your transferable skills. If you are currently working and earning less than $1,130 gross a month, you can file an application. It could be helpful to the application to have a residual functional capacity (RFC) evaluation by a physiatrist or a physical therapist. You might also, at the same time, contact the state Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to see if you qualify for retraining into an occupation within your limitations. If you are accepted, they might have the RFC eval performed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Amber Burt

    Hi my husband has two titanium rodes in his feet and has 21 pins in one foot and 20 pins in the other foot. His ankles give out on him all the time. He has to lay down at least 5 times a day and put ice on them. The swell up and everything he has a hearing tomorrow. What are his chances of getting it?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amber,

      If your husband is unable to work in an occupation where he would be seated throughout the day, his chances of approval are good.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jannice

    I been denied , denied , i have bulshing disc , carpal tunnel syndrome and can even lift nothing . They said i can do some kind of work wondering if i can’t do my previous 15 years work and i can’t even use my hands pain everyday . What job will hire me without me using my hands or be able to sit long or stand long if i will be sedated with pain killers . I do have seen a lady that she said she couldn’t fold her finger was approved for ssi . She don’t have a day in her life no disabilities she works and collect ssi but she supposed to be disabled can’t do no type of work . Me reading this blogs and i see how much people that really have disabilities. None of this doctors from ssi knows the pain and suffering that the one that either had an accident or any conditions that is in the blue book of ssi qualifications is being denied . Oh i seeing a lot of people that are Not disable and collecting . So i might have to work with my mouth . You tell me the pain and suffering and this extremely deppress me to the point that it makes me think if it would of being better dead or continue with this pain that is permanent. If i would choose preferred dead . No help and they don’t know , people don’t need to begg this judges they pick one here and there even when your own doctor tells you you can’t work cause is permanent, they sill denied you .

    • Jannice

      What im saying preferred to die in that accident cause by other driver. No justice

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Janicce,

      Work history and transferable skills to other jobs as well as age are considered in disability determinations so that if you had two people with identical medical conditions but different work history and education, one might be approved and another not and both would be correct decisions.

      If you know someone who is working and receiving disability benefits and not reporting the work, you can report the person to the Social Security Administration. They will investigate.

      If you have not applied with the assistance of an experienced Social Security attorney, you might be successful in an appeal or new claim with legal help. When you hire an attorney, you pay a fee only if the attorney is successful in getting your awarded benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Hello kay I recently applied for Social Security about a week ago.they told me my claim was in the determination process. was just wondering if that’s a good sign that it is moving quickly?I suffer from major depression, adhd and personality disorder. I can’t remember what year in high school I dropped out of school I think it was the 9th or 10th grade my whole time in grade school and high school I was in Special Ed. I do have a work history but have stop working January 1st 2016 because of the stress of the job and my depression I have seen doctors on and off for medications for antidepressants .may 15 2015 I started seeing a psychiatrist and have never missed an appointment and I’m still seeing the same psychiatrist I try seeing a therapist for some of my issues with being molested when I was a child but was not able to talk about everything at this time I’m currently taking all my medications for each disorder do you think I have a chance for Social Security?

    • Good afternoon kay, I just wanted to add that I saw my psychiatrist today he is asking now that I see him bi-weekly instead of monthly also up one of my antidepressant that I’m already on

      • And also whatever they are unable to get a hold of me past school records my mother claims that she had them destroyed which I’ll never understand

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Karen,

          I suggest that you contact your school to find out whether the school or the school district or the special education district still has the records. If they do, you can get a copy to submit with your claim.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Karen,

      I am not able to predict whether your claim will be approved. The fact that you have had regular psychiatric treatment could be helpful in establishing the severity of your mental health problems. If you are asked to go for a consultative examination, be sure to tell the doctor about the molestation even if you have trouble talking about it in any detail.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Thank you kay for your reply an advice. I will try my best to talk about my past.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Karen.

  • Edna

    Hi Kay, This is great info here. I have a question I’m 54yrs old drove a bus for 25yrs. Back in 2014 I developed upper back and neck pain kept working cause it would always go away but 4 months ago it came and it still here I went to my doctor he did an MRI test came back with DDD and spinal stenosis, herniated disc and bulging disc and I also have bilateral carpel tunnel syndrome I’m diabetic and I take melds for anxiety I’m taking pain Meds I see a pain Managment I wear a back brace and hand braces I’ve sent in all my doctors reports and my doctor filled out the medical source statement. I can’t cook my own food or clean I’ve stopped driving due to my back hurting and the Meds. I have a few impairments in the blue book I thought it said for people over 50 when doing the 5 step sequential test if you have something on the list you stop at step 3 and I’m wonder why I have to have a ce and mental exam even though my doctor filled out everything I’m going to appointments I was just wonder if I read it right about the 5 steps and the listing and my age or is my mind playing tricks on me. Thanks in advance I’m always reading your post and you do a great job any information to my question would be appreciated thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Edna,

      The listings consist of diagnoses plus certain clinical or test findings that are a result of the diagnoses. These specific findings define how severe and limiting the condition is. If you do not meet the findings, given your work history, age, and medical conditions you may still be approved on other criteria.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Edna

        Thank you Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Edna.

