Disability Claim

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Wassy
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Disability Claim

Postby Wassy » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:20 pm

Per my other posts, as you know I filed disability claim with my company. Realizing that RLS, in and of itself, is going to be a battle to obtain this, I spent a significant amount of time with doctors and online research. I have 5 doctors; 1 Internal Medicine, 1 Neurologist, 1 cardiologist, and a psychotherapist and psychiatrist. Beside personal visits with each, I also sent a letter to each summarizing my issues, lack of sleep and some of the affects it has had on me and how it relates to difficulty at my job.

The psychotherapist and Psychiatrist both are in absolute agreement that this is needed. The Cardiologist, too, has written in his files that lack of sleep due to RLS can trigger atherosclerosis and cause yet another heart attack. What seems to be an issue is the Neurologist and Internal medicine docs. Both kind of think I need to treat the anxiety and/or depression and the RLS will subside. I've insisted that through multi-year tracking, it's the other way around. That the sleep depravation causes the anxiety. I received a call from my IM this morning regarding the letter. He is absolutely sympathetic to the issues, but said a couple things that may be challenging. 1, that he hopes my psychologist and neurologist are on board, and 2, that this will be the very first case he's ever seen of someone trying to go out under RLS. While RLS is listed as the primary condition, it isn't the RLS so to speak but the sleep depravation caused by the RLS.

I'm trying to get my ducks in order to be able to provide pertinent information to disability company to support this. I am scheduled for neuropsych evaluation in the next couple weeks to determine the extent of cognitive and psychological impairment (slowness and other). The NeuroPsychologist, after yesterday's consultation, clearly sees some extenuating issues and will be performing various tests over a 2 day period.

What gets me is the doctor's who are licenced to prescribe drugs would prefer that method and continuing to try everything on the drug store shelf, speaking loosely. It's almost as if there is no compassion, but instead, "some" drug will work, so keep on taking them. I've been of this camp many years, but as you know from other posts, this has changed in the last 2.

Dr. B, as I've read in his books and via email with him, does have a section on disability, so he apparently supports this in recognition of the detriments this causes. I've reached out to him again, this morning, hoping to schedule a visit with him while I'm in LA late June. I offered to send him my neurology records so perhaps we can get started even without a visit. I have all blood tests including ferritin, etc. He has seen a copy of that and said I'm highly sufficient with iron.

The previous 3 nights have been pretty awful. I've had worse, but these were right up there. I'm on the Gabapentin 300mg. Neurologist does not want me to increase yet. Says it takes 4-6 weeks to work it's way through. Sounds like a Lexpro type of engagement, and probably needs to ween off when done.

Per my doc's comments this morning, I agree there is little case history on RLS and disability. Has anyone here successfully obtained disability through private or group policies (not SSDI), and if so, any recommendations? alternately, if you attempted and were denied, any reasons that might help me form a better presentation?

As a standard disclaimer, I am certainly not attempting to take advantage of the system and if application is denied, I will continue to remain out of work because I just can't do it. But that's what the policy is supposed to be there for.

Appreciate any feedback on what may be a sore subject with many. I hope you understand, as some have already express agreement.

**additional edit** My wife and I were just talking, and she had some great points. Could this not also be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? I've researched the requirements, of which you need 4 of 8, and I definitely have at least 4 of the 8. I also read that CFS can sometimes coexist with RLS/WED. Both stemming from and as a cause. This may explain the severe tiredness and inability to do much. What irks me in this regard, is why hasn't any of my doctors even discussed this with me? First of all, and although similarly to RLS there is no cure and is treated symptomatically, CFS is a known and recognized disability, at least on the SSDI platform. It might also offer some relief at least mentally that there is something else going on here.. Thoughts?

Polar Bear
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Re: Disability Claim

Postby Polar Bear » Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:23 pm

I don't know anything about the system in the US for Disability, but I'd like to say that I fully understand how rls/wed can make you feel debilitated enough to be unable to work.

For 30 years I worked while the wed continued to progress, with a small table on top of my desk so that I could work standing up. By the time I reached retirement I was more than ready to leave work which is something I would never have believed. Working on 3 or 4 hours' sleep - or no sleep - was getting too hard.

Life is easier now that there is no watching the clock in the middle of the night doing a countdown to the time for getting ready for work.

You appear to have been very thorough in your application and I wish you well.
Betty
http://www.willis-ekbom.org/about-rls-wed/publications
Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation

rthom
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Re: Disability Claim

Postby rthom » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:52 pm

I had one further thought with regsards to your wife's question about CF. I was diagnosed with it about 10-15 years ago and what stands out to me is that it took a long time for my energy level to improve--with the WED i find over a matter of weeks it can improve. I don't know what the "rules" are with regard to this but i suspect this is the key difference between the two. I also tend to feel exhausted with both but it seems to be a different type of exhausted--not one worse than the other, just different.
Keep at it. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

badnights
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Re: Disability Claim

Postby badnights » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:42 am

I know very little about CFS - which has a new name now, too, but I forget it - but I think one of the key things is that the fatigue is usually brought on or exacerbated by physical exertion, whereas in RLS there is no such connection, since the fatigue is a result of ongoing sleep deprivation.
Beth - Wishing you a restful sleep tonight
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I am a volunteer moderator. My posts are not medical advice. My posts do not reflect RLS Foundation opinion.

Polar Bear
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Re: Disability Claim

Postby Polar Bear » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:07 pm

I find that with WED and CFS/Fibromyalgia it is a bad mix. Fibro - just want to rest, but at rest the dreaded WED symptoms creep up. So its a case of walking off the WED symptoms while exhausted and weary and aching from fibro and also exhausted from WED.

I think most of us have a complex mix of conditions.
Betty
http://www.willis-ekbom.org/about-rls-wed/publications
Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation

rthom
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Re: Disability Claim

Postby rthom » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:19 am

perfectly put, pb thanks for explaining this.

dogeyed
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Re: Disability Claim

Postby dogeyed » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:57 pm

I applied and received Social Security Disability a number of years ago, which I had RLS, but it was for severe chronic depression and panic disorder, plus my tore-up back from a car wreck, with RLS on the end of the list, as to how come I got disability. At the Social Security Disability dot gov website, they list all the calamities that are considered for disability relief. RLS is not on there (altho it ought to be). But you need to find on that website a couple conditions that fit you. I also found that it is important to have someone in your corner, which you very fortunately have, and also, like you, I found my psych doc to be the most sympathetic, even handing over a note she wrote about how mentally challenged I was. And pictures speak louder than words, so I sent them some copies of X-rays, which my back was fractured and twisted in a car wreck.

In my view, from what little I know about the SS system and from my own experience, your heart MAY be on that list in various forms and fashions, so might help for you to explore that as YOUR top issue. And you've heard me talk about how invaluable my psych doc was to me, so there's a second issue. And I personally think the more stuff wrong with you, the more records you have to back everything up, docs willing to go out on a limb and produce a letter, which you are so fortunate to have that, hopefully the smoother things will go for you.

Well, my thinking has just run out of gas. I'll try to return to this thread and if you have any questions or whatever, I'll try to answer them. Oh, I got my disability on second written try, not for RLS (altho I put it at the end of my list), but for my mental ruin and painful back. I truly am a pathetic personage, but I try to maintain, altho lately I've been having lots more problems. GG
"It's not how old you are; it's how awful you feel."

Chipmunk
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Re: Disability Claim

Postby Chipmunk » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:55 am

I agree that if you can qualify under a "standard" category then it would be advantageous to use that instead. I would think your heart condition and mental health could be primary with the RLS/WED aggravating it, so that you can't work your normal job. Lack of sleep has been shown to raise one's risk of death quite a bit, as well as obesity, depression, heart disease, etc., so it's hardly a stretch. There was a study recently that Postpartum Depression is highly correlated with a new mom's level of sleep deprivation, which none of us would find surprising in the least, but it's nice to have some data to back it up. :-)
Tracy

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the WED/RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

Wassy
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Re: Disability Claim

Postby Wassy » Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:26 am

Chipmunk wrote:I agree that if you can qualify under a "standard" category then it would be advantageous to use that instead. I would think your heart condition and mental health could be primary with the RLS/WED aggravating it, so that you can't work your normal job. Lack of sleep has been shown to raise one's risk of death quite a bit, as well as obesity, depression, heart disease, etc., so it's hardly a stretch. There was a study recently that Postpartum Depression is highly correlated with a new mom's level of sleep deprivation, which none of us would find surprising in the least, but it's nice to have some data to back it up. :-)


