Heather H. said...
Sorry I haven't been posting for a while. I have just been so tired and in so much pain that I haven't been able to sit at my desk and type. I have been lurking tho. I have a doctors appointment on the 20th for Disablity. I am so nervous, and I don't know what to expect. The only thing they told me was that I HAD to be there on this date, at this time. I wasn't told what kind of doctor I was seeing. I don't even know the doctors name. I don't know what to expect and I now have to drive to a strange city that I don't know and find a street I've never been on and I have to do it alone. My husband can't go with me now cuz he missed a day of work this week and can't afford to take anymore time off.
Plus in the letter they sent me, I was told that I was to be examined for MS and a breathing problem. I don't have a breathing problem. The only breathing problem that I have is smoking, and it's not to the point that it is causing a problem with my breathing. And yes, I know I need to quit but it is my medical flaw. It's the only thing that I do that isn't medically sound.
Should I call the SSD office and tell them that my letter is wrong or should I tell the doctor when I see them.
I am so worried that i just don't know what to do. If I wasn't so tired and in pain all the time I would call and tell them to trash my application and be done with the whole thing.
What do you think?
FIRST thing you should do: take a DEEP breath, and calm down!
This is a very common bureaucratic bit of nonsense..but REQUIRED by the SSD. If you DON'T show up, they'll deny your claim without further ado.
So RELAX. Go to mapquest -- www.mapquest.com
and figure out where the address is that they're sending you to, or call and ask for directions. At mapquest you can put in YOUR address and then the address of where you're headed, and you'll get explicit directions and even a map to follow. Give yourself plenty of time to get there, park, find the office, and get there on time. If indeed your husband can't go, you might try to find a friend or other family member who can go with you, and help read the map.
The doctor you'll see may...or may not...be a neurologist. He is paid by the SSD to examine all applicants who file disability claims. Your exam will be short. He'll ask questions -- be SURE to review your copy of your SSDI application, and know what answers you gave there, as he's looking for inconsistencies and/or errors. While he won't deliberately try to confuse you, if you give significantly different answers than what you put down on your application, you can cause unnecessary delays. So read it over carefully, and even take a copy with you to refer to.
Don't worry about the smoking thing. Do you have a copy of the paperwork your doctor filled out? (He has been asked for his opinion by the ssd folks, too.) Maybe he said something about your smoking, and that is where they got that idea. If you don't have your doctor's paperwork, call him and ask what might be in your records there. It could well be that HE expressed concern about your smoking, and relayed that concern to the SSD folks.
DON'T "call them and tell them to trash (the) application and be done with the whole thing." Just be prepared to deal with a lot of bureaucratic nonsense until your application wends it's way through the process.
Don't be surprised, too, if you get yet another letter demanding that you go to some other strange city and see some other strange psychologist or psychiatrist. That's often demanded of folks, too.
Once you get to the doctor's office, here's a bit of advice a lawyer friend gave me years ago, and which has served me well: "Listen carefully to the question. Answer ONLY the question. Don't elaborate, don't expand on it, don't offer additional information. If they WANT additional information, they'll ask for it." So do just that:
Listen carefully to the question. Take a deep breath and give yourself time to collect yourself and answer JUST the question asked. "Yes" and "No" are sufficient, sometimes!
When you think about the question, think about your WORST days, and answer, talking about the WORST case. We all tend to want to minimize our disability...don't do that here. Don't lie, but don't gloss over the truth, either.
Wear comfortable clothing...not Sunday best, but not sloppy, either. They do look to see if you are "presentable". While you won't have to remove any clothing, you may be asked to walk across the office, stand, some strength tests, some balance tests, so wear comfortable shoes that will accommodate that. If you even occasionally use a cane or crutches, use them at this visit (even if you really don't think you need to that day).
And RELAX. It'll likely take you longer to get to the office and wait than the whole exam. Mine was a whole 20 minutes. You might know that once you get SSDI you'll be asked to do this sort of review once every few years, so be prepared for that, too. (The last time I had a review, I rolled into his office (I'm in a wheelchair), he looked at me, asked my name and social security number and the interview was done. )
Then when you're done, drive home, crack open some comfort food or drink, and RELAX. Then wait for the next steps...
...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....