SSDI AJL Hearing, Denied

327Grunt

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Hey guys. So, Im 100% P&T, combat vet. PTSD, TBI plus other various issues. 36 years old going on 106. Major memory, anger, anxiety and concentration issues, ect ect. Most of you guys know the rest.

Anyway, Denied once, appealed, denied twice then waited months for my hearing. A year long pile of crap, and just saw on my online SS website that I have been denied.

The Hearing:
So the guy was respectful enough during the hearing, thanked me for my service and all that. I had my issues written down on a piece of paper so I wouldn't forget them. I was holding it together pretty well, shaking like a leaf (anxiety sucks) but felt I was articulate enough to get my points across. My "lawyer" said I did well and was credible. The vocational expert was on the phone, said i could have been a marksmanship instructor, rural postal delivery or document prepairer. Lawyer got her to admit that there were no jobs for me for someone who would would be "off task" so much ect.

Judge finished with "for better or for worse, for what its worth, thank you for your service". Ha.

Why they even had to go the "off task" route is beyond me because even my medical records fit the Blue Book PTSD descriptions to a "T". This is ludicrous. Im pretty pissed right now. I just got wind of this. I wish i could sustain gainful employment. I was in the reserves for several years, but that barely qualifies as "part time"... hell, I mostly did that to keep fooling myself into feeling kinda "normal". So here I am. Financial hardship. Looking at doing an appeal. Meanwhile, some 20-something year old gets approved who has hurt-feelings and "fybromyalgia" or some damn thing. This judge is known for being a prick though, from a local lawyer in my area and has a 35 or so % approval rating. They sent me 8 hours away, even though Spokane is less than 2 from me.

The Lawyer:
I used "American Disability Alliance". They were kind of hamfisted the whole time about various things. They didnt follow up with me about records (supposedly they got them all to the SSA but Im not sure) and towards the hearing date I called..... they had missed the previous 6 months of treatment records! They farmed my case out to some local lawyer, who seemed pretty decent. I felt he could have been more aggressive for me, but who knows.

Lessons Learned:
Not sure yet. I can tell you this sucks. All of it.

Pretty pissed about the whole thing. I have a family of 5. Im in financial hardship. Guess Ill try an appeal. Trying not to lose hope.
 

Boats_

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Don't lose hope brotha, the only way you fail is if you stop trying!! I hope that they get you and your family the benefits that you need and are entitled to! Best of luck to you
 

327Grunt

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Ive since switched lawyers to someone I can work with face-to-face and he has a lot of experience working with vets both on the SSA side and the VA side. He also actually seems to care, which surprisingly, helps immensely. So often I feel like Im fighting these battles all alone. Trying to shield my wife and kids from the stress and struggle.

We filed the appeal yesterday. The judge broke so many rules it seems. He completely ignored my PTSD, that if you read my VA description of it, almost perfectly mirrors word-for-word what the SSA's Blue Book description is. Its like he just decided to completely pretend it did not exist. Tried to bring up a bunch of stuff I used to do from a few years back, out of context and also out of the time frame of my claim. Tried to say I was basically "exaggerating" my symptoms during the hearing. I was very amped up and on the verge of a damn panic attack, so I was shaking pretty bad, but I held it together. Serious business, you know? All sorts of things he put in his decision. I felt like he was questioning my integrity and character and that pissed me off the most.

Hoping at least for a remand of the decision, plus, no matter what we are switching the case over to the city where I should ACTUALLY be going so hopefully I wont have to see this jackass ever again. They sent me 8 hours away for the first one, fully knowing that I moved. They sent me mail at my new address for crying out loud!

So, we'll see how it all goes. The weight of this and other life issues are crushing my soul. I feel like I just walked 1000 miles with a 125lb ruck... and I still have to take the objective.
 

oddpedestrian

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It will probably be another year or two before you get back in front of a judge if the Appeals Council grants the remand. The SSA just has a higher standard to get approved and there is so much bias involved, it literally could be anything I highly recommend following Jonathan Ginsburg to be more prepared next time what this vid, please.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJkR5-IPIKE
 

327Grunt

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
It will probably be another year or two before you get back in front of a judge if the Appeals Council grants the remand. The SSA just has a higher standard to get approved and there is so much bias involved....
Thank you for the input. In regards to the video content, in being that VA records are somewhat long, repetitive, ect- cant a good lawyer help mitigate this by highlighting important areas of the records and things like?
 

