Myself I applied in spring 2003 by myself & was quickly rejected. Applied again in July 2003 on my own & was rejected by September. In October I hired a Lawyer & with statements from my family dr., orthapedic dr for my knees & the surgeon who operated on my back all three saying I could never work again I still had to keep going to the orthapedic & family Dr.'s every other month as my Lawyer said the more documentation I have the better the chance as I was only 35 in 2003. Then in late 2004 my lawyer sent me to his dr. for an examination & finally filed my application in February 2005 saying we had enuff documentation to go in front of the Judge.
In the court room the judge asked me about everything since I own my own home & raise my daughter by myself he wanted to know who cuts the grass, who takes out garbage, who cooks, what do you cook usually, ect. I mean he really got into my personal buisness, but I looked him right in the eye on every answer & never told nothing but the truth. Then they had a lady in there that told how many jobs were available in my region that they thought I could do, like be a parking attendant, ect. After the hearing the lawyer said he didn't like how it went, but I thought he was just blowing smoke. So in May 2005 I got the answer in the mail & I won. The judge stated he believed the reports of my family dr. & orthapedic dr. to be consistent & true & that I was very honest in my answers.
So I was almost 37 when I got mine, wich is young for social security & the wait seemed like an eternity but it was worth it. And it sucks to give a chunk of the backpay to your lawyer but you just about have to have one. If I had one tip for anyone who has to face a judge do not lie or exaggerate. Just be honest about your pain & how it has stolen your quality of life & the only way you can function & have any quality of life is thru pain meds. Also once you get it you have to keep going to one of your doctors on a regular basis as you will get reviewed in a couple years. Good Luck!
I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on ful disalbility!
Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!)
Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV