Disability Digest June 2011

Inside This Issue

It's All About You

We get letters daily...and emails too. Oh, and plenty of phone calls as well. Not every letter, email, or phone call is a happy one-that's to be expected though. But, the majority? They're good. Dare I say, incredibly good. I feel as if I get to peek into a world most other people, including those in our own company, don't get to see-and I want that to change a little. I want to share, as many of the emails and letters we've received in the short time since our last issue of the Disability Digest with as many people as I can. Good things are happening here, and our clients want to make us keenly aware of it.

Some of the correspondences have made me laugh, some have brought tears to my eyes, but more than anything-they've made me proud. That's not to say I've had anything to do with any of the wonderful words (and sometimes, not so wonderful words) that end up in my inbox, but I know that some fellow employee has. Whether it's an employee in my own office, an office on the opposite coast, or Charles Binder himself, I'm proud of what our clients have to say<clip_image002.jpg>. We aren't doctors or researchers trying to cure cancer, but we are America's Most Successful Social Security Disability Advocates®-and, in this line of work, that's a big deal. Like I said, we're not curing cancer, but we are helping individuals fight a difficult and unpleasant battle. And many of them want to let us know just how grateful they are.

So, without further adieu...let's hear...ahem...read what some of you have had to say. After all, it is all about you.

We Get Letters and Emails...

Dear Sirs
I just want to thank you for helping me in my disability case. Most of all, I want to thank Melissa Samnok, of the Bronx office, for her courteous and very PROFESSIONAL manner in which she conducted herself. SHE SHOULD be commended. Again thank you very much.
S. J. M.-email

I wish that I could do a commercial for Binder & Binder. I had heard all of the bad talk about it taking years and all of the problems about getting disability benefits, but after buying books and getting very frustrated on my own I asked around and Binder & Binder was the only one that wanted to take on my case. So at about 6 months we got my award letter. Good job! People were always nice and responded quickly once again thank you all very much! I would and have recommended your services to several people.

You accepted my disability case back in June of 2009. I would like to thank the whole staff at Binder and Binder, along with my advocate Mr. Jim McComas and caseworker Ms. Fefe Stimphil, for accepting and winning my case. Thanks for all the hard work that you put in for me.
W. L. H.-email

Thanks for all your help in my Fully Favorable case. Everyone was very nice to work with! I would tell you the names of all that helped me, they were great, but my frontal lobe disorder causes me to forget many things, including names. They were in the Fort Lauderdale office, though! Thanks for your assistance in this final matter.
E. P. T.-email

You got me my Social Security Disability awarded almost exactly a year ago. In Dec. 2010 my wife passed away, and it is entirely possible that if it was not for Binder & Binder I would probably be homeless right now. I don't feel that I'm exaggerating when I say that - I owe you guys at Binder & Binder my life. Thank You!
D. B. H. -email

I had lost all hope and been turned down twice for no reason. Your team continued to help me win after the second denial. My health had gotten so bad I had no idea how my life was going to end. Now, financial help is near for me. Why the government would not help me, I have no idea! It's all in the paper work. I am not a liar and loved my career. After working since I was 12 (1964), was in the US Military (Vietnam War) and 30 years in the Automated Machine Industry with out ever being laid off, I figured my proof of not being able to continue to work would be enough.....but NO. Not until YOUR team helped me could I have justice.....thank you, thank you, thank you. If you ever want someone to give public statement praising Binder & Binder, just let me know. I was a sales engineer professional and would be willing to construct a letter on your behalf.
Sincerely and thank you again,
D. J. L.-email

And, of course, the always predictable mention of "The Hat."

You got cheated on the commercial featuring the man putting on his hat and getting to work. He puts on a black cowboy hat and says he will work for you. The target of the ads are older people having to apply for Social Security. Older people know a white hat is the good guy. The black hat is the Bad guy. Get your money back and next time call me for direction.

Oh wait...there's more!

I do not have a legal matter I need help with per se. I just wanted to ask the guy on the commercial (Charles I believe) to get rid of the stupid hat. It looks ridiculous and is not as cool as he thinks it is. Get rid of the hat and I would be willing to bet you that more people would be more apt to retain your services. I would never retain an attorney that advertises on television but if I was that type of person it would not be the buffoon in the Indiana Jones hat.

Our response?

Hi B.,
I'm the guy responsible for the Binder and Binder commercials. I understand how you feel about Charles' semi-disreputable hat. The reason he's wearing it is simple. It was chilly on the day the commercial was recorded. It's his hat, and he always wears his hat on a chilly day.

