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Author Topic: Wait time Kentucky  (Read 4948 times)

VET76

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Wait time Kentucky
« on: April 21, 2020, 09:41:39 am »


Wait time Kentucky
« on: Today at 09:39:50 AM »
Quote
Good morning everyone,
I hope everyone is doing well in these challenging days. I have been lurking around in the forum for some time now and have a question.
I am a 100% P&T Veteran, with a VA rating of 100% for PTSD alone, plus a additional combined disability rating of another 100%. I left the service last year after 21yrs, not willingly, but it was "advised" to me by the Army if I dont I be medically retired. Anyhow, I filed for SSDI in Kentucky after losing two jobs and realizing that I could no longer function in a working environment.
I have been denied on the initial level and the reconsideration level, my attorney keeps my spirits up and just filed the appeal for a hearing last week. I dont understand how I kept getting denied, not even being invited to consult a SSA Psychiatrist,  I have two letters from counselors re commending a service dog..which I can not afford due to the VA not paying for a PTSD service dog, and non funding organizations have so much red tape to get one that I freak out.
I guess my question is how long it takes to be seen by a judge in Louisville, KY, and if it's worth it..just thinking about seeing a judge gives me a heart attack. I have been in treatment for years,  outpatient treatment, on suicide watch when I get episodes of flashbacks..not trying to rob the system..but these generic denial letters piss me off. I have been work since I was 16yrs and I am 45yrs now. Again, my attorney insures me that I have a very good chance to win my case in court...but I am losing hope:(


artsya3

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2020, 09:59:42 am »
Usually with mental issues, it is up to the judge to determine if you could work or not.. just be honest and everything should work out okay!!

VET76

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2020, 10:13:20 am »
Thank you for the encouragement,

That's what the attorney tells me as.well, I am not trying to take advantage of the system or lie about my issues. I am just not a open book about it either.

SFVLance

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2020, 10:13:38 am »
Welcome, VET76...

These are hearings, but they are not 'court'. True, some people have had these hearings inside actual courthouses, but the majority are just held in a SSA OHO (Office of Hearing Operations) office, in a room very similar to a conference room with recording equipment. And a raised seat for the ALJ. Your ALJ hearing won't have most of the trappings of court...there will be no bailiff, no jury, no spectators, etc.

By the time your hearing rolls around, our new societal standards may mean your hearing will just be done by videoconferencing, or even just a conference call with you never leaving your home.

I don't know how long the wait for a hearing is these days. You may want to ask your attorney about that.
Los Angeles, CA

Short Version: Filed June 2012 at age 46; major depression + general anxiety. Denied all the way. Fed district court remanded, 2nd hearing delayed twice (11 months total delay). Bench approval at remand hearing in March 2017. Took over six months to receive closed-period award pymt.

VET76

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2020, 10:23:59 am »
Thank you,
I will ask him and hope.that the hearing will be as you said. I know this will be a long way to go, and its difficult for me..I dont want to lask for handouts, or look for someone to feel sorry for me, but I just cant work..barely can leave the house.

Dis4logic

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2020, 12:02:45 pm »
I will be careful what I say here and not be specific, as I know the policy here about certain topics and discussing details of those, but the reason denials occur often the first two stages is not, I repeat, is not "always" just because of lack of evidence or disability merit. It can be because of politics. You cannot seperate government agencies from politics as it involves politics. With politics comes biases. With biases comes denials. Not in all cases, but some cases.

I am not singling the government out, as everyone has biases and emotion, and the rights to make some judgments based on their history of values and experiences. But,when people are suffering and dying, and VERY IMPORTANt decisions must be made, the government workers must look at the evidence with objectivity, base decisions on facts, law, and not assumptions, minimizations, exaggerations, and see us as humans with needs and not some number.

Am I saying base decisions on empathy or pity, no, but using common sense, too. Common sense is if a medical report, facts in the case, or military other stated or suggested the PTSD was now severe or could occur at an time, or under even minimal stress, you likely should have won at stage one if such was in the record. Just because you had that long military work history, that should not imply able to work now, as your condition could have developed there and got worse and worse there, to the point that you no longer could work anywhere.

I know many with PTSD, and ALL can be triggered severely even under minimal stress, that can appear at any time. Are there any jobs that have "less than" minimal stress? No. And heck, I could argue no stress in the environment needs to be present at all, but then that person could turn some fact, feeling or issue in their mind into some stress, which could trigger that person to think about that other stressful trigger, then incapacitating him or her, for a period of time. That is common sense. One does not need a doctor to speak that obvious.

