Filing for Disability

Have you filed for disability as a result of your osteoporosis? Work or Social Security Disability? How difficult has it been?

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This is the first time this matter has come up in all the years (23) I have been associated with osteoporosis.
Bone loss -- by itself -- would not indicate a disability. There are hundreds of millions of employed people with bone loss of varying degrees. Indeed, many of them do not even know they have bone loss.
My own physical impairments -- muscular weakness and difficulties with prolonged weight-bearing -- entitle me to a parking placard, but hardly a disability pension or SSI. Furthermore, these impairments are related to spinal strenosis, post-hip repair nerve damage, and post-polio syndrome, not to my osteopenia.
One needs to demonstrate that one cannot work or hold down a job to qualify for such funding.
This is no easy task.
Lucy Buckley PT

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Thank You. That's why I asked the question. I have degenerative osteoarthritis in my knees and right wrist and degen. changes in many vertabrae, but primarily lumbosacral with multiple old compression fractures. Last year I was also diagnosed with osteoporosis. My BD has stabilized on Fossamax and 3000mg of Ca and Vit.D daily. My low back pain is severe and not responding to pills or injections so far. I also have fibromyalgia. I can't go back to work if I'm on narcotics and I need objective data to prove disability. I thought I might learn something here. My PCP is recommending disability, my pain doctor says that the most he can contribute is subjective findings, and my orthopedist is probably going to be the deciding vote.

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Thanks for the outline of your multiple problems.
The disability factor depends on the limitations of how all your physical ailments affect your ability to work, and the demands of the job you might be attempting -- unsucessfully -- to do.
A list of diagnoses does not count.
Functional limitations such as -- can not stand for more than 3 minutes without pain in range of 5-7/10; walks for limited distances (20-30 ft) with wheeled walker; endurance for work setting limited to 2-3 hours/day. Things like that. I made up the previous limitations, as an example.
It might be advantageous to have a comprehensive evaluation by rehabiliatation team to phrase all this in the proper terms.
In other words, who is going to hire you with all these impairments/disabilities?
It is no easy task to get SSI, and you would be well advised to consult with Social Security upfront to find out how to best comply with the requirements.
I am concerned about your narcotics as these can impair your balance and increase the risk of falls leading to more fractures.
You speak of 3000mg of calcium. Really this much? 1200-1500 mg/day is the general requirement. 800-1000 IU of Vitamin D3 is what is now the desired amount of D unless you have low levels and need more to bring up your blood level.
Lucy Buckley PT

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Hi Lucy,
I have been working in a hospital as a pediatric nurse practitioner and off work for a month now. I can only sit still for about 90min., I can walk about 75yds before I have to sit down, I can do only one set of stairs with difficulty, and can stand at a counter, leaning, for about 10 min. tops. I am seeing Kathryn Diemer here in St. Louis and I really do require that much Calcium. Two surgeries for degenerative arthritis that I had on my wrist and knee developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy and osteopenia then was thought to be from the inactivity. I had a gastric bypass three years ago to get the weight off my painful back and knees. It's been a Catch 22. I'm now seeing a doc of PT specializing in aquatics. I think the rehab team is an excellent suggestion. Thanks,
Ladybug0904

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I'm glad you are involved in Aquarics. I am a great believer in the value/benefit of water-based therapy. Especially for complicated cases like yours.
Best of luck!
Lucy Buckley PT

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Bone loss -- by itself -- would not indicate a disability. ?????????????? YES bone loss can indicate a disability.My bone loss is so severe with osteo that I was given disability.I guess it has a lot to do with how bad your condition is.

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A diagnosis of osteoporosis tells the judge -- or whomever -- very little of why one cannot work or hold a job.
The reasons might be "severe risk of further fracture", skeletal deformities curtailing endurance, respiration and , mobility" -- disabilities like that.
Certainly there are many, many people with bone loss who are able to work and do not consider themselves disabled to the extent you must be.
Lucy Buckley PT

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I work as a receptionist/admin assist, I am glad I have the type of work that I have, but am told not to sit more then 30 mins at a time without getting up and walking around. Sitting for long periods of time isn't good either.

