Short Term Disability Denied

Back in March I had my first migraine with aura which included stroke like symptoms on my right side (which is the side my headaches are on), tingling in my face & hands, inability to focus & process & speak clearly. This progressed to chronic migraines for several months with up to 19 in a 4 week period. I had an mri & eeg, saw a neurologist, had a neuropsych exam, which came back with no problems, tried 2 different preventatives but had to quit due to the severe side effects.


Even when I didn’t have a migraine I was having severe cognitive issues, so bad that in July I was asked by my employer to go on short term disability until I could figure out what was going on. I did that & short term disability paid for 2 weeks until I had the results back from my neuropsych exam. When I went to the neurologist Sept 5, she wanted me off for another 4 weeks as I had had 16 migraines in the previous 4 weeks (I kept a diary & have the day to day symptoms, severity, etc.) I went back to work on Oct 6 & gave my notice that day as I was still struggling cognitively & didn’t feel I could do the accounting work I was doing. I did find another job with less hours (25 down from 40) & no accounting work. I am doing more of a data entry work now. I am appealing the decision. I contacted my previous employer to ask them to put together a letter stating the problems I was having when I was at work with a migraine as well as what was going on even when I didn’t have one. I have also contacted my neurologist to have her put together something stating why she felt I needed to be off another 4 weeks. I have found information online about migraine brain & the associated issues that I am going to send as well, but does any one have any advice as to what else to send them. When I went back to work, I had 11 migraines the previous 4 weeks & they have since returned to my more “normal” menstrual migraine. I don’t know what caused the sudden change in my migraines or the return to my more normal schedule, but I don’t feel that what I am asking from them is unreasonable.

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Comments

View Comments (4)
  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    4 years ago

    Jodi,
    I think it’s your right to appeal the decision- good for you! I feel like private disability insurance companies can make it very difficult. The additional items you are collecting are great. You may run into problems since you are no longer with the company because the short term disability carrier has less incentive to keep their client (your old employer) happy. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get that back-pay.

    This article by Diana Lee gives instructions on how to appeal an insurance denial along with a sample letter:
    http://migraine.com/blog/preparing-a-written-appeal-letter-for-insurance-company/

    I hope this helps and I’m glad you are starting to feel better.
    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

  • Ampdesign
    4 years ago

    I totally understand your situation and am having the same problem. I’ve had headaches since I was 14. Right now they are horrible and have been for months. Saw my primary care physician in July and was referred to the neurologist in August. We did some medication adjustments. Didn’t work. Have done Botox (Oct 16) and acupuncture. My headaches are horrible, lasting days. The diary I’m keeping for the past 116 days show 56 migraine days with 28 days of missed events (i.e., work). My cognitive ability has dropped significantly. Speech is bad. My right hand types slower than the left. My employer is letting me go effective December 31. I’m torn between applying for short term disability or just going on unemployment. STD will pay more, if I am accepted. But it is a lengthy process and what do I do for $$ while I wait for the claim review? If I go on unemployment, I’m really not “employable” until we get the headaches under control. I hate this situation so much.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    4 years ago

    Ampdesign,
    You are correct that it is a difficult decision whether to apply for Social Security Disability or to collect Unemployment. In doing both at the same time, it’s kind of a contradiction. You’d be telling SSDI that you are unable to work, while at the same time telling Unemployment that you are looking for jobs. Since Unemployment only lasts for so long, you could consider applying for that and then when it ends, going for SSDI. But I’m not a lawyer!

    I think this article by Tim Moore “Can I Collect Unemployment while Waiting for Social Security Disability” may be helpful:
    http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/page10-44.html

    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

  • Beth L
    4 years ago

    Sorry to hear you’re having such a hard time. I actually went through roughly the same thing, starting about 5 years ago. I have suffered migraines since my teens, some would last days. It wasn’t until some major life (stressful) events occurred in a very short period of time that I had my first “stroke like” migraine. Because of all of the stress and the fact the drs couldn’t find anything “physically” wrong – I got a weeks “vacation” in the mental health ward. It turned out to be a blessing actually. I got a wonderful counselor out of it that helps keep my stress levels down, resetting goals, etc). AND, I learned I wasn’t going nuts (the shrink told me so – I even made him put it in writting lol). The next time it happened I went to the hospital and told them to do a dye CAT scan and MRI of the veins in my neck. Turns out that most people over 40 have plaque build up in their veins. Depending on where it is and how bad it is, if that’s an area that swells when you have a migraine it will produce symptoms similar to a stroke. (In rare cases, like mine, it did cause a mild stroke on my left side – where I always (still) have my migraines. It’s no fun and I hope you find something that works for you soon. Even after 30+ years, I keep up the hope that someday there will be a cure!

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