Disability

I was diagnosed with 2 AVMs in 1998 (28 years old) and had brain surgery. I was told then I may as well go on disability. The surgery severely messed up my peripheral vision. I have none on my left hand side. I have continued to live. I have received a BS in Information Science and continued to work. But, I have been thru numerous med combinations to keep petite seizures under control. I have auras and have 10 - 20 second lost times in my life. I had numerous auto accidents thankfully not involving any one. I’m now 60 years old and unemployed due to the pandemic and getting ready to visit a new neurologists. Am I justified as a disabled person at this point in my life as my vision is worsening, my memory seems to get worse, and my auras are closer. they are months apart. Just some opinions from others. Thank you.

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More than likely yes you should qualify but make sure your neurologist documents everything though you may still need to find the disability lawyer to advocate and file the paperwork for you.

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Hey Cricket,

I’m 56, been disabled since 2018. A couple of words of advice:
1, Get a lawyer - not just any lawyer but one that specializes in this stuff.
2. Don’t look at it from the standpoint of can you do “this” for an hour, can you do this for 8 hours a day 5 days a week? Big difference.
3. Look at the skills you use in your job - could you use them in another position of a different type that would be something you could do? For instance, I used to talk on the phone 5 to 6 hours a day for work. Can I talk on the phone for an hour? Sometimes. But it’s hard to understand me after 45 minutes. So could I do that part of the job? Nope.

If you have any further questions, fire away. Oh and it took 20 months to get mine approved. Patience is a virtue I didn’t have at that point…

TJ

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If I started today in 16 months I would be 62 and I could retire anyway?

Speaking only for myself, we were able to get back benefits starting 6 months after the brain surgery that knocked me out of the working world, so of the 20 months of the process, I eventually got disability benefits for 14 of them.

It sounds to me like you need to sit down with a lawyer who specializes in disability/social security (how sad is it that an entire subset of an industry has to be devoted to making sure the government follows their own rules?) and also sit down with an accountant who can help you look at the numbers in terms of disability from now until 62 and then retirement or disability until 67 and then retirement or whatever the numbers would be…

Hope that helps…

TJ

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@Cricket Hello and I agree with @TJ127 to get a disability lawyer
You can file yourself in the mean time- You file date starts the clock for your back pay.
Make sure your drs are on board with your plans to go on disability. My neuros were for sure on board but my primary did not want to fill out any paper so thank goodness my neuros were willing to do so. No one told me this so I will share with you but you can go on and off SSDI the first 5 years with no issues. So if you are feeling better for some reason and want to try to go back to work you can. I went back to work against drs orders and then had to have another surgery and then never went back - so then I went back onto SSDI. They also say its easier for people who are 50 and over . Disability lawyers only get paid if you win your case and only get a certain percentage .
Angela

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Having been through this whole process myself a few times, everyone above gets a +1 re: Get a Lawyer.
The first time I didn’t use a lawyer and tried to do it all myself. Ohh what a mess.
Like you, my primary was less than useless and the neuro wanted $5k to write a report :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :roll_eyes: :open_mouth:
I was exhausted both physically and mentally, which (In part) I think was their aim. If you get tired of it all eventually you may just give up the claim and that’s what they want.

Luckily I had a TPD (Total Permanent Disability) insurance claim in process via a lawyer on a ‘No win, no fee’ basis. The insurer had their own specialist team they flew in from interstate and my honest thought was ‘It’ll be rejected’. So, you can’t imagine my surprise when the team leader told me outright ‘Technically, you’re screwed…’ (his words, not mine). My TPD claim was paid out in full. I asked the lawyer to obtain copies of the medical reports, which he did and I used those reports to repeat my SSDI claim via the lawyer and it was approved without question.

They can have you running all over the place seeing different dr’s, getting yet another scan, to be given yet another diagnosis, with more treatment options, often stretching the whole process out for years. Don’t let them. Get a lawyer.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

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Thanks for the responses. It’s funny but, I’m disabled in some ways already. I rarely drive at all now? Every time we go anywhere my wife drives. While looking for a job, I’m looking for one remote. If it is one I have to drive to it has got to be close. The closes ones I’ve found so far that are calling are close to an hour away and my wife cringes. I would be a bit unfair to myself to think driving that distance a this point is a bother. So, I’m left in a state of delusion. I guess we will see at my next appointment.

