As pain sufferers we often deal with scrutiny, difficulty getting our pain medications, and finding the right doctor who really listens to us. And for those of us who are not able to work, we have to deal with filing for disability.
As if filling out all the paperwork isn’t tedious enough — which is understandable — the entire process sometimes ends up taking years.
I knew right away that I would be denied, because my doctor said they deny everyone the first time they apply. He already had a recommendation for a lawyer I should see once I got my first denial letter.
So far the process has taken 1 year and 8 months, with the current status being “waiting trial date.” I’ve done my part. We’ve submitted everything they’ve asked for and then some, but it doesn’t make things move along any faster and I have a theory as to why.
A theory I came up with after talking to several people who went through the process and either got tired of waiting so they returned to work or had to go back to work because they couldn’t afford to keep waiting.
They want to starve you. They make you wait months and months, then a year goes by and maybe another and you lose all your savings because it’s what’s been getting you by. So you’re left with nothing and you can’t work because your doctor has ordered you to stop working. Maybe you have a spouse, but you can’t make it on one income or maybe you’re alone and no one else can help you.
You’ve been starved by the process of waiting for disability to approve your case. And because of it you’re going to close your case and go back to work because it’s easier.
How is it justifiable for a person with a lifelong illness — who has proof and doctors backing up their claim that they shouldn’t be working — is now back at work and a risk to themselves?
Some disability cases fall through the cracks, get approved right away and the person is perfectly fine. Why don’t the legit cases fall through the cracks? How are the frauds getting by? Should we call them to find out how it’s done so we can finally get the help we need?
It’s not just about the financial assistance; we would get medical coverage as well. That would help in so many ways; more care and prescriptions filled at little to no cost. The possibilities are endless. Some people only see dollar signs, but I see medical insurance at little to no cost and more services being fully covered instead of having to pay out of pocket.
The last time my lawyer checked, I was in the system awaiting a trial date. How hard is it to assign a trial date to a case? I know there have been cutbacks everywhere but people have been waiting long enough. Why not let the lawyers choose a date to take some of the work from the court system? Then they’d just have to worry about the people without lawyers and the list would get smaller.
I refuse to be starved from my case. I’m okay with living under a bridge for a few months until I can fight the appeal in court. Although I know our friends and family would never let that happen.
I’ve been fighting my diseases since age 22 and have done a darn good job for 7 years. But over the last few years my body has taken a beating and I’m not the same physically.
I want my day in court and I’m not going anywhere until I get it, and neither should the rest of my fighting brothers and sisters out there.
Arlene Grau lives in Southern California. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.
The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.