Your Source For Disability Information

A drug shortage has been linked to a relapse in cancer, Hodgkin Lymphoma in particular.

Hodgkin Lymphoma is a cancer typically found in the youth, making up approximately six percent of childhood cancers, in which the cancer cells aggressively attack the lymph system. About 90 percent of those affected by the cancer, however, have been able to continue their life cancer-free by engaging in the seven-drug chemotherapy treatment course, which included the drug mechlorethamine.

In 2002, five institutions engaged in a study to determine the effectiveness of this sort of treatment. The researchers aimed to avoid infertility and other issues while maintaining high cure rate. This is where they found that this particular treatment, using the drug mechlorethamine, saw that “approximate disease-free survival was 88 percent for the 181 patients” involved.

In 2006, a companion study took place that, because of a shortage of mechlorethamine, substituted the drug cyclophosphamine. They found that for the 40 patients that were given this substitute drug, the rate of disease-free survival dropped to 75 percent, prompting the researchers to stop enrolling new patients. They say that there is no valid explanation for the significant difference besides the drug substitution.

Drug shortage is not unique to the healing world, nor is the substitution of another drug to try and counter such unavailability. Even with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) working tirelessly to try and find a solution, these shortages continue to adversely impact the medical world. This event has impelled doctors to beg for “a more systematic solution to the problem” as “it is clear that patients are still suffering from the unavailability of life-saving drugs.”

Monika Metzger, M.D., an associate member of the St. Jude Department of Oncology and the study’s principal investigator stated, “This is a devastating example of how drug shortages affect patients and why these shortages must be prevented. Our results demonstrate, for many chemotherapy drugs, there are no adequate substitute drugs available.”

If your life or the life of someone you love has been negatively impacted because of the lack of a certain life-saving drug, then consult with an attorney who can help you navigate through the necessary fields of law to attain justice and figure out which benefits you are eligible for. There are various steps that can be taken to help aid you through these unnecessary hardships that you deserve to explore.

LTD Benefits Lawyer for Multiple SclerosisMultiple Sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease caused by damage to the myelin sheath, or the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. The damage to this covering is caused by inflammation which occurs when the body’s immune cells attack the nervous system; this can affect the brain, optic nerve and spinal cord.

There are four different types of MS: relapsing-remitting, primary-progressive, secondary-progressive and progressive-relapsing. Symptoms of MS include loss of balance, muscle spasms, numbness, problems moving arms and legs, leg or arm tremors, double vision, constipation, dizziness, slurred speech as well as many more. MS affects women more than men, and is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40.

Although there is no known cure for MS, there are multiple therapies that slow down the disease and control symptoms so that the patient is able to maintain a relatively normal quality of life. The prognosis is fairly unpredictable and varies from patient to patient. Although a cure is unavailable, life expectancy is usually normal and people with MS are generally expected to continue to work with minimal disability for 20+ years.

In order to qualify for long term disability with the Social Security Administration (SSA) the disability has to have lasted, or is expected to last at least 12 months. Patients who have episodic symptoms may have a hard time qualifying for this reason, even though their episodes could be more debilitating than the symptoms of someone who is suffering chronically.

SSA has identified MS as a chronic condition or impairment under neurological disorders, that could cause disability severe enough to prevent a person from working. To qualify for long term disability benefits for your Multiple Sclerosis, there are four criteria used to qualify someone as “disabled.” They are as follows:
1. Disorganization of motor function: Must prove severity that their MS has caused difficulty walking or using hands because of impairments of at least two limbs. You may have partial paralysis of limbs, tremors or involuntary movements.
2. Visual impairments: A severe decrease in vision that cannot be corrected with glasses.
3. Mental impairment: An organic mental disorder causing memory loss, a decrease in IQ or disturbance in mood.
4. Fatigue: Severe fatigue and muscle weakness that is caused by the central nervous system.