I agree. However, cardiologist told Me in and of itself the heart attack damage was minor and no disability from that alone. He did write on chart and told me that lack of sleep can lead to more
Atherosclerosis and another heart attack. As for mental illness, I no doubt have support by therapists. But policy has 24 month limit on mental illnesses unless confined to institution. I don't see that happening. They also state that rls and lack of sleep are the primary and causing any depression or anxiety. Given my daily fatigue, anxiety and sporadic depression I know I can't do my job. I haven't for 2 years. You're right, it's not a stretch. But to disability company it will be. They don't really care what the issue is so long as doctor write "unable To perform Job duties or work". Toy local docs, RLS is still treatable and therefore they'd rather not have to go to Court to defend something with little case history. That's my experience and thesis anyway.

This is not SSDI, this is a group disability policy with MetLife. SSDI is a whole other ball game.

dogeyed
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Re: Disability Claim

Postby dogeyed » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:44 pm

I think anything that would lead to your death qualifies as a disability. And you have explained quite well that the primary condition causing you loss of sleep has NOT been treatable, you have not responded to treatment, try as you might. And the psych docs are already on board with your mental issues, even doing some testing soon. It is the collection of health issues that endangers your life, and also has kept you from being able to work for two years, and is the basis for your disability claim. I do not receive SSDI, incidentally, and I only applied for straight disability. I urge you to put acknowledged reasons for disability towards the top of your list, throw in RLS as an aggravating factor in your health issues (the more SS sees it, the better chance one day it will become a reason for disability), and let the chips fall where they may. And your health care policy has nothing to do with the function of Social Security Disability, for it is the government that pays you directly. Upon receiving disability, within one year you are automatically put on Medicare, which you can choose whichever insurance group you want. I do not wish to argue, rather encourage, and so I could not stand by and let you debate yourself right out of a claim that may not even go to court! I never went to court. They gave me mine on the second write-in. Hope you do poorly on your psych tests!!! SMILE. gg
"It's not how old you are; it's how awful you feel."

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Kimberly
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Re: Disability Claim

Postby Kimberly » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:31 am

Wassy wrote:

This is not SSDI, this is a group disability policy with MetLife. SSDI is a whole other ball game.


I think I was sort of in the same situation years ago. I was only getting 2 hrs of sleep per night and still trying to work full-time. When it became too much, I asked my company to put me on short-term disability, a benefit offered by the company, while the doctors worked to find something to help. Even with letters from my doctor, my request was denied, I was given a month's severance pay and let go. Because I felt I was being discriminated against, I contacted a lawyer who specialized in such matters. Even pregnant women get 6 weeks short-term disability for maternity leave! But the lawyer advised me that I could not prove discrimination unless there was some one else in my office who HAD received short-term disability for the exact same illness I was being denied. I believe that this decision to deny me was made solely by the company...I doubt that the insurance carrier was ever even notified. However, since I also live in Ohio, an 'employment at-will' state, an employer can also fire and employee for any reason without explanation. It was 1999, I was a divorced mom with three sons, and as a result, lost everything, including my home. I applied for SSD and was denied. Fortunately, my doctor was able to come up with a combination of meds that allowed me 6 hours of sleep and I returned to a new job, but over 2 yrs time, was back to 2 hrs sleep and with the onset of severe fibromyalgia, I had to quit work, again. In 2003 I applied for SSD, again. It took almost 4 years of denials, lawyering up, contesting, etc., but I finally ended up getting a hearing in front of a judge who gave me a bench decision, that day, in favor of Disability, he wrote based on RLW/PLMW, fibromyalgia and depression.

badnights
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Re: Disability Claim

Postby badnights » Sat May 05, 2012 6:49 am

And there are people who get disability for almost-frivilous reasons.!
Beth - Wishing you a restful sleep tonight
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I am a volunteer moderator. My posts are not medical advice. My posts do not reflect RLS Foundation opinion.


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