  • Kathy

    Hi my son is 9 1/2 years old he’s been diagnosed with benign rolandic epilepsy. He should grow out of it around the age of 16 years old. He takes medication twice aday and has to get an EEG every 6 months to determine electricity in the brain.I’m a housewife, we’re a family of 6 and I wanted to start working to help out, however ,because of my sons epilepsy it’s hard to get a job because when he has a fever or not feeling well, hits his head, gets too overheated, too hot from being outside or being active or he doesn’t get enough rest ,He could have a seizure. So I need to be home when he’s sick. Other than that, he is a fully functional 9 & 1/2 year old boy. I’m wondering if I should apply for Social Security benefits to help out .Thank you.
    P.S. What are the income requirements for a family of 6?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathy,

      If your child misses very little school and is “fully functioning,” it is unlikely that he is disabled; but, of course, that is not a formal determination. The earned income limit for one disabled child, four other minor children who have no income, and two parents is $5,626 per month. If part of that income is unearned income, then the limit would be less.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Janis Dawkins

    Can I apply for disability if I’m working less than 30 hours a week. I have osteoporosis, blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Janis,

      If you are grossing less than $1,130 monthly, you can apply for disability benefits while working.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Eileen

    Does drug offense or marijuana usage affect social security eligibility or approval?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Eileen,

      Neither Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income are payable for disability caused or contributed to by drug or alcohol use. Incarceration for thirty days or more for any crime will cause suspension of benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I have asthma. I have had it since I was born. I have tried for disability 3 times for my asthma. 12 years ago I went into acute respiratory arrest. I was denied then. I reapplied this past December and have turned in hospital reports for 8 emergency room and hospital stays in the last year. 2 weeks ago they sent me to their doctor who said i was not passing air and when they made me take the breathing exam I was unable to do it. Even using my rescue inhaler in front of them. Do you think I will get it this time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Chisteane,

      I think there is a good chance you will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sean

    I am almost 51yrs old, just applied for the 3rd time in 8yrs for disability, with the 1st round denied at the federal level. At this time the 2nd denial is now at the federal level. The VA rated me 100% disabled because of the following medical issues in 2007: low back injury, migraines, GERD, and colitis. Over the last few years my back has gotten worse and now having major hip pain, to the point of now needing a cane to get around. My PCP at the local clinic has now started me on Morphine and Gabapentin. My attorney believes that I’ve gotten back breaks with drawing bad local judges at the local level and that I was under 50 yrs old. I couldn’t imagine doing any kind of work with how the loopy feeling I get now. Would like a 2nd opinion on 3rd application, with now being over 50 and the new drugs, does it look better this time?

    Thanks for any thoughts!!

    Sean

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sean,

      It would seem that your medical condition has been deteriorating so you might be approved because you are more impaired than previously.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Sean

        Thanks for the reply.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Sean.

  • Toni Shutt

    I am a registered nurse working 60 hours every 2 weeks. I have a permenant partial disability rating from years ago hurting my back at work. However, now over the past several years problems have increased and I am now getting so I can hardly stand to work my shifts and sometimes call in. I have asthma, bad arthritis in back, feet, knees, ( bilateral knee replacements with continued pain) peripheral neuropathy, multi level disc disease, bad fibromyalgia and chronic severe pain all over. I’m unstable on my legs with weakness. A lot of times after working I am reduced to needing to walk with a walker once I get home. I have kept working but think I just may have to stop because I can’t stand the pain. Would any of this qualify me for disability, and would I have had to have been off work for some time because of it.?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Toni,

      If you have a long career as a nurse, you might qualify for benefits. To apply your gross work earnings need to be less than $1,130. If you decide you need to stop work, check with your employer to find out if you are covered by a short-term disability policy that will provide income while you wait for your Social Security Disability claim to be processed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Christie