The SSA will request three things from you in order to determine long term disability benefits. First, you will need to obtain complete medical records, relevant case notes and documentation of inability to work. An MRI is the most common way to prove MS because it can detect even the smallest evidence of demyelination or plaque. Another test used is the spinal tap or lumbar puncture, which is slightly less effective.

Secondly, a Medical Source Statement (MSS) will be requested in the form of a letter from your licensed medical practitioner. It should describe the conditions and impact on major life activities. The MSS should reference the four criteria listed above. The MSS should be submitted to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) along with the medical records. Finally, a Consultative Examination may be ordered if the SSA or DDS determines that medical records and MSS is insufficient. The SSA may request that the patient visit another healthcare provider for the examination in order to avoid any biases.

If for whatever reason it is found that you do not qualify for long term disability benefits under the listed criteria, the SSA will assess your residual function capacity (RFC) in order to determine what type of work you are able to perform, and will assign you more sedentary work when possible.

If you have been denied long term disability benefits, you should consult an attorney who can determine if you should be entitled to benefits and can help you gain them.

Long Term Disability LawyersWhen serious injuries are incurred after an accident, costly medical bills usually follow. The purpose of an independent medical evaluation (IME) is to verify the injuries of the plaintiff before the defendant pays the bills. The person who is responsible for paying for the injury generally wants to be sure that the injuries are legitimate, as severe as the victim claims and have been caused by the incident in question. To ensure that the responsible party will not be paying for anything extra, an IME may be requested by the defendant or their insurance company.

The defendant may also be wary of the victim’s physician and concerned that their doctor may have a personal bias toward them. Even though victims reserve the right to choose their own physician after an accident, the responsible party can request an Independent Medical Evaluation when the victim has not yet been evaluated (this is the most ideal scenario for the defendant), or after the victim has already seen their own physician.

In many cases, the victim will consent to an IME because they do not have anything to hide. Other times, they may fear that the alternate physician has a bias toward the defendant or that they are going to be seen by a physician who favors the insurance company. When a victim refuses to see an independent physician the insurance company may file a motion to compel the IME. This typically occurs if the victim’s refusal seems questionable and injuries are being disputed. A judge will make the final determination, and may appoint a physician if one cannot be agreed upon.

When an IME has been requested, the victim should understand their rights before submitting to the examination. In most cases, the victim’s attorney may be present during the examination and it is recommended that the lawyer accompanies the victim to the visit. The victim should be aware that they are being observed at all times, not only in the examination room. If injuries do not appear to be present while in the waiting room but suddenly exist in the examination room, a doctor or nurse may testify that they saw no impairment. During the IME a victim should not sign any unnecessary paperwork, and must refrain from talking about the case. Any wording that suggests fault can crush a case.

Independent medical examinations do not only exist in personal injury cases. Child custody cases see many IME requests in order to determine the mental stability of either parent. An IME will not be compelled if the responsible party makes an unreasonable request, such as choosing a physician who is located far away. An IME will be denied if an injury has already completely healed, or if the victim is only suing for damages to an object such as a home or vehicle.

Long Term Physical Disability LawyersWhen an employee is unable to work for an extended period of time due to a physical ailment, a long term disability plan can help cover a portion of the worker’s salary, and allow the employee less of a financial burden as well as the opportunity to heal.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has created a formalized process of determining whether or not you are disabled under their strict definitions and guidelines. Their method of deciding is based on criteria that can be answered in five simple questions, in accordance with their manual of qualifying disabilities. To move onto the next in the series of questions you must be able to answer “yes” to each individual question. Question number three is: “Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?”

