Diabetic complications disable Illinois man with one malady after another
His World Was Moving in on Him By Jim Katzaman Markham, Illinois—Diabetes has ravaged Anthony Alexander. Only 53, he has been afflicted with a separated right shoulder, torn rotator cuff in the other shoulder, arthritis and complications in his back, hands and knees. All of that, according to his endocrinologist, stems from his insulindependent diabetes. Mr. Alexander lives in Markham where, up until a few years ago, his life and career were much better. From 2000 to 2009, he was a residential mortgage loan originator, eventually transferring to commercial loan origination. Then he drove for a transit company for 11 months. He had struggled with diabetes for nearly six years, but it got worse after he left the bus company in December 2009. Mr. Alexander I found out that, even if he wanted to go back to driving, it would be hard to do so while on insulin. He would have needed permission through the Federal Diabetes Exemption Program. Any hope Mr. Alexander might have had for such an exemption was dashed in February 2011. One morning he woke up with severe pain in his right shoulder after it separated during the night. He later tore the rotator cuff in his left shoulder. Carpel tunnel in his hands, bone spurs in his feet, and problems in his pelvis and spine also cropped up. All of this, his doctor told him, was due to diabetes. His physical therapist told him that his back would never recover from the damage. Doctors and friends alike urged him to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. A friend had used a company named Allsup to help attain SSDI benefits, and he referred Mr. Alexander to Allsup in February 2011. Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Mr. Alexander called the company. Allsup representatives told him that he was a prime example for disability. Company representatives also told Mr. Alexander that his application would likely be turned down, which happens with most applicants and most of their first appeals. Indeed, that happened to Mr. Alexander, yet he was prepared to stay in for the long haul with the company.
The next step in the SSDI process would be a hearing before an administrative law judge. Based on other persons’ experiences, Mr. Alexander thought it would take 18 months to three years before the hearing would occur. Unknown to him, however, Allsup representative Wendy Maple had compiled Mr. Alexander’s medical records and supporting documents and submitted them to the judge for an ontherecord review. If the judge accepted the evidence, an inperson hearing could be avoided. In October 2011, just eight months after the company accepted his case, he received the letter from Social Security announcing the judge’s ruling in his favor. His diabetic torment continues, but Mr. Alexander now has steady monthly income to help him financially. 30