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love_shelties
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« on: August 08, 2017, 04:46:31 PM »

Hello! I am a new member. I recently found this site after receiving date notification of my ALJ hearing. I freaked out and was desperate to find out any information to help me prepare.

I applied based on dysthymia (chronic depression) and panic disorder. I have had both for decades and probably should have applied years ago. I always thought I could overcome my illnesses eventually, but never really have. I walked out of my last job (not the 1st job I've walked out of) in Oct. 2013, because I could not handle it anymore. That was the onset date used on my initial application by the woman at the SS office.

I hired an atty. after my initial denial, although, I feel really abandoned by them. The only person I have dealt with is the paralegal. She is very business-oriented—which is good—but at the same time, she comes across to me as cold and irritated. Of course, the "testimonials" on their website have people praising her for her great compassion and care. Anyway, at the end of the day, it is all business. All that matters is that I receive good representation.

I really have no info to offer at this stage, as I am ignorant to the process myself. I am trying to learn and will hopefully be able to share something helpful down the road.

I have tons of questions—Is it a good sign/bad sign that my hearing date was set much sooner than I expected? What is the setting of the hearing? Am I allowed to cry during it? Will my atty do most of the speaking or will I? Will my atty. set up a mtg. before the hearing date to help prepare me?

I will say that answering the work and medical history forms was VERY stressful for me. Both had about 30 typed pages of "additional notes". And, after all of that, I still do not know how to describe my daily routine.

I don't know what else to add right now. If anyone has any questions, I will do my best to answer!

Thanks so much!!
Logged
Location: Middle TN
Age at Application: 50
Disability: dysthymia (chronic mild depression) + anxiety disorder
Date Applied: September 9, 2016
First Approval/Denial Date: Denied—October 24, 2017
Reconsideration Approval/Denial Date: Denied—January 26, 2017
Date OTR requested: n/a
Date OTR Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Sent to VSU: n/a
Date VSU Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Hearing Notice Received: July 13, 2017
Hearing Date: October 3, 2017
Additional Info: hired atty. after initial denial
Helper
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2017, 06:12:41 PM »

While you should not intentionally cry during your hearing, the hearing can be stressful and it is okay if you end up crying.
Logged
Age at Application: 26 age of onset (but I did not apply until 28)
Date Applied: August 2011
First Approval/Denial Date: November 2011
Additional Info: I was fortunate to be approved on my initial application due to extensive medical records (12+ doctors) & documentation of unsuccessful work attempts even with significant accommodations
SFVLance
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2017, 07:42:33 PM »

Hello and welcome.

Please be advised that dysthymia/dysthymic disorder by definition is chronic MILD depression, which can make a big difference depending on what else is or isn't in your medical records.

I can only say that at my ODAR (Office of Disability Adjucation and Review) hearings were held in rooms about the size of a conference room; nothing like a courtroom, for instance. Some attorneys meet with their clients beforehand, others just meet them right before the hearing. Because my attorney and I had spoken so much on the phone (and via email), we didn't actually meet until that morning.
Logged
Name: Lance
Location: Los Angeles
Age at Application: 46
Disability: Severe Depression, Anxiety, PTSD
Date Applied: June 1, 2012
First Approval/Denial Date: Denied August 31, 2012
Reconsideration Approval/Denial Date: No Recon in my region of CA
Hearing Date: January 25, 2013; Remand Hearing March 13, 2017
ALJ Approval/Denial Date: Denied February 20, 2013; Federally Remanded, Bench Decision March 13, 2017
Additional Info: Got Federal remand; 2nd hearing postponed, rescheduled Fall 2016. Postponed again - finally held March 2017.
JustWantToBeHappy
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2017, 08:15:27 PM »

