Since I left my job, my physical symptoms I was experiencing have gotten a little better from the reduction of chronic stress. I used to go to work sick all the time. My IBS was constantly flaring. My fibro and/or Lyme pain kept me awake many nights. Migraines were chronic and daily.
What was worse than the chronic complaints of pain though is the decline of my cognitive skills from chronic stress, anxiety and mood swings. My memory is terrible. Simple math skills can be difficult. I can no longer spell or write much more than basic sentences. I have a hard time expressing my ideas in person and on paper. My word recall is terrible. I thought writing this blog would help challenge me in this way and so far it has 🙂
Did you know you can file for disability without your doctors help? I thought it had to be something your doctor did for you or encouraged you to do. Nope, not the case.
Here are 14 tips that will help you.
This is a long process. You can do all of this easily by yourself free and get started right away with a social security number.
Go to sss @gov. Make an account. You will be surprised to see all of your past earnings listed per year. You can fill out the entire disability form online to get things going. Honestly it will take several days to fill out.
Once SS gets your electronic application they will send you paperwork to fill out.
Best tip: When speaking to a SS doctor answer questions thinking about your worst days. It’s easy for us to play down our symptoms and pain.
Have a good understanding of your disease/disorder. Know which answers are right and which are wrong. For example, I played off the problems I’ve had in the past with co-workers. I also now know that it is a problem with bipolar patients. I never wanted to admit I had a problem at work with people but it was time to be honest with myself.
Remember what you filled out on the paperwork because if SS sends you for another opinion they will have a copy of the paperwork you provided. Therefore your answers should match.
Be exceptionally honest.
They will want to know ALL your doctors within the last year. Try to remember them all. I even put down my eye doctor because I had been complaining to her about my blurry vision and had been in to see her a few times because of it. (Fibroyalgia was one of my diagnoses)
Let your emotions show. I cried all through my exam. You don’t believe I suffer from depression? Here you go. I’m often like this.
If you have to go for an exam have a friend or family bring you and wait for you. They will ask you how you got to the appointment. In my case, it proved my point how hard it was for me to leave the house or to drive.
I was asked if I had gone to therapy. I had completely forgotten how I had gone to therapy a handful of times over the years. At first I assumed she meant had I gone recently to counseling. I choked my tears back and answered that I had gone before. I remember her nodding her head.
If you’re thinking about a lawyer, don’t (at least not yet). You can fill out and submit your own application online easily. Social Security will request your records from your doctors. You wont have to do that step.
Answer your phone. They may call you for something. I don’t like to answer my phone unless I recognize the number. Unfortunately I missed several of their calls. They ended up mailing me a letter saying they had been trying to reach me and they sent me to an independent Psychologist.
Don’t panic if they sent you to see an independent Doctor. They could have just denied you but they aren’t just sure yet.