The Various Features of a Good Disability Policy

Disability Insurance Policies in PhiladelphiaIn Philadelphia, like anywhere else, there is nothing easy about losing the ability to work and earn wages, and subsequently being forced to find financial assistance. In times of sudden injuries or detrimental illnesses, your first and foremost concern must be your own health. Nevertheless, remaining focused on your well-being does very little to help you obtain compensation for your disability. And while the first action you should take is hiring a qualified and experienced Philadelphia disability insurance lawyer, it will also help you tremendously to be familiar with a good disability policy.

What to Look for in a Good-Value Policy

There are two main policy options, and they are referred to as an “Own Occupation Policy” and an “Any Occupation Policy.” The “own occupation” policy is the superior option because it affords you coverage if you are unable to work in your average field, even though you may be able to something less demanding. For instance, say you have been working construction for over 20 years and you have recently become disabled. You are now unable to perform the intensely physical demands of your typical job, although perhaps you can still perform clerical tasks, or something less demanding. You can still receive disability benefits with an “own occupation” policy.

With the other option being an “any occupation” policy, you must be unable to perform any work duties whatsoever in order to obtain this kind of insurance. It is important to understand that benefits can be much harder to obtain under this kind of policy, but it is the far cheaper one to purchase. All in all, if you can reasonably afford an “own occupation” policy, then this is the better option to go for.

Of course, the above options are only two things to keep in mind while looking for a policy. Non-cancelable coverage is a major importance when you are shopping around, particularly for younger buyers. Non-cancelable coverage means that the carrier cannot cancel your policy or raise rates, so keep that in mind. It is also crucial to look for residual benefits to be provided as part of a good policy. Residual benefits protect you in the event you are disabled, but still able to work part-time. With residual benefits, you can be compensated for the loss of wages that come with reduced work.

Additional Features

It is equally important to look for other features in a good policy such as a guaranteed renewable option, cost of living adjustment, future increase option, and catastrophic disability benefits. The details and other intricacies to these features can feel a bit complicated, and this only further emphasizes the importance of contacting an experienced disability attorney before doing anything else. A disability lawyer can ensure you that you are getting the best policy for your dollar.

At Edelstein, Martin & Nelson, our highly qualified disability lawyers know all of the ins and outs of what makes a good policy. Although we understand that disabilities often come on unexpected, and whether you’re trying to prepare for the future or file a claim for benefits now, our experienced attorneys can help you determine your best possible options. Call 800-300-0909 or 215-731-9900 to schedule a free consultation today.


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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Filing for Benefits

CFS in PhiladelphiaEven in this day and age where we know so much about nearly everything, there are still many things about our own bodies that still seem mysterious. Medical conditions are often misdiagnosed or overlooked entirely. While these cases can lead to medical malpractice suits, sometimes doctors cannot be blamed because of the variety of misunderstandings that surround certain illnesses. One such illness is most commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) and this can become an unbearable disability.

Understanding CFS

CFS is an extremely complicated disease, and the exact source of it is still entirely unknown to modern medical science. The disease is generally characterized by extreme fatigue and utter exhaustion that cannot be explained by any other existent medical condition. Fatigue gets much worse with mental or physical exhaustion, however, rest does not help one bit. CFS is horribly unnerving for those who suffer from it, and the complications that arise are often terribly stressful as well.



Unexplained Muscle and/or Joint Pain

Swollen Lymph nodes

Loss of Concentration and Memory


Sore Throat

Severely Prolonged Periods of Exhaustion

The fact that CFS has no single test to actually confirm a diagnosis, plus the mystery surrounding its origins only adds more complications and stress onto people who are suffering from it. It is important to know if you have the aforementioned symptoms, and if you do, it is crucial that you begin seeking medical attention immediately. Obviously, you need medical attention simply for your health, but also if you are going to need any financial relief while you’re fighting this disease. CFS makes it feel utterly impossible to perform even the most mundane little daily tasks, let alone hold down employment. If you have CFS and you are in need of assistance, you are going to need a disability insurance lawyer.

Obtaining Disability Benefits for CFS

The very first thing that will be in your best interest is to consult with an experienced disability attorney to help you through the application process. This is largely because CFS can be terribly difficult to prove since doctors are currently still learning about it. You will need to be prepared with a folder full of medical evidence that supports your illness. Most often you are going to need months of medical treatments before you even begin the application. Having a highly qualified disability insurance lawyer on your side is especially crucial not only because of the rigorous proof you need to provide, but also because CFS affects concentration, and the mental stress of filing for benefits alone can do even more harm.

There is nothing easy about fighting any serious illness, and especially an illness that is difficult to prove such as a mental illness or CFS. Nevertheless, that does not mean that chronic fatigue is any simpler to handle, and working with such a disease can be a complete nightmare. At Edelstein, Martin & Nelson, we sympathize with the terrible nature of your situation, and we understand the difficult fight you are facing, pertinent to receiving benefits for your condition. Our expert attorneys know everything there is to know about filing for disability benefits with CFS. If you or a loved one are looking into obtaining disability benefits for any such disease, please call 800-300-0909 or 215-731-9900 today.


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Disability Benefits for Less Obvious Impairments

Mental Illness in PhiladelphiaThere are numerous instances where it is painfully obvious why someone needs disability insurance benefits. In Philadelphia, we see all kinds of cases, from the most severe and traumatic injuries to the less obvious debilitating nature of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. While we are certainly here to help you if you have been denied disability benefits for any reason, sometimes it is important to focus for a minute on those disabilities that might not be clear to the naked eye.

Anxiety and Depression

Of course, these are not the only forms of mental illness that may be covered by disability insurance, but they certainly are common and widespread. It might be an unfortunate sign of the state of our society, but millions of people suffer from these incapacitating mental illnesses nationwide. These disabilities are much harder to recognize, although that does not mean anything when it comes to the ability to work while suffering from such a condition.

The anguish and toll that mental illness takes on so many people are difficult enough to deal with, without being denied any help whatsoever. Many people tend to think that disabilities should only be considered a physical inability to work, but when the mind cannot be present, work cannot be performed. Mental illness creates just as much insufficiency in the workplace as physical injury, and while someone is seeking some financial assistance in order to obtain medical help, we need to be there for them. As long as a legitimate mental illness is involved, there is no reason we should deny our vulnerable citizens relief.

When Your Mental Illness Disability Claim is Denied

Regardless of good intentions, these hard-to-see disabilities are often denied. Sure, we can all understand that some people wish to take advantage of the system and manipulate their employers, but that is obviously not always true. This is why in order for a person to successfully file a claim for benefits based on a mental illness, they must prove beyond a doubt that the illness seriously impedes their ability to function.

Proving your mental disability can be terribly trying, especially since many people who suffer from these illnesses are still able to work. The problem really comes in when those who are unable to work are also unable to attend medical appointments and therefore lack the proof they need to file their claim. The biggest reason for denial is a lack of medical proof of the illness. It is highly recommended that you consult the Social Security Administration even if you have no proof. Furthermore, it is in your absolute best interest to consult an experienced disability insurance lawyer prior to anything else.

At Edelstein, Martin & Nelson, we take your disability seriously, regardless of its physical or mental nature. We realize the powerful torment that mental illnesses like depression and anxiety create, and we believe that you should never have to suffer alone. It is the right of every citizen to be accurately represented and awarded any benefits that may help them through the most difficult of times. If you or a loved one are suffering from a mental illness and especially if you have been denied benefits, please don’t hesitate to call us at 800-300-0909 or 215-731-9900 today!


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Should the Disruptive CUNY Students Be Punished?

Last week I wrote about a group of students at CUNY Law who decided to disrupt the First Amendment speech of Prof. Josh Blackman. They didn’t like the way he thinks laws and the constitution should be interpreted, so they figured if they could shout him down this would magically change the way laws and the constitution get interpreted.

