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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » General Support » Seeking Disability Attorney, Lyme-literate/friendly

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Author Topic: Seeking Disability Attorney, Lyme-literate/friendly
Blackstone
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Hello everyone. I am in the process of trying to acquire federal disability and I am in need of an attorney that is "friendly", knowledgeable, and willing to fight with respect to Lyme cases!

I'll ultimately need someone capable of practicing in the DC Metro area (Maryland, Virginia etc), but I'm open to attorneys elsewhere that can perhaps point me in the right direction if they can't take my case. Here are a few parameters

I've already filed, gotten the (expected) initial denial and am waiting for the Reconsideration. I expect the Reconsideration to also be denied.

I'm between the ages of 18 and 49 which, I am told means they use the harshest guidelines for determining disability

I am filing for SSDI as a "Disabled Adult Child", that is to say on my parent's earnings record because I was disabled before the age of 22. I have evidence to prove this going back to my LLMD and original diagnosis. I would also hypothetically file for SSI, but the benefits are so minute in comparison it is not desirable.

I filed originally in June of 2018 and thus, any attorney who takes my case will, between that "backlog", the start date of my illness, and the earnings record I'm filing under, likely be awarded the maximum federal capped contingency fee (which I believe is 6000-7000?).

Any other information, please PM me and we can discuss. I have spoken with a few attorneys to date and those that seemed up to the task sadly didn't have room for another client, while others didn't "like" to take Lyme cases, were unfamiliar with the nature of the illness in truth, and were not inclined to take such a case.

I've also considered contacting one of the Lyme professional associations or charities (any suggestions on which?) to see if they can recommend anyone up to the task.

Thanks!

Posts: 676 | From East coast, USA | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Keebler
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(Usually) No diagnosis will bring a disability case award. It's the symptoms that would prevent one from doing tasks required to work.

If you happen to have diagnoses that are, "side" diagnoses that would be of help - and they can appear independent to lyme to outside eyes even if those who know about lyme know they are connected.

Even if you don't have a clear diagnostic for say "unable to ____ for more than ___ minutes, etc." that would be taken into account.

Do you have any balance, light, sound, vision, chemical sensitivities? Any testing of your vestibular system? Tinnitus to a degree that is beyond annoying? Hyperacusis?

Attention span - or trouble in an office setting with movement, sounds, light, etc.

Startle reflex? Such things are common with lyme yet vestibular (middle / inner ear) tests might help show if you have any of this issues. They are taken much more favorably than lyme.

Pain / endurance / recovery time from certain tasks

I suggest you not try to show you've been ill with lyme for a long time unless you had a positive test and were denied treatment.

Of course, do date back to the time you were unable to "function" for a job (sorry I can find no other word in my brain right now).

Chronic lyme - It's just not accepted by most disability judges (since "chronic lyme" is not accepted by the government health entities). It does depend on the state, though.

Talk to your state ILADS minded lyme support group.

Geez, I'm editing this in now and can barely fuciton 0p so dizzy. Storm coming. I forgot. i shpould hire myself outa s a barometer. -- [there should be a segue here but this refers back to a sentence before I added in some stuff]

You will more likely be labeled a psych case, sorry to say. Even so, if you have depression, anxiety do tell them even if it risks a psych dx. These are real though most often the result and not the actual cause or true dx. (diagnosis)

Still, come to grips that if these are symptoms, it's important to put them last, I think after describing the physical terms.

If you have current lyme and other TBD tests - babesia really important here, I think as the changes it causes in RBC can point to endurance issues, etc.

Also, for weakness / endurance, be sure to get RBC tests too as if they show anemia that is hard to correct (comes with Babesia) that's easier to understand - and to count - for such reports.

perhaps a PET scan to check out possible --- uh --- word --- hypoperfusion. That would need to be done in a specific way, though, not just the regular way.

out of steam. back with a link later.
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[ 01-09-2019, 06:07 PM: Message edited by: Keebler ]

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Keebler
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Usually goes with lyme - though separate evaluation for this can help:

http://flash.lymenet.org/scripts/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/3/37712?#000005

Dysautonomia Links here -- and some doctors in your area who are educated in this matter. Scroll down to see several links with different detail on same topic.
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Posts: 47355 | From Tranquil Tree House in my dreams | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Keebler
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Things to think about regarding Lyme disease. Each thread here may have some similar links yet be sure to look through each one for the information is spread out.

Talk to your local and state ILADS minded lyme support groups first for names of truly lyme literate attorneys.


http://flash.lymenet.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/1/110107

Applying for Disability Insurance Coverage under SSA or with certain private insurances connected to one's employment


http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/social-security-disability-lyme-disease.html

SSDI and SSI


http://flash.lymenet.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/3/13935

Resources for Disability, Insurance, Dealing with HMOs
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Blackstone
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Thank you for the information thus far. I am aware of the disability process overall and that a diagnosis in and of itself does not qualify for disability.

