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Category: Appeals

WAR…What Are They Good For? Everything You Should Know About Work Activity Reports

What’s the most important thing anyone needs in order to be granted Social Security Disability Benefits? Ask anyone in our firm and they’ll tell you that sufficient evidence is paramount. When we talk about evidence, we are most often referring to medical evidence. For the most part, medical evidence pertains to your medical records. The term is rather broad, but medical records include tests, opinions from medical professionals, and any information that can help prove your disability medically. Evidence isn’t just limited to the medical world, though. Many forms of non-medical evidence can be used in a Social Security claim, too. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses many forms of non-medical evidence for your claim. One such form is called a Work Activity Report, or WAR, and it can be crucial to your claim if you continued to work after your alleged onset date.

At its most basic level, Social Security Disability is in place as a benefit for individuals who are no longer able to work. If you continue to work after your alleged onset date, the SSA will not approve your claim at the date you allege. However, like many things in life, there are some exceptions to the rule. That’s why a WAR is so important.

One way that a WAR can be beneficial to your Social Security Disability claim is if you’re not working as much as you used to, or if you’re not working to Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level. According to the Social Security Administration, to be eligible for disability benefits a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). A person who is earning more than a certain monthly amount is ordinarily considered to be engaging in SGA. In 2019, SGA is $1,220.

The WAR may seem complicated, but it’s actually rather simple. The form requires some basic information about yourself as well as your employers. You will also have to fill out some information about your salary and the hours you worked. The WAR includes areas for you to explain the ways in which you had special accommodations at work. For instance, if you had a coach, received different pay, or were provided with special transportation, you can list this on the WAR, too.

If you have questions about a Work Activity Report, Substantial Gainful Activity, or the Social Security process as a whole, give us a call today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we can contact you at a better time.

Jan Dils Recognizes Top Employee Volunteers for 2018

We love being a part of the Mid-Ohio Valley and we love giving back to our community. Last year we encouraged our team members to get out in the community and give back. In 2018 we volunteered for several events and raised money for a lot of great causes. Some of the events we volunteered for included the Relay for Life of Wood County, our annual Veterans Appreciation Dinner, and the Artsbridge Merchants and Artists Walk. In addition to these events, we also raised money for the Humane Society of Wood County and Operation Transportation. In addition to those great causes, we had the pleasure of participating in events hosted by the City of Parkersburg, DowntownPKB, and the National Guard. It was a great year for our outreach efforts, and we want to recognize the team members who volunteered the most in 2018.


Bobbie Sheppard: Community Spirit Award Winner. Bobbie took charge at several events in 2018. She was always one of the first to volunteer and she encouraged her fellow team members to step up too. Bobbie even stayed up all night during the 2018 Relay for Life of Wood County. Due to her continuous volunteer efforts, Bobbie was named our 2018 Community Spirit Award Winner.

Bobbie is a Case Manager in our VA Department. This is the 2nd consecutive year in which she has won the Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law Community Spirit Award.



Jolene Reeder was one of our top volunteers in 2018. She participated in the 2nd most events and she was always quick to volunteer. Jolene was instrumental in our 2018 Penny Wars campaign which raised thousands of dollars for the Relay for Life of Wood County. Jolene also stayed up all night during the Relay for Life.

Jolene is a Hearing Clerk in our VA Department. She won the Community Spirit Award in 2017 along with Bobbie.




In her first year at the firm, Mary-Michael McClung made a big splash. She quickly volunteered for events like the Easter Parade, the Relay for Life, and our Annual Veterans Appreciation Dinner. Mary-Michael also co-led a fund and supply drive for the Humane Society of Wood County. She helped raised thousands of dollars for this cause. Mary-Michael also organized a clothing drive for Dress for Success of the River Cities in Huntington, WV.

Mary-Michael is our Human Resources and Culture Manager.



Kayla McCoy loves giving back to her community. In 2018 Kayla volunteered for the Humane Society Fundraiser, The Relay for Life and our annual Veterans Appreciation Dinner. Kayla sometimes brings her twin girls to help us too.

Kayla is a Case Manager in our Social Security Department.



Jenny Fry just celebrated her 8th year with our firm. Jenny is quick to volunteer for our events because they often center around two things she is passionate about; Veterans and animals. Jenny co-led our fundraising and supply drive for the Humane Society of Wood County. She also participated in Penny Wars and she braved the cold to take part in the Parkersburg Veterans Day Parade.

Jenny Fry is a part of our accounting team.



Jaime Caverly can often be found volunteering for our community outreach events. She especially enjoys the parades. Jaime even brings her family to participate. Jamie was also a part of our annual Veterans Appreciation Dinner and the Relay for Life of Wood County.

Jamie is a Case Management Support Specialist for our VA Department.



Though Hannah Ross has been with our firm for less than a year, she quickly rose to the top of our employee volunteers. Hannah participated in the Parkersburg Homecoming Parade, our Annual Veterans Appreciation Dinner, and the Parkersburg Veterans Day Parade.

Hannah is a Case Management Support Specialist for our VA Department.




Eric Hillyard has been with us for just over seven years. He has constantly been involved in our Community Outreach events. This year one of Eric’s highlights was when he played the keyboard for the Artsbridge Merchant’s and Artists Walk. He put a modern spin on the evening by playing a lot of today’s pop hits and even playing our jingle for the crowd.

Eric is our Accounting Manager and our Project Manager.



Elizabeth Dues is one of the people you’ll always see at our Community Outreach Events. Elizabeth travels to all of our outlying offices, so her community involvement goes beyond the Mid-Ohio Valley. However, one of her highlights involved the Trunk-Or-Treat hosted by DowntownPKB. This event was cold and rainy, but Elizabeth didn’t complain and she represented our firm as well as always.

Elizabeth is our Outlying Office Manager and the Operations Manager of our VA Department.



Devon has been with our firm for just over two years, and it’s hard to recall an occasion during that time he hasn’t participated in. Devon is usually one of the first to sign up for an effort like a parade or a dinner. Devon’s outgoing personality and warm spirit are always a highlight of our events.

Devon is a Case Manager for our VA Department.




Missy has been with our firm for over 8 years, and she is always jumping in to help with our community outreach efforts. Missy even recruits members of her family to help. In 2018, Missy was involved in many projects including our Annual Veterans Appreciation Dinner and the Parkersburg Homecoming Parade.

Missy is our Social Security Operations Manager.


Since 1994, we’ve been proud to call the Mid-Ohio Valley home. Our firm has always enjoyed participating in events that give back to our community. Since 2011 our Walk4Vets Foundation has raised more than $65,000 for local Veterans charities. While 2018 was a great year, 2019 promises to be even better. We have a lot of fun stuff on the calendar, including our inaugural Freedom Fun Run 5K on June 29th. More details about that event will be announced later.

Thanks for allowing us to be a part of this community, and we can’t wait to see you in 2019.

The 5 Worst Things You Can Do After a Car Accident

When you’re browsing the Internet looking for information after a car accident, you’ll find that most personal injury attorneys will tell you what you should do after your accident. But what about the things you shouldn’t do? Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s even easier to make mistakes when you’re flustered or upset after an accident. Here are six important things you should not do after an accident:

  1. Don’t leave the scene. One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make when they’re involved in an accident is leaving the scene. First, it’s illegal in most areas. No matter how minor or severe the accident, you must stop if you’re involved. You need to check on the occupants of the other car, report the accident to law enforcement, and exchange insurance information. If you leave the scene of any accident, you may face misdemeanor charges. However, if you leave the scene of an accident in which an individual is injured or killed, you could face a felony charge.
  2. Don’t forget to call law enforcement. If you’re involved in a minor accident with little damage, it may be tempting to simply exchange contact information with the other motorist. Even if the person seems trustworthy, this is a bad idea. They may not have valid insurance, or they could give you false information. A police report may also help you if you have to file a claim.
  3. Don’t neglect medical treatment. For individuals without life-threatening injuries, the moments immediately following an accident can be a bit overwhelming. Even if you don’t have apparent injuries, you may still want to get evaluated by a medical professional following an accident. Some injuries can manifest hours or even days after your accident. If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, medical evidence is imperative to a favorable decision. If you wait too long after an accident to get evaluated, your evidence may not be as impactful.
  4. Don’t let the insurance company bully you. Though their advertising campaigns may state that they are on your side or claim that they’re there for you, insurance companies are going to do whatever they can to work against you. The business model for auto insurance is simple: they’re more profitable when you don’t use their services. This means that it is in the insurance company’s best interest to undercut you at every step. They may try to make you accept less than your car is worth, and may not compensate you for your injuries.
  5. Don’t wait too long to pursue a claim. In most states, there is a statute of limitations for a car accident. In West Virginia, for example, the limit is two years. If you wait too long to pursue a claim, you likely won’t win your case. If there is a large gap in treatment, the insurance company can argue that your injuries were the result of something else.

If you’ve been involved in an accident, the first thing an insurance company will do is tell you no. That’s why you need an attorney who won’t take no for an answer. Call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we can call you at a better time.

