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What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
I was hoping for a more objective, academic, and factual body of knowledge. I am a social worker and a Social Security Advocate.The book promised a broader coverage of this subject than I normally have time to pursue. I have to give two stars instead of one because he did cover a very broad spectrum of services with great detail. I was impressed that he gave the URL address for every form or publication he recommended. He was clearly a seasoned and knowledgeable pro in this field. He came across more as jaded and condescending. I struggled to get through the first half and can't listen to any more.He seemed to have little clue that SSA can be a brutal bureaucracy for people that are less verbal, more isolated, or more emotionally sensitive.Left out of his message completely is all that needs to be said to people who are disabled by the psychiatric disorders. He obviously holds little regard for the psychological disabilities and less regard for attorneys. Though he does admit it is very unwise to hire an attorney who does not practice exclusively in this field. The author (or speaker) makes a very sarcastic declaration that if you hire a representative at the initial level you must have a mental disability because that is such a foolish decision to make! Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to know there is an emerging field of non-attorney representatives (NARs). Because he doesn't know that, he doesn't know there is a legitimate and necessary role for ADVOCACY at the initial claim level. The SSA reviewers (like the author of this book) are trained to detect overstated claims and manipulation of the system. However people with mental disorders are far more likely to overstate their functional abilities. They often just can't bear speak the words that would most honestly describe their limitations. Therefore they mis-represent themselves but in the opposite direction from the anticipated malingering. People with psych disorders also have difficulty remembering or recognizing where their best documents can be found. There is no way the SSA staff is appropriate to help people who are so disabled psychologically that they cannot work.The fact is people with mental impairments need to hire someone who can genuinely escort them through the claim process and assist them with their form completion. In the ideal world, SSA would have staff trained specifically to handle the claims of people with mental impairments. Then this author's position would have some merit. He says reps don't do anything at that stage and SSA staff will assist people for free. My God! I see the forms that the SSA staff 'helped the claimant with'. I also see times the claimant hires an attorney at the initial stage and that attorney does absolutely nothing. The attorney will say they can't make any difference at that level. I agree they should not be engaged at that stage if they do not intend to assist aggressively. A legitimate representative at this stage spends a great deal of time identifying and obtaining supportive documentation. Because there is so much misinformation and mistreatment from every corner in this field, a much more compassionate and objective book would serve the readers and this country well. There are so few books available in audio format, a precious opportunity has been missed here.
What do you think your next listen will be?
I'm still looking for an audio book that objectively explains the structure of the SSA field and the complexity of its procedures. The books produced by the Nolo group are much more balanced and consumer-friendly so I'll watch for them to publish in audio format.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
The speaker gave far more opinion than I needed to hear and many of those opinions were hostile to attorneys with no apology. There are many ways to be hurt and mis-treated in this field. This author doesn't seem to know that a great deal of that mistreatment comes from the examiners and adjudicators. More importantly his opinions are so hostile to the psychiatric population I felt compelled to write far more than I have time to spare.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
I am deeply disappointed and concerned to see an otherwise substantial book feeding into the dis-information campaign that has befallen this country in regard to the Social Security Disability system. The delivery was somewhere between harsh and dispassionate. The content was terribly consistent with the skewed interpretations of the white male right wing conservatives seeking to dismantle the entire National safety net. A bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing,
Any additional comments?
I came into this field a few years back with much of the usual suspicion toward attorneys -suspecting they have been exploiting and gouging this population.I have found instead that as a field the Social Security attorneys are unsung heroes. SSA regulates all payments very tightly and administer the payments - often very slowly. In many situations the regulations make it very hard or impossible for attorneys to be paid fairly.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful