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Old 01-22-2011, 02:14 PM   #21
Jo*mar
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This is a very good thread idea.

If it stays on topic with tips & suggestions on preparing for & starting a claim - I'd like to sticky it for future members.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:19 PM   #22
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Thanks Mz M !

I wanted to know what was on there if a new applicant asks questions. I completed an older form and that was years ago.

I underdstand they need all the background info, etc.....but I wish they asked the simple question........Why can't you do ANY job now ? I think that would cut through a lot of the bull and just get to the point quicker. Maybe then they could cut down on some of the backlog.

I think they could simplify the whole process. Ask that 1 question that the applicant fills out, then have the doctor(s) sign it with supporting evidence from their evaluations. Easy peasy.....and no waiting years for coverage.

A girl can dream......

That would be my suggestion for what people should write on that last blank page......a little essay on what prevents them from doing SGA and backing that up with why their symptoms are limiting and not just randomly listing symptoms.
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Old 01-22-2011, 11:26 PM   #23
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This is a great thread!

I am a disability examiner, and if more people could read this thread it would make my work (and their claims, ultimately) so much less painless!

May I add my two cents, from the "other" side of the process?

Being detailed on the activities of daily living form is so, SO helpful to us. Be as detailed as possible. Please please PLEASE write as legibly as you can, in dark pen. Don't cram too much onto one little line - if you want to write more, you can write or type something out on more paper and enclose it with your form. In fact, I'd much rather you do that then try to read tiny cramped handwriting squeezed into one line.

I will be honest - I know the form is a pain to fill out, especially for those poor folks with carpal tunnel or tremors or those who have mental illness which impedes concentration. Please try your best. Have a friend or relative help. They can fill out the form for you if you can't write. Take breaks and just tackle a few questions a day if you need to. Call your examiner with questions if you have them. But please don't write just one word answers or leave whole pages blank. "What do you do from the time you get up until the time you go to bed?" "Nothing". That is what many people write. It might be true, but how does that help me or your claim? Do you have to stay on the couch because of pain? Do you try to read but lack concentration? Do you do chores sitting down (on the days you feel up to doing chores)? Be specific! TELL ME WHY YOU CAN'T WORK. Show me a day in your life. So many illnesses and impairments have multiple symptoms and limitations; which ones apply to you?

The work history form - you may receive a form which asks you to describe your past work. Be detailed. If you were a truck driver, for example, don't just write "truck driver" and leave it at that. Were you a long-haul driver? A delivery driver? What did you deliver? Did you have to load and unload the truck? Did you have to do any maintenance on the truck? How long did you do it for? We need details. Again, as above, if you need more paper, add it on. How I explain it to my claimants - "Pretend I am absolutely clueless and take me through your day at work as if I have no idea what your job title is".

Keep in touch with your examiner. Maybe call him or her once a week or two, to see how things are going and to see if there is any additional information he or she needs. Sometimes doctor's offices take a while to send us records, but if the claimant calls the records "mysteriously" show up within a day or so Be involved in your claim! One thing that can prolong a claim - not sending in the forms, not returning calls. If we call you, please call us back!

Keep us updated with phone number changes and address changes. Make sure we can get in touch with you if we have to.

One big, big thing that prolongs so many people's cases - make sure I know which doctors you are seeing. I do not know this unless you tell me. Don't just list the specialists you see - who is your family doctor? Have you ever been to the ER? Are you seeing someone new now that you weren't seeing when you first applied? Update me! I have no way of knowing unless you tell me. SO many people forget to list all the doctors they are seeing. I want to hear from your doctor! I'd rather not send you to an exam if I can help it. Your doctor knows you and knows your history! If your doctor wants to write me a letter to advocate for your disability, great! I want it!

