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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, Has Been Nominated and Accepted as a 2017 AIOPIA’S 10 Best Law Firm in West Virginia For Client Satisfaction

Parkersburg, WV – August 28, 2017. The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys (AIOPIA) has recognized the exceptional performance of West Virginia’s Personal Injury Law Firm, Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, as 2017 10 Best Personal Injury Law Firm in the category of Client Satisfaction.

The AIOPIA is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes an annual list of the Top 10 Personal Injury attorneys in each state. Attorneys who are selected to the “10 Best” list must pass AIOPIA’s rigorous selection process, which is based on client and/or peer nominations, thorough research, and AIOPIA’s independent evaluation. AIOPIA’s annual list was created to be used as a resource for clients during the attorney selection process. One of the most significant aspects of the selection process involves attorneys’ relationships and reputation among clients. By AIOPIA standards, clients should be an attorney’s top priority. Our organization places the utmost emphasis on selecting lawyers who have achieved significant success in the field of Personal Injury law without sacrificing the service and support they provide.

“Client Satisfaction is more than a phrase for all of us at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law,” says Jan Dils. “It comes from experience, knowledge and going above and beyond for each and every client we serve. It means getting results. We could not be more thrilled to have the AIOPIA, our industry peers, and most importantly, our clients recognize our firm with this prestigious award.”

The firm of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, serves clients from offices located in Parkersburg, Charleston, Logan, Beckley, Huntington, West Virginia, as well as Charlotte, North Carolina. The firm remains focused on helping individuals receive the financial compensation they deserve, assisting at every stage in the application and appeals process to obtain Veterans’, Social Security Benefits and Personal Injury settlements.  To contact Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, call 304-428-8900 or toll-free at 1-877-JanDils, or visit www.jandils.com.

What are survivor benefits?

If there is one thing in the world that I wish nobody had to endure, it would be the loss of a loved one. Having to cope with this loss can be emotionally and financially overwhelming.

What does this have to do with Social Security Disability?  Well I was reading on the Social Security website that under certain circumstances you could receive your loved ones benefits if they worked long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits themselves.

This, by no means, makes the loss any better or easier. However, being able to receive these financial benefits can ease the stress that losing your loved one can create.

Who can get these benefits?  This might include the widow or widower, the deceased’s minor or disabled child, and in some cases, the surviving divorced spouse can be eligible to receive survivor’s benefits.

If there are any questions on if you qualify for this type of benefits or any questions regarding Social Security Disability, please do not hesitate to call us at 877-526-3457 or visit our web page at www.jandils.com.

Jon Corra Bio

Jon has been with Jan Dils Attorneys at Law for over five years. In his current role, Jon is a VA Leads Specialist, and a Social Media Specialist. In December 2011, Jon Received his Masters Degree in corporate Communication from West Virginia University. Jon also has an RBA in Criminal Justice and Communications from West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

In his spare time, Jon is an avid Hockey fan. He loves watching the Pittsburgh Penguins play, and tries to make it to games in person as much as possible. In addition to hockey, Jon also enjoys mountain bike riding, watching documentaries, and spending time with friends.
When describing his employment with the firm, Jon Stated the Following: “I was drawn to Jan Dils Attorneys at Law because of their work with Veterans. I admire those who serve our country so much, and really enjoy interacting with Veterans. I never imagined that while working in this firm, I would get to know so many unique individuals.”

A Simple Guide to the Social Security Timeline

I was just interacting with one of our Social Security clients who received a favorable decision after two and a half years. He was happy and relieved to finally get his

get this good news. This made me think about a question that we receive from a lot of our clients. They often ask me: “How long does a Social Security Claim take?”

Most often the answer to the question above is simply “a long time.” While that short answer is true, it is not very helpful. It is also important to remember that no two claims are exactly the same. Some people get approved after their initial decision; others take many more years than average. The following timeline is based off our nearly two decades doing Social Security claims. It can be a very helpful tool for anyone going through the Social Security process.

