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Social Security Disability: Go Away, Give Up, or Get Help

First of all, Social Security disability is a crazy, frustrating, mostly broken system which will confound you at every turn and make you curse, if you are that type of person, as most of us are or will be by the time we get through dealing with Social Security.  Several years ago when the Trammell Law Firm attorneys were asked to come up with TV commercial scripts for our areas of practice, I entitled my script about Social Security “It’s A Nightmare”, and it was then and it still is now, and it most likely always will be a nightmare.

For example, most of the time when people come to see me about their disability claim, it’s right after they get their first turn-down letter saying that they are NOT DISABLED.  One of the most important things for you to know is that getting that turn-down letter most often means absolutely NOTHING about the strength of your disability claim and whether you will ultimately be successful.  I would conservatively estimate that 99.9% of EVERYONE who applies for disability gets turned down at least once, and most often for a second time as well. For a long time after I first started practicing Social Security disability law many years ago, I tried and tried to come up with some reasonable way of explaining to my clients, who were understandably upset, why they got turned down.  But you know what?  There is NO REASON, except that Social Security wants you to give up and go away.  That is a terrible thing to say, but I believe it is the only way to explain all these constant turn-downs for everyone, even people whose medical records show that they are obviously sick or injured and cannot work.

So, the lesson to be learned is: DON’T GIVE UP!  You have to keep fighting Social Security by appealing every time you get turned down until you finally get your day in Court before a Judge.  Except in very, very rare cases, only when you get your Social Security Disability Hearing with a Judge will you finally get a fair and honest review of your claim.  When you get a letter from Social Security turning you down for disability, it will state very clearly that you have 60 DAYS TO APPEAL the denial decision.  Pay attention to the date on the front of the letter, and DO NOT LET THAT 60 DAYS RUN OUT BEFORE YOU FILE YOUR APPEAL!  If you let the 60 days run out, and you do not appeal, Social Security will most always make you start all over again with a new claim, and if you have to start over, you might ultimately lose some money if you win your case.

OK, then, that’s all for today, and thanks for reading my first official blog.  Sorry about all those capital letters, but every time I think about what Social Security disability does to my clients for no reason, it makes me mad all over again, so thanks for letting me vent.  My plan is to try and talk about some more of the Social Security disability nightmares from time to time, so be on the lookout for future posts.

Hello everybody.  I’m Brad Bledsoe and I am the Social Security disability lawyer here at Trammell Law Firm.  Trey has invited me to contribute to his “blog” by “blogging”. I don’t really know what that means because I’m old and not up on all these technological things like Trey and the other youngsters.  My paralegal’s 4-year-old was nice enough to show me (more than once) how to take a picture with my new iphone, as an example.  (Between you and me, the word “blogging” reminds me of the sound a cat makes before it coughs up a hairball, but what do I know?)  Anyhow, Trey says it means to write something about Social Security disability which might be of interest to people who want to know some things about how it works – or doesn’t.

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Insurance Companies Don’t Care About You: They Care About Your Premiums

In my article, “How Do Insurance Companies Make Money?“, I go over Profit = earned premium + investment income – incurred loss – underwriting expenses.  However, it is not my intention to be that technical this time around.

Insurance companies have many different layers, or divisions, but you as the client, or insured, interact with insurance companies on only 1-2 levels:

  1. Insurance Agent-sells varying forms of the insurance, or service.
  2. Insurance Adjuster– protects the insurance company from losing money on the service for which you paid for the insurance company to provide to you by way of a premium and insurance contract (policy). Adjusters minimize the “incurred loss” in the above equation.

As to the Insurance Agent:

It has been my experience that these professionals provide you with information on the varying types of insurance– property, casualty, life, health, and disability. They should review the different policies they have available and the coverages which those policies provide, along with the price.  However, they are not usually legally oriented or familiar with the “back door” aspect of what they are selling.  Meaning, they are doing exactly what they are suppose to be doing, “selling insurance”.  Your insurance agent will most likely refer you to the nearest consolidated insurance claims center if you were to need the service you paid for by way of an insurance claim.

For example: if you were injured in an automobile wreck, lost your shingles when a storm came through, and/or the property or person you bought insurance on was damaged/injured in anyway.  Your insurance agent does not usually handle that, they refer you to a claim center with insurance adjusters. If your insurance agent is kind enough to assist you with the insurance claim procedure they still have no authority, or impact, in how the claim is resolved.

As to the Insurance Adjuster:

They are usually not in the same state as you.  If they provide you any information about your legal rights please ask them if you can record the conversation or get everything they just “counseled” you on in writing.  Insurance adjusters have not passed any state Bar requirements to be lawyers and/or offer legal advice. They work for the insurance company that makes money when it brings in more premiums that are paid by their clients than it pays out in insurance claims.  Their interest are not aligned with your interest as they are evaluated on ensuring that insurance claim payouts are minimized.

Read-One of the factors that an insurance adjuster is evaluated on for their job and them keeping it is to offer you the least amount of money possible for your injuries and/or property so that their employer, the insurance company, maximizes its profit.

Common Misconceptions I hear all the time in my office:

  • I thought they would do the right thing;(Why would you think that? Again, your insurance agent may be the kindest person in the world but that is not who you are dealing with.)
  • I have never had a problem with my insurance company the 20 years that I have had them(How many times have you had to file an insurance claim? Oh, now the light bulb goes off.)
  • The insurance adjuster told me I didn’t need to get an attorney or another appraiser;(Now why would they not want you to get an opinion other than theirs? *hear Jeopardy music*)
  • The insurance adjuster said I couldn’t go see the doctor;(Why are you listening to anyone other than a doctor in regards to medical advice?)
  • I don’t want to sue anybody;(80-90% of the time no law suit is filed. If one is filed it may list the negligent party but that is because insurance can’t be mentioned in a trial. The insurance company is the one that actually defends any law suits you bring and pays money up to their coverage amount if a verdict is rendered.)

All I ask is that you be informed and educated on the interest of all the parties involved and not just assume anything.

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” — Anton Chekhov