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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Please pass the salt…

You have filed or are considering filing a disability claim with the Social Security Administration and are finding conflicting information about the process and what to expect. You’ve heard from family, friends, your doctors, or even people who happen to “overhear” your conversation and decide to share their experience or that of someone else they know. Some claim they were approved “right away” or “just a couple months” after they filed the application. Yet others claim they were denied “five times” before they were finally approved. A call to the Social Security Administration results in yet more differing information. In all actuality, you may want to consider taking all that information with a very large grain of salt and consult with an attorney’s office. Continue reading

Persistence ‘pays’ off

“Tick…tick…tick…tick…” I’m not sure if this is the sound of time slowly wasting away, or that internal bomb about to detonate if Social Security doesn’t soon realize the legitimacy of your claim and pay you the benefits you need and deserve, but whether you are the former or the latter of the two you are not alone. If you have ever filed a Social Security disability claim, you are already aware of this, but if you are just getting ready to file this information may be very useful. Continue reading

“I thought the fight was over, stop harassing me!”

So, after what was probably a pain staking fight for the short term/long term disability benefits you have been paying for and rightfully deserve, you finally received that golden letter from the disability insurance company saying your claim has been approved. Woo hoo, time to relax without that added stressor on your plate and you can finally focus on getting better… so you thought.

Two weeks later you receive a packet of questionnaires to be completed by you and your physicians. Thinking it is not that big of a deal, you complete the forms as requested and return them to the insurance company. Little did you know, these forms will be coming every five (5) to nine (9) months as the insurance company conducts a “review” of your claim.

“I feel like I am being harassed. Can they do this?” Unfortunately, insurance companies have the right to review a claim as frequently as they feel is necessary. If you do not comply with their requests for completed forms, updated medical records and questionnaires completed by your treating physicians, they can (and will) terminate or suspend your monthly disability benefits until the requested documents have been received and reviewed.

With that said, when you receive that packet of documents in the mail take a deep breath and call your attorney who assisted you in the process and ask that they help you complete the documents together. You may have someone assist you in writing the answers you provide them for each question, which will take away some of the pressure of completing the forms.

Make sure to have the requested documents returned to the requesting disability insurance company prior to the deadline provided. If you need additional time to complete the forms or your physician needs additional time, send a written request for an extension of time to the insurance company and make it aware of the status of the documents.

As always, if you need representation, assistance with your claim or help completing the necessary paperwork, give our office a call and we would be happy to assist you.

The Social Security disability payment process, or what I like to call “The Land of Oz”

In my dual role, I sometimes feel like Glenda from the Wizard of Oz, as I start a client on their way down the not always golden road through the land of the Wicked. Like Glenda, I “look” in every now and then to make sure that our clients are still on the “yellow brick road” to reach the Land of Oz, or what we call “The Payment Center”! Continue reading

“Discretionary Language” is used by insurance companies to deny or terminate ERISA disability claims

What does it mean when an insurance company has written in “discretionary language” to a ERISA disability policy? Simply put, it means the insurance company gets to determine who is eligible for benefits and who is not. The discretionary language clause is often at the end of the insurance company’s disability policy or the summary of benefits you receive from your employer – it looks like another line of legal mumbo jumbo but in reality is the reason many people’s disability claims are denied.

If you get your disability benefits through your employer as most Americans do, your claim will almost certainly be subject to discretionary review. Armed with “discretion” to review your ERISA disability claim, the insurance company who already has a major conflict of interest in that it decides whether you are disabled and also has to pay the claim, is then able to retain its own doctors, aka “hired guns,” to review your claim who usually disagree with you and your doctors that you are disabled.

The insurance company then denies your claim using the “discretion” afforded to it in the ERISA policy after accepting its own doctors’ opinions and rejecting your statements and doctors’ opinions that you are disabled.

Many people are shocked to learn a disability insurance company can reject their treating doctor’s opinion – but these conflicted companies do it every day by hiding behind discretionary language they write in their disability policies.

Never trust that the insurance company has your best interests in mind – they are too conflicted to do so.

ERISA is a very complex area of the law so it is best to consult with an attorney who concentrates their practice on these types of cases. We recover millions of dollars in disability benefits for our clients every year and we represent more ERISA disability claimants in Arizona than any other law firm, call us for a free consultation regardless of where you are in the claim process (602) 482-4300 or in Las Vegas (702) 732-4410.

Nearly 6 million new claims a year means getting Social Security disability is a long process

The Social Security Administration, family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers or referral agencies refer many calls to local disability attorneys to get help with questions about disability claims. Scott E. Davis, P.C. gets calls daily from potential new disability claimants with a wide array of questions and concerns. One of the most common questions that we get is “Why does it take so long to get disability benefits?” and while we would prefer to answer all of the questions we get, there is simply no one good answer to this. Continue reading

Social Security disability benefits: it is your money!

When I first meet with a potential client, one of the biggest hurdles I find that I have to help them over is their own idea that they are asking for a handout. Our clients come from all walks of life, and for the most part have worked since they were in their early teens and never thought about the disability program that Social Security Administration makes them pay for. Continue reading