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Re: For Those Who Have AS And Was Granted Disability
KickInTheAS #245172 12/11/12 12:47 AM
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They didn't accept any extra paperwork from me either, I recommend doing the assessment WITH your doctor so you see what the doctor is filling out. I had to sign documents to approve releasing x-rays etc.

sorry, I am still confused about all your dates. Yes, everybody needs to understand the process, there are plenty of good sites now. For other people to understand, they go back 10 years for your "credits". So like I had to apply in "09" because my last really good years were 2001 and earlier. I kept cutting hours after that and my credits would have been less. It worked out because I was working such few hours, that they counted before I applied so I got "back pay" disability.

Anna



Actema IV once a month (with pre loading for allergic reaction), Cymbalta x1 daily, Arava 20mg daily. Diagnosed with AS in 2004, suffered undiagnosed since 1982.
Re: For Those Who Have AS And Was Granted Disability
KickInTheAS #245225 12/11/12 04:32 PM
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Well, the problem with SSA suggesting a claimant gather their own medical records before applying (and then not accepting them) creates a situation where missing documents can be the end result. When I asked for all medical records from one of my doctors, I got everything (which was over 90 pages). I asked for and received these documents one week before my application. A month later, SSA was contacting the same doctors for the same exact documents I had asked for. Now, these documents take the doctor staff a good deal of time to organize, photocopy, and deliver. One doctor in particular had gone through a system software change in which their assessment notes had to be manually (one by one) retrieved from an old filing system, they placed up to 4 appointment notes at a time on their scanner (so they wouldn't have to waste a whole page for just 5 lines of text), and manually had to piece together a complete report. I'm sure this took them hours. Now, for SSA to request they do this AGAIN just one month after I had requested puts such an undue workload on my doctor's staff. This is ridiculous, and the courts wonder why there is so much backlog? I'm a VERY detail-oriented person, and I can quickly see where the problems lie when it comes to productivity, and it just makes me angry when there is such an overwhelming problem with a system, yet the answers are out in the open for anyone with a reasonable mind to realize.

The people at the SSA field office should have realized the documents I had were recent within a week - I even told her what I was trying to give her was the COMPLETE set of records. Anyway, back to the thing about missing documents... I noticed that the documents my doctor sent to SSA were different than the ones I personally received. The ones SSA received contained fewer appointment notes (thankfully I was able to catch this and submit the missing documents). I'm sure this was caused by the doctor staff having to redo a process that was not only unnecessary, but had already taken too much of their time.

My main problem with people of authority is when I HAVE to rely on the competence of others (which I try not to place myself in those situations), and they all but fail me to one degree or another. The courts complain about backlogs, yet they aren't addressing the issues of why there is so much backlogged. One thing is how fast DDS tries to "process" a claim. They don't include all the documents submitted, they apparently are not medically educated on some diseases to even know what to look out for, I'm sure they are under some kind of incentive program to process so many cases a day... I've read TONS of Federal Court case appeals, and a LOT of the problems stem from DDS. ALJ's seem to skim over crucial medical evidence, don't give proper weight to obvious assessments, and don't apply the proper guidelines to certain procedures. This only creates the situation where claimants (if they are smart enough to know how the process works and know what to look out for), have to constantly appeal decision after decision.

You can almost guarantee a high percentage of applicants will appeal their decisions (some have appealed all the way to the Federal level when it's apparent [even by someone who knows nothing about law] would agree the claimant has absolutely no bearing on their appeal). THEY are the ones who somehow slip through the system and make their way to this level of appeals. THEY somehow get a shisty lawyer who takes on their case just for the hopes of money (since cases which reach this level have the possibility of making a lot in backpay). There are too many people who are nowhere near disabled that are cluttering up the system. I've read cases where a person who can't even pick their own nose not receive disability (when they have every disabling condition possible), yet there are those who simply have a problem with being around others win without even reaching the hearing level.

This system is totally broken, and now that I've become so deeply rooted and vested into this process, I can see first hand a majority of the reasons it's so convoluted.

