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Disability Determination

Today was the first of two disability evaluations, one with an internist and the other with a psychologist.  It was fairly quick and painless, and I got there and back OK, but it was a little bit disappointing how light the evaluation was.  The doctor just asked me a few questions and poked around a bit.  It's always awkward being felt up by some guy you don't know, but he was gentle and professional.  It did take him several minutes to actually find a heartbeat on me, but eventually he did (I assume).

In any case, he only had specific instructions from Disability Determination Services to follow.  He seemed to want to do a more thorough exam, but said, "That's all they want me to do."  So the disappointment is not with the doctor but with DDS and their very limited range of items for the evaluation.  It strikes me this may be part of why people are initially denied and why they need to appeal twice, finally appearing before a judge, before they eventually get approved for Disability Income.  The criteria seem to ask and say, "Can the subject stand and answer questions? Then they're not disabled."  I could be wrong, but I'm suspicious.

We'll see how the psychological evaluation goes.  I suspect it will be similarly cursory and that the criteria for evaluation are designed to deny your claim unless you're terminally ill.  That way they don't really have to care about you for the first six to ten months while you apply, go through the evaluation process, get denied, appeal, and get denied again, and then a judge will make the final decision, at which point a quarter of your back pay will be sent directly to your lawyer.  If that's the case, then I won't likely see any of that money until sometime next year, or at least not until November, and it will be substantially less than it could be otherwise.

On the other hand, there's always a chance I'm entirely wrong, and I'll get 100 percent of my disability back pay by October.  Either way, there's a chance I'll be approved for Supplemental Security income and/or Medicare, so I may still be able to survive until I can get Disability Income, though not well.  SSI would be approximately half what I get from unemployment, which will be expiring in three weeks, but if I can get some sort of medical care in the meantime, I will at least have some sense of hope.

In the meantime, I've been up since 4:00 a.m., and it's time to die the death of sleep if I can manage.  I'm pretty sure it's my turn to do grocery shopping this week, but better to do so while relatively sober, not drunk on sleep deprivation.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
kitten_goddess
Jun. 29th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
Good luck! *hugs*
aekiy
Jun. 29th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
Danko. ::hug::
rmash1948
Jun. 29th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
I don't know how it is where you are, but in NY, if you get even $1 of SSI, you qualify for Medicaid. My evaluation was, to me, well, slap dash in a way. The phys doc and the psych doc. At that particular time, I didn't have my walker--just my cane. It was a trip when the phys doc asked me to walk without it. ::giggles:: To say I was scared is putting it mildly. Several time I almost tripped and fell. However, windmilling my arms kept me more or less upright.

Good luck with everything, hon. ::hugs lots::
aekiy
Jun. 29th, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
::hugglesquish:: Thank you. I don't know how things will be here; I'll have to look into getting Medicaid depending how things go. I haven't been walking with a cane for a while, though sometimes I think I should. I wasn't able to walk on my toes, but I was able to walk on my heals. I've been doing that since I was a kid; I would often walk on the fronts, backs, or sides of my feet just to see how well I could do it. I've always been something of a walker, even walking 10-15 miles to visit friends in the past. It kind of saddens me that I can't do it as much or as well any more.
rmash1948
Jun. 29th, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)
::nods:: I used to be able to. I can't do any of that foot-walking anymore. Just for piece of mind, you might start walking with your cane again. I know Onikirimaru gave me a lot of confidence while I used him. ::chuckles:: He still does, for that matter. Gives me confidence, I mean.
aekiy
Jun. 29th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
I might give that a try. I don't do a whole lot of walking these days, but it would be good to remember to bring it with me when I do. I don't always need it, but I'm often quite weak and have terrible problems with equilibrium.
rmash1948
Jun. 29th, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC)
::nods:: Far better to be safe than sorry, sweetie. ::snugs::
hummingwolf
Jun. 29th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
We'll see how the psychological evaluation goes. I suspect it will be similarly cursory

I had both the physical & psych evaluations too. The doctor who did the first eval was pretty dang clueless (when my lawyer read the doctor's notes, he had some choice comments about the doctor's competency). The psychiatrist, on the other hand, was actually pretty good--her notes on my case were possibly the best of any doctor's before my current primary care provider. Unfortunately, her notes on my physical problems were ignored and she agreed that my depression alone wasn't enough to be disabling, so I had a few more years to wait before getting the SSI.

Impressionistic account of my psych evaluation.
aekiy
Jun. 29th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
::noddle:: I got the sense that the internist wanted to help more if he could but was limited in what he was allowed to do. He wished me good luck. He seemed to understand that I'm in an awkward position with a series of vague symptoms and pointed out that they'll want some primary thing to focus on rather than a list of problems. I told him the only thing I could pinpoint was a repeated diagnosis of Lyme disease, including an extensive test which supposedly demonstrates an ongoing infection even after multiple treatments, and that beyond that, my primary problems are chronic fatigue, chronic pain, and brain fog, including memory problems and an inability to think clearly much of the time.

Hopefully my psychological evaluation will go as well as yours seems to have, and hopefully the internist's notes will be helpful for my case as well. I don't know. All I can do is hope and pray that some source of income will be available to me until I get what I really need.
dancinglights
Jun. 30th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
good luck! it can be a long road. I hope it goes well for you, and quickly.
aekiy
Jun. 30th, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Here's hoping that something will go right sometime this year.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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