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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Brain Fog (SSDI Says Prove it)

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Author Topic: Brain Fog (SSDI Says Prove it)
CaliLymer
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Hi Everyone,

I recently submitted my app for SSDI. I got a call today from SSA who said I need to see their psycologist for "some tests."

Anybody know how you prove it and what type of tests I might have to take??

CaliLymer

Posts: 215 | From CA, USA | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
pigwit
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Hi CaliLymer,
The psychologist probably would not typically use the phrase, brain fog. She would probably be looking for problems with concentration, immediate and recent memory, and possibly being easily confused.

It is hard to be objective about what brain fog is. I could not have comprehended what it was like until I experienced it.

Most likely, some of the evaluation would be in the interview. An example is verbally giving you a list of 3 objects, then asking you to repeat the list a few minutes later. How well can you remember your history? Not being able to find the right word or thoughts being blocked might be a sign of the fog.

An IQ test might be used. Some of the IQ tests have subtests. Your scores on subtests requiring more concentration or short term memory would probably be lower.

A variety of tests could pick up on the types of conflicts you are struggling with. Brain fog leads to relationship problems, struggles with trying to work, and negative emotions.

The MMPI-2 is used to pick up on psychopathology. It is also designed to pick up on a person faking good or bad. The brain fog could make it more difficult to be consistent with your answers. It is best to just be honest and go with the first answer that seems to fit you. It may show that you are struggling with anxiety, depression, physical health issues, etc.

My experience is that brain fog is similar to sluggish thought processes associated with major depression. For me, the anxiety was more prominent with the brain fog until it got really severe.

It is important that you can give specific examples of how the brain fog impairs your level of functioning. This may also come out on tests such as sentence completion exercises.

I would say, just be yourself and do the best you can. A good psychologist with pick up on the problems you are having.

Pigwit

PS: Writing this stimulated my thinking and I will probably start a new thread called Physiological dysregulation and Lyme rage.

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lymednva
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I was awarded my SSDI on the spot at my hearing with the ALJ. It was based on my thoroughly presented cognitive deficits (fancy name for brain fog).

One of the first things my SSDI attorney had me do was go to a neuropsychologist for testing. I got so fatigued on the first day there, which was supposed to be the ONLY day there, that he had me stop and return another day to complete the testing.

As the time passed I made more and more errors. He noted many distractions that I didn't even realize happened, but it sounded like I was ADHD from his report.

If the SSA psychologist does not do a thorough job of testing I suggest you ask around for the name of a good one for through neuropsych testing.

It's not cheap, but in the long run it will pay for itself quickly!

Good luck!

--------------------
Lymednva

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ConnieMc
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It's well worth the $$$ to find a lyme-literate neuropsychologist and have a full battery of tests. A good neuropsych will last 1 1/2 to 2 days and will include a MMPI, lots of memory testing, etc. The less you know the better. Do not do research to determine what the tests are like. This could result in improved performance.

Several of my Lyme SSDI cases have been won on the documentation of the cognitive issues alone under the listing "organic brain impairment". It is critical for you to document cognitive deficits if you have more than a HS education. It does not matter how physically disabled you are to them if you have a brain and education they will say you can work.

Also, have several individuals you know submit statements to SS. Friends and relatives who spend time with you who can give examples of cognitive impairment ... for example "Connie called me one day very upset because she got lost on her way home and needed help" "Connie is unable to follow a recipe as evidenced by many botched recipes" " She frequently burns food because she forgets she is cooking .. I am scared she might cause a fire in our home, therefore do not let her cook unless someone else is home". "Connie misses appointments because she cannot keep a schedule" "Connie is unable to maintain her checkbook and bounces checks, therefore putting herself into a difficult financial situation. ... this has heppened twice in the last month and I have had to take that responsibility away from her" "Connie cannot keep up with her medication schedule and needs close supervision. I always assembpe her many meds for hewr in the morning and provide specific instructions. Even then, she sometimes forgets to take her medication."

