Before I applied for disability, I called a local Chronic Fatigue Syndrome group. The person on the phone told me that no one is approved the first time, but I should not give up hope, because it was possible to get approved if I kept appealing.
I decided right then and there that I would not be discouraged! I would just think about my initial application as step one. It never crossed my mind that it could win.
Even though this was just step one, I still wanted to send in the best application I could because I felt this would give me the best chance later on when I appealed.
Because I was very ill, I did not try to do everything at once. It took me more than two months to put together my application. I also asked for help. My mom assisted me. I was not well enough to do it on my own. I did not have a lawyer.
Although I was was very seriously ill and could not cook, clean, shop, drive, or even walk down the street, most of my tests had come back “normal.” I could not afford special tests and was not well enough to travel to see more doctors. My mom thought we could still prove that I was sick and she was right! This is everything we did to show Social Security how sick I was.
What We Sent
My mom gathered all the medical records and printed copies of all the forms. We filled out the three forms required by Social Security. Then we also collected and added:
- Adult function report
- Doctors letters
- Files from home care agency
- All Medical records
- All Treatment notes
- Letter from caregiver
We put everything in one envelop with the forms and doctor’s letters on top.
I did not hear anything for five months. Then, the Social Security caseworker contacted me to go to a doctor. The doctor was far away and I told her I was not able to travel and had no way to get there. She sent a taxi to my doorstep. I brought a copy of one of my doctor’s letters to the appointment.
The doctor’s appointment was the first time I had left my house in three months. It took me a long time recover. I wish that I had called the doctor’s office ahead of time and requested a wheelchair service, but I did not know then that some doctors can provide that.
Three weeks after that appointment, I was approved. I was still waiting for the denial, so when I got the letter, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I felt very blessed to be approved so quickly.
I am very grateful for how everything turned out. I hope my experience will help other people.
Why Did I Get Approved?
I’ll never really know why I got approved when other people have to wait so long, but if I had to guess, my guess is: 50% luck, 50% we made it easier for the caseworker to say yes.
My theory is that a typical caseworker would have to spend several months requesting records, wading through hundreds of medical records, trying to find any relevant medical information in those hundreds of pages, trying to find information on functioning in those hundreds of pages, sometimes trying to read really bad doctor’s handwriting, searching for information on severity of condition, searching for testing information, and then finally making a decision.
I wanted to make it as easy as possible for the caseworker. I wanted them to be able to just open the envelop and Voila! all the information needed would be summarized right on top in the doctor’s letters, and then everything else needed would be right there!
🌷 This page is part of the free online guide: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo. Page Updated: 7/1/19
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