Nashville Injury Attorneys Blog

Articles Posted in Social Security Disability

When you are injured in a car wreck or other accident, the last thing you think is “I better go to a doctor that is covered by my insurance.” Unfortunately with insurance companies becoming less pro-patient and more pro-profit keeping this question top of mind is not your first priority if you’re hurt – but it could save you a lot of money.

Recently, the Tennesseean published an article about an injured patient that was advised to attend an Emergency Room for back pain. He did his due diligence and ensured that the ER that he was going to visit was “in network” and covered by his health insurance. However, what he did not realize was that the ER Doctor that attended to his care was “out-of-network”. After all was said and done, there was $1,900.00 owing in medical bills. How did this happen?

Many health insurance provScreen Shot 2016-05-19 at 7.42.48 AMiders make deals with health care facilities and providers to be in the “network” of that insurance company. This means that services provided by those facilities or practitioners will be covered by the insurance. An “in-network” doctor provides these services to a patient and the insurance company pays the insured portion of the bill with the patient receiving a reduced bill.

Social Security
It is National Social Security Week and tomorrow is National Check Your Statement Day. Your Social Security Statement will help you understand your retirement security. If you have a My Social Security account, you can simply log on and check your benefits. If you don’t you should consider setting on up.

This account will allow you to:

• Keep track of your earnings and verify them every year with your Social Security Statement;

With an established Social Security practice Ms. Ann-Douglas Tycer has been advocating for her clients for over 20 years. When she is not at a hearing Ann-Douglas is meeting with her clients and learning about their cases. We managed to get a few minutes of Ann-Douglas’s time to learn more about who she is in a rapid fire question and answer session:

Ann-Douglas TycerWhat is the one moment, memory or accomplishment in your legal career that you treasure the most?

Going from being a stay-at-home mom to completing law school then winning my first case was breath taking!

Tennessee Social Security Disability attorney Ann Tycer is often asked to prove cases of disability involving COPD. This is a respiratory (lung) condition characterized by loss of pulmonary function making it very difficult to breath, which in turn makes working difficult if not impossible. Emphysema is a name frequently given to one type of COPD. Common symptoms are difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, fatigue and sometimes chest pain. A chest x-ray or other imaging studies are required for proper diagnosis. Pulmonary function studies may be ordered to determine the severity of COPD.

COPD is most frequently seen in people who smoke or have been regularly exposed to air pollutants, but the condition may also appear in non-smokers. Those with COPD frequently suffer from lengthy “common colds.”

COPD is a common and significant cause of disability. Millions of people worldwide are diagnosed with COPD. It ranks as the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Fibromyalgia is a complex disease (syndrome) with widespread symptoms. Muscle pain and weakness lasting more than three months is one of the foremost factors, but a number of other abnormalities are usually present. Some studies indicate that 1 out of every 73 people in the United States suffer from this disease. The website Fibrocenter has a good article (found here) addressing myths and common misconceptions about Fibromyalgia.

The American College of Rheumatology lists nine pairs (18 total) of specific tender points associated with Fibromyalgia. These are found along the neck, shoulders, chest, elbows, lower back, hips, and knees. Having tenderness to pressure along eleven of these eighteen specific tender points is considered essential to the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. Joint pain and stiffness as well as numbness and tingling in the extremities may be present.

A common symptom of Fibromyalgia is fatigue. People with Fibromyalgia sometimes suffer from significant fatigue and, due to exhaustion, are frequently unable to complete routine tasks, drive more than short distances, or focus on simple issues.

One of the most common claims our Nashville Social Security disability attorney encounters is for degenerative disc disease (DDD). DDD is a painful condition often described as an aching, burning, stabbing or stinging sensation. Many people with DDD feel “pressure” in the lower back. The symptoms may radiate to other areas of the body including the hips, thighs, calves, or even the feet, depending on which discs are involved. DDD can greatly affect a person’s ability to function at work or in their daily activities. People with DDD find that standing, walking, sitting, lifting, bending and twisting are all painful. Simple tasks such as housework or sitting at a computer can become difficult or unbearable.

DDD may be caused by an injury, the aging process or for no apparent reason. It is frequently seen among people who have a work history involving manual or heavy labor.

Most physicians initially treat the pain caused by DDD with conservative measures. These may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), physical therapy, chiropractics, or spinal injections. If these measures fail, and if the nature of the problem is treatable with surgery, an orthopaedic surgeon may choose a surgical option.

DDD may be severe enough to prevent a person from performing their past work, but still allow someone to perform less exertional jobs. In order for DDD to be found disabling under the Social Security rules, it must prevent you from not only performing past work, but it must also be severe enough to prevent work at other less stressful levels, depending on the claimant’s age, education and past work experience.
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Larry Williams and Jonathan Williams are proud to announce that attorney Ann-Douglas Tycer has joined the Nashville injury firm of Larry R. Williams, PLLC and will manage the firm’s Social Security Disability practice.

Ann brings more than 23 years of experience representing Tennesseans applying for Social Security Disability benefits. She previously worked for Attorney William M. Stephens and developed one of the earliest law firms in Middle Tennessee dedicated to helping people overcome the challenges of a Social Security disability applications and appeals.

Ann has tried hundreds of Social Security appeals. She is a compassionate and zealous advocate. Ann’s commitment to her clients is based on her desire to pursue a legal career so that she could help everyday people. She understands that serious medical conditions can lead to life changing disabilities that affect the entire family.

Our Nashville Social Security Benefits attorney Wayne Crim is often asked, “Where do I apply for benefits?” Applying for disability benefits is a lot like filling out an application, at least at the initial stage. You can file in person at your local social security office, over the phone or online here.

It is probably best to apply in person. That way you know the disability application is done correctly. You can find your local SSA office here.

You may not want to apply online. Unfortunately, there are some internet scam “pop-ups” that can get in the way of an online application. Those scams are attorneys in other states fishing for clients. I have heard bad stories about contacting those “pop-up” companies.

Do not be discouraged if you get denied the first time. Most people do! At that time, you need a good Social Security Disability lawyer to fight for your benefits. Our Tennessee disability lawyers have helped thousands through the process. Click here for a nice overview of the disability appeal process.

If you get denied Social Security, you need to act fast. The time to request a reconsideration of the denial for Social Security is 60 days from the date you were informed of the denial. You can find this date at the top of your letter.

Many times the government has not found all of your medical evidence or talked to all the doctors at the initial stage. When we take a case, we work hard to make sure to Social Security Administration has all of the information they need about your case. We get the records, talk to your doctors, get the questionnaires we need to win your case and push the case to a resolution as fast as possible. Some cases can be won without a hearing, once you have the right evidence.
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I am proud to report to our General Motors’ workers compensation clients that the Maury County Circuit Court recently made a landmark ruling in one of my cases. Many autoworkers know that General Motors filed bankruptcy in 2009 and sold its company in a bankruptcy sale to a new company to create “New GM.” Jonathan white background.JPG

That sale opened rights for many injured workers to have their previous Tennessee workers’ compensation settlement re-opened and increased. However, for employees of the Spring Hill plant that were injured before January 1, 2005, GM took the position that those workers lost their jobs at the time of the transition from Saturn to GM and were therefore not eligible for money out of their previous workers’ compensation case as a result of the bankruptcy.

I traveled to Detroit for corporate depositions of several key GM executives to prove one point: that GM controlled Saturn to such an extent that they had to be considered “one and the same.” The case was recently tried in Maury County. The trial judge agreed and ordered that GM had such dominion and control over Saturn ever since its existence that they were to be considered the same employer for workers’ compensation purposes despite the 2005 transition to GM. That decision will be challenged in the Court of Appeals but for now confirms GM and Saturn never were completely separate entities. Therefore, many GM employees injured prior to 2005 may have additional rights and may be entitled to more money.
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Our firm represents people applying for Social Security Disability benefits. The process is filled with traps, therefore if you have to file, you need an aggressive Nashville disability lawyer.

The Social Security Administration provides assistance to people with disabilities under two different programs. Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) may be paid to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured.” To be insured, you must have worked for a certain period of time (generally five of the past ten years) and paid Social Security taxes. If you do not qualify for Disability Insurance benefits, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is paid based on financial need.

For example, you cannot collect SSI benefits if your assets (not including a single home and automobile) exceed $2,000.00 if you are single and $3,000.00 if you are married. Unlike other disability programs, Social Security does not pay benefits for partial disability or short term disability. Social Security pays benefits only for total disability. Disability is based on your inability to work.

Social Security will pay benefits only if it determines that you have a physical or mental impairment (or combination of impairments) that prevents you from doing not only the work you did before, but also that you cannot adjust to new work because of your medical conditions. In addition, to be eligible for benefits, your disability must have lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

You can work and still qualify for disability benefits, but you must not make more than the limit set by the Social Security. The current limit in 2011 is $1,000.00 per month. If you can work and earn more than $1,000.00, then you are not “disabled.” The Social Security Administration defines disability as not being able to achieve substantial gainful employment.

Children may qualify for SSI payments if the child has a physical or mental impairment (or combination of impairments) that causes marked and severe functional limitations and has lasted or can be expected to last for at least one year or result in death. You can apply for Social Security disability benefits on online, over the telephone or in person by visiting your local Social Security Office. If your application for disability benefits is denied (Social Security denies approximately two-thirds of initial applications) you can appeal the decision.

The first step in the appeals process is a Request for Reconsideration. You must request reconsideration of the denial of your initial application within 60 days from your denial letter. If your Request for Reconsideration is denied you may then request a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge. This request must be made within 60 days. If you are denied by the Administrative Law Judge you may appeal to the Appeals Counsel and then to the Federal District Court. If your initial application is turned down, it is very important that you appeal this decision rather than simply reapply.
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