Votes: 2 (Vote!)
|Posted on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 4:49 pm: ||
I have Chronic Fatigue Immune dysfunction Syndrome and Severe Asthma as well as back problems, depression, and breast disease. I was wondering if these attorneys have dealt with cases as pertaining to CFIDS.
Repy by Paul Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a recognised disorder that certainly can be the basis for a claim. It is one that must be extremely well documented and thouroughly developed if you want to win. Some judges are more sympathetic than others to such claims.
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 11:53 pm: ||
I am a 31 year old single mother of two. I have worked for the last 12 years at the same job and for the last 2 months I have been unable to work due to chronic fatigue, fever and nausea. I'm scared due to my illness and never knowing how long or when I will be ill, if my boss will work with me or have to replace me. I have been hospitalized twice since April. Does someone who is diagnosed with CFS qualify for Disability?
Reply by Paul:
Sometimes. The diagnosis is a recognised one, but it is primarily based on subjective symptoms, so that the Administration can often get away with disbelieving you. This means you are often not sure that you will win, even going in to the hearing. And some but not all decisionmakers are hostile to the diagnosis. You want to have an excellent doctor an excellent attorney, and nothing to impair your credibility.
If I were you I would start planning right now with an attorney; not necessarily to get disability, but rather to get set up so you will be as well protected as possible no matter what. Buy all of the LTD that you can, and of the highest quality. Give your boss 150% of what he has any right to expect, and don't make trouble over petty things, so he will carry you in case you need it. Be careful with the medicine; don't let it take over your life. Try not to count on Social Security, don't give up on it, either.
Do not despair, many have prevailed, but neither should you fall into the trap of imagining that the world works as it should.
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2001 - 7:42 pm: ||
I'm a 26 year old female diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and would like to request some help. I contacted your office and they told me to go ahead and file a claim before talking to you, but I'm afraid I'll do something wrong. For five years i've suffered with debilitating fatigue. I'm a college graduate and started out working in a physically demanding entertainment field at Disney, then moving on the entertainment on a ship and then continuing as a tour manager, traveling for six months, for a cross country tour service. In between the first and second job, I was out of work for 3 months due to fatigue. Between the next jobs I was out for 5 months. After my touring job, i was forced to come back home b/c I was so tired and take a retail job. After six months I took a six month disability leave and after having returned to work for the last two weeks, I'm just as bad off as I was before resting for 5 months. I am currently walking with a cane and have severe leg cramps when on my feet for any length of time. I have a really hard time concentrating and often cannot complete my thoughts or forget what coins correspond with each denomination when working at a cash register. I am concerned because I would be applying with CFS and also I'm not sure If i have the appropriate medical forms needed. Could you please let me know if CFS is hard to receive disability benefits for and what medical tests I should definitely have done? I appreciate your help.
Lake Lure, NC
Reply by Paul
I am probably going to scare you a little, by setting out everything I can think of that might help or hurt your claim. Please don't worry too much; if we listed everything that might go wrong while driving to the grocery store, it would sound even more risky. I will also list some things that might not apply to your particular claim.
I am not smart enough medically to tell you all the tests you need to undergo.
I can say that you need to get a doctor that really knows what he is doing, and to do all he or she commands, and to see him or her regularly, and to make sure he or she writes down absolutely every symptom you have, absolutely every time you go, and to make sure you keep a temperature chart. (Mild low grade fever is one of the few objectively verifiable signs of CFS) Tell him or her about this, and be positive he or she is going to help you in your claim.
CFS is a disease that, like fibromyalgia, is diagnosed in part by exclusion of other diseases and by reports by the patient of many SYMPTOMS, meaning problems reported by the patient but not perceptible to the doctor, but fewer SIGNS, meaning observations verifiable by objective observation of the physician. There are some signs, but not many.
This bias toward symptoms makes these cases ones that must be handled carefully from the time you think about filing until the hearing. It also means that there is less certainty in the outcome of the case, since, if you give the judge a reason or excuse to disbelieve you, he might have a sufficient basis to deny the claim, whatever your doctor says.
There are some judges and doctors that are hostile to these sorts of claims.
All of this means that you must be careful to not do anything to impair your credibility, and do everything you can to bolster it.
The following will impair your credibility: Saying something that is not true to your doctor or any component of the Administration. Saying something that appears not to be true, whether it is or not. Saying things too quickly, which you think are true, but are not. Abusing alcohol. Abusing drugs, prescribed or not. Claiming to your doctor you lost drugs and need more, even if you actually lost them. Asking for a certain drug from the doctor, that he or she doesn't want to give you, whether you actually need it or not. Using assistive devices, like a cane, without the doctor noting in his record that he advises you to do so, whether you need it or not. Claiming a condition is severe but not going to the doctor regularly. Claiming that you cannot afford medical treatment when in fact it is available for free in your community. Note that this last one applies whether or not you know about the free care or not; most judges know all of the sources of free care and expect you to. Refusing to take medicine recommended to you by your doctor. Claiming you took medication when the pharmacy record, which is detailed and easily ordered, shows you have not. Having more than one doctor without clear statements in the records of all doctors that each was aware of what the other was prescribing. Claiming that you have a pattern of pain that does not match a known disease. Claiming a pattern of limitation of activity that does not match the disease with which you are diagnosed. Saying you cannot perform certain activities where the record shows that you have done these things. Claiming you cannot do things where the doctor says you can, whether or not he is right. Working under the table during your claim. Making claims about impairment that do not match the medical evidence, whether it is right or not. Failing to try to get back to work hard enough to suit the judge that hears your case. Failing to go to Vocational Rehabilitation and ask for help. Going to Vocational Rehabilitation and not trying hard. Having your vocational counsellor indicate that you are not motivated whether you are or not. Having an abrasive or whiny personality that irritates some judges.
To help your credibility do the opposite of all of the above, if it is appropriate. For example, it would not be appropriate to try to get back to work if your doctor forbids it and says so in the record.
Note that there are many things that can impair your credibility despite the fact that you are an honest person. This is not fair. But it is so, and you demand fairness at your peril. Ideally you should be beyond honest; you should be above suspicion.
As to getting together, in a symptom intensive case like fibromyalgia or CFS I think it is best to get down to a lawyer early in the claim. Please do call and set up an appointment. Tell Karen or whomever that I said to go ahead and set it.
Other lawyers wait until the hearing is requested in all cases. My position on this approach is set out elsewhere on this site; ask if you can't find it.
Take care and good luck.