Applying For Disability
By: Gail Morden

From a Post to the Post-Polio-Med Email List With Permission


Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 10:47:45 -0800
From: "Gail Morden" <gailmorden AT>
Subject: [PPM] applying for disability

"I was required to take a "disability retirement" by my company."

What I learned:

  1. Document everything. I wrote letters to my doctors about every symptom, reaction to medication, etc. and faxed them prior to my visits so that they became part of my chart. And of course I kept copies (paper, don't count on your hard drive not crashing just when you need it most).

  2. Get an attorney who specializes in disability law. Ask around. Get opinions. I got a great husband and wife team in San Jose who specialize in ERISA law (covers government employees and some others). Also get a Social Security attorney.

  3. Mine the Web. I found an excellent form on one website that I printed, gave to my doctor to complete, and had with me when I went to file for SSDI. It included ALL of the things that SS wants to know about you if you have FMS and are filing for benefits. I also found lots of other information and printed out everything that might be useful, keeping a copy for myself and faxing material to my doctor.
    Read, print and/or save Form
    Prints out as 6 pages. Use your BACK button to return to this page.

  4. File as soon as you can. I should have filed my Long Term disability and SSDI claims as soon as I went out on disability. As it was I was without any income for 7 long months and was about ready to file for bankruptcy when I got a provisional award from my Long Term carrier.

  5. Don't accept the opinion of *their* specialist. Get your own specialist and if necessary have your specialist recommend yet another specialist for a second opinion.

  6. Ask for a Functional Capacity Test. This is a review by a physical therapist who will test your ability to perform low level tasks and will also check you muscle strength.

  7. Have all your ducks ready when you file. Most places will have a list of things that they want to see in order to process your claim. Don't wait to get this information. Have it already beforehand. Otherwise it will prolong processing your claim.

  8. Get a copy of all reports prepared by either their specialists or yours. These documents belong to you and you are entitled to know what they say. This will help you, your lawyer and your doctors prepare rebuttals and appeals. If the specialist will not give them to you directly, you can have your doctor or lawyer request a copy and pass one on to you.
               Gail Morden

© Gail Morden

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