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Thread: Lost my SSDI Hearing; Help?

  1. #1

    Lost my SSDI Hearing; Help?

    I still can't believe it. Two years, my attorney telling me there is nothing to worry about despite any effort I made to correct mistakes I had found in my medical records. The only meeting before the hearing was by phone; him telling me the series of questions I would be asked, (none of which the Judge asked). I was told, I didn't need to bring any files or remember any dates except the date of the accident, to answer the Judge's questions with "yes" or "no" and not to use medical terminology when replying to the Judge. My attorney has a good reputation and record on winning cases. My thinking was, NO, I have not been able to work since the accident the way my arachnoid cyst behaves. It decides when and how I function from the chest down. My shoulders are beyond repair along with my right forearm and hand. So, I wasn't too worried.

    It was raining the day of court so I couldn't take my power chair and was stuck with my hospital type, manual chair. My attorney attempted to push me into the court room but mostly lifted my chair to get me through the room, around corners, and through the doorway, dropping me to the ground each time. By the time he got me parked at the table there was a volcanic eruption going on in my body and mind. The Judge insisted several times I get closer to the mic and appeared irritated when I told her I couldn't because of my foot plates. I hate my chair but it's all I have until the insurance comes off of another one. A year long battle I'm still fighting.

    The hearing was a disaster! The Judge focused on the date I got my wheelchairs and questioned my character because there were no prescriptions or receipts in my file. She could only find an Rx for my canes and walkers. She dug deep in what records she had and grabbed every mistake to help reach her decision. She sited, my arachnoid cyst has not enlarged, and my NS's hand written "no change" on each MRI. She did not consider me a para! She refereed to my injury as a back condition.

    I saw another Law practice yesterday. They heard cases like cattle. The lady I met with never smiled, looked at me like I was an idiot, and basically told me my attorney had screwed my case. She said, she needs to look at the med records the court has on file before she can say if her practice can help me. I understand the next process in final, completely done through paper submission, and they seldom overturn a ruling.

    I'm at wits end with this and with my plate overloaded, I can't think straight! I've worked hard all my life and paid big money into the system. Speaking of, my former attorney advised, after the ruling, that I divorce my husband and draw SSI; he said he could get it fast for me...seriously, that's what it's come to?!? I would not consider doing that. So, does anyone have any suggestions? I appreciate any advise I can get!

    Thank you!
    Incomplete, SCI, T1-T8, w/ Arachnoid Cyst. Bilateral shoulder surgeries, 2 on the left, 3 on the right, right forearm surgery for a crushed radial nerve.

    "We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what's wrong in our life, or we can focus on what's right."
    — Marianne Williamson

  2. #2
    Sorry this happened to you, you do need a better attorney. I have friends on disability with weaker cases than yours apparently is, just not in Tn.

    Can you correct the wheelchair prescription issue thing?
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  3. #3
    Thank you, Nonoise! I have both an Rx for the manual and all the paperwork from the DME for the power chair. I also believe I could get all the little mistakes corrected in my medical records. The Judge sited PT record from 2010, saying they released me to work. I wasn't working and PT was discontinued because it was doing more damage than good. Another record from my NS, NP, said I walked heel to toe and balanced on one foot. I wish! I alerted the attorney of these mistakes before the hearing too. Most of the errors were in the auto plugin sections in the dr.'s notes.

    Worst of all, I was 3 weeks post-op from shoulder surgery and didn't go to the ER after the accident, (2008) - too worried about the kids. But followed up with my Ortho Surgeon's NP. She misdiagnosed me. She thought the pain med, Lortab, 5mg a day, was causing my symptoms and said I needed to wean off of them. I believed her and wasn't properly diagnosed until a few months later. Even then, I was slow to accept that I wasn't going to get better and didn't apply for disability until 2011. It also doesn't help that my injury is rare and I busted my T-cord but no broken bones.
    Incomplete, SCI, T1-T8, w/ Arachnoid Cyst. Bilateral shoulder surgeries, 2 on the left, 3 on the right, right forearm surgery for a crushed radial nerve.

