Safety Net Knot
CHEWELAH, WA. David Michaelis felt the symptoms of a rare neuromuscular disease in October of '02.The condition causes involuntary movements of the head and neck, which destroys the ability to coordinate eye-hand movements. Patients find that the best thing to do is lie down several times during the day to ease the pain and fatigue, and sometimes, the involuntary twisting. The treatments cost between $1200 and $1800,and must be repeated every 3 months.
Because the condition affects only 3 people out of 10,000, doctors are slow to recognize the symptoms as those belonging to the disorder - spasmodic torticollis (ST). So, Mr. Michaelis shuffled from doctor to doctor, and evaluation after evaluation until one of them identified it correctly 9 months after the onset of symptoms.
But it took only 5 months after onset for the pain, fatigue, and involuntary movements to bring the 44 year old to the inescapable conclusion that he could not work at his job as a cabinet maker. He left his job for good on March 10th, '03.
Three months later, he filed for Social Security disability benefits. His first denial came quickly- only one month later. He appealed and was denied again on October 24th.Anotherappeal was filed on November 12th, asking that his case be heard by an Administrative Law Judge.
In the meantime, he and his wife were living off of credit cards. His wife worked part time at a consignment store part time.
At this point, the previous efficiency of Social Security review and evaluation ended. Month after month went by with the only communication from SSA being a letter reporting that the hearing office had received his file. Calls by his representative to the hearing office yielded little clue about how soon his case would be scheduled to be heard.
A year went by without anyone at the hearing office revealing when a hearing would take place. Mr. Michaelis was at the end of his financial rope, at risk of losing his home.
In the meantime, on January 7th '05,his representative asked the hearing office to classify his case as critical based on impending bankruptcy, hoping to speed up the process.
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Record 100 Dystonia Cases Won; No Losses
On December 12th, Frederick A. Johnson, President of Disability Income Associates for 23 years, won his one hundredth dystonia case. He has never lost a dystonia case. I gladly write you a check today for our fully favorable SSDI win.
He is expert advisor to the American Dystonia Society, providing immediate answers to questions about Social Security disability programs and procedures to its 500 plus members. The American Dystonia Society is dedicated to research as a non-profit organization, and established in 2009. http://dystonia.ning.com/main/authorization/signUp?
Johnson has spoken on 3 occasions at the National Spasmodic Torticollis Association, a cervical dystonia patient support organization headquartered in Fountain Valley, CA.
Since 1990, Johnson has represented over 1,000 patients who were not able to work because of the severity of their medical problems.
He is author of "How To Apply For & Win Social Security Disability Benefits," and created specialized proprietary residual functional capacity forms for every major condition. The forms integrate the symptoms Social Security looks for in making its awards with the most basic legal standards.
Johnson was a member of the medical corps in the Navy, working in the ICU, emergency room, recovery room, and surgical wards at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. Additionally, he was a medical worker in the private sector for 2 years.
Cervical dystonia, also called spasmodic torticollis, or torticollis, is the most common of the focal dystonias. In torticollis, the muscles in the neck which control the position of the head are affected, causing the head to involuntarily twist and turn to one side. In addition, the head may be pulled forward or backward. Though of different etiology, dystonia is treated in the same ways as Parkinson's. Neurologists, however, frequently misdiagnose the condition. A gene has recently been found for dystonia; however, there is strong evidence to show that it can be originated by trauma.
Dystonia can effect other body parts or the entire body. It can be constant or episodic and sporadic. It is usually treated with botox injections at 3 month intervals.
Four long years and NC didn't do anything quickly or easy, but you stayed the course, kept me informed and most important-were my champion. I never spoke to anyone at SSA because you were on the front line for me.
I am proof positive that you can win your benefits with a skilled professional by your side. Dystonians rejoice for Fred Johnson!
D.Brinkley Snead Ferry, NC
Thank you for the untiring support given to me in obtaining my Social Security Disability claim. I would not have been able to do all the hard work that you have put into this case. You will be greatly rewarded for the work you do for Disabled population. I will keep you always in my prayers. Again, thank you.!!!
Randallstown, MD 21132
I want to take this opportunity to personally thank you for successfully navigating us to a favorable decision with regard to my case. If one ever has any concern or doubt about hiring a representative over an attorney, I can assure them that this notion can be set to rest. You very capably guided me through a maze of obstacles designed to confuse and bewilder even the well educated.
Because Spasmodic Torticolllis is considered somewhat of a rare disorder and is not listed on the Department of Social Security's "listing of impairments:, it created a challenge, but it was one you were more than able to handle. Everything happened as you predicted with respect to the denials, but it was your expertise and perseverance that prevailed somewhere between the reconsideration denial and the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, which was very unusual. You spared me the great anxiety and further depletion of my savings by cutting through the labyrinthine bureaucracy at the hearing level and winning benefits without have to go to a hearing. Needless to say, I am very pleased and would highly recommend you to anyone who may be considering you as their representative.
Not only were you always available to answer my questions and concerns on a professional level, but equally as important, was the way in which you took this case on personally. I really admired the way you actually fought for me. Your heart was in it and I could tell. You know the system so very well Fred, and people who attempt to take on this giant on their own are at a tremendous disadvantage from the beginning.
If your assistance will help level the playing field and helps them decide on the proper representation they truly need, then it is my honor and pleasure to be of service to you.
Thank you so much!
G. Beaubien, Jr.
I gladly write you a check today for our fully favorable SSDI win.
- Disabling Conditions-con't
- Disabling Conditions-con't. 3rd page
- Social Security Disability Self-Evaluation
- How To Apply
- How Long Does It Take
- Listings Of Impairments: Overview
- Veterans' Disability & SSA Disability
- Cardiovascular Impairments
- Digestive System
- Endocrine Disorders
- Genitourinary System
- Hematological System
- Immune System
- Mental Disorders
- Multiple Body
- Neoplastic Diseases
- Neurological Disorders
- Senses and Speech
- Skin Disorders
- About The Author
- Residual Functional Capacity Assessment
- Disabling Conditions-con't