It didn’t go well for the students, and they’ve been widely widely ridiculed regarding their conduct. And yeah, the talk was to be about free speech, of all things.

But Prof. Eugene Volokh of UCLA Law — also the founder and longtime editor of group law blog The Volokh Conspiracy — has this interesting thought about whether these students should be punished:

The protest, I think, shows a narrow-mindedness on the students’ part, and an unwillingness to listen to substantive argument. But the heckling, which seems like an organized attempt to keep Blackman from speaking, is something much worse — something that universities ought to punish, and that I would think many universities would indeed punish, at least in other situations.

But the question of punishment is twofold: For even if you think they should be metaphorically spanked, the question remains as to constitutes suitable punishment. A punishment must, after all, fit the crime.

So here’s my two rupees on the subject. The answer to the first question is an easy yes. An organized effort to silence a speaker is a major no-no, not just for any university students, but especially for law students. They should know better.

And the “punishment” should be compulsory participation in CUNY’s Moot Court program, which exists as a competition among students.

For those non-lawyers reading here, the usual moot court format is for a legal problem to be given and a team of students to write a brief. One student might handle an issue of whether the case is properly in this court (jurisdiction) while another might handle the substantive part (i.e. Is it constitutionally protected speech if a person does xyz?).

The Moot Court room at SUNY Buffalo, my alma mater.

But this is the kicker, and the reason it’s such a valuable teaching tool: The students argue the side that they briefed on day one, but the next day must argue the other side. And they do it before a panel of “judges” that are busy firing questions at them as if in an appellate court. It’s the closest, most realistic, experience to an actual courtroom that a student will have in law school.

The requirement of arguing both sides forces the students to look at problems in a more objective light. It may force students to make arguments that run contrary to their own feelings about how a law should be read. It will force students to look at the warts of their own arguments, as almost all arguments have warts someplace.

Without an ability to understand all sides of an issue, it’s impossible for practicing lawyers to give objective advice to their clients — and that is what we get paid to do. This forces the issue to the forefront.

The moot court competition law school was, for me, the single most valuable experience of my academic experience. It did more to turn me from a student into a lawyer than anything else.

Those students that were disruptive — and it is yelling and screaming that are disruptive, not holding signs no matter how inane they may  be  — clearly have not yet learned enough about the law if they are acting out the way they did. They are not even close to ready for their legal careers and representing people.

While it may be easy to think some other, more traditional, type of punishment should be administered, the question any laws school should ask is, “What will make them better lawyers?”

And ten years later, they will send thank you notes to the administrators that made them do it and the professors that oversaw the program.

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Did CUNY Law Just Commit Suicide?

Prof. Josh Blackman

Was it smart for a CUNY Law student to try to stop Prof. Josh Blackman from speaking by yelling “Fuck the law?” Did this student’s friends and classmates think it wise trying to shut down a speech on, of all things, free speech?

Is this what they learn at CUNY Law? That if you don’t like the arguments or positions of another you scream and yell and have a tantrum?

Does anyone think this is good training for lawyers?

What would a judge think of such lawyers? What would clients think?

Is their training so shoddy that they don’t grasp there are differences of opinion on how a law or the constitution is read? Do they understand that certain things are inherently subject to interpretation, such as “unreasonable” search and seizure or “cruel and unusual” punishments?

Is there education so deficient that they don’t understand the long-term debate between those that think (loosely) that the Constitution is a living breathing document to be interpreted with the times and those that think it shouldn’t?

Do they understand that reasonable people can disagree on interpretations without name-calling? Do they not know that liberal icon Notorious R.B.G. was great friends with liberal boogeyman Antonin Scalia? Do they not know that sometimes liberals actually fall in love with conservatives and marry?

Why are they afraid of words?  Shouldn’t people secure in their ideas welcome the opportunity to openly debate? Are they afraid that in the marketplace of ideas they are unable to sell what they have? Do they understand that when they yell and scream others assume that they can’t win a debate?