But, if your medical record supports you now being triggered even by smaller stressors,  and causes you much severe dysfunction at unpredictable times, and the details of all your conditions as pertaining to daily living difficulties and not functioning in various environments were clearly noted, which seems very reasonable to assert, based on your not handling the last two jobs, long term treatment, suicide watches, being pushed out of the military because of condition, and the need for service dogs, etc., where is that common sense, too?

Out the door, that's where. For mental health cases, for instance, often wrong assumptions by others are made, thinking one is not as harmed as they say, one is faking a condition, or because of not seeing the condition at that moment, or as it is more hidden. Also, there is more prejudice against those with mental health issues. This is to not imply it cannot occur against those with handicaps and physical disabilities, as it does, and as some of those conditions or injuries are hidden, but there likely is less understanding of mental health issues.

I believe your lawyer. I think the ALJ should take the evidence more seriously. Unfortunately, your case will not be the last like this. I am noticing in this forum more and more having had  government positions, professions where they protect or serve, with these claimants and disabled even having to seemingly fight harder for their own rights. How fair and ironic is that? Regardless, I feel your chances seem much better at the ALJ. Will expect that to be the case.
Education: BS Math
Work History: None to SGA
Applied: 1992 (Age 26)
CE: 1992
Diagnoses: AvPD, Social Anxiety, OCD
Approved: 1992
First CDR: 1994
Second CDR: 1996
Third CDR: 2016
Next CDR: 2024
Treatment History: None since 1992 (Nature of Conditions Prevents It)

VET76

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2020, 12:35:22 pm »
I appreciate your input and point of view
 I dont want to question the ethic, nor the motivation of those who decide cases. However, I do hope it will be based on evidence, common sense and being impartial to the individual. I can only speak of my case, with over five years of treatment,  several social workers and psychiatrists over the years just keeping me afloat with medication and weekly counseling sessions. In fact I will be seeing my VA counselor as well as a civilian psychiatrist now, and in denial letter they state I have "periods of depression". I dont understand how this determination is being made, I have thousand of pages from the Army and the VA telling me I am done..they rates me "total social and occupational impairment" without a blink. Even if I could work, the VA would tale.my compensation away, I still tried but I cant. I have given all to the Army, have no family on my own..have not spoken to my family in years and just take my medications to stay calm and sleep.  I dont want sympathy or pity, but dont tell me I suffer from a bad break up or something...I am already getting angry just to think about all this again. I don't expect SSA to take VA at face values..but it seems they minimizing my conditions,  its messes up. I hope I will somehow get my swrvice dog before the hearing and walk in there with him.

newdawn

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2020, 12:40:53 pm »
Wait time Kentucky
« on: Today at 09:39:50 AM »
Quote
Good morning everyone,
I hope everyone is doing well in these challenging days. I have been lurking around in the forum for some time now and have a question.
I am a 100% P&T Veteran, with a VA rating of 100% for PTSD alone, plus a additional combined disability rating of another 100%. I left the service last year after 21yrs, not willingly, but it was "advised" to me by the Army if I dont I be medically retired. Anyhow, I filed for SSDI in Kentucky after losing two jobs and realizing that I could no longer function in a working environment.
I have been denied on the initial level and the reconsideration level, my attorney keeps my spirits up and just filed the appeal for a hearing last week. I dont understand how I kept getting denied, not even being invited to consult a SSA Psychiatrist,  I have two letters from counselors re commending a service dog..which I can not afford due to the VA not paying for a PTSD service dog, and non funding organizations have so much red tape to get one that I freak out.
I guess my question is how long it takes to be seen by a judge in Louisville, KY, and if it's worth it..just thinking about seeing a judge gives me a heart attack. I have been in treatment for years,  outpatient treatment, on suicide watch when I get episodes of flashbacks..not trying to rob the system..but these generic denial letters piss me off. I have been work since I was 16yrs and I am 45yrs now. Again, my attorney insures me that I have a very good chance to win my case in court...but I am losing hope:(

It appears that one estimate of the current wait time for a hearing in Louisville, KY* is "only" 8 months, meaning people who had their hearings last month in March waited on average approx 8 months for that hearing date. It's just an average so some people had their hearings more quickly and less quickly.

