Page 5 | Dallas Disability Attorney Stanley Denman's Blog

Dallas Disability Attorney Stanley Denman's Blog

Contact Details

Denman Law Office

Social Security Disability Attorney
5025 North Central Expressway
Suite 2004
Dallas, TX 75205
United States
Phone: 214-219-7288

Browse by Tag

Follow Me

Dallas Fort Worth Social Security Disability Lawyer

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Binder and Binder Draws Unwanted Attention from Congress

 

Binder disabilityBinder and Binder is the largest social security disability advocate firm in the country.  I doubt there is a single TV viewer who has not seen attorney Charles Binder in his cowboy hat urging social security disability applicants to "let them take care of the government". 

The Wall Street Journal has written a recent article about attorneys Harry and Charles Binder titled "Two Lawyers Strike Gold in the U.S. Disability System". The article indicates that the Binders as attorneys earn more in social security disability attorney fees than anyone else in the nation, and that ex-employees have said that Binder and Binder routinely withholds medical records it deems unfavorable to their client's case.  The article can be found at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203518404577096632862007046.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories

I have commented before about the Wall Street Journals series of articles on the social security disability system, and the general poor journalistic standards these articles seem to be upholding.  This article is about the same as the prior ones.

The article suggests that there is something wrong with the Binder brothers making a lot of money in their disability practice.  Apparently the Wall Street Journal finds that Wall Street investment bankers making millions by churning money and selling worthless investments is an example of the free market system at its finest, but it is reprehensible for the Binder brothers to make a good living by helping disabled people!  Keep in mind those fees are not just lining the pockets of the Binder brothers, but pay for the substantial overhead, salaries, and advertizing of the Binder and Binder business.

Congressman Tom Coburn, the top Republican on a subcommittee on Social Security, is now calling for an investigation of Binder and Binder on the issue of withholding medical records.http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/12/23/Coburn-calls-for-Binder-Binder-review/UPI-98491324620881/#ixzz1hOT1v46m.  Coburn has been a long time critic of the social security disability system, and has opening called for social security to approve fewer disability claims.  It is naive to think he is just interested in reigning in the Binder and Binder firm.

Though some attorneys believe their ethical duty to "zealously represent" their clients may leave some wiggle room on what they choose to submit into evidence, one thing is clear:  ALL Administrative Law Judges believe it is wrong  for the social security disability attorney to withhold medical evidence.  In my 20 years of social security disability practice in Dallas Fort Worth I have never withheld evidence, and I have worked hard to make sure there is not even a suggestion that I have done so. Every medical file has some evidence that may not be supportive of a disability claim.  The social security disability attorney's job is to explain why that evidence is less credible than the favorable evidence - not try to bury it.

An experienced social security disability attorney must maintain high integrity before the ALJs that decide disability.  While I know of no ALJ that would deny a meritorious claim because she does not trust the lawyer, the tone of respect and trust your disability attorney sets in the court room is critical to your success in securing social security disability benefits.

I make no judgment as to what has gone on at Binder and Binder.  It is clear, however, that they now have a huge credibility problem with the ALJs.  It may be much easier for a national like Binder and Binder to make these kinds of errors giving their heavy reliance on non-attorney staff.  In my office, I personally handle the submission of medical evidence. You should expect no less from any social security disability attorney you hire.

As a national lawfirm with a bigfoot print, Binder and Binder makes a big target.  But I would submit the real target is their, and my, clients: disabled Americans.  

Binder and Binder, and I pursue a very different social security disability practice: they are nation wide, and I focus only on the Dallas Fort Worth, North and East Texas area. I believe, that social security disability claimants should hire a local, experienced attorney with whom they can have a more personal relationship. But that does not mean Binder and Binder handles disability cases in the ""wrong way", or that they are unethical.  

talk-to-atty-denman-now-at-no-charge-abo

 

Dallas TX Attorney Stanley Denman has limited his law practice to social security disability since 1991.Google

free\u002Devaluation

Continued Chaos in Search for the Cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

 

Online magazine Slate has an interesting article about the search for answers about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2011/12/judy_mikovits_in_prison_what_does_it_mean_for_research_on_chronic_fatigue_syndrome_.html

Author Julie Rehmeyer, who acknowledges in the article that she suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome herself, describes the apparent legal troubles of prominent CFS researcher Judy Mikovits at the Whittemore-Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease, a private CFS research institute. The article further describes the failure of government funded research to discover the cause of CFS over the years.  Author Author Julie Rehmeyer asserts that this failure is because the government research has primarily pursued theories that CFS is at its core a mental or psychological disorder.  

As you can see by the comments to the article, the issue of what role psychological factors may play in CFS is a raw nerve for many CFS sufferers, perhaps even author Author Rehmeyer.

