AVM Survivors Network

Social Security Disability


Can anyone share their experience on this: I did an application for social security disability and received the decision and it was denied. I did the initial application in October 2010. I've had three bleeds (the most recent in December) and my doctors have said that I'm unable to work and yet still it was denied. Should I file the appeal now myself and go that route or should I get an attorney and go through the process this way? Thanks all.


Jessica, I'm so sorry you got a denial letter today...That sucks! You do have to find the best Disability Lawyer in your area. Although, I have to say that you must fight for it as well as have a lawyer. As you wrote, your doctor will fight for you as well! They will accept you, but unfortunaly, you need to have a lawyer help you.

My thoughts and prayers are with you....

 My dear friend...  I know it's very dissapointing and un-nerving, to say the least.   You really should get a disability att'y and let them file the appeal.   They know a lot more about the proccess than we do and they have the experience to do it properly.   They know where to cross the t's and dot the i's (so to say).   Let me give you a "heads up"....prepare yourself for a long wait for your hearing date.  Here in Pa, I had to wait a year for my date.  It could be different in CA, I don't know.   When you get an att'y, he/she will be able to tell you how long the waiting time is.   The good part is.  When you do get approve, it usually goes retro-active.  And they will pay you, back pay.


It took me almost 3 years to be approved ( I am on SSI rather than SSDI). I was denied first go around. I beleive they just look harder at things when you have a legal " eye" watching. I gave up 25% of the lump back pay, but this was very well worth it, in that I stopped stressing knowing it was in a professional disability attorneys hands.


Hi Jessica. I copied this comment from Valerie Scalf...

We live in Ohio but I'd like to tell you how I obtained SSD for my husband. Our first claim was denied so I went to see a lawyer. He wanted 30% of whatever we were awarded. I gave him all of the paperwork and his comment to me was "Wow, you've done all my work!". So I thought, I'm doing this myself. Why should I hire him. Someone told me to get my Congressman involved. I contacted his office and it turns out they have a whole department dedicated to SSD. So they told me to download the forms from their website, fill them out and mail in all the original SSD paperwork along with the denial. They assigned me a case worker from the Congressman's office as well. Within about 4 or 5 weeks we received a copy of a letter that was sent to the Congressman from SSD which was thanking him for his interest in my husband's claim and that it would now be red-flagged for congressional interest. We were approved about 4 weeks later. It's worth a try! Good luck!


I was denied twice before I hired a lawyer. Yes, they do take a percentage of your claim, but there is a limit on how much they can get. I believe the max in my state is $5300 maybe, I don’t remember. In my state I don’t believe it was 30% but it’s a set percentage up to the maximum. Well worth it to me because all of the forms are difficult for me with my cognitive limitations. Like I said, I was denied twice and we were awaiting a court date to plead before a judge. My case was sent to a special lawyer who was given authority to approve back logged claims. I was finally approved after almost 2 years of fighting.


Oh, and yes SS always pays you back to the date of your disability. Not usually difficult to establish an onset date with a brain bleed!



Jessica, I was denied once.....But I sppoke to my doctor and he said that i was not able to work....So i decided to hired a lawyer on my opinion is easier with the lawyer...Anyways when he did it....We what and answer right away.... You should do it...It does help a lot with this condition that we have it is kind of expensive...

I hope this can help...

Good luck my friend and i be praying for you...


To all of you- thank you for your words of encouragement and suggestions. I will explore every avenue possible because I know that what was done wasn’t right. Ill keep you all posted and from the bottom of my heart thank you again.
God bless you all and anything you may personally be going through.


Too many unnessecary hoops SSDI makes legit claims jump through and A LOT still get denied on the 1st or more go-arounds. With all the red-tape, 2 things come to mind: (1) How in the world are the bogus/non-legit claims ever approved (especially when medically legit claims are denied)? and (2) with all the unnecessary hoops, no wonder SS is in trouble of colapsing. When our legit claims are denied, it causes us more stress (which is NOT good for us - um, hello SSA: get educated on these things please so SSA can make correct decisions that don’t end up costing everyone more money in the long run, etc.);therefore, I would comment that it may be good to let someone else (relative/friend who is diligent & tenacious or a Disability attorney) handle this for you. Do get it appealed though (& there is a time period that appeals have to be done in or else you can’t appeal the decision). In my state (GA), I believe the attorney’s cut is around 25% and there are ‘national’ attorneys for these appeals as well. It is a pain & nuisance to have to deal with all the hoops and give up some of the much needed SSDI money that is ours, but if it saves you some stress, then that alone is a good enough reason to let an attorney handle the appeal for you. Good luck!!!


I would look into getting an attorney if you were denied. My understanding is they can take a percentage only up to a certain amount. There are plenty of them that will only get paid if they win. If they lose you do not have to pay them. The money comes out of the back pay that you will get when you win. With my husbands case they backdated to the date of the application (not the onset of disability). He was lucky and was one of the few that got approved the first go - round. (of course it helps that we were applying due to his seizures and he had a seizure in the neurology office that ss sent us to!) Good luck to you!


Hello all,

I just wanted to let you guys know that about a week and a half ago I wrote letters to both my senator and my congresswoman. I attached my denial letter and my medical info and my doc's order of off work. I got a call this morning from their office and they're forwarding my case and medical information to a state run agency and will be contacted within 2-3 weeks. Thank you all for the support, suggestions and responses. I'll keep you all posted on the decision.

God bless


Just thought I’d update you guys yet again. Back at the end of May, I had to be admitted to the ER for another stroke. I had an embolization and they inserted a metal coil to cut off that bleed. I was in the ICU at UCLA for a week. AVM however is still present. I submitted this information to my SS disability worker and my congressional rep. According to my SS worker, this was still not enough. So about a week and a half ago I had to go to the ER again because of pain and extreme headaches. I again submitted my info to the SS worker and still not enough. GRRRRR!!! She told me that she’s going to hold on to my case for a few months and see if progress has been made. I’m SOOOOOOO done (not really), but I feel like I have to be on my death bed to get an approval. I’ll be following up again in a few weeks and see if theres any new info they need or what else can be done. I frustrate myself more, the more that I call. Thanks and I just wanted to keep you guys updated.




Time for some real gung Ho patient advocate… perhaps a TV news channel “dirt digger” that reports social injustice. ( we have them here …“9 on your side” is one)


Hey all,
Just wanted to update you guys once again. So I received a letter in the mail yesterday from disability and they’ve scheduled an appointment for me with one of their doctors so that a final decision can be made. I’m taking the term “final” with a grain of salt. My appointment will be September 29 so I’ll be lifting up prayers for myself and for each and every one of us AVMers who are having difficulty with this entire process.


More prayers on the way!


Just another update for you guys… I had my first appointment today… it was the psych eval. My physical exam is next week. It went ok I think. The doctor that administered the exam however was the same doc they sent me to last time…just in a different city… How ridiculous is that??? It’ll be interesting to see what they tell me when the decision comes back. Thanks to all of you for the support. I wish the best to all of you my AVM family and thanks for all the prayers and positive thoughts.


I found this on the internet. Hope it helps…


Thanks Pamela for your most recent response. I checked out the site and there’s some good information on there. Just another question for anyone that has any insight to shed. I had my second docs appointment last week. (The first was the prior week and was a psychological exam for the deferrment and the second was last week and was the physical exam). Would anyone be able to shed any ligth on how long it took to get a response or a decision after their case was deferred and they were “examined”? Thanks and I appreciate all of the help I’ve received from you guys. I wish all of you a great weekend and pray the Lord watches over all of us…HIS kids :wink: