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John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 4470
Experience:  Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
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I have been a professional driver for over 7 years. I also

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I have been a professional driver for over 7 years. I also am unhealthy. Due to DOT physical requirements, I am not able to drive. I am 43 years old, have many years of experience but cannot get employment that will pay my bills. I have sleep apnea, and am required to take Ambien to maintain sleep. I am a diabetic, and take medication to regulate that as well. I have other health issues such as arthritis, extreme fatty liver, enlarged spleen, depression. I am wanting to know, what are my legal options so that I might be able to pay my financial obligations. I had to quit my job as a driver because I could not stop taking the ambien to help me sleep. I felt that I would be a hazard to others and myself. Because of that I cannot get government assistance. I am physically able to do other jobs, but no one will hire me. I live in a college town with a significant military outpost. I have friends and family here and do not wish to leave. I need help.
Hi, thanks for submitting your question today. You relief in this instance would come through Social Security Disability. You are no longer able to do your job at all because of your physical conditions. You can qualify for SSD when "disabled" under Social Security Act - meaning your inability to work. Social Security says you are disabled if: You cannot do work that you did before; you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

In your condition, I would expect them to grant you SSD. If they do not grant it to you upon application, you can retain an attorney to appeal the ruling. You may also be eligible for supplemental income (SSI) if you have few assets. You can learn more about SSD and SSI here; including how and where to apply.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I feel like I am being dishonest filing for disability since I am physically able to work, and I was told that I need two doctors to say that I am physically unable to work to actually file. Am I incorrect on this? I just want to do what is right, but I need to provide for myself and family financially too and cannot do what I have been doing for the last 7 years.

The question in SSDI isn't whether you are able to do any job in the economy. It is whether you are able to do a job that roughly matches your qualifications. For example, I'm a lawyer, if something were to happen to me that I could no longer think or remember cases, but I could push a cart around all day, I'm not obligated to take that job just because I can; it's not within my approximate pre-injury skill set.

It's not true that you need two doctor opinions just to file for SSD. The agency workers generally will request and examine your doctor(s) files and make that part of their decision to grant or deny benefits. Likewise, you may later need another doctor to testify on your behalf if you have to appeal.
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