Bipolar & disability

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Wotan
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 462
   Posted 9/4/2005 9:20 PM (GMT -7)   
  Since my BP 2 really kicked in this last year or so (i was in denial for so long)--my working time has really fallen off.   I have no disability ins. , so I've been working as much as possible, but recently have been just about totally incapacitated as far as work (my work is very stressful & my therapist says i should take a leave).     I feel bad that my wife is shouldering the financial burden now & i feel so bad-so inadequate. She should be retiring in another year---but, until I can help her, this is impossible.  I feel so bad when she comes home from work & is asleep on the couch by 9 PM.   
 
  In July I appied for Soc. security disabilty.   They told me it would take between 4-5 months before i hear.    My therapist & my pdoc feel i am totally disabled & have recently sent their reports in------I am 59 yrs old---& also suffer from IBS--Mitral valve prolapse with episodes of Supraventricular tachycardia & have very little stamina.
 
  My question is-----What can i expect?    Is it a "must" that i get "turned down" the first time??     Or is that a myth?   My attorney friend (not a diabilty atty--but knows a bit about it)---says age is to my advantage.
 
  My wife & I are financially strapped & really need the disabilty.    Any of you out there who have BP get disabilty---without much of a problem???
 
  I just need to know what to expect. Any stories of getting SSD--or getting turned down first time? (Most tell me--if i "hang in"- I'll get it--but the time element bothers me)   Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.   Thanks---Robert

Arenace
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 249
   Posted 9/5/2005 5:32 AM (GMT -7)   
I am from CA and can only speak from what happens here. In CA it is very very difficult to get disability. I've seen people who are so diabled it would make you cry be turned down when they first apply. So brace yourslef. But, I am not on disability I still work, haven't knock word had to travel that road yet! Good Luck.

Sandra-BP brings new meaning to Life's Little Ups and Downs


kittycat27
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 438
   Posted 9/5/2005 5:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Sorry i can't say i am totally incapacitated. I have extremely tough times and feel like I can't function quite a bit.( I am BP 1, rapid cycler) I have to work when done with school, if I want to give my daughter the best possible education and neccessary things. I guess that is where I think my  mind , faith, and strong willpower come in. I feel like there our times when it would be easier for me to not go to school and just give up, but I guess i have never felt what you and others have . I feel for you and your inability to work. i especially sympathize with your wife , who is going to have rough times herself. Hopefully she can get through this as well and keep her health strong. If something happened that she couldn't work could you two manage that? I only know one person that has disability for BP. I guess you would have to talk to her about that, although I have heard that when applying the first time, you usually are rejected. I am sorry to hear you can no longer work, and hope everything works out for you because you were so recently dx. I think that plays a role in disability. Have you ever been hospitalized  with Bipolar?      

Wotan
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 462
   Posted 9/5/2005 6:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks-Arenace & Kittycat.      Re: my application for disability-as i was saying, my biggest "plus"--is my age---59.   
The older you are--the less strict.  Actually--there is a "Grid" the determination is based off of---& i found it on the internet.    The older you get---you fall into a "less strict" category (They feel you're less able to readjust or "retrain".)         Actually, the stars say 40% get the disability on the first shot----of those "reapplying"----about 50% get the disability---after 2 turndowns---one can apply for a "hearing"----before a judge---& close to 80% are approved at that point!     So, from what i've been told from those in the know---it's a matter of hanging in & not quitting.
 
  But, after talking w my therapist & pdoc---who both have decalred me "disabled"---I can't see them going against the professional opinion & dx of these two----& turning down a 59 yr old guy!
 
Arenace----I know a guy (not a friend---but an aquiantance)----who lives in LA----is 44 yrs old----& got SS disability---for "Major depression"...TEN yrs ago---when he was 34 !!!!          When i was in LA....me & my friend visited him.......tho he was a "strange".......(& i unfortunately gave him my e-mail.....after chatting awhile)----from what i can see over these 10 yrs......he does NOT SEEM to be "incapable of work"......(He seems to have "fallen in love" w his "depression diagnosis".....sends out weekly "updates" of his depression to a large group on his e-mail list...& now claims to be an "expert"....on mental illness ( i woulda classified him as a "narcistic personality"....just as a quick dx......)   So much for it being "tough" to get disabilty in CA.---no offense--Arenace----just that ...you never know.
 
   BUT----that being said----(i know of 3 people on SS disabilty from mental illness---BP & depression)-----but have been unable to contact them.    SO---i'd like to hear from ANYONE who is on disabilty from any mental disorder---so as i know what to expect!!!!
 