Also make sure your doc puts certain things in the notes. For example, if you always take someone else to the doctor with you to help you remember what is said, have the doc put that in notes. "Blah blah accompanies Connie today as she is unable to comprehend the instructions during the appointment." "All instructions have been provided in writing. Connie appears to have difficulty understanding instructions as evidenced by her asking questions about info that was just covered. Connie appears to be having difficulty maintaining her attention on the issues discussed during our visit." Tell the doc that you cannot do housework, yardwork, lift a gallon of milk, etc, etc. Tell the doc if you cannot go to the grocery store by yourself because you forget to get half of what you went for.

Just a few helpful hints. SS is all about objective documentation of impairment. As long as your witness statements confirm what the doc has already said, it makes for a good, credible case.

Good luck...

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jarjar
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I got documented help with Dr. Myra Preston using the QEEG brain mapping. You can find out more about her work by searching at http://www.siberimaging.com/about_us.asp?id=2
Good luck

J

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ConnieMc
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jarjar

I am curious. I previously researched the QEEG brain mapping and also communicated by email with Dr. Preston at the time. I was wondering if there is likely to be any differences in the info generated with a patient who has Lyme Disease versus a person who is CFS only. It has always been my feeling that Lyme is one of the main causes of CFS. But can this test distinguish between the 2? Just curious.

Thanks

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national catastrophe
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The tests seem to be geared to normal intelligence. If you have a high IQ, it may outshine the fog.

Can you get a SPECT and have it read by a LL radiologist? How about a MRI?

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CaliLymer
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Thank Guys, Excuse my late response, haven't been feeling good.

Pigwit,
Good stuff. Thank you.

Lymednva,
What comments did the psychologist make?? What kind of questions? If you dont mind sharing.

Connie,
Is it impossible to win a Lyme SSDI case w/o brain impairment? thoghts?

We definitely have some sharp people here!!

CaliLymer

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shazdancer
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Good point, nationalcatastrophe. My son's deficits were initially overlooked by his school because his scores were so high in other areas. It was the hugh discrepancy in the numbers that should have tipped off the professionals that something was not right.

Cali, they will also probably do a psychological assessment for depression. Lymies get depressed, but so do other people. Make sure they are also looking at cognitive issues, including short-term memory, long-term memory, basic math colculations, processing speed, visual processing, and auditory processing.

Regards,
Shaz

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kitkat32
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Hi Cali,

Hope your feeling better. I just wanted to let you know that seeing the psychologist was what got my SS approved. My first interview was about 2 hours long. We just talked and went over all of my congenitive issues. I had to give examples of my problems. I can't remember them right now.

I never got called back for additional testing. I thought that I was sunk. It took her a long time to submit my paperwork but she agreed that with my fog I was unable to work.

I also always stress the point of calling your local congressman. Especially now at election time. I called mine and I think they helped me alot. They sent me a letter saying I was approved before SS did.

Good luck to you and I hope you are awarded what you is rightly yours.

kit

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ConnieMc
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quote:
Originally posted by CaliLymer:


Connie,
Is it impossible to win a Lyme SSDI case w/o brain impairment? thoghts?


If you do not mind my asking, how old are you? If you are under 50, have a HS education or more, and a good work history, unless DDS/SSA has documentation of mental impairment (the inability to handle your own affairs, memory problems, etc) your case will be difficult to win. If you are seeing a psychologist/psychiatrist/therapist, info on any mental impairment will be critical - depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc. And any info you can pull together to show cognitive problems due to Lyme.

Unless you have paralysis or blindness, any physical problems will be down-played if evidence shows you have a brain at all. That's the way the system works. Sad but true. If your brain function is average, then you can work, no matter the physical hell you live in. It is critical to show brain dysfunction, severe depression or anxiety, etc. to get a claim approved.

And keep in mind that you have to prove your inability to work in ANY occupation. Walmart greeter, receptionist, ditchdigger, everything.

If your case goes all the way to hearing, you will have a better chance at that level. The judge makes his decisions on a different set of rules as compared to DDS.

If you do not have representation, consider getting someone to help. Don't try to navigate the process alone, especially at the hearing level.

Posts: 2274 | From NC | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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