Well all do things we shouldn't do, and we always pay for it later on, with lots and lots of pain! I know what I went through to get SSD and yes they ask about all the activities that you can and can not do. Heck when I went to the appeals hearing with the judge, the SS person said I could be a used car salesman, the judge had me get up and walk around the room, I am bent over with a cane, and the Judge said would you buy a car from him? Thge the judge said I wouldn't! The judge said he wanted me to have one more test done and after he got the results, he would make his decision. My Lawyer said it is a formality you have got it! Well I had the test done in a week or two, and didn't hear anything, six months later, I got notice of approval and it was backed dated two or three years, and the judge ordered I have medicare part A and B immediately. that was 03-01-2002. Anyway for me allot of it had to do with my age at the time and my previous job experience and training. All of which works against you! Anyway I do wish you luck and hope it all works out well for you!
Well, from what Pete has described this was not the actual hearing before the ALJ. This sounds like an informal meeting that many times SS does on cases. When I appplied I was given the option of applying and doing my interview by phone or coming into the main office. I ,hose to do a phone interview and not fight the downtown traffic and parking. It is simply to be sure all forms are completed correctly and a question and answer time. The person Pete was to meet/or met with was an adminsitrative assistant/sercretary of SS's. not an ALJ. When an actual hearing is scheduled before an ALJ it is highly recommended that the hearing never be canceled unless its pretty much a life or death situation. This is due to the heavy case load at SS and the judges are real strict on the reasoning for canceling said hearing. Our office here will call an attys office and say I have these dates available for the hearing on such & such, what date is the atty available and thats how we set our hearings before the ALJ. That way it takes care of any conflict on calendars.
Unfortunately, for Pete all the hard work he did was for nothing as far as the SS claim goes. All it did was make him miserable and cause extra pain, not to mention the extra days it will take to get things settled back down. He ran the risk of further injury, its not worth it folks. I do not suggest to anyone out there considering applying ever do what Pete did. These ALJ's are not stupid, these are seasoned judges that know how to read medical records inside and out. This is one of the many things your claim is based on people, not walking or limping in to a hearing or looking like you have been put thru the mill. The judges do not buy it and they cannot be fooled. By this think about it, he has looked at your medical records very carefully and read them word for word. He has mostl likely taken a highlighter and highlighted the parts of your medical records that fit the guidelines for disability according to SS. If the medical records reflect the patient is having some pain, but is back at work with some discomfort and that person walks in looking like they have been in a dog fight and lost-how well do you think that judge is going to perceive that person? Just be yourself is the very best way to handle anything with SS. It is not a dog and pony show.
You do get your chance to speak and use that time wisely. Don't run off at the mouth and ramble, especially if it is a yes or no answer.
Personally Pete, I feel if you will just try to relax a tad and let the atty do the work you will be fine with SSD. Your medical records says it all, its not about how bad you look, how bad you act, nothing like that. These guys have seen it all and they are not stupid. Overkill can do just that kill!!
Post Edited (straydog) : 8/24/2009 7:58:00 PM (GMT-6)
Ok, gotta put my two cents worth in on this one. Pete, fire the lawyer now. Do not let it go on further. The guy at SSD told you right. If you get awarded benefits in the very beginning, SSD will not pay him one dime. Get out now. For once listen to what someone tells you. Hand deliver a simple letter to the attorney and a copy of the same letter to SS. All it has to say is" As of this date I no longer desire your services in connection with my claim for SSD benefits." And sign your name to it Pete. Be sure to put your SS number on the letter so SSD will know who you are. Get out now Pete, you would have really looked bad had you not gone to the SS office and met with the case worker. Be sure to get a copy of the paperwork the atty sent in to SS. If you stay with the lawyer then you only have yourself to blame. What kind of Authority to Represent or Contract of Employment did you sign with the atty? It should have the words contingency in it meaning if he wins the case he gets paid out of past due benefits, he loses the case you owe him nothing. See what the tv guide attys do to people. You think because they do hotshot advertising they are great-they have no idea who their clients are because they have so many cases and people slide thru the cracks and statutes run, not good.
An atty has no control over how long your case is before SS. Believe it or not, SS is really a very tight web organization and they call the shots not the the lawyers. PaLady has her own ideas, but she is incorrect, an atty cannot keep your claim pending to get more money, it does not work that way. SSD has a cap on atty fees, he must send in a Fee Petition to be approved by SS before he is paid once you have had a hearing before an ALJ. You have to furnsih them with a detailed itemized letter stating every thing the atty has done on the file, I mean everything, from sending one letter to attending a hearing. Also, an atty cannot pad his time on the file. What he says he did better be in SS file of the claimant or else it is stricken. If he says he sent a letter on whatever date a copy of that letter better be in the file at SS or its nixed. I do not think people realize at all the back log of cases pending at SS waiting to get a hearing before the ALJ. Its incredible the amount of old claims still setting waiting to be resolved and then the new claims that come pouring in daily, you guys have no idea. Its a docket based thing as well. Naturally the oldest cases get set for hearings before a new one. There simply is not enough ALJ's around to handle the case load of cases needing hearings, this is why the process is so long in getting a hearing scheduled. This is the very reason if a person cancels a hearing with SSD it better be life or death.
Not all attys are bad. Its right up there with our doctors, we have bad ones and we have good ones. Some lawyers are snakes and some drs are snakes. It very hard to trust someone if you have already had a bad experience with one. This is why I say pick and choose very carefully. There are too many resources available to check out these guys, I am talking about both, drs and lawyers. Some attys I know, I would not wipe my behind with their law degree, same as with some drs I know. I will also throw in many times we are the very reason our cases may get tossed. Not providing enough information, not being honest, the list can go on and on. Many people think because they hire an atty for something they are done, he can work magic, thats not quite how it works. You would truly be shocked if you knew how many people that hire laywers lie to their very own atty. Sad but very true. These are people that you look at and think they would never tell a lie too lol. Nothing worse than someone that lies to their atty, then when it comes full circle the atty is standing there caught with his pants down cause his client lied to him, talk about making the atty look bad.
Pete I am so glad you made the trip to SSD and got it all taken care of. Please do get to your dr about the Effexor and try to get on something else. If you need someone to help, find a good pyschologist, mine helped me so much. You know if you have been on the Effexor awhile it will stop working and being effective.
Post Edited (straydog) : 8/26/2009 4:24:00 PM (GMT-6)