After watching my Mother decline rapidly due to diabetes and gone at age 66, I decided to take out long term disability through my work, short term disability, and long term care insurance... I am insurance poor now, but I hope that this decreases anxiety in the event I can't work... I would recommend to anyone to plan for anything. My Mother tried getting disability when her back went out and didn't qualify, but she still had to quit her job. It took her getting Congestive Heart Disease to qualify for it...

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Thanks for posting your replys. I'm a little surprised that anyone would be upset by the term "disability." Using osteoporosis as a reason to file a report stating that you unfortunately need funds due to you because you are unable to perform your usual job is likened to saying you had polio as a child and as an adult you now have complications that prevent you from working. It's "expected" by the medical community that any victim of polio is disabled. Why is it so different for a person with osteoporosis who develops osteoarthritis and spontaneous fractures? Yes, many people have varying degrees by which their disease progresses but it seems to me that we all end up in the same place no matter how much exercise we do and medications we take. Whatever label anyone wants to put on it, it all ends up that we need assistance and "Disability Insurance" is the tool.
Thanks, Ladybug0904

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I am in the process of filing now. I have used 6 months of sickleave, and when it is all used up, I will be without an income. I have pain to the degree that I can not stand more than 30 minutes or an hour and cannot sit at all. Sitting causes too much pressure on the bones in my pelvis. I am a teacher, but what do you do when you cannot stand or sit? I spend about 20 hours a day in bed, which is now causing other problems. I just said all this to reinforce the fact that we are all a unique case and bone loss means different things to different people. I am praying for recovery and do not want permanent disability, but it is out of my control at this point.

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Hi, Everyone, It was a thought that crossed my mind many times but I see I am in pretty good shape. My diagnosis of osteoporosis came with high levels of calcium & PTH which I had a Parathyroidectomy in Feb. Now I am waiting to see if my bones are regenerating. I have a problems taking medications & supplements due to my tinnitus (ear noise). Right now I am trying Calcium Carbonate without VIT D. It is so hard to tell what is irritating my tinnitus. I may have to say the heck with everything & take the 1200mg of Calium + D one tablet in the morning & one at night & spend some time in the sunshine you know gardening & stuff. Well, thanks for listening. Good Luck to all & Thank you for your words of wisdom. Caringly, JoanB.

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I have a brother who has been disabled from birth. I am his legal guardian since both parents are gone. I know he needed a doctors letter to qualify for disability (SSI) but now gets Dads SS and pension. I know it's not easy to get because our government makes it difficult. But as each person's situation is unique, speaking to your doctor about his thoughts on your future on the work force is the first place to start. I still fill out a sheet every year on my brother just in case he's gotten well... lol... wish he could and so does he...

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Mostly to KathyS, I actually hired an advocate to guide me through the turmoil. You know better than most what a bureaucratic nightmare it is to file either with insurance or feds. When I heard what this one major disability insurance company did to deny claims it made my toes curl. You are very wise to purchase all the coverage you can now, especially with the added responsibility of your brother.
Blessings, Ladybug

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Ladybug,

I am new here, this is my first post.

How do one find an advocate? And, not trying to be nosey, but, are they expensive - how much do they charge, generally speaking?

Thanks!

Gumbie

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In this section re SS Disability Ins.; has anyone used the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) to keep their job or change their job within the same co? Example - am a Letter Carrier walking 7 miles/day, currently have a stress fracture to my foot and a spine score of -4.9. Am a bit concerned about going back to work.

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Lately they have been turning down most SSD claims the first time around. So you may have to be persistent.

Better yet would be greater pain control. Calcitonen Salmon has been helpful in bone pain so you might want to discuss that with your doctor.

A slow release patch with fentanyl (small dose so you do not really notice sedation) along with muscle relaxants at bedtime and an SSRI drug to help with the pain management might be a good combination. You need to be referred to a pain manager if your doc is not interested in trying to manage what you arae experiencing.

I finally got into good pain managment and my life is dramatically better

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