I hope that some of these tips help you in your journeys. I wish you all the best of luck!
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Old 01-22-2011, 11:43 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSDIHelp View Post
Dear RlJ1959,
Sounds like you fileld the 2006 version of the application. In the 2010 version of the application you don't have the same ooportunities to anser in detail, allthough there are ways around it. The 2010 version places the claimant at an extreme disadvantage. I've attached an article I wrote between the differences in the application versions.
2010 Application
In 2010 the Social Security Administration changed the application that had been in use since 2006. The focus and majority of the content of the 2010 application is on “Medical Treatment” which asks for Doctor’s contact information, “What medical conditions were treated or evaluated”, “What treatment did you receive?” and a limited list of potential tests and dates of tests.
The most dramatic change is that you are not given the opportunity to explain how the limitations of your disability affect your ability to work. In the 2006 version of the application you were given an opportunity to detail your illnesses, injuries and conditions and how these affected your ability to work. These vital questions have been eliminated in the new application.
In the 2010 version, Section 3 lists Medical Conditions which is an opportunity to list your illnesses, injuries and conditions and how they limit your ability to work. It’s possible to write extensive answers to this question in an attachment and expand your answer to include the limitations that interfere with your ability to work.
So, in Section 8, Medical Treatment, it’s critical to answer “What medical conditions were treated or evaluated with the illness, injury or condition and most importantly mention how it limits your ability to work. As an example you’re seeing doctor for severe back pain and muscles spasms that occur multiple times a day which limits your ability to sit in a chair for more than an hour, medication lessens the pain but doesn’t eliminate the pain. You could have answered the question with a simple “back pain and muscles spasms” but it does not give the caseworker any idea of the severity, duration or frequency of the problem. Severity, duration and frequency are the three characteristics you want to include in your answer. To answer the question in this manner requires doing an attachment since there is insufficient space on the application for long sentences.
When you answer what treatment did you receive for the above conditions you are ‘forbidden’ to list medications. Many have negative side effects that limit your mental or physical ability to work. Medications are listed in Section 7 of the new application and I highly recommend doing an attachment that answers the question; name of medication, name of doctor and reason for the medication but adding a fourth item, drug reactions. So in Section 7 you would write “See attachment 7” that lists the side effects.
Other than the above mention major changes, the organization of the application has changed. The 2010 application basically asks the same questions just in different places.

Comparison of the 2004 and 2010 Application
2006 Application
Section 1- Information About the Disabled Person
Section 2 –Your Illnesses, Injuries or Conditions and How They Affect You – Deleted
Section 3 – Work History
Section 4 – Doctors’ Information
Section 5 – Medications
Section 6 – Tests
Section 7 – Education and Training
Section 8 – Vocational Rehabilitation
Section 9 – Remarks


2010 Application
Section 1 – Information About Disabled Person
Section 2 – Contact who knows about your condition.
Section 3 - Medical Conditions
Section 4 – Work Activity
Section 5 - Education and Training
Section 6 – Job History
Section 7 – Medications
Section 8 - Medical Treatment
Section 9 – Other Medical Information
Section 10 – Vocational Rehabilitation
Section 11 – Remarks
It’s natural to resist change and those of you completing the new application won’t know the difference anyway. It’s just that you have to work harder to inform SSDI how your limitations affect your ability to work. My personal opinion is that the 2010 form is less friendly to the claimant and is solely based on the doctors you see and what they say in their office notes. If you have not mentioned limitations or they have not written them down then the caseworker has no idea of how your disability affects you. The only way around this is to incorporate your limitations in your answers.

Respectfully, Trudi
I filed in Dec 2009. All I know is the form seemed to have a hundred pages with a million questions. I don't really know what version it was.
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:09 AM   #25
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One of the things I did that I did not see mentioned was I went back to all my doctors that I had seen in the 5 years before I filed. I updated each doc on what I have tried since seeing them, and any changes. I asked each type of doc if there is anything else I could do to decrease my pain, or increase my mobility. Since I have multiple diagnosis, this meant going to the physiatrist (movement doc), pain management doc, family doc, orthopedic surgeon, two neurologists (one specializes in injections like botox and so I also go to a "regular" neuro also), foot surgeon, orthotic maker (he makes my toe to knee plastic AFO braces), rheumatologist, physical therapist, medical massage therapist, asthma and allergy specialist, eye doctor.... etc. I told all the docs I was thinking of filing for disability. The ones that seemed to agree with that, I asked to write a letter for me describing my limitations. Even had a letter from my asthma doc stating the conditions I could not work in (dusty... etc). He actually may have been really helpful with his letter, as he has been treating me for 30 years and spoke of the decline he has seen in me in the last 10 years, how limited I was am in stamina etc. My eye doctor is also a surgeon, not just an optometrist... and he put in a letter how my medications affect my eyes, and the difficulty I have seeing to read, use a computer etc. ( I am very, very nearsighted)

I began to see a pain psychologist right after I stopped working in Dec. 2009, and continue to see her.

I got copies of all my records after seeing each doc.

During the months it took to do all of this, I kept a little notebook. I kept it with me. Every time I had problems doing something, either physically or mentally, I made a note in the book. If I had to adapt things, I made a note. Such as, I use a hook to reach a seat belt because I can't reach it due to my physical problems.

I also kept notes from 3 different days - a good day, a bad day, and a day away from home doing a few errands. I wrote down exactly what I did each day, from the moment I woke up. I included difficulties doing things, pain levels, sleep, medications, problems with personal hygene etc. I used these notes as examples of my average days.

I went in to the local social security and filled out the initial application for me. The woman saw me coming in, with braces on, using a service dog, and clearly saw the change in me during the nearly 3 hours it took for us to go thru all my info - how my concentration and comprehension went down when my pain levels went up. I think she helped me a lot by filling the initial application out much better than I would.