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law Named Best Legal Advice in the Mid-Ohio Valley

The entire team at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law is proud to be chosen once again as the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Reader’s Choice for Best Legal Advice. And it just so happens that this honor precedes another milestone that the team is looking forward to in the coming year. “Most people would say that we will be celebrating 25 years in business,” said founder Jan Dils. “I like to say that we will be celebrating 25 years of service to our clients. After all, getting to know our clients and tailoring the services we provide to each person’s individual needs is at the core of everything we do.”

Jan Dils and team are dedicated to making a real difference in the lives of their clients by providing advice and guidance based on experience and compassion. The firm focuses on helping individuals with disabilities and those who have been injured through no fault of their own to receive the compensation they deserve.  Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law assists clients at every stage in the application and appeals process to obtain Veterans’ disability benefits and Social Security benefits.  They also provide their experience and expertise in the area of Personal Injury law.

Regardless of whether the client is confronted with a personal injury or disability, many have initially tried to obtain compensation or benefits on their own, only to encounter a legal system that is very often confusing and frustrating. “We frequently enter the picture when people feel like they have reached a dead end or are simply overwhelmed by the complex and confusing process of applying for benefits,” added Jan. The team’s in-depth knowledge of Veterans’ benefits, Social Security Disability benefits, and Personal Injury claims ensures that their clients receive not only the right answers, but also the right results. “Every case is different, but one similarity connects them all: each one involves determination in fighting for our clients. We understand the unique challenges that people with disabilities and chronic conditions face every day, and we know how to fight in order to win the benefits our clients deserve.”

The firm even makes their expertise available to those who may or may not ultimately choose to work with an attorney. Through frequent blog posts and newsletters, for example, Jan Dils and team are able to reach countless people who have questions about disability benefits and personal injury claims.

“Community involvement is another key to furthering the firm’s commitment to educational outreach, and finding new avenues for giving back to the client bases we serve,” added Jan Dils. “We want to do everything we can to let the public know how grateful we are to be a part of each community we serve.”

Based in West Virginia, Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law assists clients nationwide through a network of locations in Parkersburg, Huntington, Charleston, Logan and Beckley, West Virginia, as well as Charlotte, North Carolina.  To contact Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, call 877-JANDILS, or visit them online at

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law Participates in Annual Veterans Day Parade

On November 12th, 2018, several staff members from Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, participated in the annual Parkersburg Veterans Day Parade. The parade was held on November 12th this year because Veterans Day was observed on Monday. The parade featured more than 50 participants.

As in years past, the participants lined up in the horseshoe of Parkersburg High School. The route included a trip down Washington Ave, as well as a closing ceremony at the Parkersburg City Park. The assemblage from Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law was placed near the end of the parade lineup. They were just behind the local charity, “We Have Your Six,” and just ahead of the Parkersburg High School Band and ROTC.

Everyone from the firm had a great time. Many of the staff members discussed how much they enjoyed seeing so many Veterans at one time. Other employees enjoyed handing out candy and other items to the young children who attended the parade.

The entire firm was honored to participate in the parade this year, and they look forward to participating again next year.

Pets and Personal Injury Claims

According to a Gallup Poll, 6 in 10 Americans own some type of pet. Forty-four percent of Americans own a dog, and 29% own a cat. Pets are a big part of our lives, but what happens if your pet is involved in an accident? Can you file a personal injury claim if your animal is injured?

In many situations, you can file a personal injury claim if your pet is wrongfully killed or injured. However, it’s important to realize that an animal is legally considered property in most situations. In other words, if you file a personal injury claim and are successful, compensation will likely be based on the fair market value of the animal. Though many of us consider our pets to be part of our family, in the eyes of the law, they are considered property. So, like a car or other property, compensation is based on value.

However, you may be awarded compensation for emotional pain. For instance, if your dog were intentionally killed, you would likely have some level of emotional distress.  You may be compensated for this distress. The same can be said for a car accident. Damages can be a part of a personal injury claim.

The intent is important to consider when determining liability. An injury intentionally caused will create a fairly straightforward lawsuit unless the defendant has a reasonable justification for his or her intentional acts, such as self-defense or defense of others.

If the defendant injured or killed the plaintiff’s pet on purpose, and the plaintiff has strong evidence proving the defendant’s deliberate acts, then some form of liability is likely.

Even if someone does not intentionally injure your pet, they may be responsible for your animal’s injury. For instance, if a person acts recklessly and injures your animal, they may still be held financially liable.  But what does acting recklessly mean? According to NOLO, a reckless act is one that the defendant knows or should know is likely to result in a kind of harm (here, injury to a pet), but goes through with the act anyway.

