Disability Digest October 2011

Inside This Issue

A Word from Charles E. Binder

Charles E. Binder - Managing Partner I get two personal questions from clients all the time. Not surprisingly the first one is about the hat that I wear on our TV commercials. But the second one is whether I get recognized frequently. I do. Or at least my hat does. It is very flattering that people come up to me and say they like the commercials, or that we represented someone that they know, who was happy with our efforts. Not long ago I was recognized at Logan airport in Boston by the spouse of a client who raced over to thank me for winning his wife's case. I like that kind of recognition the best. Second best is crossing the street in NYC and having a firefighter in an engine company or a ladder company blow his horn at me and wave. Occasionally police officers in NYC in the local precinct will pull over just to say hello.

I am almost always recognized by TSA people when getting through security. The agent will have my photo id in his hands and usually there'll be a very short double take. Often the TSA people in friendly airports (Tampa is the friendliest airport I know) will come up to me and start chatting. I'm also recognized on trains particularly the commuter train to our office in Hauppauge. Fellow passengers will say hello on the platforms, which is extremely flattering. Almost everyone likes "the hat" though few realize there have been quite a few versions of "the hat" in the commercials. Right now I'm wearing a Panama hat given to me recently by a friend. But no one seems to know that it is a brand new hat that has never appeared on TV.

My brother Harry, is also recognized since he wears a cowboy hat too, though his hats are much larger...more LBJ style than mine. Like me, he is usually recognized at airports by security or at baggage claim. In fact recently, when I was picking up my bag at JFK, someone came up to me to tell me my brother had been there in the morning. That's being recognized.

But personal recognition isn't the important thing that comes of our commercials. The important thing is that because of our TV commercials, more and more people are recognizing the disability part of the Social Security law. Until we started advertising heavily, almost no one knew about Social Security disability. So in a way, my hat is helping lots of good folks to lead a better life, because of the level of financial stability that comes from receiving their disability benefits. Personal recognition can be fun. But it's that other kind of recognition that counts.

What's New in Our World

by Rachel Farganis

In the last edition of the Disability Digest, I talked about all of the new and exciting ventures we were undertaking. And boy, have they ever been exciting! Within a short amount of time, our official Binder and Binder Facebook page grew exponentially, and we continue to gain new followers everyday. Our blogs have taken off in rare form as well, giving us the amazing opportunity to bring news and updates to our clients in the quickest and most technologically advanced fashion possible.

It's been a rewarding experience to be able to interact with our clients on a new level. Everyday, we have new clients and followers log onto Facebook-our numbers haven't stopped growing since we started. Perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences is simply knowing that, with every comment and every "like," our content has reached at least one person...one person that may find the information helpful enough to move forward with a winning disability claim.

Some of our blogs have had a more serious tone; we've talked about possible government shutdowns and the recent debt ceiling crisis. We've discussed the difficulty of the Social Security Disability process, the timelines, and the importance of supporting opinions from treating physicians. But, we've also brought a lighthearted side. We've talked about Charles' hat, and news articles from the 1970s. We've even had lengthy discussions on our Facebook Wall with clients and potential clients who have been kind enough to share their life experiences.

Needless to say, it's been quite an exciting journey for us. We hope that you'll join us in the virtual world soon, if you haven't already!

Chronic Pain

Have you ever heard of an individual who suffered an injury or illness resulting in an amputated limb, be it an arm or a leg, but was still able to feel pain in that area? Have you ever witnessed an individual discuss pain that existed without a known cause? Chances are you've seen some mention of it on TV, or read a report in a newspaper at sometime. Perhaps you even know the feeling yourself. There's a big issue that's affecting millions of people...and that issue is chronic pain.

Those who don't suffer from chronic pain may not understand, and may not believe in those who report complaints. Unfortunately, up until recently, chronic pain was a syndrome that consisted mainly of subjective complaints-meaning, the complaints of pain could not be proven by an objective test, such as an obvious broken bone seen on an x-ray, or degenerative disc disease indicated by an MRI. Did that make it any less real? Certainly not to those who suffered.

Times, however, are changing, and views towards chronic pain are beginning to take on a different light. Doctors have started acknowledging the existence of the often disabling pain as they look for new ways to treat it. They are beginning to acknowledge and accept that pain might not always be traceable to a broken bone that is easily proven with x-rays. In fact, brain-imaging studies have suggested that the brain of an individual who suffers from chronic pain not only looks different, but also responds differently from the brain of someone who doesn't have to deal with chronic pain. Such a suggestion indicates that there is, indeed, a process occurring in the body of an individual suffering from chronic pain as opposed to one who is not.

Perhaps the most important element here is that the new research regarding chronic pain has added a great deal of credibility to what was previously considered to be subjective complaints. With regards to receiving Social Security Disability and Supplement Security Income benefits, it's no secret that individuals with an objective disorder, for example-clinical blindness in both eyes, have a much easier time proving their disability than those with chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia. The inability to identify the source of an individual's complaints of pain has proven to be a major road block for the disability process; without a cause for the pain, individuals had a hard time proving it existed. It appears as if the road block may be beginning to break down.

Studies continue to be done, as doctors and researchers maintain their desire to locate a suitable treatment...and even a cure. We have clients that suffer from different forms of chronic pain. We believe in the severity and the realness of the syndrome, and will continue to follow the research as it unfolds.

Elimination of the Diabetes Listing

Many Americans suffer from diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is a condition that results from the body's inability to use blood glucose for energy. One may be diagnosed with type I diabetes or type II diabetes. To manage the disease, an individual must carefully monitor blood sugar levels to minimize fluctuations, which requires continued vigilance and strict adherence to a perpetual, multi-faceted and demanding treatment regimen. A diabetic may need to inject insulin, follow a diabetic diet, exercise daily and test blood sugar several times a day.

If a blood test shows a drop in glucose levels, one must stop all other activities and consume the kinds of foods that will bring sugar levels back up to normal. Unless one acts quickly, periods of dizziness, weakness, loss of ability to think or concentrate on work may be the result. A drop in glucose levels may even result in losing consciousness (or passing out). Conversely, spikes in blood glucose levels can cause equally adverse consequences.

Sometimes, this rigid schedule makes being both an insulin-dependent diabetic and a productive worker impossible. When your diabetes keeps you out of the workforce, you may be able to get Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits to make ends meet. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in this country, and death rates for diabetes have increased by 45% since 1987.

In December of 2009, the Federal Register published a change to the Endocrine Listing (Medical Listing 9) proposed by the Social Security Administration (SSA); they proposed that the impairments set out in Medical Listing 9 be eliminated. Medical Listing 9 includes not only diabetes, but also thyroid and other endocrine disorders. The purpose behind the proposed elimination is based upon what SSA considers to be "advances in medical treatment in the detection" of endocrine disorders. As a consequence of these advances, SSA believes that these types of disorders no longer meet the 12-month durational requirement. If they no longer meet the 12-month durational requirement, these disorders cannot be considered disabilities.

Unfortunately, the proposed change to Medical Listing 9 has recently been approved. As of June 7, 2011, severe impairments such as diabetes and thyroid disorders will no longer serve as a basis to obtain Social Security Disability benefits on a stand alone basis. If endocrine disorders cause problems of medical listing-level severity in other organs or glands, SSA will "evaluate these effects under other body system listings."

Most importantly, however, is that current beneficiaries who have received or are receiving an award of Social Security Disability benefits based upon endocrine disorders will not be terminated. They will, however, continue to be reviewed for medical improvement under the original medical listing upon which their initial entitlement was based.

Despite the fact that the majority Medical Listing 9 no longer exists, our job here at Binder and Binder® does not change. We deal with the government; you have enough to worry about.

We Get Letters (And Emails)...