  Re: my wife---she could retire now----she has enough time along w age---but---is shooting until she's 62--plus--we have grreat Medical coverage.    OK----someone---get back---THANKS----Robert

psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 9/5/2005 6:59 AM (GMT -7)   

Disability is very hard to get, almost everyone gets turned down the first time, no matter what the diagnosis.  Mental illness is the hardest to get because there are no definitive medical tests to back it up.  

My pdoc got me ready for all of this, so I wasn't surprised at all.  Even tho I had been her patient for 8 years and she had been telling me for three years I MUST stop working, I said No Way, I'm not disabled!   I didn't want to quit working, I loved what I did, but I admit the stress of it was way too much and I was hospitalized twice in the span of a 1 1/2 year period.  I am a VERY strong minded and stubborn person with an abundance of pride.  But, finally I had to agree I could no longer handle it, even with frequent changes of jobs, always looking for that less stress.  I supose I brought much of it on myself, I just automatically overachieve and am  an extreme perfectionist. If I made ANY kind of mistake, I would obsess over it for days, lose even more sleep than usual and think of it 24/7.   I coudln't change that.  So I finally gave in.  Got rejected, my pdoc said most don't get anywhere without an attorney, so I hired one over the phone, and 2 months later got my first check.  I had not been working for 2 years, thinking I would go back, and still didn't apply for SSDI, so they paid me retro, my check was for 14,500.  (The attorneys take 25% off top). I paid off my SUV I had bought 2 months before I left work, and blew the rest (bought a show horse, all the trimmings and other s**** to go with it, and then about 37K on credit cards on stuff I don't even remember, I dont have much to show for it because I still refused to stay on meds). 

OK, sorry I rambled, you know by now that's what I do, lol, but that's my experience with SSDI and pretty much everyone''s.   I suggest you get a lawyer involved, or the usual wait is a year  or more.  Sometimes less, of course, you just never know.  True, your age will help.

Just an aside, major depression is every bit as much of a qualification as BP whether the patient is "in love" with their diagnosis or not.  And there are people in CA who get disability, Sandra is saying it's harder to get there, and that is probably true.



Variety is the spice of life, BP is the key


Arenace
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 249
   Posted 9/5/2005 7:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Wotan, 10 yrs ago it was much easier overall to get disability. Because of guys like your "friend" it is much harder now. I have a friend who broke his neck and is very diabled, obviously, who has been turned down twice!! So, you are right, you never know.

Sandra-BP brings new meaning to Life's Little Ups and Downs


Wotan
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 462
   Posted 9/5/2005 7:56 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks Sandy & Arenace-  Just a quick "aside"---tho you "hear" many things about what states it's "easier" or "harder" to get SS disabilty---truth is ---&  the truth is I got this info from a SSD Atty I WILL be using in event i get turned down-----SSD is a "FEDERAL"  issue...& the guidelines are the same for each state (ie: all states use the same "grid chart"---you can do a search on "Social Sceurity Grid for disability")  ----hence, the same criteria are used.

     Anyone---that's neither here nor there-----as i said--i just can't work (like Shannon----i really enjoy what i do---working on phone as consultant)---but, my mind just can not hold thoughts for long!!!!   My attention span is "shot"..& i feel so tired & fatigued all the time.

   Again---"THE" bigeest factor is age!!! (this was told to me by 2 different SS attorneys---)----They try to get younger people (people in their 30s & early 40s)----to other types of work---but onve you get into the 55+ age grid---your odds go up---like close to 60% (I've seen the grid...& the age factor is amazing-----the same criteria that would get a person in their 30s "turned down" for disabilty....is "good enough" for a person---say 55 or over.  It's a fascinating "grid system"..& not as "arbitrary" as most people think--(the atty i'll use---& i'm ASSUMING i'll get turned down----is a friend who went to college with me----& his explanation of the system truly surprised me----as i---like many others--thought it varied from state to state & it was kinda "arbitrary".)

   Anyone---would like to hear from SOMEONE who did get their disabilty for any kind of mental illness---on the first try.    Thanks again--Robert

 


Arenace
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 249
   Posted 9/5/2005 8:35 AM (GMT -7)   
Wotan, Do you speak French?

