Get Answers to Your Benefits Questions in Our Disability FAQ

Dealing with the process of applying for and receiving disability benefits, whether it’s through the Social Security Administration (SSA), your employer, or a private insurer, can be a challenge, and many people are left with questions about what they can do to get the help they need. At the law offices of Loyd J. Bourgeois, we understand how hard it can be to get the answers you need. That’s why we’ve put together the following list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers dealing with personal injury, disability benefits, claims, and appeals and the related law in Louisiana.

The following are some FAQs that I receive as a Louisiana attorney. They may answer some of the questions you have regarding your Social Security Disability appeal, your long-term disability insurance denial, or your personal injury claim. If you have a question that is not answered here, please call the legal team of Louisiana Disability Law, Loyd J Bourgeois at 985-240-9773.

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  • Loyd's Legal Insights: Why does pain sometimes start a few days following a car wreck?

    This is Saint Charles Parish injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois, and I am here to help you get the answer to this question and more today on Loyd’s Legal Insights...

    Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Mitchell Brien, chiropractor, at his office on Highway 90 in Luling, Louisiana. We are getting some insight from his perspective on some the frequently encountered issues he sees with his personal injury patients. I hope you join us and learn more about the chiropractic process in personal injury claims.

    Why does pain sometimes start a few days following a car wreck?

    The Insight with Dr. Brien

    One of the major factors that cause this effect is the body releases what we call endorphins. Endorphins are the body's natural painkillers. When the body releases them you are not feeling much of anything. You are trying to function throughout -- your brain is trying to function, your body is trying to function, and you really just don't feel pain. This natural painkiller is working. A lot of times it takes hours or days for those endorphins to calm down. One thing I can kind of relate that to is when people exercise - they'll go exercise and they won't be sore until two or three days later. It is the same thing after an accident. So, I utilize that example with my patients in trying to compare those two together to help them understand why they are not in pain right away.

    So there you have it - some simple truth from a proven medical leader right here in St. Charles Parish.

    Remember if you are hurt in a car crash here in St. Charles Parish, or if you are looking for a local St. Charles Parish attorney to represent you in your injury claim give me a call 985-240-9773. Injury consultations are free and we will take care of you from right here in our Luling, Louisiana office on the River Road.

  • What Will Happen to my Social Security Disability if the Government Shuts Down?

    With the government shutting down twice in under a month in early 2018, many New Orleans-area Social Security Disability claimants and recipients are wondering how a government shutdown affects them and their benefits, application, and/or hearing.

    WILL I STILL RECEIVE MY SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS IN A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?

    Social Security and Government ShutdownWhat happens to Social Security Disability during a government shutdown?

    When the government shut down in 1995 and again in 2013, all Social Security payments continued to be sent out on time. This included Social Security Disability.

    During the 1995 shutdown, which lasted about a month, the Social Security Administration mailed checks throughout the shutdown. Social Security was able to continue mailing benefits due to the fact that doesn’t need Congress to authorize funds for it each year. Instead, Social Security benefits are considered mandatory spending and are paid from the program’s trust fund, and therefore, the agency has the funds to continue paying benefits. In 1995, Social Security maintained enough employees to continue mailing checks without delay.

    Since payments are now direct deposited and/or loaded onto debit cards, Social Security continued processing payments during the 2013 shut down with fewer employees than were needed to mail benefit checks during the 1995 shutdowns.

    WHAT HAPPENS TO MY SCHEDULED SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY HEARING IN A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?

    Most likely, hearing offices will continue to hold Social Security Disability and SSI hearings if a shutdown occurs. During the 2013 government shutdown, the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) still held previously scheduled hearings, but staffing was limited to Administrative Law Judges (ALJs), medical experts, vocational experts, and security personnel. New hearings were not scheduled.  Lack of support personnel caused delays in exhibiting files and decisions were not written during the shutdown.  So, if a claimant was waiting for an already scheduled hearing, it in most cases proceeded and was decided.  But, the writing of the decision did not take place, so if benefits were granted, there was a further delay before benefits were paid since the decision was not actually formally written until the shutdown ended.

    WHAT HAPPENS TO MY SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY APPLICATION IN A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?