For my case, I've had judges deny me because they claim I said "this", yet I submit the transcript to the Appeals Council proving I said something totally opposite, then I get a remand. So, just based off of a SINGLE mistake by the ALJ, I've had to wait another year for review, the system has to keep my claim in the process even longer, and then to be sent back to the SAME judge who ends up making even MORE mistakes on a REMANDED HEARING! It's absolutely ridiculous. Anyway, I've rambled enough - it doesn't seem to change matters - it only makes me come across as angry (which I am) - yet I'm fully justified in my anger because I can point to proof for everything I say.


I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in 2003. I began having issues with my Sciatica as far back as 1989. I'm currently on Humira, Oxycontin, Baclofen, and Atenolol. I have spent the last 4 years conducting extensive research studying the Social Security disability application/appeals process including the CFR, POMS, SSR, Hallex, and hundreds of Federal Appeals cases.
Re: For Those Who Have AS And Was Granted Disability
KickInTheAS #245517 12/17/12 06:09 AM
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I have a similar situation with appeals after being denied 4 times.My lawyers seem as incomptent as yours and withdrew from my case in the middle of everything.It took me 8 months and 3 letters to withdraw my appeal and start over.

Re: For Those Who Have AS And Was Granted Disability
KickInTheAS #246184 01/03/13 10:57 AM
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Now that I am in my 3rd year of this mess, and everything I have had to go through, I know for certain I would have been better off without a rep. I have read many cases in which people have done this by themselves (and have had less impairments and/or medical evidence) and was awarded benefits after the first hearing. I really believe this process comes down to (assuming one is legitimately disabled) who your judge is and if you have a reasonably coherent representative.


I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in 2003. I began having issues with my Sciatica as far back as 1989. I'm currently on Humira, Oxycontin, Baclofen, and Atenolol. I have spent the last 4 years conducting extensive research studying the Social Security disability application/appeals process including the CFR, POMS, SSR, Hallex, and hundreds of Federal Appeals cases.
Re: For Those Who Have AS And Was Granted Disability
KickInTheAS #252585 05/25/13 11:42 AM
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Wow KickinTheAS, we share so many similarities. I was un-diagnosed with AS for a really long time. I suffered from signs for a very long time but was never diagnosed properly. I am lucky to the point where I do collect 100% disability from the Veterans Affairs but I am in the appeals process with my SSDI case. I had a ALJ that claimed I was faking it, wow, how do you fake blood work and an MRI? I am currently 6 months into my wait for the appeals process.

Re: For Those Who Have AS And Was Granted Disability
KickInTheAS #252589 05/25/13 05:14 PM
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I would like to chime in here.

I saw the comment about SSA obtaining the records. I informed each of the doctors listed that I had filed and SSA would be getting in touch. SSA requested ZERO records. One placed indicated they received a call verifying that I had been a patient and that was it.

I was the one thereafter to gather all the medical records and provide them to the attorney that submitted them on appeal. I even commented to my attorney that nothing was requested and he laughed and said do I really think they take the time to do that? Call me naive but I thought I was being told the truth.

Also I was told that I had to have physical evidence of my disability prior to the disability onset date (hard evidence like labs or radiological records - not just what the doctor said) and I had to show full time work for the last 5 out of 10 years.

Who the judge is definitely makes a difference and where as well. I have seen 9% approval and 90% approval. Unless they are singling out the type cases a particular judge gets but, that is a huge variance in results.

Looking at some of the comments its clear that some folks do not know that SSA has a Blue Book that states what IS considered a disability (or the Compassionate allowances). I have the flexion and extension documentation (@ 20%) and meet the 14.00 A,C & D guidelines with documented results and from the rules, none of that has changed from the filing date so I have no clue why it was ever questioned/denied.

I wish I knew answers for you but I know a few on SSDI that are seemingly living full lives that we can only dream of. frown

Re: For Those Who Have AS And Was Granted Disability
KickInTheAS #253434 06/07/13 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted By: demon510
Wow KickinTheAS, we share so many similarities. I was un-diagnosed with AS for a really long time. I suffered from signs for a very long time but was never diagnosed properly.