None of us want to think about our pets being injured or killed, but it sadly does happen. If you want to know more about this subject, call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather communicate electronically, fill out this form so we can contact you at a better time.

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I have a confession to make; I am one of those rare people who genuinely enjoy filling out paperwork. Working in a law firm that deals with government agencies like the Social Security Administration is probably a perfect fit for me. The one thing I like more than filling out a form, is making it better. It’s clear that I have established my credibility when it comes to paperwork, so let’s look into Form SSA-827, Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration.

I interpret this form as a permission slip. You are essentially giving the SSA permission to request your records by way of this form. This grants the SSA the right to request the following: medical records, education records, and any other forms pertaining to your ability to perform tasks.

If you are like me you probably want to know why the SSA is requesting these records. According to SSA-827, the purpose is: determining your eligibility for benefits, including looking at the combined effect of any impairments that by themselves would not meet SSA’s definition of disability; and whether you can manage such benefits. In other words, these records are what will help determine your eligibility for disability benefits.

There are a few things to keep in mind about SSA-827. First, it is not everlasting. The form will expire one year after the date in which you sign. Granted, it is possible to get approved in less than a year, but as anyone who has been through this process can tell you, it’s not very likely. If you are like the vast majority of those who apply for benefits, you claim will take more than a year to decide. You will have to fill this form out again. This may not seem like fun to most, but this ensures that the SSA is getting the most accurate and up to date information. It’s also important to note that you must fill this form out in blue or black ink only. Further, if you are represented by a law firm, you will have to fill out a copy for the SSA as well as the firm each time.

Most individuals aren’t like me; they do not enjoy doing paperwork. SSA-827 is just one of the many forms that has to be filled out during your disability process. If I didn’t enjoy forms so much I would definitely want someone to help me fill them out if I were trying to get disability. This may be a small service that Jan Dils Attorneys at Law provides, but it helps to eliminate a lot of stress with our clients. If you would like to learn more about becoming a client, or to see what else we can do to help you get approved, call us today for a free consultation, 1-877-526-3457.

What Most People Don’t Know About Low-Impact Collisions

When I was 16 I drove a 10-year-old Chevy Astro Van, and my insurance rates were ridiculous. I had no accidents, I was driving a very uncool car, yet I was being charged an astronomical rate for simply existing, being male, and being young. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that Lindsay Lohan’s current insurance rates are cheaper than mine were when I was 16. If I can recall correctly, I had to pay about $250 per month for insurance on my van with very low coverage. While I can’t share the name of the insurance provider I had at the time, I will say that if they were my neighbor, I’d never let them borrow a cup of sugar. So, what was a young honor student to do to fight this injustice? One option was a driver’s education class. Full disclosure; Driver’s Ed was not the magical experience I imagined. While I did get to drive a lot during the class, the car was not cool, and the teacher would make us drive him to his house often. Then he would tell us about how much he enjoyed the football team. I learned more about driving watching televised motor racing than I ever learned in that class. There was one exception, though. One particular day we took a field trip to the football field. At first, I thought our instructor just wanted to watch the football team practice, but it was actually a pretty neat event. It was a day of safety training. Being 16 and excited for a day of safety training probably tells you a lot about why I wasn’t very popular in high school.

While checking out the festivities, one exhibit stood out. It was an apparatus called “The Convincer.” Just typing that name now sends shivers down my spine. As you can tell by my writing, I tend to be a bit cynical. That was true 16 years ago, just like it is today. So, when I saw this thing, I made jokes. It’s a little trailer with a seat at the top of a ramp. Essentially you get in, strap yourself in with a seatbelt. Then an officer of the law hit’s a lever and lets you fly. As you come to the end of the ramp, the seat stops suddenly and your body jerks forward to simulate a low-speed crash. It is actually quite dangerous and painful. Essentially it’s supposed to simulate a 5-7 mph crash and convince young drivers to wear a seatbelt. It’s quite effective.

(When I started writing this blog I didn’t think these things were still around. After all, I rode it 16 years ago and really didn’t think it was something people should be riding. As an individual working for a personal injury law firm, I know how dangerous this type of impact can be. Apparently, Convincers are still really popular today. In fact, you can find one in most states. A lot of them are presented by insurance companies. I have a theory that they document their customers riding these so that if you come to them later with a neck or back claim, they’ll try to say your back was injured on The Convincer, and that you signed a waiver and can’t get a settlement because of your pre-existing condition. I can’t prove it, but I would not be surprised)

While my ride on The Convincer was very dramatic, it did teach me a valuable lesson. It taught me the dangers of driving without a seatbelt and the hidden issues with low-speed impacts. Too often we treat low-speed impacts without much concern. I can actually speak from experience on this topic. Within the past four years, I’ve had three low-speed impacts. In two of the three impacts, I was hit from behind by drivers who had much larger vehicles than mine. Also, just to keep you entertained, all three accidents happened because I was getting fast food. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell me something. The only thing more dangerous than getting fast food as much as I do is that I never pursued an examination by a medical professional after each accident. In my mind, my car was not too badly damaged each time, and I didn’t feel any immediate pain after the impact, so I was fine. Plus, I hate going to the doctor, I’m stubborn, and I didn’t want to the doctor to tell me that I was going to die. The last part may seem like a joke, but I really do fear going to the doctor because I am afraid that they will tell me that I am terminally ill. I think it is a result of watching too many medical dramas. Regardless, I found every excuse I could, not to get my back and neck examined. Use my life as a cautionary tale; don’t do what I do.

So, what is the real problem with what I did? Well, if I want to pursue any type of personal injury claim now, the odds are not in my favor. My most recent rear-end collision occurred in March of 2016. I  am writing this blog in July, four months later. While I have not surpassed the statute of limitations, my lack of medical evidence does not bode well for my case. Granted, I have no neck or back pain now, but if I did, I would have a much more difficult time building a case now than if I would have treated within 24 hours of my accident.

A gap in treatment never helps a case. This is true for Personal Injury, Veterans Disability, and Social Security. Let’s use my four-month gap as an example. If I started treating for a neck injury now, that gap could look suspicious. The insurance company for the driver who hit me would argue that I could have injured my neck in a different way. They would likely argue that I could have injured my neck in an ATV accident, by falling, or even from my fight club. In all honesty, they could argue that my injuries occurred from a countless number of ways, and they would have a much stronger case than I do. This is in stark contrast to how we could argue in my favor if I would have gone to the emergency room shortly after my accident. That trip to the ER could easily show injuries that occurred as a result of the accident. An x-ray, cat scan, or MRI can do a lot to show breaks and fractures. Just because you didn’t feel pain immediately after a wreck, it doesn’t mean you won’t have pain later. Something that can cause you pain will likely be visible in an X-ray, MRI and so on, much earlier than when you start to have physical pain.

Some may argue that their car had little to no damage, and there is no way they could have pain. Let’s once again look at my accident from March. I drive a mid-level 2005 Chevrolet Malibu. Before you ask, yes, this car attracts a ton of attention from the opposite gender. Sarcasm aside, it’s a small car. The vehicle that struck me was a 1998 Mercedes-Benz M-Class. It weighs nearly 4500 pounds. The driver may have only been traveling at 2-3 mph, but my car was stationary. It was also a downhill impact, and his vehicle sat up higher than mine. While I don’t know much about physics, I do know all of these factors made the impact on my body worse. Also, I was not sitting straight during my impact. My torso was turned to the left and my neck was fully extended. This is not a good way to be positioned while getting hit by a 4500 pound SUV. Maybe the accident didn’t cause any bone fractures, but an impact like this can cause soft tissue injuries. This is a term that refers to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Even a small impact can cause serious in these parts of the body.

While I can’t buy a Convincer, and make everyone who reads this post take a ride to see the dangers of low-speed impacts, I can tell you that pain is not fun. You may think that it’s obvious, but I know most of you are like me, and you won’t go to the doctor, or get yourself checked out for a minor fender bender. Yes, sitting in the ER waiting room may be boring; it sure beats a lifetime of pain. Besides, we all have smartphones now, and you can pass the time a lot easier. You also shouldn’t let fear decide if you go the doctor. If my mom reads this, she will tell me to take my own advice. But it’s true. Most of the time, the doctor won’t find anything life threatening when you go for your exam. There is also a chance that they won’t find anything wrong with you at all. That is always a good feeling. However, if there is an issue, it’s better to get treatment for it right away. Plus consistent treatment will help you get a favorable decision. A few hours in the ER beats a lifetime of uncompensated pain.

Just because your car is drivable, and the airbags didn’t deploy, it doesn’t mean that you are ok. If you’re involved in a low impact wreck, take the time to get evaluated. It’s always better to do it sooner rather than later. If you find yourself in this situation, call us. We will be proud to help guide you. Many of us have been in accidents before and can understand your concern. We’ve been doing this for more than 20 years. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you don’t have free time now, fill out this form, and we’ll be happy to give you a call at a better time.

One last note to put this all in perspective; some doctors estimate that approximately 85% of all clinically treated neck injuries are a result of car accidents. That is far more than sports injuries, falls, and assaults combined.