Definitely don't give up now or let the generic denials at previous levels get you down. Many of us had to go to hearings to finally get approved. Part of it can be the way your attorney clearly organizes the evidence showing you're disabled according to SSA law, part of it can be that perhaps your subjective reports (like the Adult Function Report) were not given enough weight at the lower levels. At the hearing you'll be given the chance to testify and that testimony will be taken into account too and the judge can see if it matches up with the rest of your evidence and use that as part of the basis to approve you (one more piece of the overall puzzle).

SFVLance is right on about the hearing. My hearing took place in a small conference room around a big table. The judge was wearing a black robe and seated just a little bit higher than the rest of us. It was nerve-wracking but not like sitting in a criminal court of law (well, I've never sat in a criminal court of law but I watch a lot of tv and true crime shows so hopefully that counts for something). You are not a defendant on trial. There is no opposing side or prosecution.

Ask your lawyer before the hearing if possible what to expect. My attorney was able to give me a pretty good idea about what types of questions the judge would ask and explained that the judge would first question me, then my lawyer would have the opportunity to ask me questions if she (attorney) felt certain things needed more elaboration or needed to be brought up. Then it was the ME's (Medical Expert's) turn to testify (though the majority of hearings an ALJ won't have an ME present so don't worry if there's no ME at your hearing). Then it's time for the VE (Vocational Expert) to be questioned by the judge and your lawyer. Most hearings have a VE present either in person or via phone. There was a VE at my hearing but the judge never ended up questioning him (I guess because the ME testified that he thought I met a listing and the judge agreed, so no need for VE testimony).

* https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html
« Last Edit: April 21, 2020, 12:42:29 pm by newdawn »
Location: IL
Age at Application: 31
Disability: Depression, anxiety
Applied: 11/2013
First Denial: 03/2014
Reconsideration Denial: 11/2014
Hearing: 11/13/15 (Friday the 13th!)
ALJ Approval: 01/15/16 Fully Favorable
Back Pay: 02/13/16
Award Letter: 02/17/16
1st monthly benefit: 03/21/16

newdawn

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2020, 12:45:40 pm »
Forgot to add: You should expect to have any bags you're carrying checked for weapons, etc. by a security guard and be wanded by that security guard when you enter the building where your hearing takes place or (in my case) that part happened when I stepped off the elevator and checked in on the floor where hearings were held in the building. Just letting you know so it doesn't catch you off guard. They do it to everyone for obvious safety reasons.
Location: IL
Age at Application: 31
Disability: Depression, anxiety
Applied: 11/2013
First Denial: 03/2014
Reconsideration Denial: 11/2014
Hearing: 11/13/15 (Friday the 13th!)
ALJ Approval: 01/15/16 Fully Favorable
Back Pay: 02/13/16
Award Letter: 02/17/16
1st monthly benefit: 03/21/16

VET76

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2020, 12:48:53 pm »
Thank you for your response,  I really appreciate all of you who have given me advice and inside knowledge to keep me.calm about the setting of the hearing. I emailed.my lawyer, but have not heard back from him..it would be nice if the wait time would be less than a year. I had a Vocational Rehab eval on the VA side done as well, and that guy said no jobs for me. I should maybe just not pay any attention or compare the two agencies anymore..but that's all I really have, my active duty medical records and VA records.

VET76

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2020, 12:51:23 pm »
See, this is the kind of stuff I am worried, it sounds so trivial..get checked and security guard, but to someone like me who literally has panic attacks and refuses to fly is tough to handle. But then again, who has not gotten in a arguement with a TSA agent.

Dis4logic

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2020, 02:09:38 pm »
I am wondering if in this case it could be better to get a medical doctor's note that your severe condition and the nature is such you fear being traumatized showing up, if you or your lawyers feel this could help you, and your case? Could an accommodation like a video hearing be preferred, for this type of case, or not really? I see pros and cons there, as it might make the claimant feel less stressed, I am not sure, but I think there are slightly more approvals at ALJ Hearings, from what I remembered reading in the past.

Also, could your lawyer consider asking the ALJ for a bench (decision) hearing or OTR (thanks @newDawn) when the ALJ is assigned, if they thought the merits of your case was very strong, as it seems that way to me, and like if any doctor note occurred saying you should not show as you'd risk some severe PTSD sign and sympton appearing there or for longer duration, if that was their medical opinion , because of increasing agitation and phobia over the hearing.

