Thursday, April 30, 2015

Burning car near #Richmond

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"Pastel Poison"

Each of you is the same
Even though you all have different names

Self-absorbed and smug for no reason
You are a jerk no matter what the season

All of your clothes are cut from the same cloth
Similar people are drawn to you like a moth
Your putrid plaids and poisonous pastels explode
But your emptiness will eventually cause you to implode

Your vapid venality shields you from reality
Because your problems and worries all have finality
Michael Brown and Tryvon Marton don’t register in your dull brain
And you think all of the coverage and outrage are insane
They were just thugs
Who deserved to be squashed like bugs

“Why should I care?” you ask
Then you go back to your pointless task

You’ve never been on your own
Facing death on the steps of your home.
Andyou grew up safe, shielded and “right”
Bathed in white privilege’s eternal light

So wear your Vineyard Vines without a thought
Pay no attention to the problems society (and you) wrought
Be strangled by the weeds of your banality
Continue to turn your backs on the reality you still can’t see

Apathy fused with hostility affects us all
It seeps into our collective consciousness and erects higher walls
On the other sides of those walls others suffer
On your safe side you remained buffered

Ignoring others won’t make the problems dissipate
Inaction and indifference will not ameliorate
In fact they all fester and plunge us into the abyss
At that time all will remain amiss

You can continue on your worn, narrow, preordained path

But don’t stare cockeyed at me when you incur my wrath.

Monday, April 27, 2015


Come to work when you are supposed to and don't be lazy.  That's your motivation.  Do your work because you don't get paid otherwise.  Now isn't that difficult?  No more excuses.  It seems I hear a lot of excuses from people, and none of them are good ones.  Inclement weather is the worst one of all.  Your fear and lack of planning don't constitute valid reasons.  So the #MondayMotivation: don't be lazy--it makes you fat if you aren't already.

#WhatAreYouAfraidOf #AndrewJacksonInSpace

#JohnSnow #GameofThrones #NedStark

Ned Stark's bastard.

Q&A with Amy Foster of The Foster Law Firm | NOSSCR

Q&A with Amy Foster of The Foster Law Firm | NOSSCR.  This is a helpful Q&A.  The attorney states fraud is only an issue in 1.8% of cases; drugs and alcohol are usually the death knell of cases.  Money isn't an issue because lawyers are only paid if they when--the receive a contingency fee.  SSD can be life changing.  Claimants can pay bills.  They have guaranteed income.  They have access to medical care such as Medicare and Medicaid, and they are no longer a burden to their families.  60 percent to 90 percent are denied initially so don't give up if you lose in the early rounds.  You can appeal.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

#GameofThrones #DemThrones #JohnSnow #TyrionLannister

I enjoy Game of Thrones, both the books and the TV show.  The plots are complex, and the characters are compelling.  Tyrion Lannister is my favorite character.  He's a schemer but a decent guy, although far from perfect.

#FakeJobFacts and unreality

1.  You don't have to work everyday.
2.  It is always fun.
3.  You don't have to deal with anyone who upsets you.
4.  Where you sit is always comfortable.
5.  Everyone is always nice to you.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Virginia court: Dad has rights after turkey-baster pregnancy - Winston-Salem Journal: Nation / World

Virginia court: Dad has rights after turkey-baster pregnancy - Winston-Salem Journal: Nation / World. I'm sorry, but a turkey baster isn't medical technology.  This is a far cry from in vitro fertilization, which is medical technology.  It is like saying a plastic straw is technology.  Seems thin to me.  Likewise, this guy is hardly more than a sperm donor.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

#Rome founded on April 21,753 BCE #RomulusAndRemus

Tough Tuesday in a world like #Dilbert

Let's call this woman someone we all know. Excuses.

Hearings | NOSSCR

Hearings | NOSSCR.  Here are some FAQs regarding hearings.  Hearings are where most of the claims I handle are resolved.  Having an experienced lawyer is invaluable as many of these claims hinge on performance at the hearing level.

Monday, April 20, 2015

#maytheforcebewithyou #starwars #ForceAwakens

This Chart: Social Security Disability 'Crisis' Might Already Be Over | NOSSCR

This Chart: Social Security Disability 'Crisis' Might Already Be Over | NOSSCR.  SSD claims are at their lowest rate in 25 years.  Kind of hard to argue the system is headed for bankruptcy.  SSD continues to be one of the most efficient (in terms of payment) and beneficial programs in the federal government.

CCD Statement on Opposition to Proposals to Eliminate or Reduce Concurrent Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits | NOSSCR

CCD Statement on Opposition to Proposals to Eliminate or Reduce Concurrent Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits | NOSSCR.  Less than 1% of people receiving SSDI and unemployment benefits receive them concurrently.  The law shouldn't penalize people for drawing unemployment as they try to go back to work but ultimately may not be able to do so.

Bad grammar leads to unintended messages.

I doubt even Tea Partiers meant this:

Friday, April 17, 2015

300,000 blog hits!

Thank you to some.  No thank you to others.  For those who supported me, thank you.  For those who opposed me, have fun misspelling words on the first page of your website.

If my VA disability case is denied, is it over? #VA #VAdisability

No.  It isn't.  Not by a long shot.  You can appeal your claim for a variety of reasons from it being outright denied to a disagreement over disability ratings.  VA disability cases are complicated, and there are time limits you need to watch out for, but there are a number different options even after a denial.  If you are denied, it makes sense to consult an experienced attorney.

#StarWars #ForceAwakens

Most powerful Star Wars image since Darth Vader's mask burned.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

#ForceAwakens #StarWarsTrailer #Stormtrooper

If You've Been Denied | NOSSCR

If You've Been Denied | NOSSCR.  This is a nice listing of key topical questions.  NOSSCR is a helpful organization.  Their website also distills information so that it is user friendly.

