SSDI Question/Regret

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SSDI Question/Regret

Post  Brenda L. on Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:57 pm

I already know that I do not qualify for SSDI based on the 'recent work' test. I do not have 5 years of work in the past 10 years, as needed.

I've suffered from severe migraines for 25 years, and it keeps getting worse. Migraines have been constant and severe for the past 4 years and I cannot work at all.

I somehow get through college and have a B.A. This was before my migraines went constant.

I feel stupid that I didn't know enough to apply for SSDI 10 yrs. ago, back when I had enough work credits to qualify. I did NOT know that my 'work credits' would expire.

My dad told me I didn't qualify for SSDI and I trusted him. My dad gave me lots of bad advice in life.

1. Dad told me SSDI was 'means based' and it is NOT. (I know this NOW).
2. Dad told me that I would NEVER get SSDI for 'migraine'. (I NOW know that at least SOME people get SSDI for migraine).

Is it right to beat myself up about this? I'm having terrible financial difficulties that make the constant migraine pain so much worse. I really don't have family, either. I'm all alone and I feel stupid for not TRYING to get SSDI back when I had the chance.

Might I have been denied SSDI for migraine in 2004, even with 15 years worth of medical records? My dad told me they'd never believe me. Dad told me it was 'impossible' to get SSDI for migraine. Told me it wasn't worth the time or the effort. I know the SSDI money wouldn't be much, but it sure would be better than nothing.

I think about this every day. Was I stupid not to apply for SSDI? Or is so hard to get approved for migraine that it would have been almost impossible? Just wondered if anyone has any thoughts or can shed some light on this. Thanks so much!

Brenda L.

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SSDI Question/Regret

Post  micheletroyer on Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:47 pm

You are not stupid, and kicking yourself in the ass for not being familiar with SSDI system will get you nothing but a sore ass.  You were acting on information that was not correct, and that is not your fault.
Michele
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Re: SSDI Question/Regret

Post  Brenda L. on Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:32 pm

Michele, thanks for your reply.

Times are so tough and I'm wondering if I could ever qualify for SSDI without the work credits. My Social Security statement clearly says I no longer qualify for SSDI, and the 'disability secrets' link that someone posted also says that one needs to have worked for 5 of the past 10 years to get SSDI.

On another forum, I got to emailing someone who is a paralegal. She's worked mostly in real estate/title law. She's trying to help me. She claims she did some checking and that somehow there IS a way that I could get Disability without the work history. She says I'd need to have 3-4 doctors state that I should be on Disability permanently.

She says she has a friend with a brain tumor who hasn't worked for 15 years. Said her friend recently had his 'last' court hearing and now finally Disability will be kicking in for him. (Maybe this guy started the process back when he still had needed work credits?) I know SSDI can make people wait for YEARS.

She says there is hope---tells me to go to a pro-bono attorney. I appreciate her trying to help me, but I'm afraid she may be misinformed.

Can anyone with knowledge of USA Disability system please clarify this? Thanks so much!

Brenda L.

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Re: SSDI Question/Regret

Post  Brenda L. on Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:46 pm

One other pertinent piece of info: Even back when I did work (over 10 years ago) my salary was very low. Barely even 1k per month---a bit under that. 11k per year during the 'good' years. (I was also going to college full-time, dealing with horrible migraines, etc).

Maybe Dad was right when he told me looking into SSDI wasn't worth the time or the trouble? I know I was really on the 'low' end of the pay scale.

Back in 2004, my Social Security statement said if I became disabled THEN, I would be able to get about $750 per month, IF I qualified. This was so low it didn't seem worth going after, because we had lots of money back then.

I've heard it's so difficult to qualify for something untestable like migraine. NO way to test it---they just have to believe you. I do have 25 years worth of medical records, but I don't know if that will help me now.

Thanks for any opinions---I'm so confused about Disability System.

Brenda L.

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Re: SSDI Question/Regret

Post  Mule Kick on Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:55 am

Even if you have years and years of medical documentation; they will say that:
We have looked at all of the medical reports in your file and the medical evidence was insufficient to evaluate the severity of your condition before your coverage expired. Since there is insufficient evidence to evaluate the severity of your condition before your date last insured, you are found not disabled."

The fact that neither you, nor I, are able to work is irrelevant.
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Re: SSDI Question/Regret

Post  Platypus on Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:04 am

Brenda L. wrote:
Might I have been denied SSDI for migraine in 2004, even with 15 years worth of medical records?
YES. Until recently (literally the last couple of years) it has been extremely difficult to get federal disability benefits for headache conditions. They simply weren't taken seriously by the SSA as disabling conditions. That is beginning to change and it is becoming more common for people w/ migraine and other headache disorders to get federal disability, although the SSA still does not have a diagnosis code for migraine or any other headache condition -- you have to be assigned an "equivalent code" which is one of the epilepsy codes (because like headache, epilepsy is a neurological disorder).