His line... "We'll deal with the government, you have enough to worry about," was the result of a question I asked him. I said, "If I were a client, what would you tell me was the most important thing that Binder and Binder would do for me."

That line came from the heart. It wasn't written for him. I think that comes through on the commercial. So we kept both the line, and the hat.

Some people say they don't want to be represented by a guy who wears a hat. I think it's what's under the hat that counts. Nobody wins as many Social Security Disability cases as Binder and Binder. Nobody.

I think that leaves people with a choice: Hire the guy who wears a dorky hat, but gives you the best chance of winning your case, or go with a guy who doesn't have that kind of track record...but doesn't wear a hat on a chilly day.

I appreciate the time and effort you took to let me know how you feel about our commercials, and I'd like to send you one of our nifty Binder sport shirts as a "thank you" gift. So could you please just return this note with your shirt size and an address so I can send it to you.

Dick Summer
Communications Director-email

And the conversation continues...

I understand and it actually makes him kind of likable. I really didn't expect a response. I did want to let you know that my criticism was meant to be playful and I hope you took it that way. I have taken up way too much of your time already. Your amiable and prompt response says a lot concerning your character.

Can I pick a favorite?

Ms. Dautel,

I just wanted to drop you a line with some very positive feedback on advocate Todd Kurland and caseworker Nicole M. (from the Tampa office). Both helped me a great deal with my SSA Disability Hearing last Friday, April 8 th.

My pre-hearing meeting with advocate Todd Kurland was extremely valuable to me, on levels that went beyond merely preparing for court. It was the first time that I really looked at my illness and resulting disability in a holistic way. I left the meeting not only more knowledgeable about what to expect at the hearing, but also with a better understanding of myself and what I needed to do next on my road to recovery. Mr. Kurland's sincere words of encouragement meant a lot, too. Overall, I found him to be a very sharp advocate, who wanted to do the best that he could for me in lieu of my disability. He was direct, honest, and didn't sugar-coat anything. I think he did a great job.

As the hearing approached, caseworker Nicole M. kept me informed on which updated medical records, impairment questionnaires and narratives she received from my 13 medical care providers-that's a lot of information to track, especially when I am just one of her many clients. She also met with me in person on one occasion, when I stopped by to drop off some updated records that I had collected in person from my doctors, and had some questions about my case. She answered all of them quickly, thoroughly and in an easy-to-understand manner. At the time she was also training a new caseworker and asked if this trainee could sit in on our meeting (I had no objection). Overall, I was impressed by Ms. M.'s knowledge of the procedures at Binder & Binder and her professionalism when dealing with both clients and colleagues alike.

Also, I found the DVD on preparing for the disability hearing to be extremely useful. I watched it twice, and really appreciated having time to think about the questions that might be asked prior to addressing them for the first time in court. You see, I have a tendency to be very wordy, ramble, go off on tangent, etc. This obviously would not have been the time to do that. The DVD made that clear to me.

In conclusion, I think that your staff did a great job on my behalf, and I plan to recommend Binder & Binder to others in the future. I attend a local support group for hepatitis and liver disease patients, to include organ transplant, and questions about disability for people who are undergoing treatments often arise. I will now share my experience with Binder & Binder when those questions come up, and recommend that inquiring individuals follow up with your office.

With Regards,

What the Surveys Have to Say

Whether it's from our client's or those who are not (they matter too!), we take seriously the feedback that is coming to us through letters, emails, phone calls, or our advertising surveys, we take it seriously. As I mentioned in the last issue of the Disability Digest, a number of our clients have already taken our short, one page, limited question surveys. And, Dick Summer, our Communications Director, continues to send me stacks of them quite frequently. The surveys may only be a page long, but sometimes...just sometimes, it takes me more than a few seconds to read through; there's often something that catches my eye and gives me pause.

Our most recent batch of surveys is no different; in an odd way, it's like reading someone else's thoughts. Often times, the responses tend to mirror one another, despite having come from two different people, in two different locations, at two different times. Please don't get me wrong; not everyone loves our advertising. What some people like, others don't. For instance, some client's rave about Charles Binder's hat, while others are quick to point out how ridiculous they feel it is...(it's a new goal of mine to talk about Charles' hat in every issue of the Disability Digest; love it or hate it, you remember it...and I, personally, find it endearing).