How can someone get to law school not knowing that if you disagree with what a laws says, that the law can be changed? Have any of then ever tried?

Do they think that trying to shout down Josh Blackman will somehow change the law?

Are they so foolish that they don’t understand that the First Amendment is not a liberal thing, or a conservative thing, but an American thing?

Are they so clueless they don’t grasp that if one of them was stupidly arrested for holding a stupid sign calling Josh Blackman stupid names, that it would be the same Josh Blackman defending their right to display their stupidity to the world?

Have they never heard the saying, “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it?”

Are they so daft that they fail to understand the magnitude of difference between interpreting what an existing law is, and advocating for what one hopes it should be?

More to the point, perhaps, but if these students are unable to tell the difference between interpreting the law and advocating for changes in the law, why are they in law school? What firm would ever hire them if they can’t grasp such a concept? Why would any firm trust a client to them? What client could possibly want them?

How could such lawyers, hell-bent on trying to shout down the opposition, ever argue a point of law in court? Indeed, how could they even handle a residential closing? A contract? A transaction of any kind?

And this is a public interest law school? What public interest group would want lawyers so terrified of their opponents that they feel the need to shout them down?

Have you ever met a client, lawyer or judge who felt such behavior was persuasive to make a point? Have any friends or family ever thought that shouting someone down was persuasive argument?

Which is more likely to occur, that these people will be disappointed as lawyers, or that they will be disappointing to clients?

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Two Huge Mistakes People Make When Attempting to Obtain Disability Benefits

Disability Insurance in PhiladelphiaNobody said that getting disability benefits is a quick and easy task. The truth is it can be terribly complicated and time-consuming. Before you even begin the process of attempting to receive disability benefits in Philadelphia, the wisest thing you can do is hire the most experienced Philadelphia Disability Insurance Lawyer you can find. We have a very large team of highly qualified disability lawyers who can evaluate the severity and existence of your impairment.

Applying for Philadelphia Disability Benefits

A big mistake is the lack of adequate representation. It is crucial to understand why having our lawyers on your side is so important, and a big reason is that of the initial application process. There are extremely stringent guidelines in place in order to obtain disability compensation, and first, you need to know that your application for benefits will be reviewed by hordes of legal professionals. Remember that a professional medical provider is vital to creating a viable case, and this is something a qualified attorney can ensure you have in place. And once your application is processed, the SSA will begin researching the evidence of your claim.

Our attorneys will guide you through the lengthy medical requirements process, however, after that, the SSA reviews all of the non-medical stipulations pertinent to your case before transferring the decision to Disability Determination Services (DDS). DDS officers are responsible for determining your eligibility for benefits through a lengthy evaluation of all medical and non-medical requirements.

Appealing Your Case in the Event of a Denial

If DDS have decided to deny your application for benefits, you will have multiple chances to appeal their decision. Unfortunately, the second largest mistake people make is failing to appeal or failing to appeal within the allotted time frame of 60 days. Again, this is why representation is so important since our lawyers can identify the source(s) of denial in a timely manner. It is good to know that you may have up to a total of four chances to have your case heard, but without a qualified attorney, the likelihood of receiving your benefits will be greatly diminished.

Your first appeal is called a Request for Reconsideration, and if you are still denied, you may request a Disability Hearing. At a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge will be the deciding factor in your case. Nevertheless, you may still have two more opportunities to have your case heard, and they are in the form of an Appeals Council Review and finally, a District Court Case. Regardless of how the process goes for you, you should certainly understand why legal representation is absolutely crucial to the success of your claim.

At Edelstein, Martin & Nelson, we vigorously fight for your rights to be accurately compensated for your disability, and we adamantly understand the grueling process of filing a claim for benefits. After becoming disabled, you are likely flooded with a staggering amount of concerns besides your medical condition, alone. The last thing you need is the added stress of filing a claim for benefits by yourself, and additional anguish if your application is denied. Do yourself an enormous favor, and call us at 215-731-9900 or 800-300-0909 now, to let us help you get started!


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