The Blue Book lists physical and mental impairments that automatically qualify you for Social Security disability benefits, as long as they are of a certain severity and impact your life to a specific level. Provided that such criteria is met, the following is a list of some of the physical conditions that qualify for long-term disability:

• Musculoskeletal problems, such as neck and back injuries
• Spinal cord injuries
• Cardiovascular conditions, like coronary artery disease and heart failure
• Respiratory illnesses, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
• Immune system disorders, like HIV/AIDS, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
• Cancers
• Brain and head injuries
• Kidney disease and liver disease

The above is only a brief, broad list of qualifying physical conditions that are listed in the Blue Book. It should be noted that if you have an ailment or condition that is not listed in the Blue Book, you are not automatically unqualified for long-term disability benefits, although it is generally more difficult to gain benefits in this scenario. You can be awarded disability benefits if your disability is found to be “equaling a disability listing,” or if your condition prevents you from being able to work based on the SSA’s criteria and findings.

If your physical condition does qualify you for long-term disability benefits, it is important to understand that the terms of coverage range in the percentage of salary that they cover, as well as how long each individual will be covered. The SSA may even ask that the person on disability find another, more sedentary career to go into. Contact a long term physical disability attorney at Burke, Harvey & Frankowski, LLC who can help you determine your eligibility and the steps that you can take to qualify for benefits.

Social Security Disability Benefits












The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a formalized process of determining whether or not you are disabled under their strict definition based on limited criteria that can be answered in five simple questions.

The national long term disability attorneys at Burke, Harvey & Frankowski, LLC explain that the  SSA’s definition of “disability” is based on your inability to work. You must be unable to perform the work that you did before, be unable to adjust to other work due to your medical condition, and your disability must have lasted or is expected to last at least one year or result in death. You also must have worked for long enough and recently enough under Social Security in order to qualify for disability benefits.

The following are the five questions that the SSA asks to decide whether someone is disabled. If you answer “No” to any of the questions, you will not be qualified to move on to the next question and will not be considered disabled.

1. Are you working? – If you are working in 2012 and your earnings average more than $1,010/month then you generally cannot be disabled.
2. Is your condition “severe”? – This means that your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities.
3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? – SSA has a list of conditions in their Blue Book that are so severe that they automatically qualify you.
If you have a medical condition that affects your ability to work on a regular basis but it is not as severe as an impairment described in the listing, SSA assesses your “residual functional capacity” (RFC). It will be determined through this step what you are still able to do despite your limitations or impairments.
4. Can you do the work you did previously? – This will be determined by the SSA
5. Can you do any other type of work? – The SSA will consider age, education, past work experience within the most recent 15 years and any transferable skills you may have. More sedentary work will be assigned if possible.

Most Social Security disability claims are processed through SSA field offices and State agencies, also known as Disability Determination Services (DDSs). Appeals are decided in a Disability Determination Process or by an administrative law judge in the SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.

Many people do not qualify for disability benefits because they enter the process without knowledge of what is required or understanding the impact of the questions that they will be asked. To increase your chances of obtaining benefits, a long term disability attorney who specializes in the Social Security applications process can guide you through this often difficult experience. Determine your eligibility and the steps that you can take to qualify for benefits by contacting Burke, Harvey & Frankowski, LLC.

LTD AttorneysPeripheral nerves carry information to and from the brain, spinal cord and virtually every other part of the body. When a person has peripheral neuropathy it means that those nerves don’t work properly – this type of damage interferes with vital connections, and distorts and interrupts messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

When the damage affects only one nerve the neuropathy is called mononeuropathies. More commonly multiple nerves are affected. This is called polyneuropathy. Less often, two or more isolated nerves in separate areas of the body are affected. This is called mono neuritis multiplex.

Because every peripheral nerve has a highly specialized function in specific parts of the body, there are more than 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy that have been identified. With this wide array of classifications come all types of symptoms. Common symptoms include temporary numbness and tingling, prickling sensations, twitching, sensitivity to touch and muscle weakness. More debilitating symptoms are burning pains, muscle wasting, paralysis and organ and gland dysfunction.

Symptoms usually cause people to feel much less sensation than they would if nerve damage was not present, however in some cases people with peripheral neuropathy feel pain from stimuli that are normally painless. Gastrointestinal symptoms can also be linked to nerve damage. Nerves that control intestinal muscle contractions sometimes malfunction and often lead to diarrhea, constipation and incontinence.