    Hi. I had a stroke in June 2015 it affected vision and memory. I’m 48 now and have regained a lot of vision but still having some memory issues. Along with the stroke I then got diabetes, high blood pressure, my chlosterol is horrid and I’m on blood thinners and aspirin and now my thyroid is messing up. I’m now on tons of meds and they put me on some meds to calm me because I’m having bad anxiety now and problems with my temper flaring nearly out of control. I’ve been back at work for nearly 5 months but I now hurt so bad in my knees and hips and back and I get so mad at everything. Are any of these conditions eligible for social security? I have always worked my whole life and a lot of times I have worked two jobs or a lot of overtime so it is not like I’m a lazy bum but I’m just really in much pain now and get so mad when things aren’t going right or when I am hurting so bad.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Christie,

      I can’t predict whether you would be approved if you were to apply. You have to either stop work or reduce your hours so that your gross pay does not exceed $1,130 to make application. Getting a cognitive evaluation and discussing your pain with your physicians to see whether they have more options to try or not–and the same with a psychiatrist and/or endocrinologis regarding medications for your mood might help you decide whether to apply or not.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Karen thibodeaux

    I have been out of work since 2014 I contacted hini virus and it lead me to major depression panic attacks and chronic PTSD I am waiting for my disability hearing I have attorney I am also on Wellbutrin and klonopin do I have a chance finally for disability

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Karen,

      If your conditions, symptoms despite treatment, and limitations are well-documented, you may have a possibility for approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Victoria brown

    My son lost his left eye at 12 years old. He was on a iep during his entire school career. He has severe chronic pain. Due to his low reading ability he can only try for manual labor. They won’t hire due to possible further injury. He is now 24 and has not had a job. Will he qualify for ssi

    • Victoria brown

      Also he is on medicine for anxiety

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Victoria,

      I would suggest that your son see a mental health professional if the anxiety medicine is being prescribed by the general practitioner or internist so that there is more concrete information about any limitations that might stem from the anxiety. One thing to note is that disability is the inability to work–not the inability to get a job. That said, it is possible that your son might be considered disabled; the only way to find out is to file a claim.

      Whether or not he files a claim, I would recommend that he get into a vocational evaluation and training program to see if occupations can be identified in which he can work successfully.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mandy

    I also forgot to include I have hereditary tremors that get worse when I have an anxiety attack. It gets to where I can’t type or write. I have scoliosis, and spondylosis in my spine. I have chronic pain in my neck, I have chronic hepatitis, and fibromyalgia. I also can barely use my left arm. I broke my elbow as a child and it didn’t heal correctly, two years ago I had surgery to repair my ulnar nerve. I have a very weak grip and can’t lift or carry anything over a couple pounds. For my arm the orthopedist said nothing can really be done to fix it. My tremors are being treated in every way they can but I’m still going to see a neurologist to seek treatment. Botox injections are my last resort. I am on medication for my pain, but due to past substance abuse issues and Hepatitis, my options for pain control are very limited.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mandy,

      Please see my response to your first post. Be sure that you have provided medical information for all your conditions either directly from your medical providers or from the vocational rehabilitation agency.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mandy

    Hi. My name is Mandy. I’m 36 years old. I have not been able to work except for a job in 2005 and 2010 which lasted three months each. I’ve been working on getting SSI for five years now. The last claim I filed in 2012 was denied at the ALJ level, I met all the criteria, but they thought there was other types of work I could do. I have not been able to work at all due to my diagnoses of Major depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder and anxiety disorder. In my last claim my conditions were determined to be severe enough, but like I said they thought there were other jobs I could do. I filed an application with my local BVR. They accepted me based on severely marked disability so I went to the top of the list. They set up a community based assessment, the first I canceled because I had an anxiety attack about going out into a public setting, but I finally went to the second one. It was working with an agency called Capabilities. I could only finish half the 33 hours due to my symptoms. They decided to close my case because they think my symptoms cause me to be unemployable. I had filed a new initial claim in October
    and it’s at the DDS right now awaiting a decision. I have no income or assets. My question is: how likely is the chance I’ll be approved this time? Because I have no idea what I’ll do if I’m not. I had BVR fax their final report about them closing my case due to unemployability and they have all my psychiatric and medical record. I have been seeing a psychiatrist and been in counseling since 2002. My doctor recently declared me disabled and gave me permission to get a therapy dog which I haven’t been able to get yet due to no income. My condition was determined severe in my last SSI claim. I’m just looking for some answers. Thank you for your time!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mandy,

      The vocational rehabilitation assessment and case closure should be helpful in establishing disability.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mandy

        Thank you Kay. My case was just returned to the local office and a decision will be mailed in 7 to 10 days. Wish me luck!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Mandy. Luck!

