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Old 09-12-2011, 03:19 PM   #1
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Update since ALJ decision- getting more confused!

As you all know I received my denial from the ALJ hearing on the Friday before Labor Day. It wasn't until Thursday of this past week that I finally got a hold of someone at my lawyers office. It's impossible to talk to him so I am always stuck talking to the assistants. So obviously after getting the denial in the mail and having to wait almost a week before getting to talk to someone about it I spent several days searching the internet looking for advice on what to do next. Everything that I read said that I should be submitting a letter with the appeal stating all of the things that the judge said that were wrong or in my case untrue. I even talked to my therapist at my appt on Weds and she offered to write me a new letter disputing the the things that the judge said as well. This course of action sounded reasonable to me but of course I didn't want to do anything until I talked to the lawyers office.

So when they finally called me on Thursday, she right away told me that they had already sent in the appeal. I asked her about if I get a chance to make a statement or rebut any of the things that this judge said that were clearly not true and she said no, that when it goes to appeals all they do is look for legal things in the current file that the judge did wrong and that if he pulled out one instance in my file where I told my therapist that I went to the park three years ago that he could do that if he wanted to. Which, on a side note, I must say is ridiculous because if someone was claiming physical problems and they only had one mention of it in their records from three years ago SS would not approve them based on that one mention, but they will deny based on one mention....whatever. I even asked her about the appeal form which clearly has a section on it that asks why you are appealing and it says to attach more paper if necessary and she again said that is only if he made a clear legal mistake and that I need the appeals council to remand the case back to the ALJ before I can make any sort of rebuttal about the statements that were made about me.

After getting off the phone with her I was feeling more confused and unsure about this process than ever. How can the appeals council make the decision to remand the case back to the ALJ if they don't know why I am disputing the decision. If they go back and read the denial letter and believe all the stuff the judge said they are going to throw the case back into the denial bin faster that you can blink. I feel that someone should be made aware that the judge based his decision on untruths. A few hours after talking to her I decided to call SS myself to ask about the appeals process and the person that I talked to sounded like she thought my lawyer was nuts. She said "nooooooo- now is the time to submit any new evidence or say anything that you want to say so that the appeals council can know what went wrong." Now on the other hand, at the beginning of my conversation with her, she sounded a bit confused too- maybe I wasn't phrasing the questions right. She said that even though the lawyers office has already filed the appeal that I could still send in new evidence or a statement letter. But I still just feel lost. I'm not sure how to write this letter, what to say etc. I clearly do not have the support of my lawyer on this one since they think that I should just sit on my butt and let the appeals council look at the old, incorrect file- I had hoped that they would be assisting me with writing this rebuttal. I'm still not totally clear on what to submit and I just feel overwhelmed.

 
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:43 PM   #2
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Re: Update since ALJ decision- getting more confused!

Joanne23, Gee I am so sorry. sorry I think your lawyer is not trying to help you at all. But what do you do. As far as SS they say something different everytime you talk to someone. Didn't your lawyer say he couldn't take it to the next level maybe seems like they should be helping as much as they can. I would trust your self and give it your best shot right everything wrong the judge said and turn it in like that appeal letter said. again I'm so sorry I wish I could help you more maybe others can help you. Hang in there

Last edited by jgrangran; 09-12-2011 at 03:43 PM.

 
Old 09-12-2011, 04:02 PM   #3
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Re: Update since ALJ decision- getting more confused!

I am also very sorry . I hope something good can come out of this. And you will win your appeal .

 
Old 09-12-2011, 04:06 PM   #4
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Re: Update since ALJ decision- getting more confused!

jgrangran- Thank you so much for responding to my post. You have been very supportive throughout this whole ordeal for me.

mscat- Thanks for your encouragement too!