Social Security Q and A #2

Jon Corra:                            All right everyone, thank you for joining us here on Facebook Live with our live Q and A. Today you’re sitting here with Ms. Amber Sims and Elizabeth Dues. We’ll be taking all of your social security questions today. First, I want to introduce you to these two ladies because they haven’t gone live with us before. Elizabeth is our … what is your position here now?

Elizabeth Dues:                 I am the Leadership Development Coordinator and I’m still the outlying office manager, so I still manage the offices outside of Parkersburg, which is Beckley, Charleston, Huntington, Logan, and Charlotte.

Jon Corra:                            She’s one of the few people who’ve been to like every office in the company so that’s pretty cool. And joining her is, of course, Amber Sims. Amber is our social security case management team leader. And both of you are non-attorney reps, is that correct?

Elizabeth Dues:                 Yes.

Jon Corra:                            Now, I can’t remember. Did you guys take the test at the same time or did you guys go at different times?

Amber Sims:                       I went in May 2015.

Elizabeth Dues:                 And I went in May of 2017.

Jon Corra:                            Okay, Elizabeth how long have you been with the firm?

Elizabeth Dues:                 Come this July, I will have been with the firm for five consecutive years. I worked for a short time between 2010 and 2012.

Jon Corra:                            Amber, how long have you been here?

Amber Sims:                       It will be five years in July that I’ve been here.

Jon Corra:                            Awesome, both of these ladies have a lot of experience. They’re both very well versed in social security and Elizabeth has a lot of knowledge in VA also so, we’ll be answering mostly social security questions today though. Ladies, what’s your favorite part about doing what you do? I want to ask that real quick.

Amber Sims:                       You want to go first?

Elizabeth Dues:                 My favorite part about what I do is I know we change lives, we really make a difference because when people call us they have almost just have no hope left and we’re able to restore a little of that back to them so that’s a good feeling.

Jon Corra:                            Awesome.

Amber Sims:                       And I completely agree with what she’s saying. It’s absolutely satisfying and wonderful to know that you are able to help people that don’t understand the process, that don’t know the steps that need to be taken and we can kind of be that helping hand that they need.

Jon Corra:                            Great, well you’re both a lot of fun to work with, and you’re both great with clients. I think you’ll be wonderful at this. If you guys have questions, please do not hesitate to type them in, and we’ll try to get to them during today’s broadcast but we like to have a few prepared in advance so I’m gonna jump to Ms. Elizabeth Dues first with this first question.

Jon Corra:                            We talk about medical evidence so much, like it’s one of the most important things in a case, and almost every blog I write has something to do with medical evidence. But, tell me, why is medical evidence so important to a case?

Elizabeth Dues:                 Medical evidence is so important to a case because it’s one of the key factors into getting the client the disability benefits that they deserve. So, it’s important that the client keeps in mind that they need to go to doctor, go to the doctor, and go to the doctor because we need that evidence. That’s the primary foundation to get their case approved. They want to make sure that when they’re going to the doctor that they’re telling them any limitations they may have, whatever difficulties they’re going through. That they’re really making sure they’re being vocal when they go to the doctor and the doctor is documenting that because that’s the most of the evidence that they use to get them approved for disability benefits.

Jon Corra:                            And just to follow up on that, it’s important to go on a regular basis, correct?

Elizabeth Dues:                 It is. It is. A lot of times, and then sometimes clients will … if you go once a month or maybe the doctor says you only have to come every three months you still want to make sure that you’re keeping those appointments and you still want to make sure that at every appointment that you go to that you’re letting the doctor know what’s going on. If you’re problems with your medications, if you’re feeling fatigued all day long, if you’re having problems walking, maybe you just started slipping and falling, everything’s important and everything should be documented.

Jon Corra:                            Okay, great. Now, Amber I want to throw this question to you because I know how often you work with people on a regular basis and, of course, you’re the team leader of case management so this question comes up to you a lot. It’s something actually, I personally just don’t quite understand myself, how is it possible that someone can get SSD and SSI at the same time?

Amber Sims:                       Both programs are, you know, you have to be found disabled under the same rules and guidelines however, there are the non medical requirements that you actually have to meet as well. For instance, the Title II social security disability, that is the program that you actually pay into throughout your working career, that’s whenever you see social security tax is being withheld from your weekly paycheck, that is what is building that bank for you, for you to be able to apply if you need to apply for disability or later on when you reach retirement age. The other program is Title XVI, supplemental security income, which is a needs-based program. The best way to compare that program is basically like food stamps and like a medical card. You have to have the income limitations.