I am very pleased with your firm and the kindness I received from the both your receptionist and my Advocate. I just wish I heard from your Orange office a little more. Other than that you are great. The kindness on the phone and promptness is a very soothing relief. Especially when I can be rough around the edges at times. Thank you for your continued support and help. Go get 'em B & B

I just wanted to take this time to extend by gratitude for help in claiming my social security. You did every thing you said you would. Mr. S. was always kind, sympathetic and very professional. You are truly the best in the business. I highly recommend you to anyone who is in my position. You got me my money gave me back my life and treated me as an individual not just a number. So thank you, Mr. Binder, Ms R., and Mr. S. I will never forget you.
Ms. W.

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

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 Jim M. and caseworker Ms. Fefe H. for accepting and winning my case. Thanks for all the hard work that you put in for me.

I wish to recommend Evelyn M. for all her help in getting my husband's Disability this year. We had filed in February, and Evelyn was with us all the way in getting him what he needs. Thank you so much, Evelyn. Thank you for all your help. If anyone ever asks us about Binder & Binder, we will tell them how well our case worker Evelyn helped my husband get his Disability.
Ms. L. H.

Dear Mr. Binder,

I received a call from Mrs. M. today saying we won our case. I am glad you made the decision after my request to have Mrs. M. as my Case Worker. I then was glad to see she had a promotion as I said she was wonderful. I then had the pleasure of Mrs. C. to help on my case and just knew I had the best team available along with my Advocate.

I am so glad again I had our team as everyone clicked like a well oiled machine.
This again shows you care about your clients and you care about your employees.
I will recommend Binder and Binder with the knowledge that you do care. I wish I could say more but I think this covers everything and thank you all again. I would not be surprised to see my Case Workers at the top of the ladder at your company in short order. I actually told the ladies I loved them and it came from my heart.
M. H.

Thank You for getting a favorable decision in my social security disability case! The hearing went well and your representative really knew my case! I am glad that I hired your firm to handle my case and I will recommend your firm to others!
Thanks again,
A. P. Jr.

Power Person of the Month

Nicholas Brown Seattle, Washington is known for a lot of things. It's known for its weather (201 average days of cloudiness!) its contribution to coffee-lovers worldwide with the invention of Starbucks. And the way things are going, it will shortly also be known for Nicholas Brown, the manager of our Seattle office.

Nicholas is the youngest of three boys, and is quick to point out how great his father, mother, and brothers are. He was born and raised in Florida, and began his Binder and Binder® career at our Tampa office. Nicholas graduated from Florida State University; his degree is in Ancient History with a focus on Mesopotamian, Greco-Roman and Crusade Eras...with a minor in Classical Literature. We're impressed! Prior to beginning his career at Binder and Binder®, Nicholas' past jobs have included "everything from landscaping and overnight janitorial work during college, to business administration for a construction company."

Now that he's located in Seattle, well...there couldn't be a more perfect location for Nicholas, who just so happens to love the outdoors. When asked what his favorite pastimes and hobbies were, he reported "white water rafting, hiking, rock climbing, and grizzly bear wrestling..." though he claimed the grizzly bear wresting was a joke! And, he couldn't help but include a random fact for us: "The greatest animal on this planet is the ferocious and lovable dachshund"...his favorite dog, if you couldn't tell!

Prior to his arrival in Seattle, Nicholas admitted that he hadn't seen much of the country. "Before I started work for this company, I had never been out of the South," he reported. Only having traveled as far North as Kentucky and as far West as Texas, Nicholas grabbed hold of a life changing opportunity when he began working for Binder and Binder® just over two years ago. "Through Binder and Binder®, I have seen Manhattan and Seattle. It has not just helped me professionally, it has helped me grow as a person also."

For Nicholas, and many of our employees, his job entails more than just a simple daily routine. In fact, according to Nicholas, "There is always something new everyday. That's why I like my job." Although his job keeps him on his toes, he knows it comes with its challenges. Nicholas indicated that the most difficult part of his job is "having to let go and go home at the end of the day." A lot of us at Binder and Binder® feel the same way, knowing how truly important the work we do is!


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