The surveys make their rounds too. After Dick Summer has had a chance to review them, they head my way. After I've done the same, I send them to New York for Charles to review. If nothing else, you know they are getting read...many times over, in fact. So, I couldn't help but notice a new question had found its way into the majority of this recent batch of surveys. We ask clients less than ten question with regard specifically to statements that we make in our commercials. From there, we ask that, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most important), our clients take a moment to identify which statements are most important to them. One statement in our commercials indicates "You may be able to stay home, while we work for you on the phone." Needless to say, it's received nearly straight 10's across the board. Now, I am by no means a research analyst, despite what my college degrees might insinuate. But, I can begin to make inferences as to why our clients have responded so favorably to this statement...The truth is, we do not have offices in every town, let alone every state. We do, however, have offices from coast to coast, and most major cities in between. And when it comes time for a hearing, our advocates travel to you. So, all of the leg work up until that point can be done by holding conversations over the phone with our clients, their doctors, and the government. This process (applying for Social Security Disability) has the potential to last for months, sometimes longer. Rather than requesting our clients come to the closest Binder and Binder office for updates, we call you to get updates regarding your medical treatment, doctor's appointments, and medications. We call you to inform you what information we've been able to obtain on your behalf from your doctors, and what information has been difficult for us to get. And the most amazing part? You never have to leave home...or venture too far from your cell phone. If we miss you on the first try, we try again later. If there's an option for us to leave a message, we do that too. And regardless of when clients return calls, or make calls to us on their own, our state-of-the-art computer systems allows our employees, from California to New York, to see the exact same information for every single client.

While I don't have the proper tools to analyze why the response on our surveys were so overwhelmingly positive for that specific question, I certainly can try to understand why it would be an important, and convenient, resource to have at your disposal.

As always, we appreciate the feedback---good, bad, or otherwise. It's important to us to know what is working, and what isn't-what needs improvement and what is fine the way it is. All of the comments are taken into consideration, and used to help make Binder & Binder the best it can be.

David HillPower Person of the Month

David Hill is a name most every employee at Binder & Binder would notice, even if they work in an office, let's say, three states away. His name is synonymous with the word "quality." Well, not literally. But, figuratively speaking, it is. And he lives up to it daily.

David has been with Binder and Binder for quite some time; he's working towards his 13 th anniversary with the company-November 16, 2011, to be exact. But, outside of Binder and Binder, David's a big time sports fan ("Lets go Mets!"-his words, not mine), a father of three with two brothers of his own, and more family than he cares to mention.

Getting back to the quality aspect...David is known to pop in and out of client's file in our computer system in an effort to maintain quality control. Not quantity control, but quality-he's here to assure our clients receive the quality of work they deserve. Which, upon further explanation, make sense...David reported that most of his day "involves taking called from clients and addressing their concerns." David went so far as to say, "Well, one thing I will never forget is how important what we do here is. We have people in probably the most difficult situation they have ever been in, being unable to take care of yourself or your family. And when you take the time to listen to our clients you can hear the desperation in their voices, every win is a memorable moment for me."

But, as important and honorable as David's job is, it doesn't exactly come without at least one hardship downside. When asked what the most difficult aspect of job was, he responded eloquently with "Dealing with the government, knowing that while it appears that they are doing nothing, our clients suffer." The truth is, we deal with government so our clients don't have to. But, even still, it's an often frustrating and difficult task for us as well, just as David indicated.

Even though his job has its difficult moments, as most do, the end result is more than worth it. David indicated that he had "worked in many fields...from the Army, to retail, to fast food. I have never had a job that was as meaningful as this. What we do here touches so many lives and we are truly providing a needed service. I know what it's like to need help (who doesn't?), and I will keep that at the forefront of my thoughts every day. I will do anything I possibly can to help a client." And he does, which is what make him the perfect selection for this issues Power Person of the Month!

Things to Come Soon

Here at Binder & Binder, someone is always busy thinking one step ahead. Where do we go next? How can we connect with our client's on different levels? What new things do we want to happen soon?

Luckily, I get to be a part of this interesting journey. We're in the process of branching out into the most popular social media outlets; a number of you (myself included) have already "liked" our Binder & Binder Facebook page! But, before you know it, we'll be making a bigger impact there...and on Twitter...and YouTube...and Blogger! We hope to reach out to our clients in as many ways as possible, and provide assistance at every avenue. Perhaps you're a big Facebook fan-and not so much of a TV fan; you can keep up-to-date on the ins-and-outs of Binder & Binder on our Facebook page. If you've never seen a Binder & Binder commercial, YouTube will come in handy for just that. If you want to follow what we have to say on our blog, Twitter will provide links often.

The bottom line is this: new things are going to come soon. And we hope you're as excited about them as we are!


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