Help (Arizona) need new attorney SSDI hearing

Howard

knowing NOTHING - - the final destination
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Thanks again to each of you for your support and efforts. I am still catching up on responses, so please forgive the lack of timeliness…

@Wolfcub
@Moof
@YippeeKi YOW !!
@Judee
@........ et al

My sharing is for reasons both selfish and selfless.

Hmm…. that sounds unintentionally profound.

When we are truly and selflessly helping others, we are in turn helping ourselves. When we are truly and honestly making every effort to help ourselves, we are also helping others.

There, how's that for a made-up quote? (I'm fairly certain there's a better and more apt quote available out there on the internet). Eh, on second thought, that one may need to go back to "rewrites"

Either way, I think that type of quote rings true on a wide variety of levels, both subtle and obvious.

But before I get lost in thought I'll attempt to wrap this up neatly in a “Black Friday” bow.

* Black Friday is a consumer-driven national shopping holiday in the United States of America - no comment

@Shoshana
I am glad you found so much meaning in these words. It's not as easy as it sounds, but I make efforts to follow my own advice as often as possible.

Personalities

Also, I'm fascinated by the different personalities on this forum, each offering a variety of potential help solutions and support. That's how this great human experiment is supposed to work. It's the variety of ways we come to meet in the middle for a common cause... each other.

Seems simple enough, doesn't it?

And lastly, fair points all, in regards to the follow-up commentary. I am hopeful.

Looks like I got all off topic here, but I reigned it in rather quickly - haha!
 
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@Howard so you have not received notification of a decision in your case yet? I am sure the government shutdown will only make matters worse. It was not clear to me what law firm finally represented you. Was it that Myler Disability place or someone else?

I hired an attorney from day 1. They made sure all of the deadlines were met and all of the forms completed by me. And they got me extensions when I needed them. They also got all of my medical records. And I had lots of communication with them. A few months ago they dropped me as a client because I moved out of state and they did not want to have their attorney out of the office for an entire day with the travel that would be involved. So they got no money for all of the hard work that they did for me. My hearing is next month and I have a new attorney.

I AM certain my case will be approved for the maximum SSDI benefit.

And so it is. And it is so.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Amen!
 

geraldt52

Senior Member
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Social Security has a Ruling on ME CFS that they developed in 2014. They recognize CFS as a debilitating disease. If they reign supreme over SSDI then how can an arrogant judge defy their ruling?
My ALJ hearing was back around 2000. A lot has changed for the better since then regarding CFS, but disability is not determined by a CFS diagnosis, but by "proving" that you are unable to work.

One thing that I'm sure that hasn't changed is that Social Security can and will ignore their own rules, and will never admit any mistakes. It took a Federal Judge, in a Federal Court, to overturn Soc Sec's decision in my case. Even then Soc Sec did not admit their mistake. Whether you win or lose will depend almost entirely on the ALJ who hears your case, and his/her attitude toward CFS, something over which you have almost no control. Hope for a fair and open minded ALJ. Good luck.
 

Howard

knowing NOTHING - - the final destination
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Just opened the mail & my appeal was rejected.

No words.

I should have lied. I should have been dishonest. I should have exaggerated.

Adhering to my own strict moral standards is going to be the death of me.

Perhaps there is nothing wrong with me, physically...
 

Judee

Senior Member
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I'm so sorry, @Howard. I think you are me in a couple years when the courts finally have my hearing. I don't have much hope that I will be able to get on SSDI but I have been continuing the process because I don't know what else to do. It is so hard watching our finances worsen and not knowing what else I can do to change the situation or our future.

I know it is no comfort now but I think it is better that you told the truth. It is probably like @geraldt52 said, either a judge believes ME/CFS is real or he doesn't. That doesn't mean that this disease is not real no matter what the judge believes.

Right now though, I'm sure you feel blindsided; like you've had the wind completely knocked out of you.

I'm grieving with you for your situation and praying for your comfort and for hope for all of us who have this terrible disease.
 

nyanko_the_sane

It is a cat's life for me.
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Just opened the mail & my appeal was rejected...
Wash, rinse, and repeat. The general idea I understand is to represent yourself in the worst condition in your experience. Obviously if we are resting all the time we will appear to be fine to just about any observer. If they could see us at our worst, now we would have something to work with. A great deal of us could probably complete 15 minutes of work without issue, but continuing with a significant level of effort for an hour or more, forget it, we can't sustain it.
 

geraldt52

Senior Member
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Just opened the mail & my appeal was rejected.

No words.

I should have lied. I should have been dishonest. I should have exaggerated.

Adhering to my own strict moral standards is going to be the death of me.

Perhaps there is nothing wrong with me, physically...
Now is the time when your attorney earns their money, Howard. It matters a lot what rationale the judge used for his rejection, and only an experienced attorney knows where the cracks are. You should file an appeal immediately. There are a couple more levels of appeal within Soc Sec, and then you can appeal to a Federal Court.

You should also file a "new" claim while your existing claim is being appealed...it is allowable to have several claims running concurrently. The new claim will have a new, later, date for the start of your disability, but there's a good chance that you'll get a different ALJ and hopefully a different result. If you eventually win your original claim on appeal your disability date, and your back-payments, will then be based on your original claim. Definitely talk to your attorney about it so you understand it. If the attorney can't explain it, get a new attorney.

All I can say is I feel your pain. It's been close to 20 years since my ALJ hearing, and I remember it like it was yesterday...and it still makes my blood boil.
 