    During the Clinton-era shutdown, new Social Security claims were not being processed because the agency furloughed 61,415 employees. As the shutdown wore on, the agency adjusted its plan and recalled workers to start processing new claims. Whether new claims are processed at all or with a delay due to fewer workers will depend on how many employees the SSA decides to maintain and how many they decide to furlough.

    The SSA’s 2013 government shutdown contingency plan stated that new and pending Social Security applications would continue to be processed as well as requests for appeals. However, because these functions are carried out by the state Disability Determination Offices, each state will decide whether to continue these operations or stop them.  The most likely scenario is that applications will be processed but with some delay. The delay will be dependent on how many employees are retained and how long the shutdown lasts.

    The Takeaway

    Whenever a threat of a shutdown looms, I monitor the situation checking Social Security's contingency plan often.  If the government shuts down again, I will be in touch with all of my current clients to advise them on how this situation will affect them depending upon the current status of their claim.  

  • Loyd's Legal Insights: Is it possible for an injury to initially go undiagnosed after a wreck?

    This is Saint Charles Parish injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois and I am here to help you get the answer to this question and more today on Loyd’s Legal Insights...

    Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Mitchell Brien, chiropractor, at his office on Highway 90 in Luling, Louisiana. We are getting some insight from his perspective on some the frequently encountered issues he sees with his personal injury patients. I hope you join us and learn more about the chiropractic process in personal injury claims.

    Is it possible for my injury to go undiagnosed immediately after a car wreck?

    The Insight from Dr. Brien

    We are going to take them through a series of examinations to get our examination findings, but it is not uncommon for some injuries not to show up initially. You know, sometimes even a fracture initially will not show up a lot of times. So what you will see a lot of times where the patient has to go back in to get an x-ray in an area. This also happens with soft tissue injuries. They will take some time to show up. In each case, there are certain red flags we look for and there are certain things that show up right away. But, there are certain things that don't. In a general soft tissue, sprain/strain type case, a lot of times you won't see radicular or radiating symptoms down the arms or legs. So, you treat those symptoms as soft tissue sprains/strains. Then, as the weeks go by, sometimes those symptoms will start to show up. The patient will come in and say “I'm starting to really feel some numbness or tingling in my arms or legs.” We will then start evaluating and finding out - is there an underlying cause of this. That's when we will send them out for an MRI (which is a radiograph) and it shows the soft tissue. With the MRI, you will find those disc herniation disc problems. Then, you have to kind of change your course care there.

    So there you have it - some simple truth from a proven medical leader right here in St. Charles Parish.

    Remember if you are hurt in a car crash here in St. Charles Parish, or if you are looking for a local St. Charles Parish attorney to represent you in your injury claim give me a call 985-240-9773. Injury consultations are free and we will take care of you from right here in our Luling, Louisiana office on the River Road.

  • Loyd's Legal Insights: What is the relationship between pain and inflammation?

    This is Saint Charles Parish injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois and I am here to help you get the answer to this question and more today on Loyd’s Legal Insights...

    Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Mitchell Brien, chiropractor, at his office on Highway 90 in Luling, Louisiana. We are getting some insight from his perspective on some the frequently encountered issues he sees with his personal injury patients. I hope you join us and learn more about the chiropractic process in personal injury claims.

    What is the relationship between pain and inflammation?

    The Insight with Dr. Brien

    As we age we are all going to have that degenerative effect in our in our soft tissues-- the discs and whatnot that start to dehydrate. This is not a pain-producing event a lot of times. You know there are a lot of people walking around with degenerative disc but don't have pain and never realize it.  They never get treated for it because they never have pain.  Then you introduce a trauma into that area and what happens is the inflammatory response occurs. That is when the pain comes on - the inflammation creates pain, not the degeneration. So when these tissues are disrupted or are brought into a hyperflexion/hyperextension zone, there are what we call micro-tears, or little tears in those soft tissues.  This causes an inflammatory response where there is swelling and redness. Fluid develops in those in those soft tissues. This creates the pain.

    So there you have it - some simple truth from a proven medical leader right here in St. Charles Parish.

    Remember if you are hurt in a car crash here in St. Charles Parish, or if you are looking for a local St. Charles Parish attorney to represent you in your injury claim give me a call 985-240-9773. Injury consultations are free and we will take care of you from right here in our Luling, Louisiana office on the River Road.