Sadly, with this disease, there is a huge "symptom to diagnosis" delay. I read somewhere the average time is 8-11 years between one's onset and when they are finally diagnosed. That's a lot of years where one can be fusing and not even know what's going on (my case exactly). Luckily, the SSA has some special SSR's (Social Security Rulings) that directly relate to progressive diseases where one's date last insured can expire before a diagnosis can be made. It's just a matter of the SSA giving due process at this point - it's a sad game of "hurry up and wait just to have the SSA mess up once more."

Originally Posted By: CentralGaGal
Call me naive but I thought I was being told the truth.

This is the reason I have stressed to others to be proactive about their claim. Too many people think it's best to sit back and let their lawyer do everything. They claim this was the reason they hired a lawyer (to do everything). I can only tell them to not complain when the time comes when their lawyer fails them and then the claimant doesn't have a clue as to what's going on. I would think a claimant would want to personally gather their records if for no other reason than to have a copy of them. If they don't know what records are available, then how are they going to figure out if the SSA is missing parts of the record?

Originally Posted By: CentralGaGal
Also I was told that I had to have physical evidence of my disability prior to the disability onset date

That's not correct. The definition of "onset" means when you believe you first became disabled (speaking of non-traumatic origin). The word "prior" is what makes that incorrect. Even considering a progressive disease, there are special rulings that allow disability to those who may not have medical records prior to their onset date. Look up SSR 83-20 and read under the heading "Onset in Disabilities of Nontraumatic Origin".

I agree that the particular ALJ presiding and location of the hearing can make all the difference in the decision. The same ALJ may decide the exact same claim differently even on the same day. I think this is a huge problem with ALJ discretion.

I recently commented on your definition of listing 14.09 mentioning flexion and extension and explained how I think you misread the actual criteria. http://forums.spondylitis.org/ubbthreads...3432#Post253432

Overall, I think the SSA is just overwhelmed with their backlogs (which they created the problem themselves), and they are not doing anyone any favors by continuing to make error upon error. I really think the SSA is denying everything they can and just hope the claimants don't catch their mistakes. In the 200 federal appeal cases I have read, it is amazing how so many apparent errors were overlooked by ALJ's just to have the AC and federal judges send the claim back to the lower courts time and time again (this is where the backlog arises).


I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in 2003. I began having issues with my Sciatica as far back as 1989. I'm currently on Humira, Oxycontin, Baclofen, and Atenolol. I have spent the last 4 years conducting extensive research studying the Social Security disability application/appeals process including the CFR, POMS, SSR, Hallex, and hundreds of Federal Appeals cases.
Re: For Those Who Have AS And Was Granted Disability
KickInTheAS #253446 06/07/13 01:58 PM
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It is very apparent you have a passion for this most likely caused by your experiences. Many are naive in the beginning and as a result of something during the process, turn to educating themselves about it through available resources. I too have done so - maybe not to the degree as you but my documented onset date is not an issue.

I beg to differ with you on your responses of my comment (adding the additional verbiage to my statement):


Quote:
Also I was told that I had to have physical evidence of my disability prior to the disability onset date (hard evidence like labs or radiological records - not just what the doctor said)

And your response:
Quote:
That's not correct. The definition of "onset" means when you believe you first became disabled (speaking of non-traumatic origin).

I was indeed told that simply being diagnosed with a condition, in this case being AS is not enough to automatically qualify for SSDI. Because there are blocks of passage to meet a favorable approval (as we all know) and one being "Substantial Gainful Activity", the onset date has to demonstrate the clear inability to perform BUT, if someone making minimal wage falls prey to a disability, the "Substantial Gainful Activity" is measured in collective monetary measurements not collective hourly input. That said, a person paid at the minimum wage can still quality (as having the inability to perform "Substantial Gainful Activity"), while continuing to work just over 30 hours per week whereas, someone at a higher wage (let’s say $200/hour) is disqualified for working just over 1 hour per week (calculated at the 4.33 weeks per month).

The SSA’s definition of "Substantial Gainful Activity" is poorly defined as a measurement of disability (being a reduction of ability to carry on “normal activities”).

Okay off specific subject but with a point to be made. I filed in 2011. At that time, due to my inability to maintain a full range of “normal activities” I had reduced my work activities significantly (since EOY 2009) BUT, I did not quality because it still exceeded the "Substantial Gainful Activity" protocol. Therefore, my onset date of defined disability would have been denied (if I had used the actual date of impact).

But one step beyond that, I was diagnosed 20+ years ago but with symptoms now concluded to be associated with AS back to when I was as young as 10. In order for me to obtain a “buy in”, it required me to have multiple tests to include radiological readings to obtain a conclusive, written statement that I had AS as visibly shown in the radiologicals. Until then, I had slim chance of being approved for SSDI because of hearsay of naysayers (who claimed to be well versed in AS).

It’s clear with the varying outcomes across the country and PR, decisions are a “crap shoot”. The mood of the day can swing a decision but an identical case under another judge is thrown out with an unfavorable review.

That being said was my point. It would be great if this was a clear “black and white” process but results over the past years show it is not. Variables can get one approved that another denied. Yes there are arguable situations such as SSR 83-20 but the other determinations would have busted me.

So when I said I needed backing for AS to determine an onset, if I had used my date of 20+ years ago, I would have been denied (one because of subsequent physicians that denied I had AS and another was because I maintained a “working pattern” although my “living pattern” had changed significantly). Also, because most of the physicians I saw after my initial diagnosis denied AS, I was diagnosed as having other things that are not with the SSDI guidelines. It took a number of radiologic readings to finally regain the diagnosis and regain my position of SSDI qualification – on the physical level.

So yes it was true – not everything is black and white as this was clearly a case of many exceptions. I GUESS ONSET should be described as "Acceptable Onset Date" because conditions clearly exist for it efficacy.

Also pertaining to the other comment made about my misunderstanding of the flexion I also disagree. Flexion is defined as the “action of bending” OR “the condition of being bent.” So it is conclusive of both with extension being of the opposing direction. A Universal Goniometer was used to document my ROM which allowed the Doctor to arrive at my percentage of Flexion and Extension.

* One thing I will note is THIS is based on my personal experience and was the basis of my initial comments.

Re: For Those Who Have AS And Was Granted Disability
KickInTheAS #253448 06/07/13 03:04 PM
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I think you got off topic and misread my position. You said you disagreed with what I said about onset, but then threw in a whole new issue about SGA. What I said had absolutely nothing to do with SGA or any other issue. I simply said that people have been approved for disability even though they did not have medical records of their impairment before their onset could be established. This is where "inferences" can be made by a list of other factors. The quote from your doctor was said in black and white terms, and I simply pointed out where SSR 83-20 says differently. The other things you disagree about were not part of my answer nor was it part of the quote I based my answer upon.


Originally Posted By: CentralGaGal
Also pertaining to the other comment made about my misunderstanding of the flexion I also disagree. Flexion is defined as the “action of bending” OR “the condition of being bent.” So it is conclusive of both with extension being of the opposing direction. A Universal Goniometer was used to document my ROM which allowed the Doctor to arrive at my percentage of Flexion and Extension.

It doesn't matter what the definition of flexion is: you stated that part of the criteria for meeting listing 14.09 was based upon values of flexion and extension - they are not. The amount of flexion or extension has nothing to do with meeting this criteria. It is simply a measurement of the curvature of the spine (in that forward, stooped over position). Yes, the forward movement of the spine is considered flexion, but the criteria of 14.09C has absolutely nothing to do with the action of bending. It is a static measurement of your spine in its fused state. Yes, ROM is considered when it comes to describing limitations in daily activities, but the black and white criteria of 14.09C, again, is a static measurement of your kyphosis. I think you are combining other issues of the movement of the spine with the textual definition of the criteria. If you still disagree, show me where the criteria of 14.09C states anything about the physical movement of the spine (as in ROM).


I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in 2003. I began having issues with my Sciatica as far back as 1989. I'm currently on Humira, Oxycontin, Baclofen, and Atenolol. I have spent the last 4 years conducting extensive research studying the Social Security disability application/appeals process including the CFR, POMS, SSR, Hallex, and hundreds of Federal Appeals cases.
Re: For Those Who Have AS And Was Granted Disability
KickInTheAS #253449 06/07/13 03:08 PM
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As stated, it was a preface to my comment.

Have a good day!

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