I had mentioned to the assistant that he said he wouldn't take it further and she said, well we file the appeal and then if that doesn't work, he will decide if he will take it from there- we also have another lawyer that we forward the federal cases to. So I guess I'm stuck. I felt like telling her not to hold her breath on winning that appeal if they won't even let me submit a statement. They make things so hard with SS to fire your lawyer because unless your lawyer will take their name completely off the case and agree not to take any money at all from your backpay if you ever get it, no other lawyer will touch it. I will say that it was kind of funny when I was talking to the girl at SS- she sounded pretty disgusted and said that I needed to make the lawyer do what I wanted because I was paying him and he was working for me. She said that he was going to get $6000 if I was approved and that I needed to tell him to write up this letter for me. But since they obviously don't want to help, do I really trust them to do the letter properly even if I did insist that they do it? This whole process is making me crazy

Last edited by joanne23; 09-12-2011 at 04:07 PM.

 
Old 09-12-2011, 04:10 PM   #5
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Re: Update since ALJ decision- getting more confused!

This sounds like you have a bad SSDI lawyer. Some lawyers dabble in SSDI but it is not their primary focus. This is why I advocate going with someone like Allsup. SSDI is all they do. They do nothing else except try to get you approved for SSDI. I had a wonderful experience with them. They got me approved in 20 months and kept me fully informed every step of the way.

 
Old 09-12-2011, 04:17 PM   #6
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Re: Update since ALJ decision- getting more confused!

I personally would call the lawyer back joanne23 and insist that they submit any new evidence, esp since your therapist is willing to write a letter on your behalf.The whole SSDI process is so draining. It is a wonder anyone completes it successfully. Many ppl get really frustrated and just give up. I say keep fighting Joanne.

 
Old 09-12-2011, 04:23 PM   #7
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Re: Update since ALJ decision- getting more confused!

I agree that I chose a really bad lawyer. His qualifications seemed great and SS is his only focus. I think that maybe his firm has become too big and he is getting too arrogant. I have copied and pasted some info from his website that originally led me to choose him. I took out the name though cuz I didn't know if that was allowed. In addition, his website has a bunch of audio and video clips of him speaking at national conferences about disability etc. He seemed very qualified to me. I thought that based on the fact that he says that he helps a lot of people with fibro and chronic fatigue syndrome that he might be more compassionate or understanding with someone who deals with mental health issues as well. Not that I'm saying that fibro or chronic fatigue is a mental issue, but it's one of those things that SS is very difficult about because there are not actual tests to "prove" to them in black and white that there is a legit problem- kind of like with my mental health issues. Boy was I wrong.... Wish that I had heard of Allsup right from the start.

Quote:
XXX concentrates on representing clients who are disabled and need assistance with their private or ERISA long-term disability, short-term disability and/or Social Security disability claims. The firm's practice is dedicated solely to disability law.

In addition to all types of disabilities, both psychological and physical, our firm has particular expertise in representing clients who are unable to work due to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome. Attorney XXX is often invited as a guest speaker at fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue conferences nationwide. However, at this time, our firm only represents clients in the states of Arizona and Nevada.

Our firm has earned an excellent reputation nationwide for successfully representing clients in disability claims against the Social Security Administration and long-term disability and short-term disability insurance companies, for both ERISA and private policy claims. As a result, XXX is highly regarded by other disability attorneys.

Mr. XXX and his highly skilled team members are fully aware of the long journey you have begun to obtain your disability benefits. We understand the obstacles, challenges and frustrations you have been or may encounter during this process. As part of our compassionate representation, we are always updating our list of potential resources to assist our clients in every way we can.

Our firm has successfully represented thousands of Social Security and ERISA and private long-term and short-term disability clients. XXX's extensive knowledge as well as his aggressive approach as a disability lawyer in representing clients has resulted in its clients winning their Social Security, ERISA and private disability cases at a significantly higher rate than the average disability law firm. The firm's clients win their cases at more than twice the rate of an unrepresented claimant.

Representing clients with disabilities requires a unique blend of experience, legal knowledge and compassion. Our firmsí team members are highly trained and efficient, however; it is their commitment to you as an individual, their understanding of the daily challenges you face, as well as their genuine compassion that will impress you the most.

We invite you to explore our website; it is our hope that we may be of service even if you are not contemplating hiring a disability attorney at this time.

 
Old 09-12-2011, 04:27 PM   #8
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Re: Update since ALJ decision- getting more confused!

