Disability Hearing Over – Now The Wait

I’ve been trying these last few days to come up with any kind of description that would fit my current fight with the government and I honestly can’t think of anything other than depressing, frustrating, anxiety-inducing and just generally a kick in the gut. I am hoping, probably against hope that I am nearing the end of this journey so I can attempt to start living my new life as a migraineur but we shall see.

The hearing was Wednesday and it was as expected – lots of questions, lots of speculation. It started off talking about my work history, moved to my condition and what makes me unable to work, questions from the judge, questions from my attorney, questions from the vocational doctor. My migraine began shortly after the vocational doctor would need almost ten minutes to figure out what I did when I worked at the railroad. While it was a very technical and detail oriented job, attempting to explain what we did to a lay person can be an experience and I will freely admit that it tried my patience to the limit but I knew it needed to be done so I carefully worked with him until he was able to understand.

The demoralization would begin when the vocational doctor began his part of the testimony, which is basically pick apart your work history and come up with four hypothetical jobs that he believes that you can still perform. In my instance, he came up with 1. school bus driver, 2. office assistant/aide, 3. D.O.T. inspector and 4. assembly line worker – in my opinion the worst of the worst for a migraine sufferer. It was then that my attorney stepped in and began disproving his suggestions – I can’t handle fluorescent lighting – that eliminates all four jobs. I can’t handle harsh chemical odors, that eliminates 1, 3, 4 and since I cannot handle perfume or cologne, that also eliminates 2. I have a major fall history – that eliminates all four. I can’t handle weight over seven pounds – eliminates all four.

He could have stopped there, but my attorney would continue for the better part of ten minutes and I did my best to stay with him even though the pounding in my head was causing extreme ringing in my ears and I could barely make out a word he said. He went over medication side effects and what made the vocational doctor stop was when he approached sick time. In the state of Missouri, a full-time employee is allowed two days a month to call in sick without threat of losing the job, something that’s actually accrued much like vacation time – you have to be at your place of employment for a year before those ‘sick days’ can start, this was something I did not know and learned when my attorney was speaking. Given that my average is 3 migraines on a good week and 5 on a bad week and given that the extremely severe ones usually lands me being flown to Springfield for a suspected stroke and given that my recovery time can last anywhere from 18 to 48 hours after an attack, there’s no way that I would be able to retain a job for long. It was then that my attorney stopped his questioning and asked the judge to consider that I be disabled.

It sounds like a win in my favor but that’s not how it goes sadly, though it should be. In truth, everything that we spoke about at the hearing was nothing more than evidence for the judge to look over and consider, he can still render a decision that I can work – either because there is lack of evidence or he feels that my condition isn’t enough to disable me. Should that happen, my law firm will stay the distance with me – we will appeal and another hearing will be scheduled. I will find out the judge’s ruling as early as next month or as far into the future as June.

My migraine would not be one of the really bad ones, the moment I stepped out of the room and was able to get some fresh air, I started feeling better. Big sis and I went to have breakfast, by the time I finished eating and got back to the hotel room I only needed a couple of Excedrin Migraine and a very deep nap. But, the migraine happened and the judge and vocational doctor was able to see how much I struggle.

I know I may be waiting for a very long time for the decision but I want this to be over. I can’t really concentrate on my health if I constantly have this looming over my head so I’m being cautiously optimistic that my new year will start with a positive outcome from the hearing. So until I get the ruling, I’ll be sitting on pins and needles.

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Comments

View Comments (8)
  • mrst53
    3 years ago

    SS acts like the money is coming from their pockets,instead of the fact that you paid into it. If, you can have a doctor say you have depression, you have a better chance of getting your disability. Don’t know why, but if you are a little “crazy” you are not “employable” if you get my drift. Don’t give up, it took me 5 years and an attorney. Sometimes it depends on your judge, so reapply. When my husband went, they had all the wrong info, so keep good records and make sure you give them the records on a silver platter, They are LAZY!

  • 23r1c5h author
    3 years ago

    That’s the exact same way I feel – I paid into it, I should access it when I need it. The problem is that so many healthy people have taken advantage of a system that was designed to help individuals when they really need it that Social Security created obstacles to try and deter the healthy ones.

    My attorney said that the judge I had is very fair, so I am cautiously optimistic. I just hope I don’t have to wait forever.