  • Katie

    Hello, I really hope you can answer my question. My husband has been in the army for about a year, we aren’t homeless or starving but it’s been hard living paycheck to paycheck and its rough and I want to get a job but we both know I can’t because of my mental illnesses. I have been diagnosed with severe depression, severe anxiety, ptsd, borderline personality disorder, and bi polar disorder. I’ve had these all since I was a child for many reasons I don’t want to go into detail about, but wasn’t able to get treatment until I turned 18. I’ve been in and out of ERs and psych wards for suicide attempts, and been on tons of different medications through doctors just trying to find something to help me. Usually if anything works even a little the side effects are unbearable. I’m slowly getting somewhat better, not trying to kill myself and mood swings aren’t as bad. I thought I could apply for disability so even a little extra money could help with bills..the only thing is that I don’t think I’ll have enough work credits. I am only 20 and had two seasonal jobs for a very short amount of time in highschool. I tried to start volunteering recently to get used to working and being around people but I couldnt take it. I was going to call the social security office and ask about this myself but when I called I had a panic attack and hung up. I feel pathetic and worthless and I know I can never have a job because of how bad and unpredictable my disorders are.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Katie,

      I suggest that you get a family member or trusted friend to go the office with you to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Depending on the amount of your husband’s income, you might qualify for SSI benefits. For Social Security Disability at your age, you have to have six quarters of coverage. Depending on how much you made in your two seasonal jobs, if they were in two different years, you could have the necessary work; but it seems doubtful since you describe the jobs as very short.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Katie

        Thank you so much for the response! Sorry to keep bothering you but do you possibly know the easiest way I can find out how much I made at my previous jobs? Is it possible just to call? Because I don’t live where those jobs are anymore. Also what does it depend on the amount, what requirements does it have to meet?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Katie,

          You can go to http://www.ssa.gov and set up a “My Social Security” account. Then request an earnings statement (not a benefit statement). It will show you earnings and how many quarter of coverage (work credits) you have.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • nikki

        Hi I wont to know if I applied for ssi in 2011an was denied an I did another claim in Dec 2015 an my worker said they sent my claim off but when I call Dds they saying that they do not have my case since 2011what does this mean

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Nikki,

          Your current claim will be decided based on the evidence that you submit for it now. None of the information in your 2011 claim file will be reviewed or considered.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Chris

    My 29 yr old niece was born with learning disability. She has never been capable of making sound decisions including marrying and divorcing a mentally challenged guy resulting in a mentally challenged child who is now 8. Mother was always in special ed and now her daughter is too. She married again to a guy that is not completely right in the head and is now separated and living back with my sister. She can’t hold a job, can’t drive, is not a fit mother and flies off the handle at every little thing. She is on depression medication and lives in her bedroom all the time. She has no where else to go. Her happiest time is playing with the young nieces and nephews as she is more on their level. Does she sound like she would be eligible?
    I have seen people on disability with way more capabilities than her.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Chris,

      Assuming your niece is not working, she may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. Her child might also be eligible. I suggest reading the articles under the “SSI” and “Apply for SSD” tabs on the navigation bar of this website for background information on SSI and on filing a disability claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mike

    Hi Kay, I was recently diagnosed with epilepsy and my neurologist says I meet 11.03 listing . Should I apply for ssd?Since I’m on the impairment listing for ssa?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mike,

      If you are not working and earning $1,090 gross wages or net self-employment and your doctor thinks you qualify for benefits, then, yes, I would recommend applying.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mike

        Thanks Ms. Derochie this is very helpful.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Mike.

  • Joann

    Dear Kay, I asked a question before but now we are so confused. My husband has uncontrolled diabetes and was hospitalized for Charcot. His foot is collapsed, he has to wear a soecial boot with the aid of crutches. He applied in july at the age of 50. Hes a high school graduate and has been a spray painter on his feet for 30 yrs. No other jobs. Be called yesterday and they said dds sent his case to quality review. He called again today and it never went to review. We have three kids, no income and will have to tell my 6 year old santa wont be coming. They said they will have an answer by friday. We are both sick over this whole process. Mine vame back quick. But i was also denied first as most cases are. I dont know what to think at this point. We are on the verge of losing everything.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joann,

      Even if your husband has a decision by Friday, it typically takes a couple months for payment to start. If he is approved, I suggest contacting your creditors to tell them about the approval and ask them to hold off on any repossessions because he will have income to catch up the debts.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tyler

