Social Security Disability Advocate

Serving Central California Since 1995

ASK THE ADVOCATE: My son is a high functioning autistic adult, 25 years old. He has tried to get jobs, but once employers talk to him, they immediately see that he not capable of working and tends to get confused. He is also a client of Kern Regional Center and receives services through them. We want him to be more self-sufficient and be able to live a somewhat normal life. We are very worried about what will happen to him when my husband and I are no longer able to care for him. He has never lived on his own.… Continue reading

ASK THE ADVOCATE: I am a 60-year-old female with Lupus. I was a bookkeeper for many years and was forced to retire. Primarily, I found that I could not work due to muscle and joint pain, sometimes with swelling, a constant low-grade fever of 99 degrees or more and sensitivity to light, especially office lighting. Can I qualify for benefits? I am too young to collect early retirement benefits and I only get a small retirement from my employer.

ANSWER: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or lupus is an inflammatory auto-immune disorder that can affect any body part or only… Continue reading

ASK THE ADVOCATE: Last summer my kids and I went camping in the mountains. I thought we were careful about ticks, but unfortunately, I found several in our clothing when we got back and one bit me! A few weeks later I started have severe headaches and neck stiffness. I also developed severe pain and swelling in my knees. I finally went to the doctor to discover I have Lyme disease. Now I am unable to work because I am having problems concentrating and focusing. Would I qualify for benefits even if I am young (age 35)?

ANSWER:… Continue reading

Historically known as Manic Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness characterized by cyclic mania, or periods of extreme euphoria followed by bouts of severe depression. This mental disorder is not a mood disorder alone but a category of several mood disorders. It is a condition that is prevalent in both men and women.

Signs of the depressive phase of this mental illness include persistent feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, anger, guilt, sadness, isolation, fatigue, irritability, lack of motivation, chronic pain, morbid suicidal ideation, self-loathing and depersonalization. In severe cases, individuals suffering from this disorder can even become psychotic.… Continue reading

ASK THE ADVOCATE:

I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). POTS, EDS, and MCAS are so unheard of many doctors have no idea what to do. I have been to so many doctors…sigh.

On a good day, my fingers, ankles, and hips will pop out of joint a couple of times a day. If I bump my foot on a bed frame, I might have enormous bruises since my skin is so thin. The POTS causes my blood pressure to go down especially when I stand. I also have cognitive… Continue reading

Pituitary gland disorders are a result of a malfunction of the pituitary gland, a tiny but vital gland that releases the hormones responsible for directing many other glands and body processes. A pituitary gland disorder occurs when the pituitary gland produces either too much or too little of a particular hormone.

The pituitary gland is responsible for producing growth hormone, necessary for growth in children, maintenance of body tissues in adults, and distribution of fat. It also produces a hormone known as ACTH that causes the adrenal gland to release cortisol, a hormone that signals the body to react to… Continue reading

QUESTION: I am 33 years old and have had migraine headaches since I was 16. I have had MRI’s of my brain, I’ve taken medication, I’ve even tried acupuncture. I still get migraine headaches 2 to 3 times a week. I can hardly move my head when I get one. Medication works sometimes but it is very expensive, and the doctor only gives me 10 pills a month. Light and sound is especially hard as it makes me nauseated. Obviously, I can’t work when I have one. Can I qualify for disability benefits?

ASK THE ADVOCATE: A diagnosis… Continue reading

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Lyme Disease is caused by a bacterial infection resulting from the bite of a tick that is very small and often escapes detection. While Lyme Disease can be overcome in its earlier stages, chronic Lyme Disease is not so easy a foe to beat. The bacterial organisms infest the brain of the afflicted and cause symptoms that have made Lyme Disease very hard to diagnose as these symptoms mimic those of Multiple Sclerosis and even some kinds of cancer.

“Neurological complications,” continues the NINDS, “most often occur in the second… Continue reading

Fibromyalgia is now a recognized medically determinable impairment by Social Security. I will talk about the symptoms of fibromyalgia and how these symptoms relate to a Social Security Disability or SSI claim. I will also discuss the type of treatment that Social Security recognizes for this condition. You will also read about how the limitations from fibromyalgia can help show you are disabled.

Fibromyalgia is pain in several areas or all over body with no functional or structural disease to explain the pain. It is much more common in women than in men. In fact women account for about 80%… Continue reading

QUESTION: I am a 57-year old woman with severe depression and anxiety. I can barley get out of the house to even pick up my mail. My doctor says I can’t work. I tried to file for Social Security Disability, but the local office said I don’t qualify for any benefits. In fact, they would not take an application because I didn’t work enough, and my husband makes too much money. Are they right?

ASK THE ADVOCATE: First of all as a reminder, Social Security is NOT an entitlement. But these benefits are not guaranteed. There are four… Continue reading