When I got my forms in the mail to fill out - a function report & symptom report... I called my case manager and told her it would take me a long time to do them. The symptom report took me about a month, and so did the function report. I ended up getting a dictation program for my Mac, and a microphone to be able to type all the answers to the questions. I am using that software now. I explained why it was taking so long to the manager - that I had trouble typing, seeing, and also my comprehension.

I think my function report was 35 typed pages, and my symptom report was over 20.

I didn't have to see any of their doctors.

Even though I had sent all my records in (with my notes attached to them for things like a doc writing down right arm instead of left arm), SS still sent for all the records from each doc anyway. Knowing this, I would still do it the same way, as it was important to know what each doctor had to say, and it helped me figure out what symptoms I've had how long etc.

I applied the last week of May 2010 and got approved first time, beginning of Sept. 2010, with recheck in 5-7 years. I am 52, high school education, worked in the same trade since I was 17.

I did not use a lawyer to file. I did talk to one for a few minutes on the phone. He told me he didn't think I had much of a chance because my main diagnosis was RSD, which is not one of the "automatic" diseases, and because I barely missed any work in the last couple years. I do know a person casually that lives halfway across the country from me, and is one of the people who works SS and decides if you get SSDI or not. She did give me a little advice, such as keeping track of what I did over a few days, and noting all the problems, pain, etc. in detail.

Once I decided to try for disability, I took on filing for it like a job. I tried to cover all the bases. It took me quite a while - almost 6 months. Some of that was time waiting to get in to see doctors because some were so booked up, it was months before I could get an appointment.

Still, I feel incredibly lucky to get it first time. It was kind of odd when it went through so fast, and with the 5-7 year re-evaluation. It really got me down for a couple months, because it was like a validation of the severity of my physical issues.

I think being as prepared and detailed as you can be really helps.
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:28 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by kallixenia View Post
Keep in touch with your examiner. Maybe call him or her once a week or two, to see how things are going and to see if there is any additional information he or she needs... Be involved in your claim! One thing that can prolong a claim - not sending in the forms, not returning calls. If we call you, please call us back!
I wish YOU had been my examiner. I left messages for my examiner and was never called back. When he finally picked up his phone one day he told me that I should be getting a call within a couple of days to see an SSA doctor. No one called. I call back a week later to find out the status and left him a voice message (that he never returned). I wait ten days and end up speaking to his supervisor as he was gone for the day. She tells me that 'he really dropped the ball' and that she will have him expedite my case the next business day. Within two days I receive a letter and stupid me, I think it's a letter for a doctor's appointment, no, it's my denial letter!
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:44 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Jo*mar View Post
This is a very good thread idea.

If it stays on topic with tips & suggestions on preparing for & starting a claim - I'd like to sticky it for future members.
Please do Jo*mar. I don't know how.
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Don't let life’s ups and downs get you down.
Get on one of the ups and hang on like a big dog!!!!
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:54 AM   #28
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I have been reading through all these threads about SSI and there is one thing I can't figure out. When you first apply for SSDI with SSA, do they automatically sign you up for SSI or do you have to ask? Nobody at SSA ever mentioned SSI to me. I have read where if you get SSI and then SSDI, you have to pay back all or part of the SSI. That don't make donkey sense. I realize that SSI could help most folks including me during the SSDI nightmare but whats the use if you have to turn around and pay it back?
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:44 AM   #29
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I wish YOU had been my examiner. I left messages for my examiner and was never called back. When he finally picked up his phone...
When you left your message did you also leave your claim number? Claim numbers are what identifies you to the claims examiner.
Your claim number is at the top right or middle of the initial application and all other paperwork that you receive from SSD.

I always kept in contact w/my claim examiner every 30 days during the 3 1/2 years it took me to reach an ALJ hearing. Each level I had different claim examiners.
At the ALJ hearing that is when I hired an attorney, so I stopped calling SSD. The reason is that when you are represented by an attorney, the claims examiner will not discuss your case PER YOUR ATTORNEY's INSTRUCTIONS.
If you want to speak w/your claims examiner while represented, you must instruct your attorney to allow this. Remember, the attorney works for YOU! Not the other way around.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:45 AM   #30
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I have been reading through all these threads about SSI and there is one thing I can't figure out. When you first apply for SSDI with SSA, do they automatically sign you up for SSI or do you have to ask? Nobody at SSA ever mentioned SSI to me. I have read where if you get SSI and then SSDI, you have to pay back all or part of the SSI. That don't make donkey sense. I realize that SSI could help most folks including me during the SSDI nightmare but whats the use if you have to turn around and pay it back?
I think, at least I was told when my wife applied for SSDI, when you apply for SSDI you also apply for SSI at the same time. My understanding is this is the procedure. My wife did not qualify for SSI because of too many assets etc. The payback part is SSI comes from the general fund not the SS fund, so that is why they're moneys to be paid back. I guess the logic is if you qualify for SSI, which I guess is similar to welfare because one does not have much in assets, you will when you receive SSDI.
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