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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 ...

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

  • Skeptic Becomes BelieverObtaining Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) can be a time-consuming and stressfulexperience. Two out of every three applicantsinitially are denied. Sudden back-to-back strokessent Bernie Wood Jr.’s world spiraling out ofcontrol. Mr. Wood wanted to apply for SSDIbenefits, but was skeptical that he would receivethem. Twelve years ago, when his wife suffereddebilitating injuries after falling off a roof, sheapplied for SSDI benefits with attorneyrepresentation—and she is still waiting. Before severe disabilities forced him to quit working,Fortunately for Mr. Wood, his former employer Bernie Wood worked at a national auto parts store inpointed him in the right direction—Allsup. Read Mesa, Ariz. Mr. Wood credits Allsup for making the SSDI process painless.how Allsup helped Mr. Wood receive SSDIbenefits 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 lowexpectations and little hope. Allsup Makes a Believer Out of Arizona Man By Chris BirkMesa, Arizona—Work is all Bernie Wood Jr. ever knew.His grandparents, who grew up in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas, instilled a sense ofcommitment that shaped his life. He could be late for anything, his grandfather taught him, justnot for work and church.Before he turned 10, young Bernie was planting seeds, tending livestock and harvesting crops ona family farm in Arizona. By his teens, he was behind the wheel of a truck, hauling supplies andmoving cows on the five-acre spread.At 18, he took a full-time job as a truck driver. He started locally, but soon was haulingvegetables from central California across the U.S. He later handled freight loads and even hauledfrozen chickens for a fast food giant.He eventually got married and soon had a newborn daughter to help raise, which put an end tohis cross-country hauls. Mr. Wood returned home and traded in his big rig for a tow truck,
  • 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 outof the truck. The torn ligaments eventually healed, but he decided it was time to find lessphysically demanding work.Besides, years of driving a truck and living on the road had already started to take a toll on hishealth. He had endured multiple surgeries to remove basal-cell carcinomas, common forms ofskin cancer that he attributed to his time in the sunny perch of a truck. He also suffered from highblood 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 punishmentfor 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 hewould 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 apair 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 werea 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 notgoing to miraculously stop limping and get your strength back,’” Mr. Wood said. “He laughed atme and said, ‘You can’t work anymore.’ ”He was stunned.His employer stepped up immediately and covered Mr. Wood on short- and then long-termdisability. Sixteen months later, as his disability payments were ending, company officials toldMr. Wood that he should apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a federalinsurance program overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSDI providesmonthly benefits to people under full retirement age (age 65 or older) who can no longer workbecause of a disability.They put Mr. Wood in touch with Allsup, the nation’s leading SSDI representation company.
  • Founded in 1984, the Illinois-based firm has helped more than 150,000 people across the countryreceive their hard-earned Social Security disability benefits.Mr. Wood entered the process with a great deal of skepticism. A decade before, his wife suffereddebilitating injuries after falling off a roof. She battled the SSA and eventually hired a nationallaw 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 twoapplications were rejected, which isn’t out of the ordinary. The SSA denies two-thirds of initialclaims and 87 percent of initial appeals.But his Allsup representatives redoubled their efforts and submitted a comprehensive appeal toan administrative law judge. The judge reviewed the materials and awarded Mr. Wood SSDIbenefits “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 andhis 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 thepapers 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.”