Peripheral neuropathy can be inherited or acquired. Acquired peripheral neuropathies are caused either by systemic disease, trauma from external agents, or infections or autoimmune disorders. The most common cause of nerve damage, including peripheral neuropathy, is diabetes. Other causes are autoimmune disorders, chronic kidney disease, infections such as HIV and liver infections, low levels of vitamin B12 or other dietary issues, poor blood flow to the legs, under active thyroid gland and excessive drug and alcohol use.

Diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy can be difficult because it has so many varying symptoms and can present itself in a number of ways. To diagnose, a doctor will take a detailed history of you and your family, perform a physical exam, do blood tests, check muscular activity, measure the speed at which signals travel along nerves and might even sample a nerve under a microscope.

There are things that patients can do to prevent or treat their own nerve damage. For example, restricting alcohol use, replacing vitamins and controlling blood sugar can prevent damage and assist in its healing. Self-awareness is also crucial. Because many peripheral neuropathy patients do not feel pain the way they should, they do not take the proper precautions in their everyday life. Doing simple day-to-day tasks like wearing closed toe shoes and testing the temperature of things before grabbing them can make daily life more manageable.

No medical treatments currently exist to cure peripheral neuropathy, however there are recommended therapies that patients can participate in. Medicines can reduce pain although they will not return a loss of feeling. Physical therapy specialists can help train your body to recover, and physical exercise and exertion is helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Long term disability attorneys Burke, Harvey & Frankowski, LLC understand the importance of obtaining disability benefits for peripheral neuropathy and work diligently to aid you in collecting the required documentation and eveidence supporting your disability insurance claim and appeal. Call your healthcare provider if you think you may have any form of nerve damage. Early detection and treatment can decrease the presence of symptoms, and can ease the often difficult process of applying for LTD benefits.

Phoenix Insurance Bad Faith LettersEvery time that an insurance company denies a payment, delays communication and payment, retroactively cancels a policy, or employs any other bad faith practices, chances are that you have been subject to their unethical tactics. Submitting an insurance claim is a difficult and time consuming process that often calls for strict attention to detail and knowledge of medical jargon. Having your claim denied and appealing it, on the other hand, is a disheartening experience and requires the legal assistance of bad faith insurance attorney who has extensive experience successfully fighting the insurance companies. With the counsel of an attorney, one of the ways in which policyholders can fight back against insurance bad faith is to write a letter demanding the benefits outlined in the policy. The letter should be structured as follows:

To Whom it May Concern at “X Insurance Company”:

Please accept this letter as the claimant’s formal written demand for the available policy limits in this case; i.e., $dollar amount.

We contend that your failure to offer the available policy limits to protect your insured, is an instance of bad faith. Please be advised that we are fully prepared to present the claimant’s case in court.

The full $dollar amount policy limit will protect both your insured from a larger judgment, as well as your interests. My client will accept $ (X amount of dollars) as the full and final settlement of his/her claim.

Please inform our law firm of your response to this settlement demand within the next 30 days.


Attorney Name
Client Name


NOTE: Be sure to detail your medical history, timeline of claims and appeals and anything else relevant to your case. Be as clear and concise as possible.

Bad faith insurance demand letters are typically the first step to resolving denied claims and appeals. That is not to say that the insurance company will be willing to pay their policyholders promptly or, at all. But, writing a demand letter is one of the ways in which you and your insurance bad faith attorney can point out the glaring errors your insurance company has committed. Again, if you have been subject to the unethical practices of insurance companies and are in desperate need of compensation or benefits, get the help you deserve and contact Richard Langerman. Mr Langerman has over 25 years of experience successfully enforcing the policies in his clients insurance contracts.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Insurance Benefits AttorneyThe carpal tunnel is a narrow tunnel-like structure in the wrist that is created by the wrist (carpal) bones. When swelling places pressure on the median nerve- the one which supplies both feeling and movement, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs. Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause pain, tingling, weakness, numbness or even muscle damage. Those afflicted may feel an aching in their wrists extending from the hand to your forearm. It most commonly afflicts people from 30 to 60 years old, with women being more prone to developing it than men.

