Today is a bright and beautiful Fall day here in Pennsylvania. My mood reflects the gorgeous crisp day so I want to share a great tip with you today.
You may be able to qualify for social security disability (SSDI) due to your Polymyalgia Rheumatcia diagnosis!
After 8 months with PMR, I started to receive SSDI checks. I will tell you how I was able to win my case in hopes that you too may qualify.
Have you heard that it is almost impossible to get social security disability? That was what I had always thought. In fact, since I have some good days in addition to my bad days, I figured that I would never qualify for SSDI. Many people have told me that most folks get rejected the first time they apply and that you have to really fight to receive checks. I also heard that it took years to see a check.
However, I found that it was possible to get monthly disability checks with Polymyalgia Rheumatica! I started receiving a monthly stipend after 8 months of PMR.
This is what I did:
Found an attorney who is familiar with and specializes in winning disability for people. This was a bit of a difficult task as there is not much money for an attorney in winning a disability case. However, I was able to find a group that was 4 hours away who took cases for auto accidents and disability. We spoke over the phone only but it was a workable affair.
I figured that if I was going to go through all of the trouble of trying to get disability, I might as well do it right the first time. The whole process is confusing so having an attorney took the pain out of the forms and questions that I had about all of it.
Here is what my attorney told me to do to help with my case:
- Keep regular doctor appointments- very important!
- At each appointment, do not downplay your symptoms. Mention everything that is bothering you at EACH doctor that you go to. They collect records from all of your doctors. He was not asking me to exaggerate my symptoms, but he wanted to make sure that accurate documentation of my PMR issues was consistent across the board.
- You can NOT work when filing for disability. For the first 6 months after I filed for disability, I was barely making it through the day due to discomfort, learning how to eat properly, going to doctors, having tests, dealing with side effects of Prednisone and needing to rest.
However, after 6 months, I started to feel better and wanted to return to work part-time as a nurse (I still needed to rest daily). I contacted my attorney, who said, "great, go back to work." But be aware that working will cancel your SSDI case.
Not wanting to cheat the system if I was capable of working, I began to look for a nursing job. I immediately was offered an exciting job as a nurse setting up and managing COVID vaccine clinics. Once I was filled in on the details, it was determined that the position would be a lot of responsibility and working over 40 hours per week. I knew that I could not handle more than minimally part-time low-stress work and had to turn the job down.
Someone must have been watching over me because shortly after thinking about returning to work, I had a huge flare-up of my PMR that lasted for weeks. I could never have worked in my condition. In addition, I had begun to taper on the lower doses of Prednisone and was having a lot of stiffness and fatigue (and still do), which makes bending, kneeling, sitting for long periods, and using my arms difficult.
- You need to have a disability exam. After all of my paperwork was in and my doctors submitted their records, I received a letter from social security with a date and place for a disability physical. My disability exam was "different" and made me raise my eyebrows somewhat. First of all, the clinic where I had my appointment was in a very sketchy area of town. The folks sitting in the waiting room were equally sketchy.
The next clue that this was not your standard exam was when I was in the exam room and the door opened ever....so....slowly....
In shuffled (I'm not exaggerating) a bent-over doctor who had to be over 90 years old! He was clearly in worse condition than me. The doctor gingerly touched me in different spots on my body, each time asking, "does this hurt?" Since I could barely even feel his touch, I said "No" each time and informed him that my pain was on MOVEMENT, not touch.
After my unsettling physical for SSDI, I figured that I surely would not receive disability. I kind of forgot about it and went on with my life.
I was shocked a month later to receive a letter stating that I had won my case and would begin getting disability checks monthly. I kept thinking, REALLY?? I actually qualified?
I will never know why I was one of the fortunate people who qualified for SSDI. I had been in good health prior to PMR but do suffer some side effects from Prednisone now that I am on it. So, in addition to PMR, I have steroid-induced cataracts and glaucoma. Also, I am only a few years away from social security so maybe that is a factor vs. someone who may be on disability for many years. They also asked if I had been on disability before or have a criminal background, both of which are "No." All could be a factor that influenced my case positively.
I hope that my story has given you some insight into the process of disability for PMR. I hope that you too have success if you try to get SSDI.
Take care all and have a good day!!!