Nursing Home Administrator Takes Charge of Her Future

This is a true story as told to Allsup.

After surviving a serious car accident, this Indiana woman felt like she was…

'Crying in the Wilderness'
By Julie Allsup

Speedway, Indiana - Determined and hard working, Barbara Boone was a natural at taking charge. Passionate and career-oriented, the 45-year-old started her long-term-care career working as an administrative coordinator and social service director for a 40-bed nursing home.

Then she jumped at an opportunity to advance her career in 1999. With the goal of obtaining her license as a nursing facility administrator, Ms. Boone enrolled in a six-week study program that would determine if she'd be eligible to continue on and become an administrator-in-training.

"On the first day of class, the instructor firmly stated the rules," Ms. Boone explained. "One of them was that you couldn't miss a single class-unless you were dead," she joked.

But what happened next was no laughing matter.

"On my way to attend my third day of class, I was taking the designated off-ramp," Ms. Boone recalled. "The next thing I knew, my car was rammed from the rear end by a large truck. He hit me so hard, that he sent me flying three cars ahead."

Caught in the whirlwind of the aftermath, Ms. Boone spoke to police. "They suggested that I go to the hospital," she said, but I refused because of the no-absence policy of the classes I was taking."

Determined to make the class, Ms. Boone called her husband so she could drive his car to the school. She arrived in excruciating pain.

"After class, I went back to work, but the nursing staff at my facility insisted I go to the hospital," Ms. Boone recalled. "I finally did. They took X-rays that showed that nothing was broken, so they sent me home with some pain medication.

"The next day," Ms. Boone continued, "I woke up and needed help getting out of bed. But, I knew what my responsibilities were, so I got dressed and headed to class. Each time I approached the site of the accident, I would cringe."

Fighting the pain, Ms. Boone managed to complete the required courses while keeping her existing position as admissions coordinator at the nursing home.

"I figured as time went on, I would gradually begin to feel better," Ms. Boone said, "but that didn't happen at all. Instead, the pain intensified. I also was having trouble remembering even the simplest things."

Confusion and major depression followed. She also was losing sleep-on a good night, she would get a full two hours of sleep.

Just when she thought she'd hit rock bottom, another disaster struck. Ms. Boone's husband had decided to leave her. "He said that it was because he couldn't stand to see me fall further into such a hole. This really sent me into a downward spiral."

In the meantime, she was preparing for the required federal test to receive the license she'd studied so long to earn. When Ms. Boone took the first test, she wondered where the questions came from because they seemed unrelated to anything she had studied. After two attempts, she was successful, but her memory was failing more frequently.

"By this time, I was being treated for my symptoms by a neurologist," Ms. Boone explained. "I was diagnosed with post-traumatic fibromyalgia. Still, I refused to give up."

By December 2005, it was apparent that her memory was deteriorating. She even had trouble remembering the names of staff members and residents. The mounting paperwork was becoming increasingly difficult to handle. Although she attempted to work through the pain, she had reached her physical and emotional limits.

"My doctor put me on medical leave," Ms. Boone said. "He said I was headed for a nervous breakdown." While still on medical leave in January 2006, her company decided to let her go.

"This was the worst thing that could've happened to me," Ms. Boone said. "What was I going to do with no income and no insurance?"

In November 2007, Ms. Boone discovered that help was available. An online search directed her to a company called Allsup, the nation's leading Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation company.

Former Social Security Administration field representative Jim Allsup founded his company in 1984. Headquartered in Belleville, Ill., Allsup's success rate is a staggering 98 percent for SSDI applicants who remain in the process until a final decision is reached.

Allsup has helped more than 120,000 people with disabilities obtain over $10.3 billion I SSDI benefits and Medicare. The Better Business Bureau gives the company an A+ rating and has presented Allsup its prized Torch Award for excellence in customer service.

"I was amazed that there was a group of people out there who were willing and able to help," Ms. Boone said. "I definitely needed it. I felt like a lost little girl, crying alone in the wilderness."

Still, Allsup prepared Ms. Boone for the strong likelihood of denial at the initial application, since two-thirds of applicants are denied on their first attempt.

As expected, Ms. Boone's case was denied. Allsup appealed the decision, and it was once again denied. At this point, Ms. Boone's case was elevated to an Allsup senior representative who prepared her case to appear before an administrative law judge who would make the final decision.

In Ms. Boone's case, Allsup was able to obtain an on-the-record decision. This occurs when an Allsup representative thoroughly prepares and presents all medical and other evidence and asks the judge to make a decision without requiring an oral hearing. On-the-record decisions allow disabled applicants to avoid the inconvenience and stress of appearing at a hearing.

In January 2009, the grueling battle ended when Ms. Boone learned that she had received a fully favorable decision.

"My situation today may not be perfect," Ms. Boone said, "but life is certainly better now that Allsup has helped me obtain my SSDI. My prayers and blessings go out to each and every person I spoke with at Allsup."

Ms. Boone has already recommended Allsup to "anyone and everyone."

"Every person I spoke with over that two years was so very kind," Ms. Boone said. "Even when I broke down in tears, they were kind and reassuring. I can't sing enough praise to all the staff at Allsup.