Amber Sims:                       They really look at income, assets, any type of cash you have on hand because it is a program designed for those who are in need if you meet the eligibility requirements for SSI. We do prescreening questions that we try to give our best judgment but ultimately, it is up to Social Security whether they establish if you are entitled to those benefits or not but you definitely can receive both, it’s just all up to eligibility and if Social Security is able to find within the eligibility guidelines.

Jon Corra:                            Wonderful. I’m gonna throw it back to Elizabeth for this one but I have a trick question for you now since you go to all the offices, which one’s your favorite?

Elizabeth Dues:                 They’re all my favorite. I couldn’t even pick one if I tried. I love them all.

Jon Corra:                            I will say this, I’ve been to several, I think Charleston has the best restaurants nearby.

Elizabeth Dues:                 It does.

Jon Corra:                            So, that’s one thing that I want to throw out there, we love what we do but if there’s good food nearby, we’re gonna pick that one over the others.

Elizabeth Dues:                 Absolutely.

Jon Corra:                            It’s nice, what’s nice is the different communities that we get to be a part of too, like you’ve done a lot of work in Huntington and the community, of course, and you’re expanding more in Charlotte and Charleston, places like that so, it’s neat to be … we are nationwide but to have a foot in all these different communities as well.

Elizabeth Dues:                 Yeah, and we encourage clients, if you’re near any of our offices, feel free to stop by at anytime to drop off your paperwork. If you have questions we may not be able to answer them on the spot but, we guarantee we’ll get you an answer.

Jon Corra:                            Awesome. You have an answer to this question, I’m sure. If I receive SSI will I also receive health insurance, like Medicare or something like that?

Elizabeth Dues:                 If you receive SSI, you will definitely receive Medicaid. If you’re approved for SSDI, which is, as Amber explained, the program that you work and pay into, you will be eligible for Medicare 24 months after your eligibility day so that will be the date the judge said you became approved for your benefits. So yes, there’s insurance benefits with both programs.

Jon Corra:                            I’m glad you mentioned that actually because I think oftentimes our clients, once they get approved, they stop treating and why is it a good idea to continue treating after you’re approved?

Elizabeth Dues:                 A lot of times Social Security will ask for a review of your case and so when that review comes up, they’re going to be looking for, again, medical evidence so it’s important to continue your treatment. Not just for the betterment of your health and your life but to continue your benefits sometimes they’re looking to make sure that you still have this condition and that you’re getting treated for it since it was enough to keep you from stop working, it should be enough that you have to continue getting treated for it as well.

Amber Sims:                       And something that I always throw out there to clients is after you’ve been approved, you, of course, no longer have to report your medical treatment to us however, I do strongly encourage that you keep a journal, keep a log of your appointments so that if your case is pulled for a continuing disability review, that you have that information to hand over to Social Security, so it just makes that process a little bit easier. Something that is an essential portion of it is even though you’re found disabled now, you still have to show that you’re disabled down the road and that’s ultimately from consistent treatment.

Jon Corra:                            Awesome. Before we move on, Jan Boyd says hello so you guys, wave back to her. Hi Jan.

Amber Sims:                       Hi Jan.

Elizabeth Dues:                 Hi Jan.

Jon Corra:                            Great name by the way. Amber, you mentioned logs in your last response there. I do want to expand on that because a lot of people will ask us, what are some of the things they can do to improve their case. I know logs are one of them but, expand on that if you don’t mind.

Amber Sims:                       What I mean by logs is a lot of times we have clients that have issues with frequent migraines. Migraines, seizures, the other one is panic attacks and that just helps us keep track of the frequency, how often are they happening, the duration, how long, and it gives us the ability to really kind of dig in there just keep track of it. It’s also a good thing to keep a log of all appointments. If you are a person that has many appointments, I can’t keep track of everything all day, so you certainly need to keep it written down, go back and refer to it and that just kind of helps you maintain keeping everything organized, so we have everything we need.

Jon Corra:                            Great, now we actually have a question from Ms. Jan Boyd also and it’s a question both of you know the answer to so whoever wants to answer first, but she says she was denied disability and she essentially wants to know … she let her claim lapse essentially, she wants to know how does she go about reapplying for Social Security?