The majority of people develop carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of repetitive hand and wrist motions. Typing is the largest culprit, followed by writing, sports, tools, painting, driving and even sewing or playing musical instruments. Assembly line workers are also prone to developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel is a painful and common affliction, that can be debilitating and limit both your work and home life. Carpal tunnel is often times covered as a long term disability by employer’s coverage plans, but a large amount of these claims are denied by insurance companies each year. Many insurance companies are under the belief that a surgery will restore your hands to their optimal state and they will deny your claim if you forego the option of surgery. However surgery is not a prerequisite to receiving or qualifying for benefits.

If you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and your claim has been denied, the skilled disability benefits attorneys at Burke, Harvey & Frankowski, LLC can provide the legal assistance you need. Should the insurance company continue to deny your benefits, you are eligible to have your case presented before a federal judge in a ERISA lawsuit. A carpal tunnel syndrome LTD lawyer will be able to help provide the professional and medical resources necessary, prepare your legal documents and offer the legal knowledge needed to win these types of cases. Because there is no testimony from either side in LTD cases, the judge will only be able to see what is presented to them in your folder to base their decision. That is why it is of the utmost importance that you contact a long term disability attorney to work on your case and secure your financial future.

National Disability Insurance LawyerThe process of appealing a denied insurance claim
If you have become sick or injured and are unable to work, it may become difficult to pay bills and related expenses. The financial obligations of a long term disability can mount, allowing little room for error in applying for disability benefits from your insurance company. Often times, those who do properly apply for benefits are still denied. Unfortunately, the insurance companies have created an all too familiar routine of receiving qualified applications and wrongfully denying those requests.

Obtaining Legal Help For A Denied Insurance Claim:
With the help of an attorney who specializes in making insurance claims appeals, your chances of obtaining benefits increase exponentially. Most of the advice and assistance offered in the appeals process requires strict attention to detail and an understanding of insurance industry greed. An LTD lawyer can help you:

  • Understand why your insurance claim was denied and the methods used to measure/value your need for benefits
  • Setting legal and reasonable deadlines for completing your appeal
  • Keep track of supporting documentation, communication and additional interaction with your insurance company
  • Write an appeal letter detailing your circumstances, timeline and/or evolution of injury or disability, doctor visits and supporting information.
  • Keep tabs on the insurance company and the progress of your appeal.

After all the steps taken to ensure benefits are awarded, insurance companies are still able to deny your appeal. In any situation, you have the right to take legal action against them and have your case reviewed by a federal judge. If your initial insurance claim, or your appeal have both been denied, then strengthen your case by hiring a disability insurance lawyer who has extensive experience fighting the insurance companies and successfully obtaining benefits.

Learn more about the basics on disability insurance law from skilled LTD attorneys Burke, Harvey & Frankowski, LLC:

Ataxia is an impaired neurological condition of the body that affects the muscles. Ataxia is a symptom, not a specific disease. Areas that are affected commonly include:

• Physical coordination – various areas of the body are affected, particularly walking
• Balance – ability to undertake normal skills such as walking and stepping may be extremely difficult or impossible
• Movement abilities – ability to walk, move the limbs, extend or reach with the limbs, gesture
• Speech – dysarthria – ability to form words and speak
• Eye movements – nystagmus, or ability look from left to right, up and down, etc.
• Ability to bend down, stoop, grasp object – affects ability to pick up objects from the floor, tie shoes, etc.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Ataxia, but there are methods to manage and mildly rehabilitate those living with this condition. These methods are as follows:
Physical Therapy
Movement Therapy
Speech Therapy
Balance skills enhancement
Improvement has been shown through through chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture treatment.