Social Security Basics | NOSSCR

Social Security Basics | NOSSCR.  This is a good summary of the differences between SSDI and SSI.  Click on the link to see a listing of the differences.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Disability Benefits Aren’t That Easy to Get | NOSSCR

Disability Benefits Aren’t That Easy to Get | NOSSCR.  The average age of a SSD recipient is 53.4 years old, and this is in stark contrast to the myth that young people are sucking up the benefits.  Six out of ten of ALL claims are denied.  And you have to prove there is NOTHING you can do no matter how menial the job.  People who vilify Social Security disability are stupid, ignorant or likely both.

What SSDI Really Needs | NOSSCR

What SSDI Really Needs | NOSSCR.  Congress needs to fully fund SSA so that the backlog of cases can be resolved.  It makes sense.  Ultimately the money going to SSD benefits helps lift people out of poverty, get medical care and puts money back into the economy.  How are any of those things bad?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Finding A Social Security Lawyer: 5 Things to Consider | NOSSCR

Finding A Social Security Lawyer: 5 Things to Consider | NOSSCR.  This is a great summary.  It covers key questions such as: 1) what are your goals? 2) should you hire a lawyer? 3) can you hire a claims representative? 4) how does your representative get paid? 5) if you win how you do you get paid?

In general, it is better to hire a lawyer because lawyers have training in handling legal cases that non-lawyers do not have.  In other words, lawyers can do the job better.  This isn't always true but usually.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Happy Birthday #ThomasJefferson #tjbd

Is IBS a valid basis for Social Security disability?

It can be.  When combined with other issues, IBS can be a basis for disability.  The issue is whether it takes an individual off task 20% or more during the work day.  If an an individual has to spend more than 20% of a work day off task (in the restroom for example), then he or she is likely disabled.  This issue comes up a lot in disability cases, and I've often used it to cross examine vocational experts.  It is certainly an issue that should be explored.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

#FDR died 70 years ago today

Greatest President of the 20th century--by far.  Maybe the greatest of all time.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#Saga #Hazel

New #Saga : all lawyers should read it.

Do it.  Seriously.

You can get Social Security disability benefits if there is evidence of drug and alcohol abuse--it is just harder

Chronic drug and alcohol abuse can hurt if not kill a Social Security disability case.  Evidence of either, however, is not the death knell to a case.  The key is to show the drug or alcohol abuse was not a "material factor" contributing to the disability.  In other words, you need to show disability wasn't caused by the drug or alcohol abuse.

Usually people drink or do drugs to "self-medicate" because they were abused (usually sexually) as a child.  At least this is what I have observed in the hundreds of cases I've handled.  Consequently, it is important to explain what happened.  Although not excusing the behavior it can show the claimant is a troubled soul trying to ease their pain.  And if they get help and get better then the evidence of past abuse can be overcome.

I usually suggest an alternate payee (someone to handle the disability) to the judge as a way of 1) protecting the claimant against temptation and 2) reassuring the judge that the money won't go towards bad habits but towards supporting the claimant.

These are tough cases, but I've won enough of them to know it can be done.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My tire protection warranty paid off

I drive a lot for my job, but that's fine with me.  I get the best of both worlds by splitting my time between Greensboro and Winston-Salem.  The down side is I run through a lot of gas, wear out my car and sometimes get flat tires.

Regarding flat tires, I purchased emergency protection for my tires.  It wasn't much money.  It paid off today because I didn't have to pay for a replacement tire.  So it saved me close to $200.00.  In other words, it more than paid for itself.

Normally I'm not a fan of warranties, but they can be useful in limited instances.  This was one of those times.  It is hard to make a definitive statement about warranties, so the best thing to do is learn as much as you can about the warranty.  Check out what is said on trusted websites.  Then use your best judgment.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sometimes warranties are a a smart choice (but not often)

Most warranties aren't worth the paper they are written on to borrow a hackneyed cliche.  This isn't always true, however.  Think of a warranty like a guarantee that a product will continue to work and be usable as promised when you bought the item.  Many warranties are disclaimed though meaning they are essentially canceled out.

Without getting too technical certain warranties, express warranties in particular, cannot be disclaimed due to federal legislation known at the Magnuson Moss Act.  Essentially a express warranty is an explicitly stated warranty that "goes to the heart of the bargain."  For example, if a seller says, "If your tires give out for any reason within a year from the date of the purchase, we will replace them free of charge."  If your tires give out on day 200, you will likely have the right to get your tires replaced.

The problems you have to watch out for are limited warranties.  These can be disclaimed.  They are supposed to be marked as limited warranties.  Usually these are worthless.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Thanks to my fellow writer, @ShaneSKuhn, for the signed #theinternshandbook s

Book is about a hitman posing as an intern at the fictional firm of Bendini Lambert and Locke.  Great read.  Can't wait for the movie.  Shane's been a great friend and colleague.  He was nice enough to send a book for Jillan.  Both are signed of course.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I won my Social Security disability hearing without saying a word #AprilFoolsDay

That's not entirely true, but it is #AprilFoolsDay.  It behooves us to doubt the veracity of most statements made today especially when they are silly or serious (or made by a lawyer).  I've said this before, but there is not substitute for preparation of a disability case and getting to know your client. Likewise, a short, persuasive brief helps a great deal.   What can be key, however, is talking to the client on the way to the hearing and finding out invaluable new information.  Usually it is anecdotal, but it can tie together a compelling narrative nicely.  This will make your case easier to win or make a marginal case winnable.  So, yes, I did win my hearing while driving the client there today because I elicited valuable information I later used in the hearing.  This information made all the difference.