Chicago, Illinois – Francisco Rodriguez was prepping a hospital operating room in 2002 when he started to feel strange. Mr. Rodriguez, who worked as a hospital orderly, was in the soundproof room alone. He couldn’t think straight and knocked over some instruments.
Mr. Rodriguez stumbled out of the room and balanced himself on a gurney. In a slurred voice, he yelled that he needed help. A nurse came running and quickly assessed that he was having a stroke.
“They took my blood sugar,” said Mr. Rodriguez, who has diabetes. “They put me on a monitor and oxygen and took me down to the emergency room.”
Mr. Rodriguez has Factor V Leiden, a blood disorder that causes abnormal blood clots in his veins, which led to his stroke. Luckily, the quick response left few residual effects on Mr. Rodriguez, now 61 years old. He returned to work, but his diabetes started to rage out of control.
In 2005, Mr. Rodriguez had another stroke, but he continued working at the hospital. This time, the effects were more longstanding. Sometimes, he found it difficult to process information.
As his health continued to decline, his work began to suffer. He coped with bouts of depression. In 2008, the depression exploded, and Mr. Rodriguez began to see a psychologist. By that point, his company told him that he was calling in sick too often and was unreliable. They fired him.
“I had been there for 20 years; it made me feel real bad,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “This couldn’t be happening to me. I got on the deep side of depression. After 20 years of working at the hospital, I thought they had some respect for me. I felt inadequate and betrayed.”
Things at home became rough. With no money coming in, his wife shouldered the bills. His medications were expensive, and his wife also was having health problems. Mr. Rodriguez was moping around the house, and he lost his ambition to do anything.
Someone recommended that he apply for Illinois Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) benefits, but he was skeptical.
“It seemed like a complicated application process,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “We had talked to other people who went through the process, and they got discouraged and didn’t go through with it.”
When Mr. Rodriguez’s sister-in-law recommended Allsup, he thought it was worth a shot. Allsup is a premier provider of Social Security disability representation and Medicare plan selection services. Serving individuals with disabilities for more than 25 years, Allsup was the first nationwide, non-attorney service helping people receive their SSDI benefits. Allsup has successfully secured disability benefits for more than 190,000 deserving customers and obtained nearly $16 billion in SSDI payments and Medicare benefits.
For Mr. Rodriguez, it took almost two years and two appeals. When he reached the judicial review hearing of the process, Mr. Rodriguez and his Allsup representative went before a judge in 2010 to state his case. The judge approved Mr. Rodriguez for benefits.
“It felt like half a ton of bricks was lifted off of me,” he said.
Today, Mr. Rodriguez has his good days and his bad days. When he goes to the doctor, his glucose levels remain high. The depression doesn’t allow him to exercise the way he’d like.
“I used to like walking a lot, biking and being outside,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “I don’t have any ambition to do that anymore.”
He still sees a therapist, who helps him work though the depression. Although life remains difficult, he is grateful to Allsup for helping him receive his earned disability benefits.”They helped me get the benefits I paid for,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “They handled everything.”