Once you have applied, the process can take two years or even longer. Here’s how the process works:

Initial Application: Once you’ve submitted your initial application with all the appropriate paperwork, the SSA will contact your doctors and get additional information about your medical abilities. It takes 3-5 months for the SSA to process your initial claim. The great majority of initial claims are denied.

Appeals: You then have 60 days to appeal the decision by filing a Request for Reconsideration.

Reconsideration Process: The reconsideration process takes on average another 4-6 months. About three fourths of all claims are denied again at this point.

Appeals: You have another 60 days to appeal this decision by filing a Request for Hearing.

Hearing: It can take 12-36 months to have a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

So, if your claim is denied at the first two levels (most claims are), it can take two years or longer to actually gain approval. While we can’t speed up the Disability process, give us a call today for a free consultation. 1-877-526-3457 You can also fill out this form, and we can contact you.

 

Jenny Cochran Bio

Jenny Cochran has been with the Jan Dils Team for just over four years. Jenny started out in our Case Management Pod, and recently moved into the role of Outlining Specialist. The one element of Case Management she missed was working with the clients one on one, so writing for our all new blog was a natural fit. Jenny is eager to learn as much as she can as she hopes to go to law school soon. In her spare time, Jenny loves going to concerts, watching Netflix, and spending time with her friends and family. Jenny’s coworkers are quick to point out that she has a fantastic sense of humor and a wonderful personality.

What You Need for Your SSA Disability Interview

As you’re preparing for your Disability Interview with the Social Security Administration (SSA), there are plenty of details you need to be knowledgeable about as well as documentation you need to have prepared ahead of time. The following information is important to have whether your interview takes place in person or over the phone:

Your medical records. This includes copies of X-rays, lab and other test results, treatment plans and other files from your healthcare providers regarding your disabling medical condition. Your providers’ offices usually have all of this information saved and easy to produce for you. The more evidence that proves this condition affects your daily activities and renders you unable to work, the better your chances of approval will be.

Medical release form. This is form SSA-827, which will authorize your healthcare providers to release necessary information to the SSA as they conduct their investigation.

Details about any workers’ compensation awarded. If you’ve received workers’ compensation, you will need to provide documentation such as the date you were injured, claim number, the terms of your settlement agreement, along with proof of any disability payment amounts you have received.

Family information. The SSA will need to know the names and birthdates of your spouse and minor children, along with the dates of any marriages and divorces.

 

Financial information. This includes your bank account numbers (checking and savings accounts) plus the bank’s routing number.

 

Emergency contact. The name, phone number and address of an individual the SSA can contact if they cannot reach you after repeated attempts.

 

Other forms. If you have problems filing for benefits online, be sure to bring a copy of all necessary SSA forms you have not submitted, including the “Medical and Job Worksheet.”

 

On that note, we strongly recommend keeping a folder with copies of all relevant medical documents, a timeline of events associated with the onset of your disabling condition, along with any correspondence you have with the SSA.

 

For more tips like this and relevant forms that will help you prepare for your SSA Disability Interview, you can request your free copy of Attorney Jan Dils’ book, Getting the Social Security Benefits You Deserve, by clicking here: http://www.jandils.com/book-request-form/

Why Medical Care Must Come Before Social Security Disability Benefits

If you believe you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, it’s imperative that you are first under the regular care of a physician and following any prescribed treatments to support your claim. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • The SSA decision makers will be less inclined to believe your disabling condition is serious if you are not being seeking professional care to help you treat or manage its symptoms.
  • Your case is built on documented evidence from licensed healthcare professionals and their credible medical opinions regarding your ability to work. The SSA will not base their decision solely on your testimony.

Finances should not be a factor in receiving adequate healthcare; today, there are an abundance of healthcare facilities that are free, low-cost or will work with your budget or insurance plan to come up with a feasible plan. Another option that may fit your case is a Consultative Exam, a free exam ordered by the SSA to be conducted by a healthcare professional they have contracted for additional medical information.

But again, in disability cases, your chances of success will always be higher with tangible medical records and the opinion of a licensed expert who is familiar with your history and the details surrounding your disabling condition.