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Great info and insight here.
Thanks to all for sharing.

@Cricket, don’t internalize these legal/government issues as a reflection of your abilities.
I know I’ve allowed challenges like these to affect my health in planning for these decisions. Often, I think they can make things worse psychologically for one overall.

As the others have mentioned there is a lot of red tape. I have similar deficits like epilepsy and seizures as a result of the AVM resection/scarring. Sharing these with an experienced lawyer in this field makes it possible for them to advocate strongly for you! They can convey your disability to those involved in a claim or dispute in ways like no other. I’d weigh your neuros’ opinion heavier than a GP’s. They also have better insight on challenges you’ll encounter.

@TJ127 's list is a great approach too. The reality of things was hard to put together when making my plan.

Best wishes to you, your health and these new challenges.

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Dick,

Thanks.

It was hard to sit down and write up that list of things that I can’t do. And then to go over it with my wife and my attorney - a cold hard reality, especially since they added things to the list I had “missed” (skipped?)

The two times that were hardest in the process were:

  1. In the hearing with the Judge, the Judge asked the occupational rehab therapist who was at the hearing, "Mrs. Smith, in your opinion, is there ANY sort of position/career/job that Mr. TJ could do with even reasonable accommodations on a full time basis? “No, your Honor, there is not.” (Think about it, she said I can’t do anything.)

  2. When we got notification that the judge had approved my Social Security Disability Request, essentially what he was saying was, “On behalf of the government, I am declaring you totally unfit for work.” “You may now join the 70 and 80-year-olds who can’t work because we don’t feel you have that work value anymore.” It was hard to take.

But at the same time, it, albeit slowly, gave me a vision that says I need to prove them wrong. Not in the same way that I used to, but to figure a new and different way. I’m still working on figuring out how. How can I make a difference if I can’t do “that” like I used to?

More coming on that…
TJ

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I’m sure that was hard to take.

Navigating the new normal is hard, along with advocating for yourself and getting to a better place.

Thankful for places like this that help.

Hang in there and have a great weekend.

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unfortunately I was told not being able to drive doesnt make you disabled so make sure your neurologist documents all deficets.

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Hey Dick,
I have to agree with TJ, making that ‘list’ can be an awful process, but a must. I found it very confronting to have it all written down, then to have my wife tell me ‘You’ve forgotten to write down ‘x’ ‘y’ and ‘z’…’ (I thought my list was bad enough without adding to it :roll_eyes: ) but it’s better to list it all.

One of the issues I have found is that some impairments are taken on their own ie eye pain. But then what occurs with the eye pain? For me often eye pain is a precursor for worse to come, the right side of my face droops, my vision changes. If it progresses I get right sided numbness and my balance is a mess and then there’s the headache, a MASSIVE headache. Eye pain, to some, can seem minimal but for sufferers it can be HUGE. Also some are of the thinking that symptoms just add together ie 1+2+3+4… but the reality is that some symptoms don’t just add together, they multiply each other making the outcome even worse. This often needs to be explained.

I must also agree with Mike, not driving is not considered a disability. Now the reason you don’t drive could add to your list of symptoms.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

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“While looking for a job, I’m looking for one remote.”

Hello Cricket,

Have you tried “Indeed” as the job searcher?
You have many chances there, and if identify your skills properly, you may receive interesting remote opportunities for working from home.

Best
Enrique - Canada

You should qualify. I had my first stroke in 1976 from an a.v.m. and it grew back and had another stroke in 1979 because of the A.V.M… Register with the Disability organization of rehabilitation in your state. It will take a couple of months to get through all the paper work. You will have to go see their doctors to verify your condition, at their cost. You will have to bring in letters from all doctors. I also had to show copies of my medical bills for a year and show a W2
I had lost the peripheral vision in my left eye, but with years of treatment it came back