  • KrazyKatLady
    3 years ago

    Stacy, I hope your state isn’t as slow as mine. My husband had cervical surgery back in August 2012. He is a transmission specialist and after the surgery was unable to perform his job after 25yrs.
    He had a metal plate implanted in his throat, bolts and additional bone. He is limited to lifting 15lbs. Besides suffering from chronic headaches and migraines his body has suffered probably 90% from all the damage.
    We had our primary care, two neurologists, two pain mgmt and John Hopkins confirm his condition is permanent.
    Same as you, the vocational doctor gave several jobs that they “felt” my husband could work. HELLOO!!!!
    After the lawyer asked with the conditions he has can he perform the job and miss all the time too? Each answer was “No”.
    ***Why does the vocational doctors put these no nonsense jobs in the mind of the judges if they know for a fact the person can’t work them?***
    Anyway, it has been four months now and we’re still waiting on a decision.
    We are praying for an approval. I’ve read somewhere that if your at the age fifty you normally get approved. My husband has eleven months before his fifty birthday.

    To top it all off….I lost my job October 2014, and my migraines have been full blown. I’m having at least 25 regular headaches with about 9-11 migraines a month.
    I feel horrible because I’ve had these for over 24yrs and I never wanted my husband to know what there like.
    Now he suffers from them too 🙁

    Anyway, I wanted to wish you luck with your disability, and hoping that you have a peaceful, headache/migraine free Christmas!

    From one {~~} Squint eyes 2 another >

  • 23r1c5h author
    3 years ago

    I was told by my attorney that it would take 1-3 months to receive the judge’s decision, but I have heard that it could take up to six months. Certainly it’s all about the dreaded backlog of other disability cases that needs decisions, but from those around me that have also endured this process it seems that 3-4 months is the average.

    I’m not 50 yet, I just turned 47 last week but I have also heard that if you have all of your points from your work history it is easier to get approved as well and I do have my points. We just have to wait and see.

  • Barbetta
    3 years ago

    I have chronic migraines for now over 40 yrs. I fought for my disability even went in front of a federal judge with a voc tech guy there saying there isn’t any job out there for her but the judge decided that there was I even told him to get me that job. But I applied again got a call from someone who said she had headaches I told her to multiply that by 10 you have mine. I got the disability then but this was the 6th time applying for disability. I didn’t have an attorney for my fight. But what someone told me to do and I still do it today is keep a record of when the migraine starts what I take for it and how long it lasts also which side of the head its on because I still have to report this to the social security when they review me. I had a dr tell me that mine will go away when I reach 60 well that is just 3 months away and it hasn’t happened yet. Had a hysterectomy still have migraines they didn’t go away from that either. Still take 8 shots a month for migraines still lay down for over 4 hrs with them. Been on social security disability now for 19 yrs. When I fought for this back in 1995 migraines weren’t even in their vocabulary.

  • 23r1c5h author
    3 years ago

    I have had my attorney with me since the beginning, I have a friend with severe COPD that spent three years in a fight with Social Security that told me to get an attorney ASAP because I didn’t want to do it on my own. So the very next day after I had my phone interview with Social Security, I was in my law firm’s office signing the paperwork.

    I have already been keeping a detailed journal of my attacks since July of last year, that was firmly suggested to me by an emergency room neurologist. I suffer from chronic, complex migraines, the first one in my family to do so and not really knowing if this is in my DNA or not, I have no choice but to keep the journals. Social Security did get a detailed listing of every migraine I have suffered since August of last year when I applied, but I find it irritating to the nth degree that I have to use my journal as evidence I am disabled when it’s supposed to be used to figure out what the hell is going on with my brain.

  • Marsha
    3 years ago

    I wouldn’t want to be driving a school bus during a migraine! And I certainly wouldn’t want my kids driven around by a bus driver with a migraine. Clearly, the “expert” doesn’t have a clue what a migraine does.
    The best of luck to you; hoping you get a fair and reasonable outcome.

  • 23r1c5h author
    3 years ago

    I absolutely agree with you about driving a bus, after doing it for five years I can assure you the level of physicality is higher than what most people believe, it is a very demanding, high stress job. If I started having the migraines I have when I was driving, I would have no issue walking off the bus and never look back. The thought just terrifies me.

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