If you or a loved one are suffering from a disabling condition and believe you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, contact us today for a 100% free and confidential legal consultation, either by phone or at one of our five West Virginia offices — in Parkersburg, Charleston, Logan, Huntington or Beckley – and Charlotte, NC.

You can call toll free, 1.877.526.3457, or send us an e-mail for a prompt response.

Will the SSA Seize Tax Refunds?

According to an audit by the SSA’s Inspector General, the agency has confiscated around $75 million in tax refunds without giving much of an explanation to many of these individuals.

Last year, when the SSA seized tax returns due to benefit overpayment (overpayment to a lot of these individuals’ parents, no less), officials said they would cease this kind of action. Yet it appears some 300,000 Americans have been affected this year, too—often as the result of overpayments from years ago.

The audit further reveals that the majority of the confiscations occurred for individuals 21-40 years of age. At least eight thousand received no notification before their tax refund was taken.

While this is unfortunate for those who lost their tax refund, especially due to their parents’ overpayments, we hope the SSA will at least provide proper notification in the future so those affected can anticipate and prepare accordingly. If this has happened to you, you should contact the SSA for a detailed explanation.

At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, our experienced Social Security Disability Lawyers can guide you through the process of applying for SSA benefits or appealing a denied claim. Contact us to schedule your free initial consultation – we will fight for the benefits you deserve!

How to document migraine headaches for your doctor

I am one of the lucky ones in life because I’ve never broken a bone. It’s possibly the result of being an overly cautious child, and the fact that I always drank my milk to ensure healthy bone growth. While other kids in my elementary school were coming to class with casts and fun stories to impress strangers, I was preserving my bone health for later in life. Broken bones are painful, and I’ll be ok with the way my life turns out if I never experience a broken bone. That may not happen, though. However, as an individual who likes to look on the bright side, it’s usually easy to tell if you have a broken bone. A simple x-ray will determine if your bone is broken, and how severe it is too. If you tell people you have a broken bone, most people won’t question if you are suffering or not. That’s not the same for every condition, though. This can cause an issue for some Social Security Claims.

When the other kids were having issues with their broken bones, I was suffering from a quite a different type of pain, migraine migraines. Migraines aren’t as easy to detect as a broken bone. First of all, you don’t get a colorful cast for your classmates to sign. Second, there isn’t really a good way to diagnose a migraine condition, especially in situations in which head trauma does not occur. Trust me, I know this from experience. I had to have x-rays on my head to make sure I didn’t have a TBI. There I was, a first grader, suffering from excruciating pain.  Twenty-five years later I’ve only experienced pain worse than that once in my life. However, that we will be something I talk about when we cover kidney health. So, stay tuned.

With extensive testing over the course of the year, my doctor said that I would simply “grow out of the condition.” He was right. Eventually, the migraines went away, and I could live like a real boy again. If you’re reading this, you’re likely an adult suffering from migraines and have had issues getting your Social Security claim approved. You likely relate to my struggle to find a cause. There is also a good chance that you are struggling to convey the gravity of your pain to your doctor. If so, one thing we encourage our clients to do is document all their migraines in a log.

A migraine log, or journal,  is quite easy to keep. Simply get yourself a small notebook and keep track of all of your migraines or migraines. Be sure to make note of when a migraine occurs, how long it lasts, the pain intensity, and what you did to alleviate the pain. A log like this can be used to help prove that your condition is disabling. This is especially true if your migraines interfered with your work performance. In other words, if you ever missed work or had to leave early because of your migraines, that will also help your argument. If you take prescription medication for your migraines, note that in your log as well. Our office can also provide you with a migraine log that it already set up.

While I mostly discussed migraines today, a log is a great way to document other conditions too. If you have issues with panic/anxiety attacks a log will be a great way to show your doctor how frequently they occur. This is also true for individuals who have seizures. I’ve even been told to use a log to document my blood pressure.

