Monday, November 11, 2013

Applying for Disability Benefits - What's the Diagnosis?

Thanks in no small part to my dear friend, Sarah, and her wickedly organized and ambitious brain, the wheels on my disability application bus are squeaking ahead. I've been going through this process with clenched teeth, because, even though I know it is necessary and I have every right, I DO NOT WANT to have to apply for benefits. It feels like a personal failure even though it isn't. I know from watching deserving friends and loved ones go through the process that it is grueling, humiliating, seemingly endless, exhausting, and often fruitless. I'm rounding the corner on three consecutive years of unemployment due to inability to work and have to face the fact that this is my last best option.

Due to my potpourri of chronic illness, part of the initial ordeal of applying for benefits has been figuring out exactly what my official disabling diagnoses are. The formal letter I recently received from Dr. A lays out alllll the sexy.

       Primary disabling diagnosis:
       Idiopathic syncope with mild cognitive deficit, complicated by medication
       induced fatigue.

       Disability related diagnoses:
        Myasthenia Gravis
        Bipolar II Disorder
        Anxiety Disorder
        Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
        Inattentive Disorder
        Asthma (allergic-atopic and intrinsic)
        Reynaud syndrome
        Irritable Bowel Disorder
        Chronic recurrent respiratory tract infections
        Syncope of unclear origin

The letter goes on, not as a comprehensive list of my health problems, but as an inventory of the disabling with the baffling (including phrases like "pO2", "borderline adreno-cortical output", and "multiple diagnostic investigations failed to give clear etiology").

"Huh." - Captain Mal

To finally behold this information in black and white is both relieving and sobering. I will now laugh/cry as I try to pare all of this down into "57 characters maximum" for my disability application!


  1. I think you'll find that's Rick Castle, not Mal ;)

  2. HAHA! Dammit. A clear example of my mild cognitive deficit! THEREFOR, IT STAYS!

  3. Please don’t think of it as a failure, just because the fight will be tough. You don't have to be embarrassed about claiming the benefits. You certainly earned it, after committing yourself to your work so hard that it put you in such a dire situation. Therefore, you deserve everything they can help you with in return. Good luck to your application!

    Brad Post @ Jan Dils

  4. Thanks, Brad! I received benefits and feel more normalized about it now.