I have had hearings at 2 different locations, with 2 different ALJs, and the rooms were the size of conference rooms small and medium.  I cried like a baby during my 2nd hearing even though I tried not to.  They had tissues at both locations.  During one of my last job interviews, I cried.  It was going so well until I busted out crying.  I was so embarrassed, that's when I finally realized something was wrong. At both hearings, the reps met with me either in person or via phone to discuss.  I also met with them a few minutes before the hearing as well.  Your attorney and you will both speak.  My first hearing my attorney spoke more.  At my second hearing, I spoke more than my rep.  I was never "prepped" before the hearing they both just told me to answer all questions based on my worst days. 
Logged
Name: Nita
Age at Application: 36
Disability: PTSD, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Seizures, Peripheral Vasculitis, Idioptic Peripheral Neuropathy
Date Applied: 11/11/2014
First Approval/Denial Date: Don't remember
Reconsideration Approval/Denial Date: 09/2015
Date Hearing Notice Received: April 2017
Hearing Date: 7/10/17
ALJ Approval/Denial Date: 7/25/17 received 7/31/17
Date Award Letter Received: pending
Date Back Pay Received: pending
Date Dependent Benefits Received: 8/16/17
Additional Info: 2nd claim, first claim 3 years before was denied at the hearing level.
Kicksnomore
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2017, 08:31:58 PM »

Hello Loveshelties,

Welcome.  I just had my hearing a few weeks ago.  As everyone has said, it was in a conference room.  My judge was kind and asked me questions, but never in an accusing way.  I was surprised that I didn't cry, I just tiered up a little at the end.  You can cry, but don't put on a show.  Do your best and be honest. 

As far as the attorney.  I usually spoke to the assistant as well.  I think this is pretty common.  I could tell she was very busy but was always polite.  I spoke to the attorney on the phone about a week before my hearing and he explained what would happen and asked me questions.  I also met with him about 30 minutes before the hearing. 
Logged
Age at Application: 50
Disability: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Date Applied: 3/15
First Approval/Denial Date: 6/15
Reconsideration Approval/Denial Date: 9/15
Date Hearing Notice Received: 4/17
Hearing Date: Scheduled for 7/17
grove800
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Posts: 683


« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2017, 09:19:25 PM »

Welcome Loveshelties.  I have had 3 shelties and they are great dogs.  Mine not will be 11 in October.  She's a black and white Tri.
Logged

😊
Name: Vicki
Location: IL
Age at Application: 59. Age now 62
Disability: Hypogammagobulimannenia , aggressive arthritis spine, 4 level cervical fusion, chronic pain, DDD,COPD,
Date Applied: 7/2013
First Approval/Denial Date: 11/2013
Reconsideration Approval/Denial Date: 5/2014
Date OTR requested: 6/2014
Hearing Date: January 19, 2016
Date Award Letter Received: February 3, 2016. per benefit letter on my SS website
Date Back Pay Received: February 4, 2016 direct deposit
Additional Info: fully favorable letter by mail Feb 6, 2016. Medicare started Dec 2015
love_shelties
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Gender: Female
Posts: 11



« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2017, 09:48:32 PM »

While you should not intentionally cry during your hearing, the hearing can be stressful and it is okay if you end up crying.

Oh, I definitely do not want to cry, but I cannot be for certain that I won’t. (I cry about everything related to this process and my condition.) I want to be able to get through the hearing succinctly, professionally and respectfully. I was just wondering if people get in trouble for accidentally starting to cry. I don’t want to be yelled at in court. I am thankful to hear that I’m not going to get in trouble for watering up.

