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How Social Media Can Hurt Your Long Term Disability Insurance Claim

Published on October 17, 2014 by

We live in a culture where it’s becoming more and more expected to tell the world about every single thing that you do, from “Had a blast at the baseball game tonight” to “Finally cleared all that junk out of the attic – whew!” Both of those are things you might see any one of your friends post at any given time. They are also things that you might find yourself doing if you were out of work due to a disability because of all the extra free time you have.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that neither one of those activities really does anything to disprove a disability claim, more and more insurers are delving deeply into people’s lives in an attempt to discredit claims. Even if you just want to update those friends and family members you’re not seeing because of your disability, saying the wrong thing on social media can have dire consequences.

Social Media Etiquette during the Claims Process

So, what can you do to protect yourself from these kinds of tactics?

Stop posting. The most effective way to keep your insurer from using your social media posts against you is to stop giving them ammunition altogether. Instead of posting to Facebook, try emailing friends and family members or calling them.

Change your privacy settings. You don’t necessarily have to go cold turkey on social media. One way to keep yourself more protected while continuing to post as usual is to make sure that you’re only sending updates like the ones mentioned above to those specific friends and family members you want to see them.

Choose your words carefully. Alternately, you can simply avoid posting about things that make it look like you’re running around and essentially “playing hooky” when you’re supposed to be burdened with a disability. Unfortunately, something that may seem innocuous to you may still be used against you, so stopping with social media completely is the best policy.

Of course, none of this advice matters if your insurer has already used this tactic against you. Don’t despair, though – experienced attorneys will tell you that your social media posts usually don’t prove anything, and they know how to fight back against these kinds of insurance company accusations. See how a good lawyer can help your long term disability claim by reading our free long term disability eBook.

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Social Security Disability Questions: Musculoskeletal Treatment Effects

Published on October 15, 2014 by

Welcome to part six in our series on musculoskeletal disorders. You can read our previous posts on the subject here.

Today we’re going to talk about treatment. If you’ve been following these posts, you already know why treatment is important if you are considering applying for social security disability benefits – it acts as a record showing the existence, duration, and severity of your impairment. Moreover, anything that has been officially entered into your medical record regarding your disability has to be considered by the SSA before they can make a ruling.

But what we haven’t really gone into is what effects the treatment may have on you.

Good and Bad Effects of Musculoskeletal Treatment

Before undergoing any treatment, it’s vital that you know both the potential benefits and possible negative side effects that could result. These have to be considered on an individual basis, because everyone responds differently. While it’s possible that a given type of treatment may alleviate some of the symptoms, signs, and abnormalities your disorder causes you, it could also end up limiting you further.

Some may take a pain medication and feel complete relief. Others, however, will feel nothing, and a few may even suffer from side effects like dizziness or sleepiness that harm their ability to live like a normal, healthy adult. And, of course, there are people who at first experience relief from a particular treatment only to have their impairment return full force after a short time.

That’s why it’s so important to work with medical professionals who have dealt with conditions like yours before. This gives them a better sense of which kinds of treatment are worth trying with you and which are not.

It All Comes Back to the Record

Ultimately, when you’re applying for SSA disability benefits, it all comes back to the official medical record of your treatment. Going to a medical professional means that you have a documented record, regardless of whether you end up undergoing certain kinds of treatment or not. When SSA officials are looking at your case, they’ll be able to see the rationale behind what was done and how it helped – or didn’t. The more well-documented your issue is, the better chance you have at getting the benefits you need.

Learn more about the process from beginning to end by reading our SSD ebook. Still have Social Security questions? Contact us and get them answered by an experienced disability attorney.

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ERISA Disability Insurance: Be Careful What You Say to Insurers

Published on October 10, 2014 by

When someone gets arrested, the police are required by law to read them their Miranda Rights, one of which is “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you…”

In actuality, this is a good rule for anyone embroiled in any kind of legal action, including making a claim with your insurance company. It applies in a number of ways, from not Tweeting out pictures of yourself doing things you shouldn’t be doing with your disability to making sure that you have an experienced disability attorney handle all of your correspondence with your insurer.

