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FEAR OF FILING AND NOT WORKING

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    FEAR OF FILING AND NOT WORKING

    I have been working going on 39 years, I'm 56. I have had RR for about 13 years complicated by Panic Disorder and Severe IBS. I just am at my wits end now, trying to get better, go to work and the daily battle to get up and work 8 hours. I don't go to my neuorolgist only every 6 months, because I had a bad panic attack and have not been able to get the courage up to go back. I also see my regular doctor and a gastronologist more often than I want to. Recently had a bout of diverticulitis. My MS issue is really bad fatigue which is effecting by ability to think straight sometimes or even find the right words. I have temperature sensitivity and vision. My friend who is a mental health professional thinks I should look in to disability, because she feels a lot of the stress of pushing myself to do more harm to my health. I have been working since I was 17 and am just trying to make it to retirement age, so I'm scared of losing everything I worked for and I don't go to the doctor obviously because my panic disorder comes out and I just can't do it. So if I don't have all these doctor appointments would I not qualify if I lose my job? I'm on FMLA now and use it about times a month. Any advice so appreciated. Thank you Brenda

    #2
    Hi GracieBH.

    Sorry to hear you are struggling. For SSDI, you have to prove that not only can you not do your job, but that you also can not do any job.

    When filing for disability for MS, there is a specific criteria used to evaluate MS claims. It would most likely require the support of your neurologist. I am not sure if you don't see a neuro, but use your PCP to treat your MS, how it impacts the claim.

    It is also possible to be awarded disability when you don't meet the full MS criteria, but have contributing other conditions. Again, this would require the support of your treating physicians.

    Have you tried any of the medicines that are prescribed to help with MS fatigue? I did and it extended my work days about 5 years. It can be trial and error to find one that works for you and it may be, after awhile, it may stop and you may need something else. Some that are used: amantadine, provigil, nuvigil, Adderall.

    That being said, I left the workforce once I had tried a few accomodations, including FMLA, and I just couldn't recover enough day to day. I would rest all weekend, start the week ok, but by Wednesday, really struggling and often needing to call out Thursday or Friday. My anxiety was really high, but it was more from struggling with the decision to leave the workforce. Once the decision made, it helped relieve the anxiety and situational depression I was experiencing.

    Since your case is not straight forward, you could consult with an attorney to see what they think. If you use an attorney, they are only paid if you win SSDI and fees are capped by law. Of course, it takes away from your financial award though. I filed initially on my own, was rejected, then used an attorney to appeal. If you do use an attorney, you want one who primarily practices disability law and if possible, familiar with MS and the fatigue it causes.

    If you haven't, you want to open up conversations with your doctor on the fatigue you have, its impact on your work and daily life, and what you have tried to alleviate it. Hopefully this way, it is in your records and you can feel out if they will support your claim

    Having a long and consistent work history is a positive if you do file. Please talk to your docs. I wish you lots of luck.
    Kathy
    DX 01/06, currently on Tysabri

    Comment


      #3
      Gracie,

      Let me add a bit to PennStater's response...

      At age 56, the key questions asked by the SSA will be (1) can you do your past work on a full time basis and (2) can you do alternative work that has you on your feet the majority of the day. As such, fatigue can be a major factor in claims for MS patients. Anxiety limiting one's ability to engage with the public and/or accept supervisor criticism can also be important.

      Judges highly value a strong work history and early attempts to remain in the workforce as one's condition deteriorates (which you have done with FMLA, etc.). A lack of treatment without explanation can be problematic, however. Seeing a neurologist every six months for MS is common, and wouldn't be an issue. Not seeing your doctors during the pandemic can also be explained, especially if you are pursuing visits via telephone or video. There must, however, be some treatment upon which the judge can base their opinions. (Nevertheless, one of the challenges with anxiety claims is that people often don't treat; it makes it difficult to medically prove the anxiety, even though the lack of treatment -- I argue -- is itself proof of the depth of the anxiety).

      Overall, it sounds as if you have a legitimate claim for benefits, should you choose to pursue it. I'll reiterate PennStater's advice in speaking with your doctors to see if they support a claim. If they do, and if you want to pursue a claim, I believe you would be justified in pursuing benefits. As was previously noted, you should consider legal counsel for such a claim, as this may help you avoid anxiety during the claim process and help organize your multi-condition claim.
      Attorney Jamie R. Hall's practice is focused on assisting individuals with claims and appeals for Social Security Disability and Long Term Disability benefits. He has assisted claimants nationwide, approximately half of whom are MS patients, from his Pennsylvania and Ohio locations. **No attorney/client relationship is created by this communication, and information provided herein is not a substitute for formal advisement.**

      Comment


        #4
        I'd also encourage you to have your doctor support your claim. You may want to see either your primary care physician or a psychiatrist about your anxiety and depression as well. If you can get a dx and treatment (anti depressant or anti-anxiety med) for that, that is just one more fact in your favor. Both my son and my husband have been able to get rx from their PCP for similar issues.
        ~ Faith
        MSWorld Volunteer -- Moderator since JUN2012
        (now a Mimibug)

        Symptoms began in JAN02
        - Dx with RRMS in OCT03, following 21 months of limbo, ruling out lots of other dx, and some "probable stroke" and "probable CNS" dx for awhile.
        - In 2008, I was back in limbo briefly, then re-dx w/ MS: JUL08
        .