Thanks so much!!
Logged
Location: Middle TN
Age at Application: 50
Disability: dysthymia (chronic mild depression) + anxiety disorder
Date Applied: September 9, 2016
First Approval/Denial Date: Denied—October 24, 2017
Reconsideration Approval/Denial Date: Denied—January 26, 2017
Date OTR requested: n/a
Date OTR Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Sent to VSU: n/a
Date VSU Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Hearing Notice Received: July 13, 2017
Hearing Date: October 3, 2017
Additional Info: hired atty. after initial denial
love_shelties
~ Copper ~
*

People helped 0
Gender: Female
Posts: 11



« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2017, 09:49:44 PM »

I have had hearings at 2 different locations, with 2 different ALJs, and the rooms were the size of conference rooms small and medium.  I cried like a baby during my 2nd hearing even though I tried not to.  They had tissues at both locations.  During one of my last job interviews, I cried.  It was going so well until I busted out crying.  I was so embarrassed, that's when I finally realized something was wrong. At both hearings, the reps met with me either in person or via phone to discuss.  I also met with them a few minutes before the hearing as well.  Your attorney and you will both speak.  My first hearing my attorney spoke more.  At my second hearing, I spoke more than my rep.  I was never "prepped" before the hearing they both just told me to answer all questions based on my worst days. 

EXC. INFO!! I appreciate you sharing your story; definitely helpful!! I am so afraid of bursting into tears and I desperately do not want to. I hate crying in front of strangers. There’s that silence where nobody knows what to do or say, then I feel really stupid and embarrassed. I’m sorry about your last job interview, but it’s a good thing if it helped you better see reality.

When I first met with the paralegal to see about obtaining legal services, she skimmed over my work/medical history sheets and stated that I go into way too much detail and that before my hearing, the atty. would help me with that. She also stated that I needed help with answering questions in person, so I’m not wearing my usual “deer in headlights” expression when asked just my name. From those two statements, I assumed there was prep involved. She did also say that I always needed to be honest (which I definitely agree), so I didn’t interpret any prepping as anything nefarious.
Logged
Location: Middle TN
Age at Application: 50
Disability: dysthymia (chronic mild depression) + anxiety disorder
Date Applied: September 9, 2016
First Approval/Denial Date: Denied—October 24, 2017
Reconsideration Approval/Denial Date: Denied—January 26, 2017
Date OTR requested: n/a
Date OTR Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Sent to VSU: n/a
Date VSU Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Hearing Notice Received: July 13, 2017
Hearing Date: October 3, 2017
Additional Info: hired atty. after initial denial
love_shelties
~ Copper ~
*

People helped 0
Gender: Female
Posts: 11



« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2017, 09:50:34 PM »

Hello and welcome.

Please be advised that dysthymia/dysthymic disorder by definition is chronic MILD depression, which can make a big difference depending on what else is or isn't in your medical records.

I can only say that at my ODAR (Office of Disability Adjucation and Review) hearings were held in rooms about the size of a conference room; nothing like a courtroom, for instance. Some attorneys meet with their clients beforehand, others just meet them right before the hearing. Because my attorney and I had spoken so much on the phone (and via email), we didn't actually meet until that morning.

You are correct about dysthymia being mild depression. I just added that part as sort of a short overview of what dysthymia is in case someone didn't know. I will go back and correct that on my info list. It wasn't meant to disrespectful of those with other, more severe forms of depression.

As to my file, I am not sure as to what is in it. My dysthymic symptoms have definitely become worse over the past few years, but I do not know how it has been chronicled in my medical records. My psychiatrist thought it was a good decision for me to apply for disability, so I am guessing she thinks there is enough mental issues going on with me at this time to be considered disabled. I found some mental residual functional capacity assessment form online, and she filled it out for me. I did not look at her answers, as I didn't want it to affect my relationship with her. I have always had difficulty in dealing with the fact that I have mental disorders. I was still "fragile" from having completed all the SSA questions and wasn't up for reading anything that painted me as "not normal".

The panic disorder, in my opinion, is what really debilitates me—and always has. Before I walked out of my job, I was having anger-type attacks, which were new to me and seriously scared me. Since then, I have noticed that there is a lot of anger wrapped up in my panic disorder. (Apparently it is believed the two are related (?) from articles I have read online.)

HUGE THANKS for a description of the room. I have seriously wondered if I would have to sit in a witness stand with the judge in his black robe holding a gavel.