    "We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what's wrong in our life, or we can focus on what's right."
    — Marianne Williamson

  4. #4
    Statistically speaking, if you lose the case at the appeal hearing for SSDI/SSI, you are rarely ever approved. *

    It is surprising you did not provide a complete history, including all dates of previous medical appointments, physician names, etc., physician notes, rx's, receipts, tests and results, hospitalizations, diagnoses, prognoses, functional evaluations, rx'd therapies w/dates, etc.


    *FWIW (or not), I was approved first application without necessity of a hearing so I've not been before a Social Security judge. I don't know what it is like personally, but I do know statistically.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlottes Web View Post
    I'm at wits end with this and with my plate overloaded, I can't think straight! I've worked hard all my life and paid big money into the system. Speaking of, my former attorney advised, after the ruling, that I divorce my husband and draw SSI; he said he could get it fast for me...seriously, that's what it's come to?!? I would not consider doing that. So, does anyone have any suggestions? I appreciate any advise I can get!

    Thank you!
    Several things....but SSI goes by the same disability definition as SSDI so if you didn't get approved for SSDI, you WILL NOT get approved for SSI even if you divorce your husband.

    Why can you not push your own chair and at your level why are you in a power chair?

    Paralysis is one of the automatic diagnoses that grants disability. I looked at arachnoid cysts and it seems that most are asymptomatic (produce no symptoms) and never cause problems. Radiculapathy which is the tingling or nerve pain does not. Also in my research, arachnoid cysts are not caused by accidents, they show up in certain people and they don't know why like other cysts. So maybe that was why the judge questioned your character.

    I can't imagine someone with major problems having the minimal amount of medical records that you describe.

    The medical records have to paint a complete picture so I am not understanding the "correcting of errors" you had to do. I worked in Medical Records for 12 years and only corrected one record in those years. I am speaking of hospital records and not outpatient records though. It is a bit different.

    I went through a hearing 24 years ago and they do scrutinize everything when paralysis wasn't even one of the automatic diagnoses. So I believe you just didn't have enough to support your case. Anyone can buy a wheelchair and unfortunately it sounds like that is what was presented.

    I don't mean to seem as though I am questioning your character, I just wanted to present some different ideas that may explain why you lost your case.

    LaMem is right, statistically, it will be very hard for you to be deemed disabled. The hearing is your one chance to present all of your information.

    Your PT records did you in when they released you to work.

    Sorry.
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  6. #6
    Lamem, thanks! Although, I'm sorry for the circumstance, I'm glad you did not have to go before a Judge! OMG, it was worst than a pain clinic...LOL!

    I My first lawyer also told me the statistics, which I thought was logical since the job of the Judge is to deny claims. He also told me, additional evidence could not be attached, which turns out to be false, according to the form. AND, he gave me the wrong phone number to order the CD with my med records, telling me I would get them faster. He should have provided me with the local office number. This I learned from the second law office. He knows an appeal will expose his sloppy work.

    From what the first lawyer told me, he had all of my records, and they were up to date, but I'm questioning everything he told me now. He would not accept copies of med records from me. The copy I have of the "Medical Source Statement Ability to do Work-Related Activities", from my Neurosurgeon is flawless, in my favor. Attorney claimed, that alone, would win my claim! Ha!

    My best friend, an attorney, had no problem getting the max against my, unisured motorist auto insurance, and ranted that my coverage limits were too low...I could have been awarded a million or more if I'd had it. What a world, what a world!

    Miss Daisy, thanks for your post, I look forward to responding and will do so later today. I need to rest these arms and get a few things done that I'm behind on!


    Quote Originally Posted by LaMemChose View Post
    Statistically speaking, if you lose the case at the appeal hearing for SSDI/SSI, you are rarely ever approved. *

    It is surprising you did not provide a complete history, including all dates of previous medical appointments, physician names, etc., physician notes, rx's, receipts, tests and results, hospitalizations, diagnoses, prognoses, functional evaluations, rx'd therapies w/dates, etc.