    Dear Someone who can hopefully answer my question, I was born with a birth defect nothing extremely bad like someothers but im in a 1% of people that have flat feet my doctor said i mostlikely wouldbt be able to walk in 20 some odd years so i had surgery to hopefully fix the problem but now im left with barely being able to be on feet for long periods of time due to arthritis and general pain and some other medical issues. My question is do I qualify for disability? I really would like to work so this is more a last resort I just need to see where i stand thank you to whom ever reads this and can give me insightful knowledge

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tyler,

      It seems unlikely that you would be approved for disability benefits because there are many jobs that can be performed seated. I suggest that you contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to see whether you qualify for training. Other resources for looking for jobs within your physical abilities would be your state’s Employment Office or private non-profits such as Goodwill.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • David

    I am 44 years old and I suffered a heart attack 8 years ago which did significant damage to my heart I have had 5 stints put in and 5 years ago I had a pacemaker/ defibrillator implanted I have continued to work during this but my health is declining, I’m really just wondering if I would qualify for benefits if I went thru the whole process or would I just be wasting my time. Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear David,

      If you have a significant worsening in your ability to function and have stopped working or dropped below $1,090 gross earnings due to your health, I would encourage you to apply. You will need some current cardiac documentation to show your current condition, so it would be good to talk over with your doctor the difficulty you are having.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Lonna

    Dear Kay,
    I was sexually, physically and emotionally abused as a child by my father and step-mother after suffering abandonment from my mother. I ended up in foster care as a teenager, as did my sister. I went to a psych professional a few times as a teen but don’t remember any Dx I was given. I dropped out of high school. I am 39 yrs old, I’ve been married 5 times and have 5 children by 5 different men. I’ve had over 65 jobs that I can remember, most lasting from a few days to a couple of weeks in length. I did make it through nursing school somehow but still can’t hold a job because I get extremely irritable and anxious around people. I have never sought mental health treatment because as a health professional, I know the stigma involved with mental illness. I haven’t worked since 2/2015 because I had a panic attack on my way to work and couldn’t drive. Since then, I haven’t driven more than a mile and don’t go anywhere alone. I was also in a bad head on collision in 2007 which doesn’t help my ability to go anywhere alone. I have done a ton of research and I’m certain that I will be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, Major Depression and Anxiety with Agoraphobia, all based on my history and symptoms. I have physical Dx of sacralization of L5, degenerative disc disease, diffuse disc bulge and an autoimmune disorder (not sure which one but doc said I probably have fibromyalgia since I have a family hx of it) I have a mental health appointment scheduled for mid September. I am taking an antidepressant prescribed by my family doctor. I don’t take any narcotics for my back pain because I’m allergic to them, so I just take ibuprofen. I get along with people alright until they criticize me or I feel I’m being treated unfairly at which time I become confrontational. I have never given proper notice when quitting a job, I just quit. I am extremely impulsive, which is a characteristic of borderlines. Should I apply for SSDI now or wait until after I see a psychiatrist? I know I have enough credits to qualify. Also, will the fact that I have such an unstable work history and tendency towards being difficult to get along with help or hurt my case? Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Lonna

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lonna,

      If your problems on the job are symptoms of a mental health disorder, then your work history will help document your instability. It takes a while to get a claim fully filed so I suggest that you get started and list that you will be seeing a mental health professional and give the date. (Hopefully, it is a psychiatrist or psychologist.) When you complete the work history information, apply patience and list all the jobs and answer all the job questions for each job. You can get basic information on filing a claim under the “Apply SSD” tab on the navigation bar of this website and information about how claims are decided under the “Claim Process” tab.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Lonna

        Thank you.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Lonna.

  • Luis Ramirez

    Hello,
    my cousin was runned over by a car when he was 4 years old, now he is 22, he did get a settlement but sadly his family used up all that money leavening hardley anything for him, that money is all gone, and has beem for a couple of years now,

    And now he has no source of income, and only lives with his sister which is single and has 3kids,
    he is very slow in movements and sloppy, he has permanent brain damage, not dumb, (well sometimes) but very slow and at times lacks common sence,
    He had a job but lost it in a less then three days, because he just wasn’t able to work

    My question is how can he get SSD?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Luis,

      Your cousin may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments. I suggest that he file an application with the Social Security Administration. He will not be eligible for SSD (Social Security Disability) because he has not worked enough. If he is still unmarried when his parents either start getting Social Security or die, he may be eligible for disabled adult child benefits on their earnings records.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Robin

    Dear Kay,

    I am so happy I found you. I have an 18 year-old son who is a senior in high school and will turn 19 this year. He is currently receiving SS Survivors benefits for the death of his father. Our concern is he has been battling chronic pain since he was 5 years-old. Through lab tests we found he had Epstein Barr Syndrome, which looks like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). We are hoping he doesn’t have Fibromyalgia as well. He also through his Psychologist was diagnosed with PTSD. He is so young yet feels he is falling apart. He was in Honors and AP classes and as of late he is failing his classes. He was injured long-boarding and seems to continue with pain where he has a partial PCL tear. I know he sounds a an old fart, which while I try to joke isn’t so funny anymore.