    Dr. Mitchell Brien: What is the relationship between pain and inflammation

  • What if there is much more damage to the vehicle that caused the accident than to your own car? How can that affect your case?

    Some jurors in accident cases believe in the myth that property damage equals injury. This means that jurors likely will believe that unless your vehicle sustained substantial property damage, you were not injured. Ironically, this commonly-held belief is refuted entirely by the body of medical and scientific evidence that has been developed over years regarding accidents and injuries.

    For example, in a rear-end collision where a car “rear ends” a truck that has a trailer hitch, often most of the property damage will be on the car that rear-ended the truck. This is why it is so important in these types of cases that your attorney promptly hires an expert to examine your vehicle to collect evidence that can be used to explain to the jury why one car has much more property damage the other.

    Our firm is working on a case where there was significant property damage to the car that rear-ended our client’s truck. However, the truck has minimal property damage because the car rear-ended our client’s truck right on the trailer hitch. The trailer hitch is attached directly to the frame of the vehicle so damage was far less to the truck than to the car who struck the truck.  The fact that the at-fault car had more damage than the truck does not mean that the at-fault party doesn't owe my client for his personal injury or for the property damage to his truck.  It is important in these cases to retain an experienced River Parishes Personal Injury attorney that can retain the right experts to help prove your claim and counter the jury's bias.  If you were injured in an accident where the other car received more damage than yours, give us a call at 985-240-9773 to discuss your specific situation.  Or you can use our contact form and someone from our office will be in touch with you shortly.  

  • Loyd's Legal Insights: Should I go to the emergency room after a car accident?

    I am St. Charles Parish injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois.  I am here to help you get the answer to this question and more today on this installment of Loyd’s Legal Insights.  Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with local chiropractor Dr. Mitchell Brien at his office on Highway 90 in Luling, Louisiana.  We wanted to get some insight from his perspective on some of the frequently encountered issues he sees in his personal injury patients.  I hope you will join us as we sit down with Dr. Mitchell Brien and learn more about the chiropractic process in personal injury claims.

    Should I go to the emergency room after a wreck?

    The Insight from Dr. Brien:

    Every case is different.  If someone has severe abrasions or something, they're going to go to the ER.  For those who are not really feeling a lot of pain, in my opinion, it's always a good idea to go ahead and get it evaluated by someone who specializes in those types of injuries because some of those things don't show up for days or even a week sometimes. Some people's pain tolerance is much different so you want to make sure you get it evaluated and get those injuries at least looked at initially. There may not be any injury in there. You know some accidents don't have an injury, but it's a good idea to get a professional to look at that.

    So there you have it – some simple truth from a proven medical leader right here in Luling. Remember if you are hurt in car crash here in St. Charles Parish or if you are looking for a local St. Charles Parish attorney to represent you in your injury claim –

    Give me a call at 985-240-9773.

    Injury consultations are free.  And, we will take care of you from our Luling office – right here on the River Road.

  • Who is at fault in a rear end collision in Louisiana?

    While this appears to be a very simple, straightforward question, it often is not.

    Who is at fault in a rear-end collision in Louisiana?Let’s address the simple answer first: If you are hit from behind while driving down the road, it is usually the other driver who is at fault. But the real issue here is who was negligent in their driving. Negligence is the basis for most car accident claims, and the negligent person is responsible to compensate for any damage or injury caused by their failure to drive responsibly.

    Rear end accidents are almost always due to the rear driver tailgating, driving too fast, or driving while distracted – all cases of negligence. However, in a few circumstances, the front driver may be at fault. 

    If you were involved in a rear-end accident in Louisiana, and there is a question as to who was at fault, you may need to consult with an attorney.  Give us a call at 985-240-9773 for a free analysis of your case.

  • Loyd's Legal Insights: What is Conservative Care?

    I am St. Charles Parish injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois.  I am here to help you get the answer to this question and more today on this installment of Loyd’s Legal Insights.  Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with local chiropractor Dr. Mitchell Brien at his office on Highway 90 in Luling, Louisiana.  We wanted to get some insight from his perspective on some of the frequently encountered issues he sees in his personal injury patients.  I hope you will join us as we sit down with Dr. Mitchell Brien and learn more about the chiropractic process in personal injury claims.

