Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sen. Coburn Investigates Social Security Disability

I have some pertinent thoughts on this since I have filed an appeal for social security disability benefits. On Sunday I watched 60 Minutes which had a segment on the investigation into disability benefits, into the reasons for the substantial increase in the number of people receiving disability benefits. I was really heartened when I heard Sen. Tom Coburn say that "we ought to err on the side of someone being potentially disabled" and give them benefits.

One problem which was discussed is the number of disability lawyers advertising, the amount of money they earn from the federal government representing people who have been denied benefits on the first try, whether the lawyers are gaming the system by representing and getting benefits for clients who aren't really truly considered "disabled", meaning being unable to perform some type of job.

The problem with claiming these lawyers are overpaid or that they may be gaming the system is that the government's system for deciding who is considered "disabled" is flawed to begin with. About 80% of the people who apply for Disability benefits are denied the first time they apply for benefits. The only individuals who are approved are the very obvious ones with severe physical impairments. So in fact the government has created the need for these lawyers.  If you are unable to see the person's ailment, for example if you're not in a wheel chair or didn't have a stroke or heart condition which affects your speech, walking, and use of limbs then you are not going to be approved the first time.  I am in the being disapproved after the first try category.  I was advised to hire a lawyer so I have done so. A huge problem is that whoever in the government decides whether you get approved or not assume that if you look or seem to be okay then you are okay.  That is a wrongheaded assumption.

I never thought that I would be applying for Disability but I am. I don't want to be on disability but this is the way it must be for now.  I had a hysterectomy for my endometriosis thinking that it would substantially ease my pain. The surgery helped for about 3 months then the extreme pain came back.  I suffer from depression due to having the hysterectomy at 35 and having no kids. I suffer from some anxiety and other symptoms cause of surgical menopause. My red blood cells are too big and the doctors are having trouble figuring out the reason. This causes me to be dizzy, have the shakes in my hands and arms, and fatigue. I also have bad migraines or cluster headaches where for three days I have to lay down and am unable to eat very much. Then in April I started hurting very very badly in my bones and joints all over my body. Finally my doctors have figured out that its fibromyalgia. In the video the claim is that there are subjective symptoms in  fibromayalgia and I guess that could be true for some symptoms, to some degree a few of the symptoms but at least some aren't subjective. Migraine headaches, vomiting from the migraine, and when a doctor examines your joints and/or bones and can tell that you are in extreme pain then your pain can be verifiable.

There probably is a small amount of disability applicants and lawyers gaming the system but anything can be abused and usually is by a few.  Heck things like cough medicine and white out are misused. In addition to me you can't look at a piece of paper and claim to know whether that person is disabled or not disabled. I am going to update my skills and work on me a while - work on healing, treating symptoms - then I will be able to head back to work. But at this time there is no possible way I can work. I consider myself lucky when I don't have much pain which is only maybe 2 days per month.








10 comments:

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

Gift giving from the government is in the boy king's grand scheme.

Always On Watch said...

I know several people receiving SSDI; one of these individuals actually was able to work part time and took the money under the table so as to keep the full SSDI payment every month.

And I know that some drug dealers in Washington are out there on the streets all day and all night and dealing drugs while riding Medicare or Medicaid scooters.

That said, there are many people who do not appear disabled but actually are. My mother, who had 8 heart attacks in 4 years starting at age 44 was someone who looked just fine, yet was severely disabled. For quite a while, she was re-evaluated by a military hospital for several years at various intervals. That seems like a reasonable regimen for monitoring.

Overall, discerning and monitoring some disabilities is a thorny process. I think that there would be more integrity to the system were not so many lawyers involved.

Rick Street said...

I have seven back surgeries both knees replaced and my right hip.The invisible disabilities.
When I went to the social Security doctor.he asked me to bend over and touch the floor.I could barely bend at all.The SOB said in his report I was able to bend down and touch the floor.He also said I could bend twist
and lift any thing I wanted to.
I could not carry a small bag of groceries.

Teresa said...

Power and control via gift giving Odie.

Teresa said...

AOW,
Depending on how many hours your friend worked I've heard that with Disability persons are allowed to work a certain number of hours per week while staying on SSDI. Like 15? Or something like that.

Unfortunately a small group of people will abuse just about anything.

You could be right about the lawyers. That would mean more doctors or people evaluating disability claims would be needed prior to the first determination.

Teresa said...

Rick,

That is awful! It doesn't make sense that he would lie. I wonder if there was some sort of benefit for him to keep people off of SSDI.

Bunkerville said...

Sorry to hear you are still struggling with your illness. My thoughts and prayers go out to you.

Teresa said...

Thank you very much Bunkerville.

God Bless.

Nate said...

Diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2000, lost my job in 2003 - couldn't pass the physical, and I had a brand new pacemaker. I know 'hidden disability' pretty well - don't know how many people I've 'proven' my disability to by letting them feel the bulge in my chest where the pacemaker is.

And, if memory serves (or they haven't changed it yet), Social Security doesn't 'mind' you making up to $300 a month - more than that and they want to know how your employer is modifying the job for you so you can work. At $7.25/hour, that's about 40 hours a month.

I think I've done 3 or 4 re-evaluations in the past 10 years or so - can't remember exactly how many. I'm not getting better, but luckily I'm not getting worse.

But I can get behind anybody who wants SSDI investigated - I'm reasonably sure there are people out there getting it for no good reason.

Teresa said...

Nate,

Thanks so much for your comment. So sorry that you have had to go through a horrible illness, congestive heart failure, at such a young age. Thank God that you haven't had more problems since having the pacemaker put in. I also support an investigation into SSDI. God Bless.