    My question, with all these things, and a partial diagnosis, would he be able to apply for SSD on his Dads SS? He says he should try to file. I am not only worried for his physical issues I am more concerned over these emotional problems that seem to be getting worse. He can barley walk to classes and is crying all the time. He has constant panic attacks!

    Help!!!

    Robin

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Robin,

      Yes, your son should apply for disabled adult child survivor benefits. He should apply about four months before his regular survivor benefits will end (age nineteen or when he is no longer attending high school, whichever comes first). Given the fact that he could long-board and take advanced placement classes, he probably has not been disabled the full amount of time that he has had the pain problem. Try to pinpoint the moment in time that his mental and/or physical condition began to seriously affect his school work. That date might be the disability date to claim. He can give information about long term heath problems before that date to provide background.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Aubrey

    I have severe and chronic ptsd. I recently quit my job due to a bad episode that triggered the ptsd. I am trying to get back on my disability. I had that job for a year and a half. Would social security consider that a work attempt? I didn’t know how bad my ptsd was until now. It was the worst episode I have ever had. I applied for a expeditited reinstatement of my benefits but I’m scared that they are going to deny me.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Aubrey,

      You can qualify for expedited reinstatement any time within five years of your benefits ceasing. If you ceased work due to the same condition and they determine you are now disabled, your benefits will be resumed and you will not have a five-month, unpaid waiting period.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kay

    Thank you for getting back to me. I have no other skills other than this. My neurologist told me today I am going to have to do something other than this job. My SI joints are both osteoarthritic. Han an injection in the right one today. Sitting for more than 30 minutes is very uncomfortable as my butt and hips will stiffen and shoot pain. He says it is all to do with these joints. earning a new trade is achievable, with the right amount of money for school, IF I HAD IT, OR COULD SIT FOR A PERIOD OF TIME. I also have osteoarthritis in feet and back. Should I ask my neurosurgeon what is my choices based on her medical opinion as to filing for disability? Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kay,

      Certainly, it can’t hurt to talk with your physician about a disability claim, but keep in mind that most physicians aren’t familiar with all the rules around qualifying for Social Security disability. What would be the most helpful for your claim would be to get a statement for your claim from your physician about your walking, standing, lifting, and sitting limitations and why you have those limitations.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sandra Pimentel

    i am 30yo i was out of work for 6 months and now trying to return part time however it is not going so well. i have fibromialgia mild lupus depression and anxiety. the anxiety makes it so i cant consentrate i get dizzy and blurred vission wich make work mentaly difficult and my pain gets so bad from the fibro that makes work physically difficult. i cant afford to not work but my body cant handel me worki g. can i apply for ssd and still atempt to work part time while waiting for a decision

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sandra,

      If you are earning less than $1,090 gross per month, you can apply for Social Security Disability. List on the application the challenges you are having in the work place and explain why you can’t work more.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kay

    I have worked in a factory going on 19 years. Heavy lifting, straining, bending, pulling 50+ pounds. I have had low back problems for 5 years now. Since then, I have been material handling at work, walking 10hour days. Same lifting, pulling… severe headaches, worsening back pains, and seeing a podiatrist for foot problems and arthritis in ankles. I have now been diagnosed with 3 bulging disc in neck, facet joint degeneration in neck and L Spine, DDD, 1 bulging disc in L4, pushing on root nerve. SI joint dysfuction. Recently taken off my meloxicam due to H.Pylori. Sitting stiffens me, walking 10hr is murder too! Nerve Test done tomorrow for neuropthy. Advice for applying for disability? No education outside manual labor. I am a 40 yr old female. Dr told me I will never make 5 more years, if that! Been missing a lot lately. PLEASE Give me advice. Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kay,

      It is hard to predict whether at your relatively young age you will be approved or not. It depends on whether you have transferable skills to a job that is not so physically demanding. The only way to find out is to apply.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • jerry

    Have not worked in six months I am 38 diagnosed with stenosis worked at the same place for eleven years get surgery in a month currently getting sixty percent of wages have no special skills no schooling other then diploma work at a factory doc doesn’t know if I will be able to do job and neither do I at this point even after surgery should I apply for social security disability now or later

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jerry,

      You have to be disabled or expect to be disabled for at least twelve months to be eligible for Social Security Disability. If at some point it looks as if you will be disabled twelve months, you can file an application. At your age, however, you must be disabled from all occupations. If you are receiving short-term disability, especially through an employer-sponsored policy, the insurance company may offer vocational rehabilitation services for job placement in another occupation or training for another occupation. If not, you could contact your state’s department of vocational rehabilitation for possible job training.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kelli

    Hello, I have a daugher getting ready to turn 16 and she is considered legally blind. Can she apply to get any type of social security and when should she do this? Thank You.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kelli,

      If your family assets are low enough and your family income is low enough considering the number of people in the family, your daughter might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability now. If not, she could apply the month before she turns age eighteen. If she remains unmarried until one or more of her parents receives Social Security retirement or Social Security disability or dies, she can apply as a disabled adult child and receive benefits on the parent’s Social Sejcurity earnings record.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tracy L Helton

    Hi Kay,
    My name is Tracy and I am writing in hopes of — thru your experience — obtaining an insight into my husbands plight for disability benefits.
    He acquired a fungal infection in both his lungs in 2004-05 and has been unable to successfully hold a job (drywall finishing) since.
    He finally applied for disability in May (2014) and was sent to a psych exam and medical exam last week. His pulmonary doctor and regular family physician have submitted his xrays, PET scans, MRIs etc. but the psych exam has us both confused.

    The exam consisted of questions such as “5 major cities,” “repeating 3 words” and “spelling World frwd/bkwrd.” He named 4 cities, could only remember 2 words and left out “L” in World when spelling it backwards. He also seemed unable to perform well in other areas which now has us both worried he could be suffering from some other “mental” issue we were unaware of. He seems to think it was more “nerves” but I am unsure.

    My question however, will results such as these hinder, delay or create more issues with his being approved or denied ssd/ssi? I think medically he should be ok but this mental twist has me somewhat concerned.

    Thank you Kay
    Tracy Lynn

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tracy,

      The mental health exam seems to be testing for deficits in cognitive function. Perhaps there is something in his medical records that raised the question or perhaps his diagnosis sometimes results in cognitive deficits and Social Security wanted to clarify the his condition. This is sometimes done to see if a person is mentally capable of receiving and managing his benefits rather than having a representative payee handle the funds. The consulting doctor’s report will be considered along with all the rest of the medical evidence. The doctor has three weeks to submit the report; but otherwise, the results shouldn’t delay a decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Hi Kay,

    I am 39 yrs old and have Arthrogrypoisis through out my entire body. I am an Artist / Graphic Designer and have worked in the field for over 20 yrs.

    I had to leave work last July due to sever pain in my spine which led me to Spine surgery this past Feb. I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease of the Thoracic Spine T2-T11, Scoliosis, Degenerative Joint Disease, Arthrogryposis.

    I now have 2 titanium rods and 12 screws in my spine. I have applied for SS, sat down with the woman in Cherry Hill, NJ, back in Dec 19th. Had all my Drs send them the information they were asking for, and went to their Drs appointment, and then my claim was denied.

    I have been told by my surgical Dr from Penn Hospital that my procedure will take the full 6 months to heal and being 3 months out i am still not able to do very much without having to lay down. I would love to be able to do a lot more since I have never leaned on my disability before, I am not used to this sort of approach to things.

    I was wondering if there was something else i need to be doing to ensure all the information is going to the right places in order to get my SS approved since i can no longer sit at a desk for more then 2 hrs without needing to lay down? Is there any links that you could point me to or advice that would help me?

    I was denied my SS claim in the beginning of May and I had hired Eric A Shore Attorney’s office a while ago, they are appealing the denial. I have been told the process starts all over again and I am faced with not having the money anymore to pay my bills, rent or Drs visits.

    Im faced with having to move out of my current place of living, with no income, or money coming in to do this and I don’t know what to do. Are there living places I should looking into who help people in this situation?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Theodore,

      It is good that you obtained an attorney for your first appeal; it can take a few months for a reconsideration decision but less time than waiting for a hearing. As far as housing goes, I suggest that you contact local non-profit agencies to see if any provide bridge assistance for rent (to perhaps stay where you are or to move to a less expense situation). You might also contact your state’s health and human services department to apply for food stamps and to see if the state offers cash assistance for disabled persons while they wait for a decision on their federal claims. And, of course, there is government subsidized housing, but usually there is a long waiting list.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Mark

