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sagemerlin

sagemerlin
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I've decided that profiles are superfluous. Especially when you have rebuild a bathroom wall that just came down.

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JUNE 26, 2012 10:03AM

Fred Hallman Needs Our Help

Rate: 33 Flag

I received a phone call this morning from Fred Hallman, who I haven't spoken to for a long time.

 Fred called me to remind me of his attempt to provide a landing area for OS orphans, a site called opensaloon.org.  (As far as I know, I was  one of three people who joined this site when he first announced it more than a year ago.)

I am in the process of reviewing all the alternatives for a new open salon that have been suggested during the ongoing conversation, so I was interested in the fact that Fred had built this site for our possible use.

 And, then, Fred told me that he has been laid up for the past year due to an injury that resulted in reversible paraplegia....but it is only going to be reversed if Fred gets the physical therapy he needs....and his physical therapy sessions were cut off two months ago.

Fred is in a nursing home/rehab facility in Gainsville Florida....and he needs our help to get the physical therapy he needs to get out of that nursing home and back to his life.

Fred is  61, and won't be eligible to file for social security until September, but even if he files then, he will only get the reduced benefits, and still won't be eligible for Medicare until he reaches 65.

Fred isn't asking anyone for any money, and neither am I, but over the past few days I have learned that there are a great many talented, well-informed people on this web site of ours who have the ability to help Fred in ways that I don't.

The first thought that came to mind  about Fred's situation was that he should have been on SSI/Disability a year ago.  He filed, but he was unable to follow up on his application because he was in a semi-comatose state for several months.

Obviously, Fred needs someone to step in for him, a conservator or an attorney who can help him file for permanent disability so that he can get onto Social Security - while it is still there - and potentially gain access to Medicare benefits.

Fred gave his permission to do what I am doing now, making his situation public to the members of Open Salon.  

Over the years, various people have run benefit campaigns for Open Salon members.  I've done that myself on one or two occasions.  

This is different.  Fred doesn't need money except to the extent that we all need money.  What he needs is the intercession of a good law firm that specializes in disability cases.  

My initial response to Fred's situation was a commitment to personally research the available Medicaid firms in the Gainsville area....but then I thought about all of the very knowledgeable people who frequent this web site and thought it would be next to impossible that there aren't several people on this site who are better informed about these issues than I am (I tried to get on disability several and failed myself) and would be able to help me find the right representation for Fred.

On another level, this is a test of the community-ness of the Open Salon community.

One of the harbingers of a just community is how the community responds to threats to the well being of any of its members.  

Fred is a long-standing member of the OS community but even if he were a newbie he would still merit our suport as a member of our  so-called community...and that's what I am asking for on his behalf.

Fred hasn' t been on OS  much this past year because it is extremely difficult for him to use a computer while lying flat on his back.  He mentioned his condition once a year ago....but I don't even recall that.

So the question is this:  how can we help Fred get on his feet again?

More specifically, the question is how will you, individually, help Fred get on his feet again, if you have the ability to help us find help for him.

If we can't do this, maybe we should stop calling ourselves a community.

Feedback, please. 

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Noble gesture on your part to reach out to help. The attorney I know does not handle this type of case.
Some one here will know the right person.
All nursing homes are required to have a social worker. He needs to speak with them. they can fill out medicaid forms for him for the insurance and help him file the forms for SSDI. So his original case was closed due to not getting to the appointments because of a medical issue. The nurses notes and doctors progress notes should cover that towards earning back pay, but he has to list his first day he was unable to work. He should enclose a time line of the events up until the day he sends the forms. I suggest he alo carefully list the level of care he requires. Keep it simple with the dates and incidents in order.
Medicare does not start until 65 or after one year on Soc Sec disability.
For now he needs medicaid.
Good luck!!
All nursing homes are required to have a social worker. He needs to speak with them. they can fill out medicaid forms for him for the insurance and help him file the forms for SSDI. So his original case was closed due to not getting to the appointments because of a medical issue. The nurses notes and doctors progress notes should cover that towards earning back pay, but he has to list his first day he was unable to work. He should enclose a time line of the events up until the day he sends the forms. I suggest he alo carefully list the level of care he requires. Keep it simple with the dates and incidents in order.
Medicare does not start until 65 or after one year on Soc Sec disability.
For now he needs medicaid.
Good luck!!
Right atty in right location. Hope someone here is/knows of such a person.