        - Betaseron NOV03-AUG08; Copaxone20 SEPT08-APR15; Copaxone40 APR15-present
        - Began receiving SSDI / LTD NOV08. Not employed. I volunteer in my church and community.

        Comment


          #5
          Deciding to file for SSDI

          Hello,
          One year ago I was exactly in your position, at age 60, and trying to decide if I should stop working due to fatigue, cognitive issues, chronic pain and other medical conditions. I really felt that if I continued to try to work, I would die from the stress! After being off work for 2 1/2 months, I knew that I could not go back to my profession. My goal had been to make it to 65, but it was not to be.

          I contacted Jamie Hall (MSLawyer) and started the process to file for a disability claim. My neurologist had told me that she was not the person to decide if I should file for disability. When I told her I was going to go ahead and file, she said that she felt I was doing the right thing. I had also been seeing a psychologist to help with depression and anxiety related to my MS and the stress of working. She also did not say to retire, but helped me see that it was OK to say, "I can't do this anymore".

          So, the decision has to be yours. There is a lot to consider: ongoing medical insurance coverage; finances (your SSA award is a LOT less than your previous monthly income); retirement savings available, etc. I am blessed that my spouse is still working and able to provide my medical insurance.

          The biggest loss for me was my sense of self-worth as a wage earner and contributor to society. Like you, I had been working since I was a teen. It has taken almost a whole year to come to terms with that aspect of not working. It sounds like you are very close to making a decision. I am glad that I did leave work. My quality of life is so much better! I am better able to manage my health and feel hopeful for the future. Well, except for COVID-19. I highly recommend Jamie Hall, Attorney to represent you if you decide to use an attorney. He made it so much easier and was very understanding of my feelings about the process. Please reach out to me if you have any questions.
          Best wishes,
          Jeanette

          Comment


            #6
            You have the right to try to enjoy life a little...

            I have been struggling with the same question for a few months now - really deteriorating to the point where all I can do is work and when I am not working lay on the couch recovering from working. After a long set of conversations with he social worker in my MS office said to me one day "you know -you have the right to try to enjoy life a little" I am somebody who gets like outraged by anyone tying to game the system... I kept asking myself - am I really too sick to work.... and the bottom line is if all you can do is work 50-60 hours a week and then do nothing else except lay on the couch and attempt to recover from working 50-60 hours a week - then yes - you are too sick to do "your job"... basically my private disability insurance is very much for "my profession".

            Then after some neuro-psychological testing it came out I really am having some serious deficits... executive functioning, short term memory... you know part of the reason I am working so many hours is that I am struggling to do my job and making up for the struggle with extra hours of work... you know - it's time - game over. So I will say to you the same thing they said to me "You have the right to try to enjoy life a little"

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jersey4ever View Post
              I have been struggling with the same question for a few months now - really deteriorating to the point where all I can do is work and when I am not working lay on the couch recovering from working. After a long set of conversations with he social worker in my MS office said to me one day "you know -you have the right to try to enjoy life a little" I am somebody who gets like outraged by anyone tying to game the system... I kept asking myself - am I really too sick to work.... and the bottom line is if all you can do is work 50-60 hours a week and then do nothing else except lay on the couch and attempt to recover from working 50-60 hours a week - then yes - you are too sick to do "your job"... basically my private disability insurance is very much for "my profession".

              Then after some neuro-psychological testing it came out I really am having some serious deficits... executive functioning, short term memory... you know part of the reason I am working so many hours is that I am struggling to do my job and making up for the struggle with extra hours of work... you know - it's time - game over. So I will say to you the same thing they said to me "You have the right to try to enjoy life a little"
              I could have written this, except I got to the point I couldn't put the extra time in, so I couldn't keep up with the work, and that added stress and anxiety. Eventually, I couldn't even put 40 in consistently.

              You are so right - everyone should be able to have a life outside of work. Each person is the only person who can determine when the time is right, glad your doctors supported your decision.

              I do still miss work, but am so glad I can enjoy the people in my life again.
              Kathy
              DX 01/06, currently on Tysabri

              Comment


                #8
                This boat is getting crowded as I am on board as well! I'll be 58 in a couple of weeks, working since a teen, and now have almost 34 years of federal service. I was hoping to make it to at least 62 but my neurologist has said that's not likely now given how I am progressing. I have already been reduced to 4 days/week as a reasonable accommodation and am struggling still as a result of muscle fatigue and just plain fatigue. Of course I have other health issues as well but I am going to try and push on a little longer. I am starting to do my research on how to best proceed though.

                My wife is watching for signs that I am getting worse ever since my neuro mentioned at my last appointment that the stress of continuing to work would likely shorten my life. That got our attention! I am mentally preparing to leave the work force, I just need to make sure the numbers are going to work out for us!

                I hope everything works out for all of us!

                Comment

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