I am hoping the paralegal will call me and give me some info on what the judge is like and also go over how to answer some of the basic questions. I tend to dissect and analyze every little word, become confused and answer with, "Well sometimes and sometimes not; it depends. I don't know."

Thanks again for the reply and info!!
Logged
Location: Middle TN
Age at Application: 50
Disability: dysthymia (chronic mild depression) + anxiety disorder
Date Applied: September 9, 2016
First Approval/Denial Date: Denied—October 24, 2017
Reconsideration Approval/Denial Date: Denied—January 26, 2017
Date OTR requested: n/a
Date OTR Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Sent to VSU: n/a
Date VSU Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Hearing Notice Received: July 13, 2017
Hearing Date: October 3, 2017
Additional Info: hired atty. after initial denial
love_shelties
~ Copper ~
*

People helped 0
Gender: Female
Posts: 11



« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2017, 09:52:01 PM »

Hello Loveshelties,

Welcome.  I just had my hearing a few weeks ago.  As everyone has said, it was in a conference room.  My judge was kind and asked me questions, but never in an accusing way.  I was surprised that I didn't cry, I just tiered up a little at the end.  You can cry, but don't put on a show.  Do your best and be honest. 

As far as the attorney.  I usually spoke to the assistant as well.  I think this is pretty common.  I could tell she was very busy but was always polite.  I spoke to the attorney on the phone about a week before my hearing and he explained what would happen and asked me questions.  I also met with him about 30 minutes before the hearing. 


Thanks so much for the info!! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your hearing experience and how your attorney acted. After reading your statements, I think that is probably what the paralegal meant when she said that I would be prepared for the hearing—an explanation of how things should go down and a couple of questions the ALJ might ask.
Logged
Location: Middle TN
Age at Application: 50
Disability: dysthymia (chronic mild depression) + anxiety disorder
Date Applied: September 9, 2016
First Approval/Denial Date: Denied—October 24, 2017
Reconsideration Approval/Denial Date: Denied—January 26, 2017
Date OTR requested: n/a
Date OTR Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Sent to VSU: n/a
Date VSU Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Hearing Notice Received: July 13, 2017
Hearing Date: October 3, 2017
Additional Info: hired atty. after initial denial
love_shelties
~ Copper ~
*

People helped 0
Gender: Female
Posts: 11



« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2017, 09:57:43 PM »

Welcome Loveshelties.  I have had 3 shelties and they are great dogs.  Mine not will be 11 in October.  She's a black and white Tri.

Thank You!! My first sheltie was a sable. Then he got a try-color step-brother. After they both passed, I bought another sable, then adopted a CHWB (color-headed, white-bodied).

When I bought my first one, I had no idea any other types existed. I thought they all looked like baby Lassies. I was so surprised when I saw a tri-color. I learned there was a blue merle, but never, never imagined that baby Lassie could also have the body of a polar bear until I adopted my last dog!
Logged
Location: Middle TN
Age at Application: 50
Disability: dysthymia (chronic mild depression) + anxiety disorder
Date Applied: September 9, 2016
First Approval/Denial Date: Denied—October 24, 2017
Reconsideration Approval/Denial Date: Denied—January 26, 2017
Date OTR requested: n/a
Date OTR Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Sent to VSU: n/a
Date VSU Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Hearing Notice Received: July 13, 2017
Hearing Date: October 3, 2017
Additional Info: hired atty. after initial denial
JustWantToBeHappy
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People helped 2
Gender: Female
Posts: 32



« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2017, 11:40:38 PM »


EXC. INFO!! I appreciate you sharing your story; definitely helpful!! I am so afraid of bursting into tears and I desperately do not want to. I hate crying in front of strangers. There’s that silence where nobody knows what to do or say, then I feel really stupid and embarrassed. I’m sorry about your last job interview, but it’s a good thing if it helped you better see reality.