The most obvious reason for following these rules is so you don’t say or do anything to actively hurt your claim, but there’s another one that only pops up from time to time: sometimes insurers misinterpret communication, such as in the case of a claimant who “appealed” without knowing it by sending their insurers a letter in frustration.

Does Intent Matter in Communication?

In this particular case, a claimant had their claim denied and wrote a letter saying they were “dismayed” by the decision. The insurer decided that this constituted an appeal and filed it as such, going through the regular appeals process without ever dealing with the claimant until it was decided that their appeal was unwarranted.

As crazy as it sounds, this is completely legal for the insurer to do as long as the claimant doesn’t suffer any “prejudice” from the clerical error that was made, which is exactly what a court ruled. How does that make sense if the claimant wasn’t able to mount a proper appeal with new evidence and support? The answer is that it doesn’t matter because the court has final say.

That’s why it’s so important to learn all you can about the ERISA claims process by reading our free eBook, as well as making sure that all of your communication goes through an experienced professional who knows how to handle these kinds of cases. Be sure to check our blogs weekly for new information on how you can win and maintain your Long Term Disability Benefits.

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Winning Social Security Disability for Spinal Disorders

Published on October 8, 2014 by

Disorders of the spine are a specific kind of musculoskeletal impairment where the actual architecture of the spine can become distorted, impinging on and “pinching” nerve roots and even the spinal cord. As you might imagine, this is a disability that can cause people a great deal of pain, lead to loss of feeling or ability to move, or a combination of the two. If you believe that you or someone you love is suffering from a spinal disorder, have them speak with an experienced disability attorney as soon as possible so that they can be examined by a qualified physician.

There are a number of issues related to this impingement on nerve tissue:

Herniated nucleus pulpous. This disorder often occurs when a nerve root is impinged upon. Depending on the nerve root or roots that have been compromised, those afflicted will suffer from a specific “neuro-anatomic distribution” of symptoms.

Spinal arachnoiditis. Do you suffer from a sense of burning pain that you just can’t place? Is incontinence a problem? Do you feel wetness, pain, itchiness, or pins and needles when there’s nothing to explain those sensations? If so, it’s possible that you have spinal arachnoiditis, a condition where the arachnoid experiences “adhesive thickening” and can lead to incontinence if the cauda equina is involved. People can develop spinal arachnoiditis when nerve roots are being chronically irritated or compressed, and it is often related to cases of meningitis, spinal stenosis, or spinal trauma. Those who suffer from this debilitating condition frequently can’t stay in one position for long due to extreme pain.

Lumbar spinal stenosis. Those with this condition experience bilateral weakness and pain in the thighs, buttocks, and lower back that makes it difficult for them to walk or otherwise get around. Unlike the sharp pain one might experience from a herniated disc, that associated with lumbar spinal stenosis is often described as more of a dull ache and typically appears after the individual has extended their spine by walking – or sometimes even just standing. Often the pain will be alleviated when the individual leans forward.

Other spinal disorders. This only scratches the surface of spinal disorders. Others you should ask your physician about include:

  • Spina bifida
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Vertebral fracture
  • Tethered cord syndrome
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Diastematomyelia
  • Facet arthritis
  • Abnormal spinal curvatures

All of these can cause impairments that should be evaluated under 1.04. Abnormal curvatures can also cause additional problems outside of the musculoskeletal system, each of which should be evaluated under their appropriate listing.

What it boils down to is that people with assistive devices of any kind need to make sure that they are working with a doctor who knows the specific requirements for examining them. If you need help finding a physician with this kind of experience, talk to a Social Security Disability attorney. And if you have more questions you want answered now, download a copy of our free ebook on getting Social Security disability.

Next time we’re going to discuss maximum therapeutic benefit and how you can use it to help your claim. But be sure to check out our blog for more information on Social Security Disability!

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