Simply put, a log is just another piece of evidence that can be used to help your case. Medical evidence is what wins cases, and this is one of the small ways you can provide more evidence to support your claim. If you’d like to know more about our services, or if you’d like to sign up for a free consultation, call our toll-free number now. It’s 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so that we may call you at a better time.

When You’re Pursuing Social Security Disability, the Waiting is the Hardest Part

The Great American lyricist Tom Petty once wrote that “the waiting is the hardest part.” Mr. Petty, who I believe is wise beyond his years, states that this song is Why does Social Security Have a 5 Month Waiting Periodso popular because it applies to many situations. While I believe we are safe to assume Mr. Petty was not actually writing about Social Security Disability when he wrote his song, it does apply. Recently, while talking to some colleagues about Social Security, I was curious about what the hardest part of a Social Security case was for our clients. They responded, almost in unison, by saying that waiting is the hardest part of a Social Security case. Many individuals seeking Social Security disability are aware that waiting is a big part of a case, but they may not be aware as to why. Further, the wait appears to be getting longer. Let’s discuss this in more detail now.

The problem.

When examining the Social Security timeline, it’s important to know that there is not one single issue contributing to the long wait. There are actually several different reasons why cases take so long and why the wait seems to be getting worse. When most people hear that the backlog of cases is getting worse, they assume that there must just be more people filing for disability claims. That is not the case, though. As a firm, we have not seen a dramatic uptick in cases, and the industry as whole backs this up too. New applications are steady, but there is a not a dramatic difference between now and years past.

The Huffington Post reported the following in October of 2015. The number of requests for hearings has increased, the federal judges who hear appeals have become less productive, there are fewer attorneys on staff who could decide cases without going through the lengthy hearing process and fewer judges overall. All of these reasons are contributing to a longer wait for a hearing. Here we are a year later, and not much has changed. It’s still over 430 days for a hearing. For most of the clients we represent, we tell them to expect at least a 12-18 month wait after the hearing request is filed.

Can anything be done?

A lot of people assume that hiring an attorney will automatically get them approved for their Social Security benefits. Trust me, we wish this were true. A lot of people also assume that hiring an attorney means your case will get fast tracked. This is not true either. Hiring an attorney can be beneficial for your case in many ways, but we can’t guarantee a win, and we can’t speed up your case. What we can do is help you file for your benefits, file appeals, review/submit medical records, represent you at your hearings and answer questions you have along the way. We also keep our clients on track by creating follow up letters and help you get secondary opinions when necessary. The development of your case is key and our office has over 20 years of experience to do so.

You may also wonder if the problems are going to be fixed by anyone. Well, it’s complicated. We can’t really speculate on why judges aren’t being replaced. Obviously, the budget is a concern. With our country going through a transition in leadership, it’s hard to tell what the future holds for the SSA. We hope that the problem is resolved soon.

What should I do?

We are very upfront with all our clients regarding the Social Security backlog. We try to keep expectations in check. We’ve been doing this since 1994, so we know what to expect. However, we understand that this is a difficult time for you and there is a lot of uncertainty during this time. With that in mind, there are a lot of things you can do to help your case during the backlog. For one, continuous treatment will be beneficial for your case. Making and keeping appointments with your medical care professional are among the top things you can do help your case. Being up front with your healthcare provider about how your disability is impacting you will also help you with your case.

If you work with an attorney, it’s important to stay in touch with their office. We encourage our clients to let us know if they move, change phone numbers, have changes in their household and any updates regarding their medical treatment. Our offices utilize case managers too. Case managers are great because they can answer questions for our clients and assist in the development of our clients’ claims throughout the entire process. We encourage our clients to contact us if they have any questions. We want our clients to be educated in the claims process and know we are by their side the entire time.

Overall, the backlog does not appear to be going away anytime soon. Once again, we’ve been doing this for over 20 years, and we know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Which reminds me of another Tom Petty lyric, “I won’t back down.” Social Security cases are tough, but you can’t give up. We are upfront with our clients. If we identify obstacles in your case that makes an approval difficult, we will be upfront with you. However, if we took your case, we believe in it. So, don’t give up. We’ll do whatever we can to help you get approved.