Monday, June 11, 2012

The dreaded time has come.... 

I received a Social Security Continuing Disability Report (CDR) form yesterday, four years late. I am freaking out (something I almost never do) because I no longer have the excellent medical doctors I had when I applied in August 2005. If this gets thrown into a full medical review, I could lose my SSDI. I frankly forgot all about this and haven't requested medical records from any specialists since 2008, so I have no idea whether my current rheumatologist's records would be helpful or harmful (there are NO good rheumatologists in my area, so I'm putting up with the one that disagrees with me the least). 

I was originally awarded SSDI in May 2006 on the basis of "a complex multisystem illness of unknown etiology". The ailments listed were Sjogren's syndrome, diabetes, hypothyroidism, neuropathy and limb movement disorder. I didn't pursue fibromyalgia at that time because it's not on Social Security's list of disabling conditions. I gave them medical records spanning eight years and 23 doctors. They still sent me to a Social Security doctor, who concluded that I could not work. I have not improved since then, but I don't have as much medical data since I moved to South Dakota in November 2006 because after you have tried every medical treatment and are broke, you go to fewer doctors and less often. That can be (wrongly) interpreted as that you aren't as sick anymore. I was expecting a review in 2008. That shows you how overloaded Social Security is, that they are just now reviewing me. I'm glad for those four years, but I wonder if they are more likely to drop people's benefits in today's economy to save money?

After all we must go through to get approved for disability in the first place, I guess it's only natural for me to get a little paranoid if there is even a hint that it might get taken away again. If I were over age 50 or had been on disability for at least 15 years (I'm 48 and have been on disability for seven), chances would be much smaller that I might lose benefits. But one thing on my side is that since I was approved in 2006, Social Security has added Sjogren's syndrome to their list of disabling conditions. That's the primary condition I was approved for. Plus since I was approved, I spent two weeks at the Mayo Clinic, where they found lesions on my brain and diagnosed me with asthma in addition to the fibromyalgia and all the other stuff going on.

Another reason I slacked off on the medical records is that I had to go through four rheumatologists in Sioux Falls before I found one that would even treat me. I hope that being her patient for four years has been sufficient to prove that I'm not going to improve enough to go back to work. My primary care doctor was awesome, but she left medical practice a year ago. I don't know much about her replacement because I only saw her twice. 

Well, I have the form filled out. I'm giving it to Dan to make copies before I mail it. They have 90 days to make a decision as to whether they do a review in greater detail or simply continue benefits. The in-depth review is pretty much the same as starting all over, so I'd better get everything in order in case that happens. Don't let anyone convince you that disability is Easy Street. It is more closely resembles Jump Through Hoops Like a Circus Animal Street.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?