When I first met with the paralegal to see about obtaining legal services, she skimmed over my work/medical history sheets and stated that I go into way too much detail and that before my hearing, the atty. would help me with that. She also stated that I needed help with answering questions in person, so I’m not wearing my usual “deer in headlights” expression when asked just my name. From those two statements, I assumed there was prep involved. She did also say that I always needed to be honest (which I definitely agree), so I didn’t interpret any prepping as anything nefarious.

Great!

When I said "prepping" that wasn't anything toward you.  It was more so to say they didn't do anything to assist me in getting ready for the hearing, ie., explaining the process or anything.  My last hearing I didn't even know the judge's name until I got my approval letter. 

Don't feel bad about the deer in the headlights situation, you are not alone.  The first question the judge asked me was my age.  I just stared at him and he said it's not a trick question or anything. I'm not trying to confuse you.  I felt so stupid, as I normally do when asked a simple question and I can't quickly respond with an answer.  My name is another one that stumps me or when asked to sign something and I forget my name so I can't sign.
Logged
Name: Nita
Age at Application: 36
Disability: PTSD, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Seizures, Peripheral Vasculitis, Idioptic Peripheral Neuropathy
Date Applied: 11/11/2014
First Approval/Denial Date: Don't remember
Reconsideration Approval/Denial Date: 09/2015
Date Hearing Notice Received: April 2017
Hearing Date: 7/10/17
ALJ Approval/Denial Date: 7/25/17 received 7/31/17
Date Award Letter Received: pending
Date Back Pay Received: pending
Date Dependent Benefits Received: 8/16/17
Additional Info: 2nd claim, first claim 3 years before was denied at the hearing level.
love_shelties
~ Copper ~
*

People helped 0
Gender: Female
Posts: 11



« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2017, 01:44:33 AM »


EXC. INFO!! I appreciate you sharing your story; definitely helpful!! I am so afraid of bursting into tears and I desperately do not want to. I hate crying in front of strangers. There’s that silence where nobody knows what to do or say, then I feel really stupid and embarrassed. I’m sorry about your last job interview, but it’s a good thing if it helped you better see reality.

When I first met with the paralegal to see about obtaining legal services, she skimmed over my work/medical history sheets and stated that I go into way too much detail and that before my hearing, the atty. would help me with that. She also stated that I needed help with answering questions in person, so I’m not wearing my usual “deer in headlights” expression when asked just my name. From those two statements, I assumed there was prep involved. She did also say that I always needed to be honest (which I definitely agree), so I didn’t interpret any prepping as anything nefarious.

Great!

When I said "prepping" that wasn't anything toward you.  It was more so to say they didn't do anything to assist me in getting ready for the hearing, ie., explaining the process or anything.  My last hearing I didn't even know the judge's name until I got my approval letter. 

Don't feel bad about the deer in the headlights situation, you are not alone.  The first question the judge asked me was my age.  I just stared at him and he said it's not a trick question or anything. I'm not trying to confuse you.  I felt so stupid, as I normally do when asked a simple question and I can't quickly respond with an answer.  My name is another one that stumps me or when asked to sign something and I forget my name so I can't sign.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who can't answer simple questions, because it really does make me feel so stupid. I'm already quite aware that I'm not the smartest tool in the shed.

With regard to the judge's name, as soon as I opened the letter with my hearing info I was online looking all over for info on the judge and the VE named. I didn't find anything overly helpful.

Thank you for making me smile and feel better!!
Logged
Location: Middle TN
Age at Application: 50
Disability: dysthymia (chronic mild depression) + anxiety disorder
Date Applied: September 9, 2016
First Approval/Denial Date: Denied—October 24, 2017
Reconsideration Approval/Denial Date: Denied—January 26, 2017
Date OTR requested: n/a
Date OTR Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Sent to VSU: n/a
Date VSU Approved/Sent to Hearing: n/a
Date Hearing Notice Received: July 13, 2017
Hearing Date: October 3, 2017
Additional Info: hired atty. after initial denial
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