Thursday, June 30, 2005

SSD hearing

The long awaited SSD hearing was today.
It was a long day. Bob and I had to leave early this morning due to the traffic heading into Oakland and we weren't exactly sure where we were going.
Bob was not allowed into the federal Bldg because he had been mistakenly carrying around his expired driver's license. I told him when he got the new one to cut up the old one but in his convulated way of holding onto everything he kept it. So I had to go it alone.

Present was myself and my attorney, whom I had not met until that time, a doctor for Social Security, a vocational expert for Social Security, the judge ( for Social Security) and his clerk.
My file consisted of 2 large folders of information each, literally, about 2 feet thick. And it was considered to be not documented well.
However, what documentation there was was consistent.
Today was the first time I had a chance to review the report the doctor I had to see in Benicia wrote up after he evaluated me a few weeks ago.
I am considered Type 2 Bipolar with severe depression as the predominant factor and mania as the less dominant; borderline personality disorder ( which I did not know) resultant from all the abuse over the years; clinical and severe depression;some manifestestion of ADHD ( which I had guessed at but did not know); post traumatic stress disorder; panic attacks; fibromyalgia, severe arthritis in my spine and degenerative disc disease.

I was so anxious and at times overcome with panic during the hearing yet held up well considering.

It was hard to sit there and listen to yourself be described so clinical; almost as if you weren't in the room. the SS doc was an older gentleman and very kind and compassionate. I would have liked him as my primary physician.
The vocational guy was not Mr. Personality and was barely consulted after the doc gave his summation.

Then I was asked to give testimony. It was difficult to recall the awful things in your life and then to describe specifically how now, today, you are a failure in the work force because you cannot produce as you once did.
You kind of realize in that moment you are two people. The one you used to be and the one you are today.
I used to be the ultimate volunteer; the worker who put in 70-80 hrs a week. Now, I was hard pressed to put in 8.
The SSD doc explained in brief to the judge how any chronic pain condition wears someone down. And how not sleeping wears someone out.
And the toll abuse takes on someone's life.
And that he saw no recovery for me.

Hearing that just broke me down.
Somehow hearing the words said just affected my soul.
I don't want to be sick; I want to be normal.
I want to be able to go to work and complain about my job and bitch about taxes and how the health care coverage stinks.
I want to have those friendships that develop with coworkers; share lunch hours, deadlines, responsibilities.

Hearing formally that part of my life is over was like hearing your best friend just died.
I realize I had been fighting for my disability for 3 years yet when it was spoken out as a reality it hit like a ton of bricks.

Speaking of the 3 years I still don't know if they are going all the way back to when I first filed. that is still under dispute and will be reviewed.
What is under consideration is that I tried to work during that time. Isn't that a laugh?
I had no way to support myself yet because I tried to I may be penalized. Isn't this country great?
My total earnings for last year were less than $2000 and I may be penalized for it.
My total earnings since I first filed over 3 years ago were less than $10000 and I may be penalized.
Yet, they consider how much you are able to earn to base how much you will realize in your monthly check. So if I had been able to earn a lot of money my checks would be higher but because I even attempted to work at all I may be penalized.

Because I have been so victimized in my past the reccomendation is that I may not have control over my own funds.
I guess i would be like a ward of the courts and my funds would be dispursed to me through a third party. Thats a bite because it feels like I'm being victimized again; I see their rationale but I think I should have some say in it also.

Anyway, the worst of it is over. I will now wait to see if I am under review.
The judge did say he would expedite as much as possible so I could then start the process of receiving much needed medical treatment as I've had none since I've been in CA.

So, thank you, Jesus and to all my friends and few family members who stood by me throughout this process. I couldn't have done so well without the support and encouragement I had from all of you.


Dan said...

Wow, Mom. I am so encouraged to hear this news. It sounds like God made sure you had the best team possible there.

I really am so glad you're my Mom. I love you so much and wish I was with you right now to hug and and kiss you.

anniebee said...

I don't know what to say Margaret, apart from *big hugs*. I'm currently stressing about reapplying for my disability benefits. Have a good week. *Hugs* xxx

Dan said...

Mom, I just wanted to encourage you by saying, "you are not your disability."

Goldie said...

hi maggie,
just read your post today on your SSD hearing. Hope things go well for you. God bless you my sister friend and know that I am here for you.

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