Perhaps I didn't break it down as much as I should have in my original post, but that while tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme and co-infections are the main underlying cause,

the symptoms of chronic fatigue, brain fog/Lyme neuro group, multifaceted chronic pain, temperature/homeostasis disturbances (which I suppose fall under dysautonomia etc... are all present and are the direct cause of disability.

I also can add secondary or tertiary symptoms or diagnoses (ie certain hormonal imbalances which can certainly contribute to fatigue etc.)

These symptoms make it impossible for me to reliably work along any reasonable schedule. It isn't as though I couldn't entirely handle certain functions in an isolated case, but any expectation of consistency, duration, or ability to predict a schedule pose the problems.

For instance, I'm typing this at my PC currently and lets say it has taken me 30+ minutes. An hour or two earlier or later in the day I may not feel up to doing so, the same time tomorrow I may not be up to doing so,

and no matter what I couldn't do something like this for 2+ hours much less 6-8 without getting too tired or otherwise having to stop or be "off task".

I'm to understand this is taken into consideration and that anyone who would need more than one day off per week is considered disabled, which is without a doubt the case;

no business will hire someone who randomly has to take long breaks and/or is too sick to come in to work on a frequent basis - even with a "low skill, sedentary" job (which, I am told is the bar you are compared against.

It doesn't matter if you couldn't do your post-graduate educated career, if you can do menial labor like sorting mail or screws you're not disabled by their estimation)

I've worked with a LLMD for over a decade and have solid documentation for all of this, as well as supporting evidence from other physicians (for instance, pain management) to confirm and provide supporting evidence, all of which should point towards disability.

The sensitivities you list, most of them are minor problems for me at best (ie bright light), but I suppose they could contribute to the overall situation, but since they're tertiary there is less in my medical records for them than my major problems such as fatigue.

"Brain fog" symptom group, including inability to concentrate, mental fatigue, focus, cognitive impairments as a result etc.. is a primary symptom of mine so that surely is a direct factor in disability.

Startle reflex and related vestibular issues are minor issues as I perceive them, but I'm curious that they and others are perceived better than Lyme?

I would think that simply showing up with a lot of amorphous symptoms for "mystery diseases" would be seen in a worse light, but I suppose if the judges have been told that Lyme is not real etc... that would be unfortunate.

However even the government's own Tick Borne Disease Working Group recommendations support ILADS-style views on Lyme - https://www.hhs.gov/ash/advisory-committees/tickbornedisease/reports/index.html .

I do not have clinical depression/anxiety nor have I been treated for either one, so there are no records for such a thing.

They really label Lyme patients as psych cases these days, even if they show objective records, current or in the past, of things that substantiate their symptoms?

I do have confirmed Babesia WA-1 (though I've also had some negative tests as well, not surprising given they're only Labcorp antibody tests and I've been treating with Malarone etc).

I'll have to check into anemia as I've had some borderline or low-normal MCV/MCH, and continue to have very low ferritin despite normal serum Iron / TIBC ; I doubt its enough to prove as a major cause in fatigue alone, but perhaps a portion thereof.

I may have to consider a PET scan again. I had one done a decade ago or so and it was "normal" back then, even with my confirmed TBI, but they may have not used what modern parameters you are referring to at the time. Do you know what constitutes the "specific way"?

There's a significant amount of documentation from my physicians as well as objective (ie blood tests etc) to substantiate these claims. Unfortunately going into the later part of the appeals without an attorney well versed and interested in supporting the case.

If nothing else, I expect there should be attorneys supporting Lyme patients as trying to dismiss the validity of our illness is discriminatory

and there is ample precedent with other "mystery illnesses" from CFS/ME to Fibro, MS and others were all at one time considered invalid "all in the patient's head, because they're lazy or whiny" - such claims have been proven wrong every single time!

Thank you again for your information thus far.

(breaking up the text for easier reading for many here)

[ 01-10-2019, 04:58 PM: Message edited by: Robin123 ]

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Keebler
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Be sure to see the ILADS DVD presentation from a few years ago. that should help alot.

Good luck - i know this is a very frustrating process so I hope you get the best legal guidance to be able to check all the boxes they require while also getting recognizitin and respecdt alwont the wya
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hopingandpraying
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http://www.lduc.org/lyme-disease-resources

Scroll down to where it says "Attorneys". There is one listed for Washington,DC. I do not know anything about her.

Contact https://natcaplyme.org/

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