I am looking for others who have undergone an Administrative Law Judge hearing in conjunction with a Social Security disability claim related to legal blindness as a complication of Type 1 diabetes. Although my ophthalmologist says I meet the SSA definition due to my lack of peripheral vision, the SSA has turned me down twice. I have been waiting eight months for this "hearing" with an Administrative Law Judge. My attorney says that wait is not unusual. Has anyone had a similar experience or actually had a hearing? If so, please advise. Any help would be appreciated.
Social Security and the Disability filing is a nightmare. From everything I've heard you are lucky to be getting a hearing within 8 months. Some have been told at least a year. From stories I've been told about disability, its also not uncommon to be denied the first two times, that is like a given, but also from what people have said to me in the past, when it goes to hearing they almost ALWAYS get it. Do you have a lawyer representing you? If not I'd check into it. You don't pay unless they win, and if they win they cannot claim more than a certain percentage of what you are awarded. Like 10 or 15% I believe. I tried filing for disability because of a knee injury, I can TRY a knee replacement BUT I've had post op complications including post-op infection from a previous surgery, so a replacement is risky, PLUS due to a car accident several years ago, I've already undergone massive reconstruction of my left leg, which up until the last few years really didn't cause me a lot of problems. I was denied first attempt, and I actually lucked out though and managed to find a great job in a similar area, that didn't require me to be on my feet all day. Good luck, its a crazy messed up process.
In 1998 a dear friend suggested that I file for disability. I was doing temp work after retiring from a job I had for 23 years. I've lived with Type 1 for most of my life and never considered myself disabled even with some complications...anyway I filed and was denied. My friend suggested that I appeal, which I did. I got a law firm that dealt with such cases as mine and they represented me. When it was time to go in front of the judge they were there for me. The judge asked me some questions, I answered as trufully as I could remember. The bottomline was that I had worked over 30 years in fact it was 35 years so he granted me disability. I don't know if have a law firm representing me helped but I think it did. I see you have a lawyer, maybe you need to get one that specializes in disability.
I have an attorney who speecializes in disability cases, and he told me his firm wouldn't have taken the case unless he thought I could and should get a ruling in my favor. His plan, though, is to approach this from the vision/legal blindnss angle and opposed to 52 years as a Type 1 diabetes. I'm concerned that he doesn't understand how the two are profoundly linked. What is so frustrating is the length of time this process is taking (I still don't have a hearing date and it's been slmost eight months since the last set of paperwork was turned in) and not knowing what to expect whenever I actually get a hearing date. My lawyer has said he'll go through all the questions with me once we actually have a hearing date, but I tend to fret.Thanks for the responses. I now feel a bit more prepared.
I tend to agree with the lawyer, its the blindness that is causing the disability, Yes they are related, BUT diabetes at least in my opinion in and of itself does not make you disabled Its the complications caused by diabetes that can cause the disabilities. There are many people with diabetes who are fortunate enough not to have complication or complications severe enough to limit their ability to work. It's like splitting hairs. I think though their is no denying that blindness makes you disabled so that is why the lawyer is going that route. We see it every day as a diabetic, the limited knowledge of the disease and the impact it can have on lives. Don't stress it, let the lawyer handle it, they are the ones who deal with these things day in and day out. Even as a non-lawyer person, I would have said the blindness is the better issue to file on. People understand blindness,
Just to clarify I certainly understands the ADA classified diabetes as a disability with which employers, educational places have to make reasonable accommodations. Im definitely not implying as diabetics we don't have that right. What I was stating though, was that just diabetes alone, at least how I have personally viewed my own diabetes has never limited me from working, I'm going on 30 years with this. My meaning behind what I posted, to the average person who doesn't understand diabetes, stressing the blindness is a better route.
Understood and agreed.
That pretty much sums it up, I think. "I can't see" is very cut and dried; folks can absolutely empathize with that. Most cannot empathize with the day-in, day-out rollercoaster that is type 1 diabetes. Unless they live it, they don't comprehend its impact, nor can they understand that it is highly variable from person to person. Mr. Smith may have no complications after 35 years; Mr. Jones, in the meantime, may have serious cardiovascular or neurological issues after only 20. It's pretty hard to come up with a standard based on such widely varying experiences. Your lawyers are spot on: use the blindness as the key talking point.
I did forget to mention that my appeal took 2 years but it was worth the wait.