Rated for decency and caring.
All nursing homes have social workers. The social workers I have encountered in nursing homes will not help patients to file for SSI benefits. I know this from personal experience. They will instead recommend that the patient or the patient's family contact an outside contractor who specializes in these cases who, for a fee, will write up the application. Attorneys who specialize on SSI cases, on the other hand, usually work on contingency basis. Is there anyone in the Gainsville area who can drop around and actually see Fred? I'm in Delray and that's 5 hours each way and I'm not in any shape to make a 10 hour drive.
When I walked into the OpenSaloon I was wonder if folks were really happy to see me, or was that just a gun in their pockets?

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I work at a major law firm in NYC but we don't handle disability cases. I worked diligently to get my mom reinstated on Medicaid and food stamps, so I am knowledgeable of the "system" in New York, but each state is different. Is there an OSer in Florida who might be able to assist in this matter?
Thanks buddy! In the near term I may put out an S.O.S. to flood my insurance deniers vm with calls on my behalf.
Thank you for sharing this. I was thinking that Poppi's idea was valid until I read your response. For a fair while I looked after my uncle, who some of the time, was in a nursing home. There were some difficult times, but when I persevered and, admittedly, was lucky enough to find someone who would listen to me until they clearly heard what I was trying to ask or tell someone what worried me, most of the time I found someone. I was looking after him long distance which forced me to do whatever I could. Because so many others are trying to do the same thing, sympathetic souls found ways to help. Sometimes it was simply asking the question in front of someone who had a better idea than I ... sometimes simply because they "knew the neighborhood."

All I can do, I think, is add a comment in hopes of keeping this piece in the feed.

I wish I felt from what you say that Fred had someone there to help him. Hopefully someone here will have ideas that might help.

Thankful for you and thinking of Fred.
Anna, when I questioned Fred about his family status, he told that at 61, he was the baby in the family and he was away from Gainsville for many years, so most of his social connections were broken. He has no living children to step in....basically, we're his family now.
Whether or not the on-site social worker would help might depend on the individual SW, his or her workload and specific experience/knowledge. But a SW might also have a concern with liability in case something goes wrong in the filing process. An attorney would be Fred's best bet. Maybe the SW would be kind enuf to recommend a competent attorney.

Thanks, Sage, for sounding the clarion.
I've learned a lot about the law but don't know anything about this type of law. It does sound like he'd have an easy time qualifying and that any capable soul can assist him even without a lawyer.
So glad you did this . I have faith that someone will help dear Fred very soon. Please keep us posted on any progress.
I am reaching out to a former litigation attorney at our firm to see if she knows of anyone reputable. Will be in touch. -Erica
P.S. Anyone who wants to leave a vm can still do that at 615 297-0001 for me, if you want to call, 352 378-1558 rm 403B for now!
I have tried to keep up with Fred and his situation makes me so sad.. I wish I knew someone.. Maybe Con Chapman would know someone.
Here is a reason why the 4 hour fed is needed. Had I not been on Poppis blog I would never have seen this.
And that is just so wrong.
Hope you find someone.
HUGGGGGG
I have queried a database of SSI attorneys in Gainsville to see if I can connect with a lawyer who can handle Fred's case more efficiently.

Come on, we must have someone in Gainsville who can drop in on Fred and buck him up!!!!!
It might be worthwhile to contact Jodi Kasten or Sharon Kay in Jacksonville, to see if they have any connections. Jacksonville is only an hour or so away, and has a sizable Federal installation there, whereas Gainesville is mostly a college town.
He needs to watch out for the Social Security Disability mill law firms, though. I have a friend that worked for one of those in the Philadelphia/New Jersey area and I heard horror stories.

He may be better off with a decent general practitioner who does disability work from time to time, but will give him good personalized attention.
Look at my latest post to see what I'm talking about in terms of a high volume "mill" law firm, and why they pose dangers for those who are represented.
http://www.martindale.com/Find-Lawyers-and-Law-Firms.aspx

Here is a good, nationally recognized, attorney-search tool.
I wonder if checking out 211.org or just phoning 211 (infoline), would be helpful. They might be able to point you in the right direction, or connect you with the person or local agency who could help. Thanks for posting this, Sagemerlin.
All my best wishes and prayers for your health, Fred!
The 211 hotline system is area code specific. More accurate, 211 hotlines are run by local United Way chapters. When you dial 211 you get connected to the 211 provider for the community from which you are calling. I am not aware of any transfer capacity. (I ran the nation's first state-wide crisis intervention hotline back in the early seventies through the late nineties, a very long story.)
i cant help right now, sage, but i have no doubt someone will know. i do know it is harder out there than it has been, but surely there are possibilities. i am really glad he reached out to you.
I'm not really sure, but maybe Fred can get help from one of the agency's that offer case manager services, someone to advocate for him and get the services he needs.

