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Need Los Angeles SSDI lawyer

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by urbantravels, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    Well, the time has come. I admit I was secretly hoping I'd somehow be lucky enough to get my SSDI on initial application, but it was not to be.

    I did my initial application on my own, but now find myself needing to seek counsel for the appeals process. What I want above all else is to find a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of getting CFS cases approved. Any thoughts about where I might look?
  2. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    I used Binder and Binder, although not for an appeal. Someone in my support group used Binder and Binder from beginning to end, including at least one appeal. The thing I liked about them is I didn't have to go to an office. But the first question they asked me was whether I had a doctor who would support my claim. This sees to be a key issue. Another member of my support group was seeing Dr. Silver at Cedars, and between him and the lawyer he suggested, she got disability. She told me she thinks it had more to do with Dr. Silver than the lawyer.

    If you are interested in meeting and talking with people at the support group, here's where I post info: http://www.forums.aboutmecfs.org/group.php?do=discuss&discussionid=63. Unfortunately for me, I'm no longer able to attend.
  3. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    Yes, my doctor is supportive, fortunately. I have very good documentation of my symptoms, and ongoing physical therapy where they keep extensive notations of my limitations, but one thing I don't have is any lab test results confirming how disabled I am. The one that always seems to get mentioned is the tilt table test, which sounds nasty. I'm more inclined to go to Pacific Fatigue Lab in Stockton (not real close by, but at least in the same state) just because I'd be so interested to see the results of their testing.

    The bizarre thing is - when my rejection letter came I was expecting something along the lines of "we don't think you're actually too sick to work." To my great surprise, the letter cited the fact that I am "expected to recover by 11/25/2010." (11/25/2009 was the date I stopped working, although I had symptoms for a month before that.) Therefore my disability is not expected to last more than one year and therefore I do not qualify for SSDI. News to me - and certainly not based on anything my doctor could possibly have said.

    Although I am pleased to learn of my imminent full recovery (<---- sarcasm). my contingency plan, just in *case* that doesn't happen, is to pursue an appeal. Though if my hearing date is set for after 11/25/2010, I think that will make for a very interesting conversation.
  4. helen41

    helen41 Senior Member

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    I'm so sorry. Those rejection letters can leave bruises. They hurt. I know what you need is a lawyer, but I can only send warm thoughts. I wish it was more.
  5. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    My understanding is that disability with support from a doctor is more important than tests. And I'd mention what tests I had, but it's not applicable. I suffer from more than CFS.

    BTW, I think it might be good to look into the idea of where they got the idea you would recover in a year.

    Also: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Disinissues/
  6. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    I'm more than a little mystified by the confident prognostication that I will recover within a year, especially since that date is coming up so soon. It seems like a pretty bare-faced stalling tactic to me, but I haven't talked to my doctor yet about exactly what she put down on my forms. I *know* nobody's given me such a prognosis.
  7. YSL

    YSL

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    Hi Urban...I live in L.A. and my lawyer is Judith Leland. She is considered one of the best!!! Used to be a disability judge. She is also very nice and reachable. My doc likes her a lot as well. I'm a year into the process and probably have a year to go.
  8. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    urban,
    Don't take anything the SSDI people say personally. Most applicants are denied initially. I was told by some official involved in my own case a few years ago that they regularly reject cases that are mandated for disability, such as blind people. They pretty much reject everyone who does not fit perfectly into one of their criteria.

    It is possible to win an SSDI appeal without a lawyer. In fact I don't think there is much a lawyer can do since most of the evidence will be rejected and you will have to rely on your own credibility and on the credibility of your doctor. In fact, in my case I focused on those points, got letters of support, and spent a lot of time studying how to win my case.

    I'll PM you some info on the approach I took.
    --Kurt
  9. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    Thanks for the information. Definitely food for thought there. I've done my own "lawyering" on minor matters in my life before - I am pretty good at documenting things and organizing and presenting issues clearly - but of course it's the illogic of the process that is so infuriating.

    I hear this about "credibility of the doctor" from more than one source and I wonder what exactly that means? I was diagnosed by my primary care doctor, a regular HMO doctor, not a CFS expert.

    YSL, thanks for the name. Two years, yikes. Is that typical?
  10. caledonia

    caledonia

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    Has your doctor stated that you will be unable to work for at least a year? You have to actually be off work for a year, or have the doctor's statement to be eligible. If neither one is true, you'll be denied on those grounds.

    Don't do a tilt table - expensive/dangerous, etc.

    Get a functional capacity evaluation and a neuropsych exam. The FCE shows how fatigue and pain affect your ability to work. The NE shows how cognitive problems and any anxiety/depression, etc. affect your ability to work.

    If you can't afford to get your own exams, SS will likely send you to this testing (and pay for it).

    While you're waiting for your hearing, be sure to see your doc every 3 months and have him document that you continue to be disabled. My judge liked this info the best.

    It appears that somehow they have it stuck in their heads that we're all going to magically recover in a year or two.

    And yes, wait times are just horrible. Each area is different. For a huge city like LA, I would expect longer, not shorter. There is an SS document on wait times in different cities. Or ask your lawyer when you get one.
  11. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    The reason for using an experienced lawyer is they know the tricks of the trade. And it reduces your stress load. Also, lawyers are limited by law to how much they can take from the settlement.
  12. hensue

    hensue Senior Member

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    Allsup is a wonderful company they do all the work for you. The website sounds like fibromyalgia patients only but they take CFS patients.
    Most of these people have worked in the ssdi and know the ends and outs.

    They will also let you know if you are a good candidate or not.
    Of course they get there percentage that is allowed by law right off the top.

    Worked very well for me!
  13. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    FWiW, I was once taking with a doctor about what he would put if/when SSDI sent him a form. He said the standard is for say one year. He was 100% wrong. He was confusing it with a State disability program. If I had not spoken with him he would have done it all wrong. It's best to know what your doctor writes and for your doctor to know what is needed.

    Hmmm. I wonder if we are dealing with the same doctor.

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