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Still Disability…..

I just got another notice saying no I am not disabled due to the fact that Iowa does not recognize Mental health as a real thing. I am at the End of my ropes. Their Doctor said I was. My neurologist has stated I was in many letters to them. I have spent all my money trying just to survive these last four years of this. I don’t know what I can do anymore! HELP ME PLEASE. Any advice or recommendations would be nice thanks….

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  • kateymac
    3 years ago

    Dear Iowapain,
    Five years is SO long for you to endure this battle for disability support. I am just SO sorry you are going through this. What a long and cruel nightmare. It’s frightening.
    I remember having to stop working, and having to go on disability, like it was yesterday. It was the worst time in my life. When you’re so sick that it seems to take your whole life away from you, it’s nearly impossible to put up a fight with Social Security at the same time. I thought I was going to lose my mind at the time.
    All I can say is I understand some of what you’re going through, and I wish you strength and endurance as you continue to try to get what you truly do need. None of us WANTS to be disabled but, if we are, we need support and that’s all there is to it. I just hope the people standing in your way come to their senses, or are overruled, SOON.
    Peace, Kate

  • Iowapain author
    3 years ago

    Yes I am applying for disability due to Migraine but as many know there is Mental Illness that is associated and connected to migraine. So I don’t mean to offend by calling it a Mental Illness but in many many ways a lot of Migrains are and should be treated as they are in my opinion

  • kateymac
    3 years ago

    No, no – please don’t worry. – I wasn’t offended. I just didn’t understand. I’m on disability for migraine, and I have depression as well. I did check a box somewhere to indicate that I have depression, but otherwise my entire application was about migraine symptoms and how they interfered with my functioning.

    The first reply sent to me was a refusal, stating “we do not find that your depression is disabling at this time.”
    My appeal literally began with this sentence: “DID ANYBODY READ THIS?? I APPLIED FOR DISABILITY DUE TO MIGRAINE, NOT DEPRESSION!!!”
    I then went into further detail than before, about how my daily functioning was impaired by migraine symptoms.

    For example:
    “Pain, fatigue, and weakness interfere with ability to shower on five out of seven days a week.”
    “Pain, and sensitivity to sound, make it difficult and frequently impossible to speak with people, in person or by telephone.”
    “Sensitivity to light forces me to spend most of my time, five to seven days a week, alone in a dark room.”
    “Extreme pain, weakness, fatigue, and sensitivity to light and sound; make it necessary for me to enlist the help of others to get my groceries, run errands, cook and clean for me, at least two thirds of the time.”
    I went on and on, very detailed with functional impairments listed one by one.
    I received disability after that.

    Everyone’s case is different, so I don’t know if my copious details of functional impairment had much effect, but I figured I would put it out there in case it helps at all. Maybe I would have been accepted for the simple act of appealing, since I was told they turn down most applications routinely on the first try, counting on people to give up. That may or may not be true.

    I hope you don’t have to spend much more time on this. It was an exhausting and downright traumatic time in my life. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, and I hope you get accepted SOON.

  • kateymac
    3 years ago

    Hi. Why are they rejecting you for “mental disability”? Aren’t you applying for disability due to migraine?

  • Iowapain author
    3 years ago

    Thank you Kate this has been going now for 5 years the first time around I did not get a lawyer till almost the end….and when I had my final appeal they were looking to see if judge did anything illegal or wrong in handling my case, which by the way they did but didn’t feel it was bad enough for a appel hearing so the last year was about the judge not my health. So now I am starting all over from the beginning and its frustrating and very very hard to make it threw this and also I must say doesn’t help much on the Depression….

  • Migraine in Albuquerque
    3 years ago

    Hi- are you applying for federal Social Security disability? I can give you a lot of advice on this. Also if you have a low enough income, you qualify for Medicaid in your state. And I would recommend this for everyone, do not try and do this on your own, hire an attorney. The fee comes out of your final payment. I can recommend a firm that focuses on disability claims only. They turn my claim around in 11 months. It was a miracle. It usually takes much longer. Granted, the financial stress I was under was killing me, but I couldn’t function, or be of help to anyone.

  • Not-Again
    3 years ago

    Hello Iowapain, while I don’t have any advice as to how to win an appeal on your disability, I did want to say kudos to you for reaching out to this community for support and advice. Every day I lose to migraines I think about applying for disability. I hope in the days and weeks to come that you will find kindred souls and kind folks to walk with you in this journey.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Not-Again,
    So thoughtfully and beautifully said! Thanks for being such a kind & supportive member of our community. -Joanna ( Team)

  • Iowapain author
    3 years ago

    thank you Marisa for the advice I have been fighting this for 5 years now this is the second time I have applied…the first time I didn’t have a lawyer till it was almost too late….this time I started with a lawyer, It’s just a very depressing and painful process that has got me almost ready to apply for bankruptcy. I think this has been the most demoralizing process I have ever went threw

  • Marisa
    3 years ago

    With whom are you applying for disability? Is it Iowa State disability or Social Security Disability (SSDI or SSI)? If it is Social Security, Iowa State rules don’t matter; SSDI and SSI are both Federal programs and must therefore meet federal requirements. And while migraines are not a Listed Impairment, they are still a recognized impairment. Check out this website for information on listed/unlisted impairments and medical equivalency: It even lists an example for migraines about 4/5 of the way down the page.

    This page has some good advice on what information you need when applying for Social Security:

    I used to work for a Social Security attorney in Los Angeles, and the best piece of advice I can pass on is APPEAL! Social Security workers are told to do whatever they can to deny people (it’s a government program, and the government doesn’t like paying out). Most people don’t appeal their decisions, they just put in a new application and get denied again, then repeat. If you are going to try to get disability based on medical equivalency, you need to see a judge. Most of the SS field office workers don’t know their own rules and regulations, let alone what the actual social security laws state.

    You don’t need an attorney to go before a judge, but I would recommend getting one if the judge denies you. If you are looking for an attorney, I would recommend contacting this group: And if you are worried about the cost, the Social Security Administration prohibits attorneys from charging a fee up front. The attorneys’ fees are instead based on the past due benefits awarded to you AFTER you win your case. I believe the current maximum on fees is $6000 or 25% of past due benefits, whichever is LESS. An attorney can ask for the full 25% if it is over $6000, but they must prove that they deserve it, which usually involves multiple hearings and probably an appeal up to the District Court.

    Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration is a government office, which means you will be dealing with the bureaucratic process. In California right now, from application to benefits, or final denial, can take 2-5 years. And an appeal to District Court can add another 6 months to 2 years. It is a long process, but don’t give up.

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