    What is Conservative Care?

    The Insight from Dr. Brien:

    Conservative Care can have many different aspects. Basically, conservative care is a nonsurgical form of treatment.  It can range from chiropractic care to physical therapy to medical treatment where the medical doctor prescribes medications.  You get out of that conservative care when you get to a surgical intervention.  That's what we're trying to prevent - a surgical intervention.

    So there you have it – some simple truth from a proven medical leader right here in Luling. Remember if you are hurt in car crash here in St. Charles Parish or if you are looking for a local St. Charles Parish attorney to represent you in your injury claim –

    Give me a call at 985-240-9773.

    Injury consultations are free.  And, we will take care of you from our Luling office – right here on the River Road.

  • Do I Have to Submit an Administrative Appeal of My LTD Denial? Can I just sue now?

    Our office received a call recently from Janice – a very nice, 56-year-old accountant who was dealing with coronary artery disease (CAD), diabetes, and chronic degenerative disc disease.  Janice worked as an accountant at a large, chemical manufacturing facility for almost 25 years.  She had to stop working due to her medical conditions and filed a claim for long-term disability benefits through her employer’s benefit plan.  Unfortunately, she was denied because the insurer claimed she could continue doing her sedentary occupation.  She was really angry and did not want to deal with the insurance company any longer because she knew she would not get a fair shake.  Janice just wanted to sue them.  After a few minutes, Janice asked – Do I Have to Submit an Administrative Appeal of My LTD Denial?

    Do I have to submit an administrative appeal of my LTD Denial?The answer is yes if you received your LTD plan through a private sector employer.  LTD coverage provided this way likely falls under ERISA and according to ERISA, you must “exhaust” your administrative remedies before you can file a lawsuit. This means you must follow the terms of the insurance policy and go through each step of the appeals process directly with the insurance company. If the insurance policy states that you must file one appeal, then you may only need to file one mandatory appeal. If the insurance policy requires you to file two appeals, then you must go through two appeals before filing a lawsuit. Other insurance policies have one mandatory appeal and one “optional” appeal. The key is that you must review your policy to see what it requires.

    In other situations, you may not have to file an appeal at all before filing a lawsuit. This may be the case if you have an individual policy purchased directly from an insurance agent or broker, or if your policy is sponsored by a government or church employer directly.  Again, you should read your policy.

    Luckily for Janice, she made a smart choice and called Louisiana Disability Law so that we could evaluate her situation and guide her correctly (since she received her policy through a large, private sector employer her claim was guided by ERISA and she had to do the administrative appeal).  Your situation may be different and will be dependent on the specific facts and policy provisions of your policy. If in doubt, you should contact an experienced disability attorney to help guide you through the process.  Give our office a call at 985-240-9773

  • Loyd's Legal Insights: What is Chiropractic Care?

    I am St. Charles Parish injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois.  I am here to help you get the answer to this question and more today on our first installment of Loyd’s Legal Insights.  Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with local chiropractor Dr. Mitchell Brien at his office on Highway 90 in Luling, Louisiana.  We wanted to get some insight from his perspective on some of the frequently encountered issues he sees in his personal injury patients.  I hope you will join us as we sit down with Dr. Mitchell Brien and learn more about the chiropractic process in personal injury claims.

    What is Chiropractic Care?

    The Insight from Dr. Brien:

    We work closely with the joints, mainly neck and back, but also shoulder, hips, and knees and every other joint in the body to try and restore proper biomechanics to the body.  After these injuries, a lot of the mechanics are disrupted, and we want to make sure that those mechanics are reestablished into the body. After a car accident type injury, the muscles will a lot of times tighten.  We want to make sure that we relax those tightened muscles.  When muscles tighten, it has a domino effect, so the joint gets involved and it gets restricted. So we want to increase that range of motion back to that joint.  And that's the focus of those types of treatments is to restore that mobility back to the body that is taken away due to those types of injuries.

    So there you have it – some simple truth from a proven medical leader right here in Luling. Remember if you are hurt in car crash here in St. Charles Parish or if you are looking for a local St. Charles Parish attorney to represent you in your injury claim –

    Give me a call at 985-240-9773.

    Injury consultations are free.  And, we will take care of you from our Luling office – right here on the River Road.