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@Howard that's beyond a kick in the face and I am disgusted for you. I am sure you are disabled and that you like me would give almost anything to have your life back. Not being believed is just about the worst thing that anyone can do to us. My attorney has experience with ME/CFS cases and handles federal cases; she can practice just about anywhere in the USA. Her name is Aimee Dugas and she is in Philadelphia, PA. We had our hearing recently with the ALJ and I felt she was well-prepared. She is, in fact, the only attorney that I have worked with whom I would recommend (I have worked with several attorneys across the years on various matters and they all sucked except Aimee). I am awaiting my determination.

I had a lot of medical evidence saying that I am unable to perform any job. If you do not have this it will make it much harder for the judge to give a favorable decision.

Please keep the faith and take your case to the next level. I am praying for you.
 

geraldt52

Senior Member
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@geraldt52 why does the memory of your hearing make your blood boil? I am sure 20 years ago it was much harder to prove disability for ME/CFS. I am glad that you got it.
Well, the judge basically called me a liar during the hearing. He made up "evidence" of his own, with zero basis, and inserted it into the file as though it had some basis. He told my lawyer on the way out of the hearing that he didn't believe in CFS and she should file such a case as a somatoform disorder. He required me to see a quack Soc Sec psychiatrist, who wrote in my file that, while I clearly demonstrated short-term memory difficulties, "I didn't seem to be trying very hard" when tested. All of this led to me having to go to Federal Court, taking 7 years before I got my first check, and costing me about $35K of my past-due benefits in legal fees. Enough? I despise everything and everyone associated with SSDI.
 

Shoshana

Northern USA
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T
Now is the time when your attorney earns their money, Howard. It matters a lot what rationale the judge used for his rejection, and only an experienced attorney knows where the cracks are. You should file an appeal immediately. There are a couple more levels of appeal within Soc Sec, and then you can appeal to a Federal Court.

You should also file a "new" claim while your existing claim is being appealed...it is allowable to have several claims running concurrently. The new claim will have a new, later, date for the start of your disability, but there's a good chance that you'll get a different ALJ and hopefully a different result. If you eventually win your original claim on appeal your disability date, and your back-payments, will then be based on your original claim. Definitely talk to your attorney about it so you understand it. If the attorney can't explain it, get a new attorney.
This sounds like sound advise to me. Run it by your wife, @Howard

I am so sorry for this denial, you just got! I know and understand, it is very upsetting.
You and she will have to come up with specific strategies to help deal with the valid upset, as well as what next steps to take regarding the legal stuff.

I personally don't think the result is from anything you did or did not do or say. I don't think you could have acted differently or said differently, and that it would have changed that judge's decision.
IF there is something different you could have done, you don't know what it actually is, so couldn't have done it.
I don't personally believe there is. Put it on that particular judge's lack of judgment or knowledge or compassion or awareness, that there might be things they dont know about, that are important to consider.

Or, put it on the system requiring sometimes unreachable levels of proofs, that are not available at this time, to any human patient.

But you couldn't control the result. All you could do is try , and you surely did do that.

CHanging yourself in some way, to exaggerate, or changing your moral standards, or saying things you do not believe,
I don't think any of that would have changed this result.

Nor do I think at all, that this decision someone else made, holds any bearing at all, on whether or not, there is any psychological factors. So don't let this decision change any of your beliefs about yourself. Or about your illness. Remember how much you have tried, to get well, to deal with or improve symptoms and illness, and also, to simply (NOT simple at all) cope well, with each day of life.
This decision doesn't mean that anything you think or experience is invalid. Or that you did anything wrong. Or that you aren't very ill.

It is extremely upsetting, that is for sure. We all extend our support, for your coping with it.
And figuring out your next steps.
 
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Howard

knowing NOTHING - - the final destination
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@Howard can you summarize for us, if you don't mind sharing, the reason the judge gave for denial?

Disability Rejection Notes and Findings


I have no “real” formal diagnosis, mental or physical

Note: I did not see any doctors after 2015, ran out of money and no viable means to transport for appointments - began seeing nurse practitioner April 2018

Note 2 : from 2016 through late 2017 I was unaware of what was going on around me, for the most part - stimuli overload (light, sound, speaking, maintaining in total darkness etc.) So I didn't really know what was going on


Opinion of nurse practitioner not taken into consideration, lacking formal evidence (despite recent active EBV greater than 600)

Opinion of therapist inconsistent, lack of documentation, not taken into consideration especially considering no physical one-on-one visits to therapist's office - tele-medicine online
(diagnosis = OCD - thought obsessed - and generalized depression)

A random neurologist mentioned CFS in passing and within his notes - not taken into consideration as evidence, no proof

Opinion from son in format of written letter not taken into consideration, inconsistencies with evidence, and not under oath

Opinion from best friend in format of written letter not taken into consideration, inconsistencies with evidence, and not under oath

Multiple past Emergency Room grip strength tests (2014-16) indicate no problem with “weakness”

Not mentioned, but…

Numerous tests through Mayo Clinic 2013 - 2014 - no diagnosis, except to increase exercise, recumbent bicycle, increasing electrolytes to combat POTS

Other doctors and Specialists not mentioned or referenced either.

Those are the highlights. Everything else is very non-specific. Statutes and other legal stuff are directly referenced.

Would any appeal require out-of-pocket expenses at this point? A retainer, that sort of thing?

In any case, seems as though I need a formal diagnosis.

Thank you everybody for your contributions :)