Disability representation URGENT questions

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by LouiseK, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. LouiseK

    LouiseK New Member

    Hello,

    I keep reading that one needs legal representation for the SSDI hearing, should it come to that and I would love to know why and what the lawyer does for you either before or during the hearing.

    My private disability company referred me to a legal firm to help me file for SSDI and they are making such a huge mess of everything I am tempted to fire them right now. However, I need to think twice if, in fact, I need a lawyer down the road as I don't want my private disability company to complain I don't have one.

    Sorry so longwinded -- please do let me know what these lawyers did for you to help me decide. I have a phone meeting with these lawyers tomorrow AM and am thinking I should dump them then if I'm going to as I don't want them to keep working on the file if I am getting rid of them.

    Oh, man, is this what life has come to???

    Thank you for your input.
  2. Lichu3

    Lichu3 New Member

    Hi, I'm in the process of applying for SSDI myself due to my LTD requiring it. LTD works with Allsup but I decided that I wanted someone to really represent my interests and not the LTD's; I'm not sure client-lawyer confidentialty applies the same way if LTD is paying lawyer. So I found my own lawyer; I just have to tell LTD who it is. Lawyer doesn't get paid unless I win my case.

    There may be some rules about when/how you fire current lawyers.
  3. obrnlc

    obrnlc New Member

    hi louisek, sorry for what you are going through!
    I had my case turned over by LTD to a company called GEN-X, who swore up and down (yeah, right!) that they worked in MY best interest, (which would also be LTD's) and that they weren't even in touch with, or involved with the dreaded U company. (Did I mention the ocean front property in ohio?)<P>
    Anyway, my LTD dropped me for the 2nd time at the 2 year mark, and i called the lawyer (by the way, found out they weren't "lawyers" but representatives) they assured me that this would not impact my case with them. At the 21st month after i filed, (with a hearing SOON to be scheduled) they called me up and told me that a neuro report that stated possible "somatoform" and no actual neuro findings would totally eliminate 4 yrs of medical records and i would be denied for no "medical diagnosis" (which was a crock--a somatoform disorder by itself is an approved SSA diagnosis).<P>
    She was very nice about it but told me i would lose, and it wouldn't be worth it for her to try this case, or that she would but i WILL lose, or something like that, i was so hysterical i can't remember, but would forward my records if i decided to go through with it (like i would give up at this point!<P>
    Point of this whole RANT--because LTD wasn't going to pay me anymore (although i have a suit pending w/ them) they probably weren't going to pay HER, making me NOT WORTH THEIR TIME!! <P>
    So, here I was with a month or so to go, and scrambling to get a lawyer, met with him once and delays, delays, until i got my notice for hearing in 2 WEEKS, and of course, SSA didn't have updated records since 10 months before, no current DR. records were with the lawyer (i got them MYSELF, who is the only person you can ever really trust!), etc. <P>
    The benefit to having their lawyer was that the LTD would pay the fee of $5300, and i will end up paying it now (HOPEFULLY---STILL WAITING DECISION), but by being bought and paid for by LTD, they could care less about you. Also, they (esp. allsup, from what i heard) write it into their contract to have LTD repaid from your bank account as soon as money gets there, and by using my own lawyer, LTD doesn't have to be involved (repayment is not WRITTEN into my contract anyway with LTD)<P>
    I have heard and read on this site GREAT things about allsup, though, even tho they work to get their LTD co. repaid, they generally win and help you get everything in order.<P>
    There was a post on here about a lawyer named jonathan ginsberg who does a radio show (on line) and if you go to ssaradio or google it, he has 2 excellent cases on his 2/25/07 program, and great advice for why you should have attorney and what an attorney should do for you, check it ou, a long down load if you have dial up, but worth it!<P>
    VERY SORRY SO LONG WINDED, good luck and have a great day--L
    [This Message was Edited on 03/02/2007]
  4. Saggioculo

    Saggioculo New Member

    I was able to get my benefits without using a lawyer. Scouring the internet for the most info I could find. I took 18 months but I was finally approved. I hear that 18 months is pretty quick to get approved, but going that long with no source of income and being a single parent and sole supporter is incredibly difficult. I found a pretty good site that gives alot of info on apply for SSDI and SSI. The site has not only info but a newsletter and a free phone conference that I think they have like once week. Now that I have my benefits I need help with access to stores with a service dog which unfortunately the site doesn't address but still it did help me getting me benefits without using a lawyer. The site is:
    http://www.thedisabilitydigest.com/cmd.php?af=562171
    I found the best part of the site was the free conference calls where you get to talk to real people and ask questions. That was the most helpful for me. Hope this helps.
    Anne
  5. LouiseK

    LouiseK New Member

    Thank you all for your really thoughtful responses. I agree that there is something really fishey about these relationships between disability companies and their favorite law firms. I would love to hear from others too, if you are out there with stories about your experiences.

    Not to bore you with my problems but this law firm has worked "with" the private disability company for 20 years and that right there is suspect in my mind. On the other hand I don't want to antagonize my disability company by not using their recommendation -- and they recommended strongly and right away, I'll tell you.

    Anyway, I had a two hour phone meeting with the law firm (legal assistant) today and amazingly she is being really cooperative and not defensive. Basically she is letting me go into the forms online and change anything I want until they look just the way I want them to before they are filed. She is also letting me send whatever I want in a package to disability although that's probably a waste of time and ends up in the trash -- better to send stuff to the specific person assigned to your case I think and that's later down the road.

    Here's an amazing, amazing note: She told me that the doctor that the private disability company hired to look over my stuff in the first place wrote a NINE PAGE report going into great detail about how and why they should believe that I have chronic fatigue syndrome and how sincere I had been in trying to seek help and also doing all I could to stay on the job over a two year period. And she is sending me a copy of it by Fed Ex. How amazing is that?????


    Now I am going to tell you a couple of things I have done over the past few years which I do believe are helping me and might in the future:

    Once in a while I take a typed sheet to my doctor with an update including current symptoms, current functioning, current self-care (i.e. light yoga, naps, etc.) other measures like massage or physical therapy. My MD puts it in my chart.

    Also, if I want a letter from my MD I write it myself and then I go into the office, use my appt. to show it to her and if she approves it ask her to put it in her xerox machine with a piece of letter head and print it right there and take it with me. If she wants to make changes I email it to her so she can just make the changes and have someone cut and paste and print on letterhead.

    Of course your md's might not be so cooperative but I am lucky in that way. Mine is lazy and always in a huge rush. She also believes I am ill with CFS which really helps.

    Sorry this is so long but if it helps someone that's what counts.

    Other comments about lawyers, esp. affiliated with disability companies???

    Thanks all.