This link should be for the Gainesville area, and has a live chat. If Fred has access to a phone or internet, it might be better if he contacts them directly, because he knows all the details of what is happening:

search bar and live chat for Gainesville area

There is this program for brain and spinal cord injury, which looks like it provides free services that might be very helpful; case management, getting people back into the community, etc. I am not sure Fred qualifies because it says spinal injury due to trauma...but it is definitely worth contacting them. He might be able to get in, or they otherwise might know what other similar program would be available:

Florida brain & spinal cord injury program

Good luck!
Some additional numbers for Heart of Florida United Way if 211 calls do not go through:

(800) 963-5337
(407) 839-4357
I'm in a very similar position myself... but thank the gods, I'm not totally disabled and can continue to work... with luck there's someone who knows someone. Rated.
I know my pop-in-law,mom, and a friend were lucky in their SSI Disability, they were approve first time through, but that's not the norm....keep fighting, I'll take a baseball bat to someone's knee caps at Social security!!!!! HISSSSS....
This is crazy. The Department of Social Services have case workers whose job it is to do these things. He fell through the cracks because he had no one to raise hell for him. I started dealing with these people after I turned 40 and had to have 3 hip transplants. Medicaid paid the bill and the therapy. He needs a mouthpiece bad and it can't be soon enough. Rehab needs to be done as quickly as possible and the DSS have emergency funds for such cases.
Christ Algis K... time and a place man-

Haven't read thru the comments but this is definitely the right thing to do for Fred. Someone will get this ball rolling..
Rated to move this into the feed.
Rated to move into the feed. I agree with Scanner by the way. I am no where near, but perhaps someone who sees this will be in a better position to help.
Sage, me being from Greece, I can not surely help in your actual request for an attorney and I am wishing Fred all the best.

What I can do is to email you as much of my work that I can, and you in your town, after printing them, you can make an exhibition or what you think is good for the cause, and all the money can go for the attorney issue and other expenses. I know my work, is not from a famous artist, but they are from a famous country, Greece and maybe, this could attract some, and of course the cause of giving a friend the love and support he needs. You can pm for details, thank you for informing, sorry I can not do something else, it is in this exact times, that the song, ''If I was a richman '' comes to mind... but unfortunately I am not!! Rated, and if my offer can help , I would be very glad for this.
And we have a great human rights attorney here in OS , Jennifer Prestholdt

http://open.salon.com/blog/the_human_rights_warrior

Maybe, if she learns the situation, she will be kind enough to helr in this issue. Just a suggestion.
Rated to keep this in the feed. And bless you all for keeping hope alive.
Rated to BUMP into the feed. Hang on, Fred. We're trying.

Lezlie
Unbumped. Bumped again.
I got to this today and do not know how you are progressing for Fred.
Has Fred filed and been turned down, or has he not refiled.
I saw this site for lawyers that cover Gainsville, they say that there are no fees unless they win your claim, but I would guess he has a good case without a lawyer.
http://www.socialsecuritydisability.com/lawyer-attorney-1515576.html
My brother got 2 years of back SSDI as he did not know he could apply when he first had his heart attack. He did not have to hire an attorney.
thank you for helping Fred, I wish I knew more.
The Martindale-Hubbell website I posted is the nation's premier lawyer search engine. It is given to law students in law school when searching for firms to apply to, in terms of jobs. It is also used by attorneys when searching for other lawyers in terms of school, practice, location, etc...

I cannot recommend it too highly.
He doesn't necessarily need a lawyer. Many would take a cut of his SSDI when it comes through. There should be a local non-profit that will make sure it's done right and will appeal when they turn him down the first time (usually happens). For my two cents he needs a specialist from a local disability group or legal non-profit. Berkeley had several, don't know about Florida.
Fred, I'd call but what message would I leave on the vm?