    I need some advice.
    Retired military with a good job. I am classified at 10% disable and shortly will be at 50 to 80%.
    I have a severe bad back and VA Dr. has me on 4 Vicodin and 60 mg of Morphine (Morphine just started) as I was taking 9 10-325 Vicodin a day. Back Dr says to late for surgery. On top of this the job I am at I have had 2 strokes (work related due to work load). My last visit with DR says BP out of control again and put me on anti anxiety drug. I do very critical work and have to be on top of my game. Talked with HR and explained and they said should go on STD ASAP. I pay a premium for LTD for 60%. I am 54 and Dr tells me one more stroke and you will be in a wheel chair or at the cemetery. Love my job but I am over the edge and all the drugs I take I cannot even think straight, DR put me on afternoon bed rest. First can I be fired? Second if I go STD I am going all the way and not go back. Do I have a chance for LTD and then SS. I make over 100,000 a year so will take a big pay cut but a retired Marine buddy told me you cannot spend it if your dead. Any thoughts on this? Greatly appreciated.
    Mark

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mark,

      If you decide to stop work and you qualify for short-term disability (STD) and also apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) when you stop work, you will have income while you wait to have your SSD claim processed. You can receive both long-term disability (LTD) and SSD. It is likely that the LTD will be reduced by the amount of the SSD, but there can be advantages to having part of your income be in the form of Social Security. Whether or not your employment will continue while you are on STD and LTD will depend on your employer’s personnel policies, though your company may be subject to FMLA rules, which under some circumstances require that your job be held for twelve weeks.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Lisa Waters

    I am 50 yo and was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita-it involves joint contractures and muscle shortening throughout my body. My parents were told I would never walk and to leave me in an institution. Fortunately, they did not do this. By the time I was 6 yo, I had had numerous surgeries on my hands, legs and feet. I became a nurse and have worked at one hospital for 28 years. I have always had arthritic type pain, but in the last 10 years it has gradually gotten worse. I do the insurance authorizations and this requires sitting at my desk, writing clinical notes on patients and typing on the computer. I see a pain specialist and take medications daily. At this point I basically work, come home and lie down. I have to get off my feet. My right foot has what is called a “rocker bottom”, but they both hurt pretty much all the time. My right hand hurts from writing notes. I have pinched nerves and osteoarthritis. On the weekends I don’t want to leave the house because the last thing I want to do is sit in a car and feel the pain and numbness all through my buttocks, the backs of my thighs and into areas of my lower legs and feet. I have to deal with that all through the week. I can no longer clean the house, even changing the sheets on my bed causes severe pain in my lower back. My quality of life has greatly diminished. I am worried if I keep working, when I finally stop I won’t be able to enjoy anything. I want to either go on short term disability or apply for SSD-now, before I can’t do anything. I would like to enjoy going out to eat with my husband, go away for the weekend. Maybe I could clean my house again, because I’d know I could rest and not have to worry about going to work the next day. Sometimes I sit at my desk and cry because I am hurting so bad and want to go home to lie on my side with my heating pads. I have never been a complainer, so I am a little fearful the notes in my chart won’t convey the depths of my sadness and pain. I will be 51 yo in December, do you think I would be approved for disability?

    Thank you for your time and assistance,
    Lisa Waters

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      Whether or not you decide to stop work now or continue a while longer, I suggest that you make an appointment with your physician and be very clear about how your condition has worsened, the amount of pain you are in, and how restricted your activities are. Be sure to mention the problems with your hand, and also be sure that your physician is aware of your juvenile diagnosis and past surgical treatment. Sometimes problems that are residual to early conditions and treatments surface in later life.

      It is often difficult to decide when you really cannot go on working any longer. It is good that you have short-term disability. If you decide to stop working, you could apply for Social Security right away and perhaps you would have a decision before your short-term disability ran out. If you file a Social Security claim, be sure to list all your medical conditions and history and how your condition has gotten worse over the past few years, especially the use of your hands and your ability to sit since you have been working in a sedentary (seated) job for some time. Also be sure to list all the tasks you must perform with your hands and how much of the day requires fingering (writing/typing).

      Best regards,

      Kay

      • Netto

        I have chronic pain in both feet due to multiple problems. I was off work 3 months last year, had surgery, returned to work, but my problems have not gotten any better. My pain has worsened, and I have been sent to two other doctors, there is no cure. My job is killing me with pain. I feel I made a mistake going back to work. What do I have to do now? Cannot continue on like this.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Netto,

          If you stop work because of your condition, you can file a disability claim. You might also contact your state’s department of rehabilitation or a private organization such as Goodwill to see whether they can help you find and secure a job that does not require you to be on your feet.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

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