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Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Predators

I have a Google Alert for news articles related to bipolar depression. Just today I received an email that listed 9 “articles” referencing bipolar depression. I may from time to time choose to share the links to the more informative press releases, newspaper articles, or other web stories that Google sends me.

In today’s batch I found a quasi “news” report that was so general that it barely needs mentioning EXCEPT for the fact that the author included web links to her resources on how bipolar depression suffers can “Win Social Security Benefits without an Expensive Lawyer or Paid Representative”. Oh, yes, for a mere $47 …

Folks – please don’t be sucked in by opportunistic charlatans. I don’t care how many letters anyone may use following their signatures or whatever medical or legal expertise that they may claim – just don’t throw your money away on hopes of striking it rich in the government entitlement game. Get a real lawyer or a real licensed legal advocate. Get a referral from someone you trust – maybe your doctor?

I know how lonely and desperate someone can feel when riding the bipolar coaster. It isn’t fun. Please do not let some hack take away what little treasure and hope that you have left after your latest spending spree and drop to the bottom.

Use the Yellow Pages – ask a real friend – ask your minister – find reputable help.

And, yes, the lawyer will take a limited amount of any Social Security Disability award that you receive – but the lawyer only gets paid if he or she helps you win your original claim or its appeal. The lawyer won’t even take your case if you are likely to lose – trust her or him – lawyers do not like to waste time and money either.

And, yes, it can be a very long process. So don’t spend money that you don’t have – you may be waiting a very long time before the government decides your case. I know. After 9 months, I am still waiting for the court date for my appeal. I was denied benefits after my initial application more than 18 months ago. This time I have a lawyer and additional evidence that my neck injuries were disabling and my depression was severe. A firm diagnosis of bipolar depression following a major episode of depression, one double anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, and a highly recommended lawyer that believes I have a good case gives me some hope.

If I thought I could work, I would. I held done a job with one employer for 25 years while fighting this freaking depression. My life has been in shambles since before I retired with my meager pension. I want to work – I tried – and until I can – I need help to get by. Isn’t that why I paid into Social Security from age 18 to age 48?

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