    *FWIW (or not), I was approved first application without necessity of a hearing so I've not been before a Social Security judge. I don't know what it is like personally, but I do know statistically.
    Incomplete, SCI, T1-T8, w/ Arachnoid Cyst. Bilateral shoulder surgeries, 2 on the left, 3 on the right, right forearm surgery for a crushed radial nerve.

    "We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what's wrong in our life, or we can focus on what's right."
    — Marianne Williamson

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlottes Web View Post

    From what the first lawyer told me, he had all of my records, and they were up to date, but I'm questioning everything he told me now. He would not accept copies of med records from me. The copy I have of the "Medical Source Statement Ability to do Work-Related Activities", from my Neurosurgeon is flawless, in my favor. Attorney claimed, that alone, would win my claim! Ha!

    My best friend, an attorney, had no problem getting the max against my, unisured motorist auto insurance, and ranted that my coverage limits were too low...I could have been awarded a million or more if I'd had it. What a world, what a world!

    Miss Daisy, thanks for your post, I look forward to responding and will do so later today. I need to rest these arms and get a few things done that I'm behind on!
    The reason they won't accept records from you is because they have to be "stamped" certified copies from the entity that produced the records. I have done many of those .

    Honestly the more you say, it sounds like your attorney just did not do the leg work needed to win. I know people with mild cases of diabetes who got approved in a hearing.

    You would be amazed at the requests we used to receive at the hospitals I worked at. One was for tennis elbow and another for a knee in which the lady healed completely after a scope. She got disability without even a knee replacement. Small town so people talk alot. This lady couldn't work but yet she could climb in and out of a camper and walk her dogs around the campground at the lake with no assistance whatsoever, not even a knee brace.

    I feel for you. You wasted two years with a crappy attorney. I hope you didn't pay him.
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  8. #8
    Totally agree with your first sentence, Daisy. Because I have a disabled daughter since age 16, (Mental Illness), I know the SSI and mental health system fairly well. Probate Court too...I'm her conservator.

    The DME felt I should start with powerchair because of my shoulders, radial nerve, and lack of strength in my hands.

    The attorney had also said, paralysis was an automatic to SSDI, nothing to worry about. And, you're on target again with the arachnoid cyst. The first neurologist I was referred to thought I was born with it. I knew better since the symptoms started the day of the accident. So, I returned to the NS that treated me and did a CT Myelogram, in the 80's for a cervical injury, different auto accident. He assured me I had a normal spine in the 80's, and the arachnoid cyst had formed within the area my cord tore. Even so, the arachnoid cyst has caused much confusion among PCP's, ER staff, and even the NP for my NS had to consult the NS on several visits. My symptoms and decline was blowing her mind! LOL, I could tell you stories!

    My med records make a stack about a foot deep, including shoulders/arms/hands. I do not know if my DME records for my powerchair are in my SSDI file, it never occurred to me to ask before the hearing. The reords I had changed were from a pain clinic I was forced into for 9 months when my Physicist left town. Long story, but I was justified it requesting the changes they made.

    I have some experience with some areas of the law. Partly from personal experience, (never in trouble though), and also from helping my niece, a paralegal, and BFF, an attorney. I've been under oath and testified several times. I single-handedly had a TennCare ruling overturned, by appeal for my daughter, but have never experienced anything like that hearing. Is it the norm for the attorney to remain silent throughout the hearing??? He didn't utter a word!

    In any case, I'm trying to determine if I want to pursue the appeal and invest two more years into it. It's going to be difficult to get an attorney to take the case since it needs to be reworked. Disability lawyers work off volume to make a living.

    Oh, I don't think you're questioning my character at all, and appreciate your help a lot. I need to toss this around in order to come to a decision. My emotions are all over the place with this and other matters, and unfortunately the clock is ticking if I'm going to appeal, so I need all of the advise and information I can get.

    Thanks again!


    Quote Originally Posted by darkeyed_daisy View Post
    Several things....but SSI goes by the same disability definition as SSDI so if you didn't get approved for SSDI, you WILL NOT get approved for SSI even if you divorce your husband.

    Why can you not push your own chair and at your level why are you in a power chair?

    Paralysis is one of the automatic diagnoses that grants disability. I looked at arachnoid cysts and it seems that most are asymptomatic (produce no symptoms) and never cause problems. Radiculapathy which is the tingling or nerve pain does not. Also in my research, arachnoid cysts are not caused by accidents, they show up in certain people and they don't know why like other cysts. So maybe that was why the judge questioned your character.

    I can't imagine someone with major problems having the minimal amount of medical records that you describe.

    The medical records have to paint a complete picture so I am not understanding the "correcting of errors" you had to do. I worked in Medical Records for 12 years and only corrected one record in those years. I am speaking of hospital records and not outpatient records though. It is a bit different.

    I went through a hearing 24 years ago and they do scrutinize everything when paralysis wasn't even one of the automatic diagnoses. So I believe you just didn't have enough to support your case. Anyone can buy a wheelchair and unfortunately it sounds like that is what was presented.

    I don't mean to seem as though I am questioning your character, I just wanted to present some different ideas that may explain why you lost your case.

    LaMem is right, statistically, it will be very hard for you to be deemed disabled. The hearing is your one chance to present all of your information.

    Your PT records did you in when they released you to work.

    Sorry.
    Incomplete, SCI, T1-T8, w/ Arachnoid Cyst. Bilateral shoulder surgeries, 2 on the left, 3 on the right, right forearm surgery for a crushed radial nerve.

    "We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what's wrong in our life, or we can focus on what's right."
    — Marianne Williamson

  9. #9
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    I went before the judge.
    She appointed two neurologists to examine me after my appeal. Both ordered test, and the tests supported their exam findings.
    You can't fake neurological tests and the extensive exams you get. I got an Emg, an evoked potential, uro dynamics tests, I saw a physiatrist as well. all those exams and test results resulted in my ssdi claim being begrudgingly granted.

  10. #10
    No payment, thanks goodness. It's common practice that the attorney doesn't get paid unless you win.

    Yes, I warned the attorney that due to the nature of my injury my case was complicated, AND because I had avoided the terms paralyzed or incomplete para I was concerned. Although my med records said, female para, or SCI unspecified, it was easy for me since I have a childhood friend, quad since he was 15, can move his head side to side, that's it. Also had a GF fall from her roof, complete para. Since I could walk, however clumsy, I compared myself to them and concluded I couldn't possible be a para.

    Thank you, yes I did waste two years with this attorney. But, I'm also angry on several levels. One being the State. 2008 was when the Specialist were hit hard with pain med regulations and there was too much focus on the small amount of meds I was taking when they should have been concerned about my symptoms. It was easy, in the beginning, to blame a lot of my symptoms on pain med side effects, with the help of Google searches. Even with my rapid decline, I still find it hard to believe, and STILL go to bed every night thinking I'll be better in the morning! So, maybe I'm to blame too, I don't know.




    Quote Originally Posted by darkeyed_daisy View Post
    The reason they won't accept records from you is because they have to be "stamped" certified copies from the entity that produced the records. I have done many of those .

    Honestly the more you say, it sounds like your attorney just did not do the leg work needed to win. I know people with mild cases of diabetes who got approved in a hearing.

    You would be amazed at the requests we used to receive at the hospitals I worked at. One was for tennis elbow and another for a knee in which the lady healed completely after a scope. She got disability without even a knee replacement. Small town so people talk alot. This lady couldn't work but yet she could climb in and out of a camper and walk her dogs around the campground at the lake with no assistance whatsoever, not even a knee brace.

    I feel for you. You wasted two years with a crappy attorney. I hope you didn't pay him.
    Incomplete, SCI, T1-T8, w/ Arachnoid Cyst. Bilateral shoulder surgeries, 2 on the left, 3 on the right, right forearm surgery for a crushed radial nerve.

    "We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what's wrong in our life, or we can focus on what's right."
    — Marianne Williamson

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