Sandra-BP brings new meaning to Life's Little Ups and Downs


kittycat27
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 438
   Posted 9/5/2005 10:20 AM (GMT -7)   
I think that is one of the most prejudice things I have ever heard. Like calling age discrimination for the young. Us to do other work. I will have one of the most stressful careers one could think of, by pure choice, but if I can't perform at this job my life, my career my choosing, it would be a cold day for me to have someone tell me to find another job. It is not your job, it is your dx we are sick! Yeah sure jobs in the medical field can bring on more additional stress, but what if another less stressful job still made me not function we.. That's crap. I don't find that fascinating at all, I know BP's that are worse than others and have been getting help longer with all different types of meds and can't receive disability. They are still suicidal. ( Met them on another forum). Now I can understand why, they are in their late 20's. It is kinda hard to work at all when you are constantly being treated in a mental hospital. Our system is screwed up, Sandra has a good point. Their are people in this world that would love to "play" a role. Yeah sure they might be dx as BP, but they play a role to act more than they are to use the system. that makes are insurance rates go up, and makes the community not think what we have is real.  This subject comes close to  touching a fuse with me. Shannon I think what you experienced is awful and incapacitating. Wotan I don't know you well enough, but definately disagree with your statment on our system is fascinating, I think it is discriminatory. I have comorbid diseases, Diabetes and Bipolar. One one is bad the other can also be worse. I worry about my leg falling off, or getting gangrene more than I worry about my BIpolar. Even though they are equally important. So I wonder if they would turn me down. People die from diabetes all the time!

Post Edited By Moderator (Admin) : 9/18/2005 1:00:12 AM (GMT-6)


Wotan
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 462
   Posted 9/5/2005 11:04 AM (GMT -7)   
   Dear Kitty Kat---Sorry if i used wrong word describing the "Grid system" i saw as "fascinating"----i guess i shoulda wrote "convoluted"---or "complex".   But, whatever----they definitely give older applicants the benefit of the doubt.     One guy i know was turned down 10 yrs ago----for "major depression" when he was 46 yrs old.       Recently, he was approved----& the condition is the same----someone suggested he try again--at age 56.  Yea, it's goofy alright.      The way i feel, & from what people told me---i shoulda been on disabilty 15 yrs ago, but didn't feel like going thru the bs-----hopefully now---they'll get it right!      I understand your frustration, Kittycat----blessings- Robert

psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 9/5/2005 12:13 PM (GMT -7)   
I totally agree with Nickie.  However, when you're really sick, it isn't so hard.  I got turned down first time ALL BPs do, but I didn't even have to appeal, got an atty and 2 months later had a check.  Not once did ANYONE suggest I "get another job" even doing something menial.  And I was 38.  It does have more to do with the severity of the illness on an individual basis than it does with age.



Variety is the spice of life, BP is the key


Wotan
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 462
   Posted 9/5/2005 2:26 PM (GMT -7)   

   Shannon---i agree the way SS works does not seem right.  But, attys say THEIR (SS)--thinking is----if a person can do "Transferable " work (That's the term in the Grid.      My friend, 55, had a triple bypass in 2000---his work was as a contractor (drywall, etc)----he was turned down--SS said he was able to do "transferable" work (ie: desk work, paper work)----he finally got an atty & 3 months later was approved.

   Unfortunately, Soc. security WANTS people who are LEGITAMATELY DISABLED....to become discouraged & "give up"...& that mind set is sad!

  Also---as i said about the grid----age is a prime factor.    Shannon, you are obviously disabled---& you got your deserved disabilty.   I'm just EXPLAINING the system---Lord knows---i do NOT like it!!!!

  I'm praying--PRAYING --i can get approved the 1st time----I'm feeling soo lousy now----i don't feel like going thru all that BS that Soc. Security throws at us.         So, please, don't misunderstand----i am not defending their system---just explaining it...with all of its flaws & wrongs!!!!

   Hope that clears things up.     PS--Shannon---what happens to you is not all uncommon----many people get turned down once, some twice, before approval---some--get it on the first shot.(For me---gosh, both my therapist & my pdoc told me i am disabled & will write it in their report---WHY then--would they --turn me down???)    Even like my atty friend says---"You can't predict it---it seems totally unpredictable."       Blessings to all--Robert

 

 

 

Wotan
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 462
   Posted 9/17/2005 10:41 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks Jennifer,

  Yes, I have applied, did so, in late June.  Had my telephone interview July21.     I got a letter from my "adjudicator" (they assign everyone an adjudicator---whose job it is to gather all of the medical records from ALL of a person's different ailments----as well as the relevant med records from my therapist & pdoc.     

  I talked w my adjudicator & contrary to popular belief--she was very nice & helpful.     She sensed i  was nervous.  I said i felt a bit embarrassed, filing for disability-as i've worked my entire life.  She said, "Don't be nervous, that's what we're here for."  She said my therapist sent in very detailed info which was good.

  I'm supposed to be notified by mail w a decision within 2 wks.   I'm praying for this, as i & my wife need the financial help.