Have you looked into SSI? I don't know much about it, but it's federal disability for low income individuals.
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thanks

Post  Brenda L. on Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:09 pm

Thanks for replies! Maybe Dad was correct that I'd never qualify for migraine, especially back in 2004. Dad was a Stanford Phd., a very smart individual. He had no experience with and little knowledge of SSDI or other government programs, though. Like most people, he was probably just confused and/or received bad advice from his Business Lawyer (NOT Disability Lawyer).

I feel like I sort of did the 'noble' thing by exhausting many of my personal resources, paying LOTS of money to neuros and headache specialists, finishing college degree, hoping my condition might improve, etc. In 2004, my migraines had NOT yet gone CONSTANT, so back then I did have several months out of the year when I was 'migraine-free'.

I used to go in and out of SEVERE marathon migraines. Still felt like maybe my condition wasn't serious enough to apply for SSDI; had SOME 'pain-free' periods. Still, try getting a job where you can work for 6 months, then suddenly take off 4 months with no notice, etc. Only 'job' that allowed me that kind of 'flexibility' was college, and I had to fight for my Leaves of Absence, etc.

I didn't find a good doctor until 2009, too. I suffered needlessly for 20 years. IN 2004, I didn't yet have a good doctor to help me try to get SSDI, which is essential. Found great doctor in 2009; by then it was TOO LATE to get SSDI. Even breast cancer in 2008 didn't make a difference.

Looked into SSI: You cannot have more than $2,000 in cash or assets! Or else you do NOT qualify. Doesn't matter if you have NO income. They want you to sell everything off until you become homeless, then MAYBE they'll help you a TINY bit. Or maybe NOT. I've heard more SSI 'horror stories' than I can repeat. Also have heard several SSDI 'horror stories'---automatic denials, no matter how ill you are or how good a lawyer you have. Just like the text posted above. No way through that brick wall. They don't care that we are too ill to work; I know it.

The 'system' drives many to tears and frustration. I know a lot about this. I Majored in Psychology and took many Sociology courses.

I still have some money left. It's dwindling quickly, though, so that's why I'm stressing out terribly. No matter how bad things get, though, I will NEVER have less than 2k in cash and assets. Person would have to homeless, which I'm doing everything to avoid. Now I'm trying to support my elderly mom. Dad just died and left finances in a mess. I have 2 older brothers; neither one has given Mom one penny. Elder brother is RICH, but so GREEDY. Total ingrate. SO now I'm sole-caregiver to elderly mom.

Thanks for letting me vent! My migraine pain has been off-the-charts ever since Dad died a few months ago. Wasn't till then that either I or my mom saw how much (or how little) money we have left. Mom is helpless to do anything on her own---married 55 years, never worked outside home. Gets very small amount of $ from SS. So I'm trying to help Mom. It's like the blind leading the blind---so sad. Thanks again.

Brenda L.

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Re: SSDI Question/Regret

Post  Brenda L. on Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:47 pm

Michele, Mule Kick, Platypus---thanks so much for the helpful info re: SSDI.

Mule Kick---What you posted really sums up SSDI in a nutshell! That kind of double-speak would just about drive me crazy, on top of the constant migraine pain. NO wonder many people advise NOT to go to the Government for any help. Maybe Dad was trying to save me from that frustration.

The more I learn about the SSDI system, the more I think that maybe Dad was right when he told me to avoid it. I know people are routinely denied, even when they qualify, etc.

Sounds like one would need a Phd. in Government Programs to be able to understand all of those rules and regulations!

There was one moment in time where I COULD have potentially qualified, but I'll bet I would have been denied. Even on appeal. Before that, not enough work credits.. After that, work credits have expired. Maybe one or two years where I had the needed work credits---I don't remember anymore.

Even the guy with the brain tumor has been fighting SSDI denials for 15 years!

I can only imagine how they'd treat someone who looks fairly normal and is complaining of constant migraine pain. No test to 'prove' it. Probably just write that I'm a 'lying, lazy, drug addict' or something else very offensive. Maybe write that it's 'all in her mind---send her to shrink!"

It was such an uphill battle finding a good doctor who really believed my pain. I suffered on and off with severe marathon migraines for 20 YEARS before I found a great doctor who was truly willing to help me! Most doctors just don't care. If the triptans and ergots don't work, they think it's not a migraine or the patient is lying and just wants opiates or something. The medical system put me through He---, and I was paying THEM LOTS of money. I'm sure other chronic migraineurs can relate.

Brenda L.

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