I had to go on medicaid for a few years - the hospital i was at got my husband the paperwork to fill out - a lot of paperwork. No lawyer was involved. Good luck Fred, I'll check back to see if you have a script giving me the lines I should say to your insurance denier.
I'm nowhere near Florida, but I can give you some general idea of how ssdi applications go. A person of 61 who has a paralytic condition that prevents him working at all and has paid into the system for 10 years should qualify on the first go-round. They have a list of conditions that they automatically approve, and others that are highly likely to be approved. I got my SSDI six weeks after I applied. I had arthritis with degenerative disc disease and mystery neurological symptoms that caused dizziness and falling. Fred's condition is no less serious than mine was; I'd say more serious. They also have a lower threshold based on age. After 55, your chances are much higher.

Probably the problem was that they needed some additional info, but it could have just been the built in difficulties that SS has that makes them deny people who should be approved. Depending on the area, there is a 75% to 85% denial rate with a lot of unjustified denials.

In the event that you get turned down, you have to follow through with that same application within 30 days by filing an internal appeal. That appeal is almost guaranteed to fail. Then you file an appeal for a hearing before an administrative law judge. About 85% of these appeals succeed. But you go back to square on unless you follow through with the two appeals.

SS will give you back pay to the date of your disability, even if it takes your case months or years to work through the system, as long as you have a continuous case. You could lose out on benefits by refiling rather than appealing. If a lawyer takes the case, the court sets his fee as a percent of the back pay, but it's not as much as a tort lawyer would get on a contingency case. It's to the lawyer's benefit as well as yours to keep the case alive.

SS is a legal specialty and I do not believe a social worker is a good substitute for a lawyer. A social worker will not represent you at a hearing. They might not know about filing a timely appeal. Anyone can help you fill out forms, but a lawyer would know how to beef up your medical records. I did my research, and I had one of these in my orthopedic records before social security requested them:

https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms/images/SSA4/G-SSA-4734-U8-1.pdf

That tells them everything they need to know. The better your initial application is structured, the better the chances of being approved in two months rather than two years.

Contrary to what someone up the comment thread said, Fred would qualify for medicare if he gets SSDI. Only SSI give you medicaid. However, there is a two year waiting period. I believe that is back to the date of disability, though there might be a limit as to how far back they can go if you don't file within a year of becoming disabled.

Fred already qualifies for SSDI (assuming the 10 years of paying into the system) because he's already had a one-year disability. However, depending on how your medical records read and how you fill out your application, you might also make the case that the disability will last indefinitely. SS does not demand that your condition can never improve, only that it last for one year. You can even get back pay if you have already improved.

There is only one way to find a lawyer, and that is to talk to a bunch of them and see what impression you get. While it would be nice to get a recommendation, the chances of someone actually knowing a great social security lawyer in Gainesville that you will also love are fairly slim. Just talk to a bunch of them. If the lawyer is impatient, hurried, does a selling job, anything that makes you not like him/her, then try another. Ask how many clients they carry at one time. One thing I like in a lawyer is the willingness to give you some information or feedback on your case or on the law. Find out what kind of staff they have. Ask how hard it is to get them on the phone, or if there will always be a paralegal you can deal with. The reality is that social security lawyers make less per client than other lawyers, so they just have to take more clients. Having a lot of clients or having you deal with a paralegal is not necessarily bad, but you want to feel that they will pay attention.

Findlaw has a list of disability lawyers and they note which ones give free consultation:

http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/firm/social-security-disability/gainesville/florida

You can also call the local or state bar association and ask for a referral to two or three lawyers. It's tedious, but you just have to start dialing. Yelp.com might also have some reviews, though I didn't find any for Gainesville. But there might be lawyers in nearby areas that I'm not familiar with, so do try Yelp.
An OS member who has professional experience with disability claims has stepped forward and offered to help. Mark this case closed.
Really happy to hear this. Good work, sagemerlin. And good luck, fred.
So sorry I did not see this sooner...there is a group in my area called ElderCare that will take care of financial and legal matters for elders with no families. I googled and found one that I think might serve Fred's area:

http://eldercare.ufandshands.org/services/community-based-services/

Disability might help, but if Fred's that close to retirement, it might be better to get community services for now and then start the early retirement at 62: it would depend what would give him better benefits in the long run. In any case, independent non-profit agencies like this one can provide a wide range of services he might need as he recovers and moves on!

Go Fred!