  Thanks for your thoughts, Jennifer. I'll keep you posted.    Blessings-Robert

 

 

 


Teri16
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Date Joined Dec 2003
Total Posts : 5230
   Posted 9/17/2005 6:05 PM (GMT -7)   
This has been a very interesting post, and I hope no one minds that I'm joining in momentarily? I won't go into a lot of details, but I was turned down twice after having 3 back surgeries and the decision both times was exactly the same, that I could return to my former position as a nurse. lol Anyone who knows that job, knows, no one would even hire me if I applied. I've never reapplied and have been very fortunate that my husband's career has provided us with good insurance. Though we've both sacrificed for that privilege. :)

Wotan, one thing that I'd like to mention that I was told and it already seems that your Dr. has done this...but you must have the documentation from the Dr.s! Back injuries along with conditions such as BP and some others are very hard to prove. So make sure whatever your Dr. tells you in regards to you stopping working due to your illness, that it is documented in your charts, so that when the SS people check them out, it's in there. That is important and it really counts! Wishing you only the best!!

Hugs, Teri :)
PS Sorry to hear that your heart arrhythmias are still causing you problems! Don't forget to come visit us again!
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Wotan
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 462
   Posted 9/17/2005 6:53 PM (GMT -7)   
   Oh, Teri--thanks so much.   Yes, you are correct.  Documentation is needed.    I kinda caught a break---in that my therapist---in the past----was used as an "independent contractor" by SS----to do evaluations---so, as i have said on other posts---the treating Dr--or therapist---must be precise & give plenty of documentation!    I kind of thought it was
Our Good Lord heling me---when my therapist told me, she had held that position.        In fact---i just talked w my SS adjudicator this past week & she said---i did NOT need to be examined by another Dr.(or therapist)---as mine had sent in "very detailed notes"-which is very good for me.(And--my adjudicator has been very nice.)
 
  Also, my cardiologist sent in a good letter re: my arrythmias---I've had 4 "event monitors" in the last 3 yrs---the last 2 monitors caught some long runs of SVT-----brought on by stress, fatigue & sometimes excercise!
 
  Teri, I really do need this assistance---again, even just to help my wife more.    I have tried so hard to work these last 5 yrs----both my therapist & pdoc said I should have applied then---but, i felt, almost embarrased.
 
  Now, i know we pay into it---for these situations.  And yes, I'd luv to come into the "Cardiac" section---w all my irregular heart beats--but, I've learned to live with them---scary as they are.  I take 25 mg Tenormin --once/day.
 
  I would like to try to help others who have these scary arrythmias--(I have MVP)-----sometimes a little encouragement from another can help a lot.         I hope you are doing well, Teri.     Thanks so much for your kind words & sage advice.      Prayers & blessings---Robert

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 9/18/2005 2:41 AM (GMT -7)   
Wotan............I just had to post here as well ........Like Teri I too was a nurse for many yrs ...I have a condition called Pyoderma Gangrenosum (directly related to crohn's) and this condition makes me break out in sores so severe that they go right to the bone ....anyhoo I went for disability here in Canada .........and we are very much like the states in this........they said no to the first 2 times I went up the 3rd time I got it ........they had said that I could still work ....ya right like Teri said "who the he** would have hired me "..............the peeps in my town were making remarks behind my back (of course) that I looked like I was a junkie ect ect as i always had an IV in ......my daughter went thru pure H for yrs over my illneses .....You have to have a good lawyer(here they dont take a %) Gov pays them ........and as Teri said the documentation is so very important.........I finally smartened up and had pictures of the sores and all kinds of testimonies from Docs that I knew professionally and the ones I saw for my DD......I had owned my own retirement home when I first took sick with these and after a few yrs they got worse so I would have the family of peeps in my home worried that it was contagious (it's not)........and I finallly had to quit being stubborn and admit I was too sick to do this anymore .......I am 51 and I was only approved last yr after fighting my butt off (and the lawyer).......got my back pay and the rest is history ........I too suffer from a mental illness and again here in Canada peeps are on disability for that...........My son is bi polar and he is trying not to go on the system yet as he is only 31 so he works as a delivery person ............I too was embarrassed Robert as I had worked all my life since I was 12 ..........but in the end I had no choice ........when I am up to it I do work at a woman's shelter and food bank just to give something of myself to the less fortunate ...................Just keep on being strong and persevere,dont be so hard on yourself either it's NOT your fault.........I am sorry this is taking such a toll on you and I wish you and your wife all the best and a speedy end to this ...........You are always welcome on the A/P forum as well ..............Please take care and God Bless ........Tell your wife our thoughts are with you both .......Blessings ............Lyn
 
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