In August 2017, Jessica Friedman graduated cum laude from the University of Alabama Law School with a Master of Laws in Taxation. Ms. Friedman advises insurers, businesses, and individuals on planning issues related to taxation, including Corporate Tax, taxation of Partnerships, Executive Compensation, and Estate Planning.
Join us on November 3, 2017 for the 5th Annual Veterans Disability Symposium.
We are are co-sponsoring the event with UAB and the University of Alabama. The theme is The Invisible Wounds of War and the faculty are experts in psychological injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and the issues involving re-integrating veterans into the workplace. The event will be held at the Lakeshore Foundation Conference Center. Register for the Symposium here. Feel free to contact us for more information at 205-879-3033.
Social Security denied benefits to our client who has a 68 IQ and severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We believed in our client’s right to benefits, so we appealed the case to the Appeals Council, then to District Court, and then to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (one court below the U.S. Supreme Court!).
After three years, on September 14, 2017, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Judge’s decision and sent it back for another hearing to be held. We are very excited about this case for our client, who is claiming disability since 2008. We are optimistic that the case will be awarded this time. We fight for the benefits our clients have earned! Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
On August 9th, 2017, Doug Friedman will present at First Protective’s Advanced Planning Symposium, held in New Orleans. Doug’s presentation, “Sales Ideas from an Advanced Sales Attorney,” will discuss sales ideas based on cases we work on with agents.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) have partnered to create a more cost efficient, secure way to help Veterans who apply for social security disability. This initiative is anticipated to significantly speed up the disability decisions for Veterans by allowing the SSA to access medical records electronically rather than through a manual process.
The Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) program gives the VA and participating community providers access to Veterans’ health information for purposes of treatment. Now, the SSA will have access to this program for purposes of processing benefits for Veterans and their dependents.
This partnership is a step in the right direction to better assist our Veterans.
Full Article Link: http://bit.ly/2fCPBbl
Please feel free to contact our office at 1-800-728-0434 if you have any questions regarding Veterans Disability or Social Security Disability Law.
On Friday, November 4th, Friedman Law Firm, along with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Deep South Center for Occupational Health and Safety, will be hosting the Veterans Disability Symposium at the Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, AL.
To register, visit the website below. http://www.soph.uab.edu/dsc/DisabilityforVeterans_2016
A limited number of scholarships are available. For more information, please contact our office at 205-879-3033.
This event will discuss the expectations of veterans who are disabled, how to respond to those expectations, and what makes the veterans different during the treatment process. It will include a review and update on resources for veterans, including innovative research on traumatic brain injury, vet-centered return-to-work initiative, and a new centralized community website.
Our list of topics and speakers include:
- Latest Developments at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert T. Reynolds, Deputy Under Secretary for Disability Assistance, Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Back to Work Initiatives, Charles J. Sevola Jr., Vice President, Veterans Initiatives, Prudential Financial, Inc.
- Veteran Aid and Attendance, William Nolan, Esq., Nolan Elder Law and Estate Planning, LLC
- Long Term Disability Insurance, Craig Costa, Service/Sales Support, The Hartford and Michael Cleveland, Disability Risk Consulting Group
- Homeless and Veterans with Special Needs, Anne Darden Wright, Executive Director, The Firehouse Shelter
- United Way – Community Website- Consolidation of Information for Veterans Service, Lula Skowronek, LCSW, Executive Director, Priority Veteran
- Access and Helping Veterans, An Overview of Programs, Alisha Stanton, Social Work Chief, Birmingham VA Medical Center
- Appeals Process for Veterans, Cheryl Carroll, Decision Review Officer, VA Regional Office, Montgomery, AL
- Innovative, Home-based Treatment for PTSD, Barbara Swicegood Fisher, Founder of Clearview Therapeutic
- TBI Brave Initiative Project, Andrea Taylor, Research Assistant, UAB Brave Initiative Project
Professional points will be available for nursing contact hours and Social Work CEUs.