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Originally Posted by BlueSkies14 View Post
I personally would call the lawyer back joanne23 and insist that they submit any new evidence, esp since your therapist is willing to write a letter on your behalf.The whole SSDI process is so draining. It is a wonder anyone completes it successfully. Many ppl get really frustrated and just give up. I say keep fighting Joanne.
Thanks Blueskies- I'm working on it. Allegedly someone from their office was supposed to call me back by the end of the day today but being as it's already 4:30p here, I don't see that happening in the next half hour. I will try to call again tomorrow and see if I can get anywhere with them.

 
Old 09-12-2011, 04:36 PM   #9
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Re: Update since ALJ decision- getting more confused!

I know exactly who you are talking about. His credentials look impressive and he specializes in LTD and SSDI. Hmmm, now I am puzzled Joanne. What made you decide to go with this firm? Did you do a google search or did someone recommend them to you? Before I chose Allsup, I did a google investigation and several ppl also recommended them to me.
Here is what it also says from the website Joanne.
Quote:
When a client's claim is denied by a judge, our firm has had tremendous success having the Appeals Council remand the client's case for a second hearing due to errors in the judge's decision. This is due to the aggressive manner in which the case is developed prior to the hearing. Also, the client is usually instructed to file a second claim while the appeal is pending; most of these second claims are eventually approved.
*But, you said you can not file a second claim if my memory serves me correctly. I think several ppl suggested that to you but you said something about your DLI (date last insured I think). I think this was you but my memory is so fickle.

 
Old 09-12-2011, 04:46 PM   #10
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Re: Update since ALJ decision- getting more confused!

Yes, that is correct I cannot file another claim because my date of last insured was 12/09. My actual onset date is 3/08 however I was told that if I were to file a second claim that I would have to use 8/11 as the onset which is the date when the ALJ hearing was held. It was so long ago that I did the search on this lawyer, but for some reason when I was looking up disability lawyers, I never saw Allsup. I hadn't heard anything about them until after I had signed with this attorney. Back then, even now when I do a search for disability lawyers in my area it seems that very few come up. I wanted to stay away from the larger firms like Binder and Binder as I had seen a lot of bad reviews about them. Based on the qualifications listed on his website and the way that they talked to me when I called them I felt like they were really good. Of course you don't find out that they aren't until it's crunch time and you are sitting in front of a judge who is making things up about you and your lawyer is just sitting there doing nothing.

 
Old 09-12-2011, 04:55 PM   #11
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Re: Update since ALJ decision- getting more confused!

Quote:
Originally Posted by joanne23 View Post
Yes, that is correct I cannot file another claim because my date of last insured was 12/09. My actual onset date is 3/08 however I was told that if I were to file a second claim that I would have to use 8/11 as the onset which is the date when the ALJ hearing was held. It was so long ago that I did the search on this lawyer, but for some reason when I was looking up disability lawyers, I never saw Allsup. I hadn't heard anything about them until after I had signed with this attorney. Back then, even now when I do a search for disability lawyers in my area it seems that very few come up. I wanted to stay away from the larger firms like Binder and Binder as I had seen a lot of bad reviews about them. Based on the qualifications listed on his website and the way that they talked to me when I called them I felt like they were really good. Of course you don't find out that they aren't until it's crunch time and you are sitting in front of a judge who is making things up about you and your lawyer is just sitting there doing nothing.
I am going to ask my friend who use to work for the SSA. He posts in another forum. I will report back. Did your lawyer explicitly tell you that no new evidence can be submitted at this stage?

 
Old 09-12-2011, 10:03 PM   #12
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Re: Update since ALJ decision- getting more confused!

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Originally Posted by BlueSkies14 View Post
I am going to ask my friend who use to work for the SSA. He posts in another forum. I will report back. Did your lawyer explicitly tell you that no new evidence can be submitted at this stage?
Hi Blue- thank you so much for that. Yes, that is what they told me- that me writing a statement or getting another, updated statement from my therapist would do no good at this point and that all the appeals council will do at this point is look at what the judge looked at and decide if he made any legal mistakes. They told me that they wouldn't even look at either thing.

 
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