I received this e-mail from a reader yesterday.  Her friend has myeloma and seems to be in pretty bad shape.  Her Social Security Disibility claim was denied, even though she can barely walk.  I hear stories like this all of the time, but I don’t have any experience fighting with the Social Security Administration.  Maybe some of you do and can advise Deidre how to help her sick friend, Deb.  Rather than edit Deidre’s e-mail, I contacted both Deidre and Deb and got permission to publish it in it’s entirety:

Hi Pat:

Now that the New Year is here and we all resolve to do better, I
decided I need to “bookmark” your blog…..It looks like a lot of
interesting information that would be helpful to know.

I was visiting with my friend, Deb, this past weekend and we went to a
party of old high school friends. It was her first time seeing so many
friends in one setting and she was open to talking about her Myeloma.
I really admire her for wanting to get out and visit even though she
uses a walker and she physically looks different–she is the same fun-
loving person though. It also was the first time that she displayed
emotion to me. Before leaving her house for the party, we embraced and
wished each other “Happy New Year”. She started to cry and said that
she never thought that she would be so limited and would not even be
able to do laundry. I told her that I was reflecting on this past year
and realized she spent 6 months of 2009 feeling miserable and that is
a long time to endure. Instead of her saying “poor me” and such, she
matter of fact stated that 2009 was an odd numbered year and she never
liked odd years and that is how she looked at it–2010 is even and has
to bring better luck. Wow!

She told me that she heard in December that she was denied Social
Security Disability. It took about 3-4 months to review–I know it was
a big let down for her. She and her husband are struggling on one
income and 3 boys at home–they have graduation coming up, sports, and
college planning. When she called to inquire, SSI basically said that
they based it on her Dr. stating that she would be able to return to
work in May 2010 (she is only 50 yrs old). I have seen disability
forms in my nursing and I told Deb that the Dr. may be basing it on
undergoing treatment for a year and then re-evaluating her physical
condition but if he had to put a date on it, at least a year……
(she goes to the Abbott Northwestern Cancer Center where I would think
they have seen the extreme effects from Myeloma).

Like I described, she lost 4 inches of height due to her spine
collapsing, she can’t drive, she can’t twist or bend down. Sometimes I
think that her legs are weaker from spinal nerve deficit. So, do you
have any insight what she should do next? She has a Dr. Appt on Thurs
and will hopefully bring it up with him. Does it take a few times
before getting approved for disability benefits? It is so much red
tape and meanwhile I don’t want them to have financial ruin.

Should she hire a disability lawyer to wade through all of this for
her? Do you know of any good leads that I could offer her to help her
with the process.

Thank you so much for your help. I look forward to hearing back from
you.

Happy New Year and stay warm!
Deidre

Can anyone out there help Deb?  I was in such bad shape when I applied for my SSI that I was easily accepted the first time, so I don’t feel qualified to advise her about this. 

Feel good and try to keep smiling, everyone – that means you too, Deb!  Pat