I know in my case, it would have been impossible for me to attend an ALJ hearing without vomiting in from of the judge, and looking 100% disabled, as I could not hide my Social anxiety type condition disability well.  In that case, it could have helped me get approved, but scarred me more, had it gotten to that stage. For those with certain conditions, some things are extremely hard to do or impossible to do, without condition setback. I am wondering if the SSA ever realizes or cares how these processes and procedures can further harm many?
« Last Edit: April 21, 2020, 06:14:50 pm by Dis4logic »
Education: BS Math
Work History: None to SGA
Applied: 1992 (Age 26)
CE: 1992
Diagnoses: AvPD, Social Anxiety, OCD
Approved: 1992
First CDR: 1994
Second CDR: 1996
Third CDR: 2016
Next CDR: 2024
Treatment History: None since 1992 (Nature of Conditions Prevents It)

VET76

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2020, 04:40:14 pm »
I probably could get that note from the doctor, I will talk to my attorney and see what he thinks.

newdawn

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2020, 05:20:20 pm »
I probably could get that note from the doctor, I will talk to my attorney and see what he thinks.

If your lawyer is familiar with the judges at your hearing office and how they like to conduct their hearings, etc., your lawyer may believe an in-person hearing is to your benefit. If you choose a video (VTC) hearing, it's a roll of the dice and you can get almost any judge in the nation I think. Some lawyers are less comfortable with that, some are fine with it.

I'm not 100% sure what Dis4logic means exactly by asking for a "bench hearing" because even when a judge issues a bench decision the day of the hearing, I believe the claimant usually still has to show up.

There is such a thing as an OTR (on-the-record) decision but your lawyer usually decides whether he/she thinks your case is a good candidate for submitting an OTR request.

Whatever you do, please show up for your in-person hearing if one is scheduled, as traumatic as it might be. My hearing testimony was cited more than once in my approval letter as helping to support my other evidence.

Or, maybe SSA/OHO will still be offering telephone hearings (due to covid concerns) even by the time your hearing is scheduled. I think that disability lawyers are so far feeling relatively okay about telephone hearings during the time of covid, especially for mental health claims and if the claimant has expressed they can't wait indefinitely for their OHO to resume in-person hearings.
Location: IL
Age at Application: 31
Disability: Depression, anxiety
Applied: 11/2013
First Denial: 03/2014
Reconsideration Denial: 11/2014
Hearing: 11/13/15 (Friday the 13th!)
ALJ Approval: 01/15/16 Fully Favorable
Back Pay: 02/13/16
Award Letter: 02/17/16
1st monthly benefit: 03/21/16

John242

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Re: Wait time Kentucky
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2020, 06:00:39 pm »
First off, thank you for your service. In my opinion PTSD in a Vet should be an automatic approval, and a Vet's case should never ever have to be denied twice and wait for a hearing. There should be a special part of DDS that evaluates only military claims in my opinion.

Secondly - what did the letters say as the reason(s) for your denial? Did it say your PTSD was "not severe" etc? Did it say you could still do a particular type of work? Also there should be a list of the medical records they received - make sure nothing significant is missing from that list.

Third - can you get all your medical records? I'd highly recommend reading through every page and seeing what is documented. Since the wait for a hearing will be a while, start reading through them once you get them. Then a couple months later as you get closer to your hearing + have learned more about the process, read through them again.


Did you have any other conditions besides PTSD you reported or that were in your medical records, either physical or mental? Make sure everything is known - whether it's a back ache that comes and goes, one bad knee, recurring headaches, etc etc. It all counts and needs to be considered by SSA.

Remember, winning an SSDI claim basically comes down to 3 things:

Your Limitations
Your Limitations
Your Limitations


Your diagnoses are only a starting point - not a reason for an approval - your records have to state how your conditions limit your ability to work.

Unfortunately the "periods of depression" they mentioned basically means nothing in helping your case. Most likely your depression will get worse now, so be sure your provider documents how the stress of being denied is triggering your PTSD and worsening your depression.


Did you have any letters from your doctor or psychiatrist that were in support of your decision to file for SSDI?

It's important any letters be a persuasive letter about your disability - but is not always easy to get a doctor to cooperate. You might have to keep doctor shopping until you find one who is willing to do a persuasive letter.