As a social security disability in North Texas who has handled hundreds of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome cases over the last 20 years, my role is to develop all avenues of success in winning social security disability benefits for my clients who suffer from CFS.  The extent to which psychological factors may have in my clients inability to work is not a paramount importance in doing my job:  only that we develop both the physical and mental impairments to bring about a positive result.

Dallas TX Attorney Stanley Denman has limited his law practice to social security disability since 1991.Google

free\u002Devaluation

"My Doctor says that I am Disabled: Why won't Social Security believe her?"

 

describe the image

In the past 20 years of social security disability practice in Dallas Fort Worth, I have heard this sentiment on countless occasions.  It can be a point of real frustration for social security disability applicants.   Here are a couple of key points to help understand this:

  1. Social security disability regulations provide that the decision as to whether or not you are "disabled" under the Social Security Act is "reserved" to the Social Security Administration.  A treating doctors opinion is important, and is to be considered, but it is not dispositive.
  2. Your treating doctor's opinion on your functional limitations is most important to your case.  This is why cursory doctor letters saying to the effect "my patient is permanently and totally disabled" do not win the day.
  3. You need a skilled and experienced social security disability to present your doctor's opinion on the functional issues that social security disability finds doctors competent to address, and present these opinions in a persuasive manner.
At the Denman Law Office, we have been working with client doctors for 20 years in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex to secure social security disability benefits for deserving claimants.  Talk to attorney Denman without charge about your case at 214-219-7288.

Dallas TX Attorney Stanley Denman has limited his law practice to social security disability since 1991.Google

free\u002Devaluation

"When Should I File for Social Security Disability Benefits?"

 

I am frequently asked by Texans suffering from a disability when he or she should consider filing for social security disability.  Here's my simple answer:

1.   If you are still working and earning over $1000 a month, social security will not accept a claim for social security disability benefits.   In my experience as a social security disability lawyer in North Texas for the past 20 years, social security applies a much looser standard if part-time work is involved and income is less than $1000.  

2. Apply for social security disability benefits if you are unable to work in any capacity due to a mental or physician impairment for at least 12 months, OR you think that it is likely your inability to work will last at least 12 months.

If you are still working, but are struggling and believe the end is near, here is my advice:

1.   Work as long as you can stand it, slashing your expenses and saving money like never before.  If you are struggling with the job, and know the end is in sight, you should discontinue, at the minimal, cable TV, eating out other than special occasions, and that pricey cell phone plan.

2.  You must know if you have short-term and long-term disability benefits through you job.  Find out what the standard for short-term and/or long-term disability is, and have a frank conversation with your doctor.  Ask her if she would support you in a short-term/long-term disability claim.  If you have group disability benefits, don't let yourself get fired before you file a short-term/long-term disability claim.  

 If you live in Dallas Fort Worth and North Texas I will be happy to discuss your issues without charge.  Call me at 214-219-7288. 

 

 


Dallas TX Attorney Stanley Denman has limited his law practice to social security disability since 1991.Google

free\u002Devaluation

Intentional Disability Hearing Slowdown?: Another WSJ Cheapshot

 

WSJ

It seems that every time I really know something about an issue, and I find a media story about that issue, I am absolutely amazed just how wrong the media can be.  Or at least in the case of Wall Street Journal writer Damian Paletta, how true facts can be twisted to create an inaccurate conclusion. I have seen several comments on the internet indicating just such an effect in which readers think that this article proves that the Obama administration is playing politics with the social security disability program and purposely slowing down disability claims (though it is not clear why a work "slowdown" at Social Security would be in anyone's political interest).

This article can be found at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203405504576601243696313416.html.  It is not particularly well written, but apparently these are the facts.  The Office of Disability Adjudication & Reviews (ODARS) handles administrative hearings on social security disability claims.  Due to an ODARS fiscal calendar "anomoly" this year, there was one week that did not "count" in either fiscal year 2010 or fiscal year 2011.  Therefore, cases closed (i.e., case decided and sent out the door) in that week could not be a part of the determination of whether ODARS did or did not meet their goals for the fiscal year.  So ODARS would not get "credit" for cases closed in this "dead week".  The article implies that ODARS personnel "bonuses" are determined by these case disposition numbers.  I know of no bonuses paid at ODARS at all.

Apparantly ODARS administrative law judges in some regions were instructed to not close out cases during this "dead week".  No such instructions were alleged to have been issued in "Region 5" that includes 3 Dallas Fort Worth ODARS offices.   In an apparent response to word getting out to the public about these instructions,  ODARS chief judge Debra Bice sent a memo to all judges ordering them to close cases as normal.

The right hand side of above infographic comes from the WSJ article compares ODARS average daily case closings with the first day of the week this year that was "fiscally dead".

The clear implication of the WSJ article, and the "guilty behavior" of the ODARS' chief judge, suggests that social security disability claimants are being mistreated, and that government bureacrats had a free week off.  One can just almost hear the giddy whoops of the "Angry Birds" echoing down the halls of ODARS as government workers idlely entertain themselves on the clock. As a Dallas Fort Worth Texas social security disability attorney of 20 years experience, I certainly have seen ODARS mishandle many situations, but the allegations of this article are a bum rap.

Consider that at any one time an Administrative Law Judge has 100+ cases - all at different "stages" of development.  There are some cases in which she has to review the file before setting it for hearing, others she has new medical evidence that has been submitted that she has to review, other cases she has not yet decided the case, and others she has decided and has not written the decision yet.  So if she is instructed to not "close" cases for one week, do you think she is just sitting around that week?  Of course not!  She will turn her attention to any number of tasks that will lead to decisions getting out the door.  Isn't it just common sense that she would simply make a nice neat pile of the cases that ready to be "closed" until the next week?  So that the next week "two weeks worth" of cases get out the door.  "Closing" cases is just part of the job: the fact that for one week cases are not to be closed is hardly a noteworth event.

The worst that could have happened when ODARS suspends case closing for one week is that some claimants got their decision a week later than they would have.  And the infographic above showing this massive decrease in case closing seems designed to intentionally to inflame, if not mislead, the reader.   Wall Street Journalist Damian Paletta: was this article of yours really worth the ink you spilled? 

Dallas TX Attorney Stanley Denman has limited his law practice to social security disability since 1991.Google

free\u002Devaluation

"Do I have to have back surgery to get disability?"

 

wizardofzwitchmelt2

Social security disability applicants are often in the process of considering various medical procedures that have been recommended by doctors.  For example, the back surgeon wants to do a lumbar fusion or the pain management doctor wants to implant a spinal stimulator.  Sometimes disability claimants can feel a little like the strawman in the Wizard of Oz when the Wicked-Witch-of-the-West jabbed the flaming broom his way saying "How about a little fire scarecrow?".

I am often asked about the implications that a decision to have or forego medical surgery or procedures will have on the pending social security disability claim.  There unfortunately is no easy answer.  Here, however, are a few guidelines:

1.  The social security disability assessment system looks at the ability to work inspite of medical efforts to return functioning to normal.  So the failure to secure medical treatment, the failure to take prescribed medications, and ignoring medical advise is not helpful to a social security disability case.

2.   Claimants are NOT required to undergo risky surgeries to be approved for social security disability benefits.  This is particularly true for claimants who have already had several surgeries that have not been successful.

3.  My experience is that claimants usually refuse surgeries such as spinal fusions out of fear:  they know someone who has not been successful, or have an unreasonable fear of dying in what are fairly routine procedures.  These are "fear-based" reasons to not have surgery, and will not help your disability claim.

4.   If you decide against a surgery that is offered, have (i) a well thought-out reason, and (ii) chart an alternative path to better functioning with your doctor(s). 

Dallas TX Attorney Stanley Denman has limited his law practice to social security disability since 1991.Google

free\u002Devaluation

Tags: 

"We Win 8 out of 10 cases!" : Is this the Social Security Disability Attorney for You?

 

A well-known national social security disability firm runs a Google AdWords campaign claiming that they win 8 of 10 cases (an 80% win rate).  Most good social security attorneys have a similar win rate (as do I) but I think this ad is deceptive.  My colleague and fellow social security disability attorney Tomasz Stasiuk has written an excellent blog post on this issue found at  http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2011/08/social-security-lawyers-and-percent-won/.  

Tomasz rightly points out that win rates are a poor indicator of a good social security disability attorney: if a law firm can spend enough money on advertizing to attract only cases that are "lay-down hands" they can have a 90%+ win rate, and have very limited skills in social security disability representation.   I would also ad to Tomasz' points: flashing win rates is something most Bar Associations frown on, precisely because of the potential for clients being misled.  A law firm that uses aggressive marketing tactics may not be the wisest choice.  You also have no way to verify that the success rate a potential attorney brags about is accurate, current, or pertains to the medical condition and disability you suffer from.

In my opinion the best way to choose a social security disability is to talk personally with the lawyer, ask your questions, voice your concerns, and trust your instincts.

Dallas TX Attorney Stanley Denman has limited his law practice to social security disability since 1991.Google

free\u002Devaluation

Parkland Hospital Scandals: What is an Uninsured Dallas County Resident to Do?

 

The Dallas County indigent health care facility, Parkland Memorial Hospital, has been plagued by problems in treatment and supervision of health care providers in recent days.  The sad reality is that it is virtually impossible to secure social security disability benefits if you are not getting regular medical treatment. The Parkland PLUS program provides medical treatment to Dallas County residents on a sliding scale - virtually free if you are without income or resources.  So if you live in Dallas county Texas and are without medical insurance, Parkland is the only game in town.

But these recent horror stories coming out of Parkland Hospital are disconcerting.  Many of my clients now going to Parkland ask me "if they can stop" going to Parkland.  Obviously I cannot give that kind of advise.  But regardless of the bad press Parkland is getting, it remains true that if you are seeking social security disability benefits, and have no medical insurance, most Administrative Law Judges deciding Dallas cases will find the recent Parkland scandals to be a sufficient excuse for not seeking medical treatment.  A couple of thoughts:

1.  Medical treatment is inherently risky.  Mistakes, misdiagnosis, and poor medical treatment can happen anywhere.  Conversely I have seen many clients receiving excellent care at Parkland.

2.  Medical treatment "horror stories" (like amputating the wrong leg) get a lot of attention, understandably.  But they are still very rare, and the sheer tragedy of such mishaps often causes us to overestimate the risk we run in medical treatment.

3.  Parkland is under such intense scrutiny right now that I would expect the care provided there is the best it has ever been. 

4.  The risks of not treating a medical condition vastly outweigh the risks of medical malpractice.

Dallas TX Attorney Stanley Denman has limited his law practice to social security disability since 1991.Google

free\u002Devaluation

Continuing Disability Reviews Will Ramp Up in the Near Future

 

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article indicating the high probably of more Social Security Disability Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) in the near future:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904292504576482372637942558.html?mod=googlenews_wsj.

The key points of the article of great import to social security disability recepients in North Texas and across the nation:

The days of getting on social security disability and staying there until full retirement age may be over, especially for younger persons.  Our office is advising all our former clients receiving social security disability benefits in North Texas and the DFW area as follows:

  • Pay attention to when the social security administration advised you they might do a CDR (its in the Award Letter)
  • Continue to get good medical care
  • Talk frankly with your doctors about your condition and ability to work:  would they support you if the government reviews your case?
  • Carefully consider whether your condition has improved and whether you think you could return to work.

 

 

Dallas TX Attorney Stanley Denman has limited his law practice to social security disability since 1991.Google

free\u002Devaluation

Around the Disability Blogosphere: Week of July 4, 2011

 

1. I commend to all the e-book just posted by my colleague Gordon Gates of Maine entitled "Ten Steps to Prepare for Your Social Security Hearing" found at  http://www.mainesocialsecuritylawyer.com/Prepareforyourhearing.pdf.   I would add that Gordon's article is really a road map to the entire case, not just focusing on the ALJ hearing.

2.     When I started practicing social security disability lawyer, Charles T. Hall's "social Security Disability Practice" was always by my side.  In his blog post this week found at http://www.charleshallfirm.com/can-i-get-social-security-disability-for-a-lightning-strike-injury/ Attorney Hall notes that he has won disability benefits in a number of cases involving a person surviving a lightning strike.  I am often asked by Dallas area social security claimants whether a particular condition "qualifies" for disability benefits, as if there is some kind of exclusive list.  Attorney Hall's post  illustrates that there is no such exclusive list: as long as there is a "medically determinable impairment" there is a basis for social security disability benefits.

3.Atlanta social security disability attorney Jonathan Ginsberg addresses the issue of whether a social security disability overpayment is dischargable" in bankruptcy.   http://www.ssdanswers.com/2011/06/30/can-i-discharge-my-social-security-disability-overpayment-in-a-bankruptcy/ By "dischargeable" basically we mean that the debt is paid at a drastically reduced rate in the context of a Chapter 13 reorganization, or in the content of a Chapter 7 liquidation, paid at a drastically reduced amount and only if there are sufficient assets (not likely).

Dallas TX Attorney Stanley Denman has limited his law practice to social security disability since 1991.Google

free\u002Devaluation

All Posts

Dallas Fort Worth/DFW Texas attorney Stanley F. Denman serves disabled workers who have been denied social security disability benefits in North and East Texas, including Dallas, Texas, and the Metroplex, the following cities: Allen, Arlington, Bedford, Boyd, Carrollton, Corsicana, Denton, Denison, Decatur, DeSoto, Duncanville, Ennis, Fort Worth, Flower Mound, Frisco, Garland, Grand Prairie, Greenville, Hurst, Irving, Kaufman, Lewisville, Longview, Mesquite, McKinney, Murphy, Plano, Red Oak, Richardson, Rowlett, Sherman, Terrell, Tyler, Waxahachie, Weatherford, and Wylie, and the following counties: Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Gregg, Grayson, Harrison, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro, Tarrant, Parker, Rockwall , Smith, and Wise.

 

NOSSCR Member Stanley Denman