Skeptic Becomes Believer
Obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance
(SSDI) can be a time-consuming and stressful
exper...
getting a job from a friend who started a wrecker company.
The steady but strenuous work continued for about a decade befo...
Founded in 1984, the Illinois-based firm has helped more than 150,000 people across the country
receive their hard-earned ...
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Allsup Makes a Believer Out of Arizona Man

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Obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be a time-consuming and stressful experience. Two out of every three applicants initially are denied. Sudden back-to-back strokes sent Bernie Wood Jr.’s world spiraling out of control. Mr. Wood wanted to apply for SSDI benefits, but was skeptical that he would receive them. Twelve years ago, when his wife suffered debilitating injuries after falling off a roof, she applied for SSDI benefits with attorney representation—and she is still waiting. Fortunately for Mr. Wood, his former employer pointed him in the right direction—Allsup. Read how Allsup helped Mr. Wood receive SSDI benefits in five months.

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Transcript of "Allsup Makes a Believer Out of Arizona Man"

  1. 1. Skeptic Becomes Believer Obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be a time-consuming and stressful experience. Two out of every three applicants initially are denied. Sudden back-to-back strokes sent Bernie Wood Jr.’s world spiraling out of control. Mr. Wood wanted to apply for SSDI benefits, but was skeptical that he would receive them. Twelve years ago, when his wife suffered debilitating injuries after falling off a roof, she applied for SSDI benefits with attorney representation—and she is still waiting. Fortunately for Mr. Wood, his former employer pointed him in the right direction—Allsup. Read how Allsup helped Mr. Wood receive SSDI benefits in five months. * This is a true story as told to Allsup. After his wife’s painful example, Bernie Wood Jr. came into the SSDI process with low expectations and little hope. Allsup Makes a Believer Out of Arizona Man By Chris Birk Mesa, Arizona—Work is all Bernie Wood Jr. ever knew. His grandparents, who grew up in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas, instilled a sense of commitment that shaped his life. He could be late for anything, his grandfather taught him, just not for work and church. Before he turned 10, young Bernie was planting seeds, tending livestock and harvesting crops on a family farm in Arizona. By his teens, he was behind the wheel of a truck, hauling supplies and moving cows on the five-acre spread. At 18, he took a full-time job as a truck driver. He started locally, but soon was hauling vegetables from central California across the U.S. He later handled freight loads and even hauled frozen chickens for a fast food giant. He eventually got married and soon had a newborn daughter to help raise, which put an end to his cross-country hauls. Mr. Wood returned home and traded in his big rig for a tow truck, Before severe disabilities forced him to quit working, Bernie Wood worked at a national auto parts store in Mesa, Ariz. Mr. Wood credits Allsup for making the SSDI process painless.
  2. 2. getting a job from a friend who started a wrecker company. The steady but strenuous work continued for about a decade before he rolled his knee getting out of the truck. The torn ligaments eventually healed, but he decided it was time to find less physically demanding work. Besides, years of driving a truck and living on the road had already started to take a toll on his health. He had endured multiple surgeries to remove basal-cell carcinomas, common forms of skin cancer that he attributed to his time in the sunny perch of a truck. He also suffered from high blood pressure. Mr. Wood found a job at a local auto repair store and worked his way up to assistant manager. He enjoyed the work, although over time he came to realize he had traded physical punishment for the stresses of middle management. “I was the assistant manager, which means I did all the manager’s work, plus my own,” said Mr. Wood, 52. “It just piled up.” The dam broke in November 2008. He was at work when he suddenly felt out of sorts. His left arm went numb. He couldn’t hear out of his left ear. His boss told him to sleep it off. Mr. .Wood called his wife on the way home to let her know he would be home early. She told him to pull over and park the car after he described his symptoms. His wife picked him up and took him to the hospital, where doctors told him he had suffered a pair of strokes, back-to-back. He was in the hospital for 15 days. As his hospital stay neared to an end, Mr. Wood prepared to return to work. His movements were a bit slower and he tired easily, but he figured he could still pull his weight at the shop. His brain specialist laughed at the suggestion. “He said, ‘No, you don’t understand, you’re done, it’s not going to get any better — you’re not going to miraculously stop limping and get your strength back,’” Mr. Wood said. “He laughed at me and said, ‘You can’t work anymore.’ ” He was stunned. His employer stepped up immediately and covered Mr. Wood on short- and then long-term disability. Sixteen months later, as his disability payments were ending, company officials told Mr. Wood that he should apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a federal insurance program overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSDI provides monthly benefits to people under full retirement age (age 65 or older) who can no longer work because of a disability. They put Mr. Wood in touch with Allsup, the nation’s leading SSDI representation company.
  3. 3. Founded in 1984, the Illinois-based firm has helped more than 150,000 people across the country receive their hard-earned Social Security disability benefits. Mr. Wood entered the process with a great deal of skepticism. A decade before, his wife suffered debilitating injuries after falling off a roof. She battled the SSA and eventually hired a national law firm. Nearly 12 years later, she’s still waiting for her SSDI benefits. That’s why he scoffed when an Allsup representative told him they would handle everything. But that’s exactly what happened. Claims experts rounded up his medical records and other pertinent documentation. His first two applications were rejected, which isn’t out of the ordinary. The SSA denies two-thirds of initial claims and 87 percent of initial appeals. But his Allsup representatives redoubled their efforts and submitted a comprehensive appeal to an administrative law judge. The judge reviewed the materials and awarded Mr. Wood SSDI benefits “on the record,” meaning there was no need for a formal hearing. Mr. Wood got the call in August 2010, just five months after Allsup took his case. Both he and his wife were shocked at the speed and simplicity. “Allsup stepped in and took the ball and they finished it,” he said. “All I had to do was sign the papers they needed signed and they handled everything else. Allsup did a wonderful job. “If my wife gets denied [again],” he added, “she’s going to go to Allsup.”

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