Amber Sims:                       Well, there’s a couple of different ways she can do that. She can go online to SSA dot gov and there’s a radio button that gives you the option to go ahead and file online. She can do that on her own or she can go into a Social Security office and do that or she can call us and we can absolutely see if that’s something that we can help her with. Getting an application filed and … is there anything else? That’s more … you’re on the front end of it a lot more than I am so …

Elizabeth Dues:                 No, that’s exactly what Jan would want to do is to either file online, go into the office. Definitely call us and see … because there’s different factors involved, we need to know when she was last denied, there could be a possibility an appeal could be filed, if not, we could certainly assist her with getting that application filed but, if she’s concerned or hesitant in any way, we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to help her but we’d be more than happy to talk to her and see what we could do.

Jon Corra:                            Awesome. Give us a call at 304-428-8900 or Jan, if you want to message us on Facebook, I can make arrangements for someone to give you a call. We definitely appreciate your question too.

Jon Corra:                            All right, now Elizabeth, I know you know the answer to this question so I’m going to throw it to you. If a doctor says I’m disabled, does that mean Social Security will automatically grant me my benefits?

Elizabeth Dues:                 Unfortunately, it does not mean an automatic approval. I will say that it is great if a claimant or client is able to have that type of relationship with their doctor but there are other factors that go into getting approved for your disability benefits. It’s age, it’s education, it’s your work history and disability has a different definition. Social Security has a different definition of disability that necessarily what your doctor does. When Social Security finds you disabled it means that you can’t do the work you used to do or any other type of work and your doctor could probably say that too but they’re gonna look at all of your medical evidence so it’s a great statement but, unfortunately, it’s not going to get you an automatic approval for these benefits. But we do encourage you, if your doctor will write that, definitely you want to get that into Social Security. You want to let us know if your doctor’s given you that type of letter but continue to keep being vocal with your doctor and continue to make sure that he’s documenting everything in your medical record.

Jon Corra:                            We see that a lot in VA also, the VA medical doctors will say oh, you’re gonna get approved because I found you disabled and they don’t work for that side of the VA, it’s always you have to be found disabled through Social Security or through VA disability or wherever just in order to get approved so that’s one thing that can confuse a lot of people so thanks for clarifying that, for sure.

Elizabeth Dues:                 Absolutely.

Jon Corra:                            All right, well that’s all the questions we have today. We appreciate everyone who’s tuned in. We have several live people watching so thank you so much. Elizabeth, Amber, you guys both did a great job, thank you so much for stopping by. If you do have questions about anything that we do here, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Once again, the number’s 304-428-8900 or if you’re watching us on Facebook, be sure to send us a message. Have a wonderful day everyone.

Amber Sims:                       Bye.

Elizabeth Dues:                 Bye.

Effective Communication and Your Social Security Claim

Dinesh Paliwal was once quoted as saying “Collaboration is a key part of the success of any organization, executed through a clearly defined vision and mission and based on transparency and constant communication.” This quote reinforces the importance of communication in business, and we agree. Our firm believes in strong communication with our clients. Here are just a few of the ways in which we keep our clients informed:

  • Case Managers

Case Managers are one of the most important ways we keep our clients informed. Our Case Managers are specially trained to assist our Social Security clients with their cases. In fact, our Case Managers are the main point of contact for our clients, spending a majority of their days giving clients updates about their cases. They are also an incredible source of knowledge. Since Disability cases can take such a long time, many of our clients develop personal relationships with their Case Managers. Our Case Managers keep their clients up to date in several ways:

  • Phone Calls

Our Case Managers make and receive phone calls throughout the day. Our clients are welcome to call our office when they have a question or need to report a medical update. Every client has two Case Managers. So, if you call, there is a good chance you will get to talk to one of your Case Managers. However, if you don’t, you can leave a voicemail, and one of your Case Managers will call you back within 24 business hours.

What if you need to let us know what’s going on after hours? No worries. You can leave a message with our answering service. They will take your message and make sure it is delivered to the Case Management Team.

  • Email

If you prefer, our team can communicate with you via email. When you sign up for representation, your Case Managers will introduce themselves to you via phone. At that time, they will provide you with their contact number and their email address. However, if you need a reminder, you can always find their email address here.

  • Website

In addition to phone and email, our website offers additional options for contacting our Case Managers. You can use our online chat, which is monitored around the clock. When you correspond with the chat service, the message is relayed to our Case Managers, so they can return your calls and/or update your file.

If you need to report a doctor’s visit, a trip to the emergency room, or even update your contact info, you can do so by visiting our website. We have a section on where clients can quickly update us about this information. Our forms are simple to use and make submitting information easy. You can use this feature by clicking here.

Effective communication is paramount in a successful Social Security Disability claim. We know our clients will worry less if they are better informed about their cases.

If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like to sign up for a free consultation, call us. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk at a later time, fill out this form. Once submitted, a member of our team will reach out to you to set up a consultation.


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