NoleNation

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Just my personal opinion but my issue with SSDI determination regarding mental health is this (I will use your situation to illustrate): The VA has rated you 100% P&T. Which means the VA has found that your service-connected PTSD results in "[t]otal occupational and social impairment..." Which means, for all intents and purposes, the VA has decided that you are totally impaired when it comes to holding an occupation. Now... the Social Security Administration then turns around and says you don't meet their definition of "disabled." Well... you can't go back go work because you risk the VA making a determination that you're not "totally occupationally impaired" and then what you have is a very unhealthy situation of possibly having your ratings reduced (because you're not in an occupation) and trying to hold a job with PTSD because you might not have the 100% anymore. Very unfair to the veterans. I hope that made sense-- hard opinion to put into words. I understand that technically a veteran is allowed to work with a 100% scheduler rating... but there is a difference between the regulations when it comes to a rating of 100% based on, say, hand and foot conditions with hearing loss and a 100% rating based on mental health-- for one, the mental health rating criteria is directly influenced by someone's ability to be "occupationally impaired."

Anyway, I'm sorry your SSDI claim didn't work out this go-around. I feel your frustration.
 

327Grunt

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Just my personal opinion but my issue with SSDI determination regarding mental health is this (I will use your situation to illustrate): The VA has rated you 100% P&T. Which means the VA has found that your service-connected PTSD results in "[t]otal occupational and social impairment..." Which means, for all intents and purposes, the VA has decided that you are totally impaired when it comes to holding an occupation. Now... the Social Security Administration then turns around and says you don't meet their definition of "disabled." Well... you can't go back go work because you risk the VA making a determination that you're not "totally occupationally impaired" and then what you have is a very unhealthy situation of possibly having your ratings reduced (because you're not in an occupation) and trying to hold a job with PTSD because you might not have the 100% anymore. Very unfair to the veterans. I hope that made sense-- hard opinion to put into words. I understand that technically a veteran is allowed to work with a 100% scheduler rating... but there is a difference between the regulations when it comes to a rating of 100% based on, say, hand and foot conditions with hearing loss and a 100% rating based on mental health-- for one, the mental health rating criteria is directly influenced by someone's ability to be "occupationally impaired."

Anyway, I'm sorry your SSDI claim didn't work out this go-around. I feel your frustration.
Are you trying to say that the fact that that social security denied my claim, that it puts me at risk with the VA??

I would think that it does not, because their definitions are not the same.

I want to work. I might be able to get by for a while, and have in the past- but my symptoms and issues always catch up to me, and i end up in the trash heap once more. Going out and even attempting to sustain long term employment isent even an option at this point because A: i know how it will end up again and B: risking the VA coming after me isnt worth it for that kind of result. And C: it would probably hurt my SSA case anyway.

So im stuck right now. And it sucks. Just got denied on the board of appeals. Now its moving to federal and also filing a new concurrent claim.

Sick of this. Been a long crappy road with it all.
 

NoleNation

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Are you trying to say that the fact that that social security denied my claim, that it puts me at risk with the VA??

I would think that it does not, because their definitions are not the same.
Absolutely did not say that or suggest it. Sorry if my response was a bit confusing. Was just saying I don’t know what social security expects veterans with a 100% mental health rating to do. They can't work but social security seems to think they're able to. Just voicing my frustration with the process with you.
 
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327Grunt

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Absolutely did not say that or suggest it. Was just saying I don’t Know what social security expects 100% mental health ratings to do. Just voicing my frustration with the process with you.
Rgr that, Nole. Sry, just a little jumpy lately. I appreciate the input.
 

NoleNation

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Rgr that, Nole. Sry, just a little jumpy lately. I appreciate the input.
No reason for apologies! :) Have you consulted with anyone else regarding your possible options at this point (such as the Appeals Council)? Don't go at it alone, though ( as you already know!) .
 

327Grunt

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Oh
No reason for apologies! :) Have you consulted with anyone else regarding your possible options at this point (such as the Appeals Council)? Don't go at it alone, though ( as you already know!) .
Oh yes- I have a lawyer. Switched to a local guy, specialized in VA and SSA. Im well past the apleals counsel now. Denied there too (appeals counsel is lookong for procedural error anyway)

Now im on to federal while also filing new/concurrent claim.
 

XarmyXairforce

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Grunt, you said he used your past from a couple years back? What was that all about? 11M here... Follow ME!
 

jeffb

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PEB Forum Veteran
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Did you get an attorney or did you fill out all the paperwork yourself ?
 
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