Doug Friedman Writes Open Letter to Alabama Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions About Bill Passed by House That Would Reform the VA Appeals ProcessThursday, September 22, 2016
September 21, 2016
Dear Senator Shelby,
Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5620, the VA Accountability and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016. This bill reforms the process for veterans to appeal their VA disability compensation claims.
My law office represents hundreds of veterans for their disability compensation claims, and we speak with many more about their potential cases each month. If nothing else we inform them of their rights and the proper procedures to claim their benefits. We have deep knowledge and experience about these matters and are concerned that any legislation treat the veterans fairly. We do not seek anything for them other than the benefits they deserve, and the protection of the rights they served our country to protect.
While I recognize the need for appeals reform, the reform measures endorsed by VA do not adequately protect veterans’ due process rights. So, I do not support the legislation as currently written. Here are three major concerns:
- The legislation in its current form will discourage a veteran from exercising the right to judicial review before the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Specifically, the legislation does not extend effective date relief to CAVC decisions. VA has also taken the position that a veteran cannot seek review before the CAVC of a Board of Veterans Appeals denial and simultaneously submit new evidence before VA to preserve the original effective date. If VA’s intent is fulfilled, it would force a veteran to choose between seeking review of legal error in the BVA decision or filing a supplemental claim in hope of preserving the effective date. This result is not only contrary to the veteran-friendly scheme designed by Congress, but it also potentially prevents the Court from correcting prejudicial legal errors, e.g., statutory violations and misinterpretations of law.
- The legislation does not provide for effective docket management. Specifically, a veteran who chooses to submit new evidence before BVA, but who does not want a personal hearing, will be forced to wait with those veterans who are requesting a hearing. BVA currently has a backlog of over 70,000 hearing requests and can usually accommodate only about 11,000 hearings per year. Veterans who only want to submit new evidence will be unfairly delayed.
- The legislation does not provide a realistic plan for how the more than 450,000 pending appeals will be handled in a timely and fair fashion.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to have your offices contact me. Thank you for your consideration.
Very truly yours,
Douglas I. Friedman, Friedman Law Firm, P.C.
On Monday the VA proposed a rule which, if enacted, would allow service-connection for several conditions if a vet served at Camp Lejeune from 1953-1987. The change would allow veterans, reservists, and National Guard who served at Camp Lejeune during this period to receive compensation based upon a presumption that they were exposed to contaminated water. The conditions expected to be covered include:
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Adult Leukemia
- Multiple myeloma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Aplastic Anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
If you were stationed at Camp Lejeune during this period and have one of the listed conditions, contact us at (800) 728-0434 for information about applying for benefits.
Friedman Law Firm, PC and the Deep South Center for Occupational Health and Safety will host a symposium Friday, November 6, 2015 at the Lakeshore Foundation. This symposium will discuss the expectations of veterans who are disabled, how to respond to those expectations, and what makes the veterans different during the treatment process. Individuals from the private and non-governmental sectors will discuss their approach to meeting their clients’ needs, and sharing lessons learned with our attendees. Our panels include well-respected leaders from the medical, non-profit, social issues, legal community and the Department of Veterans Affairs. There will be opportunities for questions and answers from our expert panelists and networking opportunities with those attending the symposium. This event is free and open to the public.
Visit http://www.soph.uab.edu/dsc/Veterans2015 for more information and to register for this event.
Doug Friedman and Jessica Friedman hosted a workshop at the 106th Annual International Claims Association Education Conference held in Las Vegas on September 27th through the 29th. The ICA conference is the leading educational conference in the life and health claims industry.
The workshop educated insurance and advocacy groups about how veterans claims are different and how to treat veterans during the claims process. To illustrate how veterans feel and to gain a better understanding of what veterans really need, the Friedmans showed a video interview of two of our clients.
The Friedmans also took some of the staff with them to run an exhibit booth to educate potential partners about the services that we offer and how important it is to have someone that knows the law and the claims process and can treat veterans clients with the dignity and respect they deserve.