Article Overview:   What happens when a person seeks to claim disability from the Beast of Terror's wrath?   Do the insurance companies smile or frown?    How do you fare when you open your insurance policy and seek to get a claim satisfied?   Do you get more or less than you deserve?    Here's one example of a man seeking financial  justice for battling the Beast of Terror.   The question is, will he win or lose the battle?  Find out.


Monday, February 9, 2004—Ground Zero Plus 880
The Terror Of Fighting For Disability Insurance

Cliff McKenzie

         GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Feb 9, 2004 -- Have you ever tried to read and understand an insurance policy?   If Terrorism exists in various forms, one of them is the confusion that creates Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.

My friend is Terrorized by his disability policies

         I have a close friend who is embroiled in the battle to understand his rights regarding a disability policy he purchased nearly two decades ago.    He recently wrote one of the nation's major insurance company (whom I will not name) a long letter describing his confusion over the wording of his policy.
         He has two of them, an original that offered benefits of $1,000 a month if he was incapable of performing his regular occupation, and a subsequent one that boosted those benefits another $1,900 a month.
         The original policy speaks about "concurrent" and "recurrent" benefit periods, with no reference to a break between one ailment and the onset of another.    In the second policy, issued at a later time, there is a specific absence of words "concurrent" and "recurrent," and, a demand that the policy holder be working for six months before a new claim can be made.
         Confused already?
         Imagine trying to read anything written by attorneys and understanding your rights, whatever it might be.    It gets down to "Legalize Terrorism."
         Talk about Fear, Intimidation and Complacency!   Try being a Philadelphia lawyer and figuring out what your rights are under any contract, and then facing off with a fifty-story building full of attorneys whose primary mission is to close loopholes.
          My friend is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that beset him after the Terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and didn't manifest itself, at least to him, until recently when he realized his life had been unraveled.

Prior to Nine Eleven my friend suffered from depression

         Prior to Nine Eleven he was suffering from depression, and had filed for disability through his insurance policy for that problem.    He's not a slouch.   He had once been a powerful business leader, earning in one year $300,000.  Not bad.
          Then he suffered a series of setbacks, including being infected by colon cancer, and then, his wife contracted breast cancer.
          He lost his home, filed for bankruptcy and was field audited by the Internal Revenue Service.
          He clung to his disability policy, for his insurance agent had told him the odds of him using were tenfold over life insurance.   
          He took those words to heart, and the disability policy helped him from ending up on the streets begging for alms on two occasions:  once after having cancer, and then when he suffered a debilitating depression after moving to New York City with his wife's breast cancer attack.

My friend witnessed people leaping out of the World Trade Center buildings on Nine Eleven

       My friend was well into a year of benefits under his depression diagnosis when he witnessed the World Trade Center attack at Ground Zero.   He saw the people leaping from the buildings, and the death and destruction of the worst attack on America since the War of 1812 by foreign invaders.
          He became obsessed with fighting Terrorism on that day, and set about anti-Terrorism campaigns to alert the public of the dangers of Terrorism and how to thwart it.   He worked hard each day to get people to listen to his pleas for them to prepare and defend themselves from the "Beast of Terror," and became an advocate for the "Sentinels of Vigilance,"--all those who died that fateful day of September 11, 2001.
          But his life was whirling down the toilet--at least his financial life.
          When his benefits, maximized over two years--ran out in October 2002, he was forced to cancel his health insurance which was costing him more than $1,200 a month to cover himself and his wife.   
          During that time, he continued his battle against Terrorism.   Each and every day he went to the public with his message of Vigilance, undaunted by the fact that his financial well was dry.  He begged and borrowed funds to keep his head above water, and vaingloriously sought contributions and donations for his cause, none of which appeared.
          "I believe in what I am doing--that it is the right thing to do.   And I can't stop doing it.  I can't.   I wake up in a cold sweat each morning seeing the face of the Beast of Terror leaning over my grandchildren's bed, staring into their faces, hissing at them.   I'm not going to stand by and let the Beast threaten them, or any child," he says.  "I'm not going to stop ringing the Vigilance Bell."

My friend attended all the memorials and events involving the victims of Nine Eleven

      My friend went to all the memorials and events that involved the victims of Nine Eleven.  He marched in the parades, went down into the pit when President Bush came to New York to pay homage to the victims of the attack.    He wore a black band on his arm for months.    He sent letters and emails to countless people, promoting the need to fight Terrorism with Vigilance with nothing but a blank response, no encouragement.    It was as though the world had stonewalled him.
           The nightly sweats and faces of those who died that day didn't evaporate.  He saw them constantly.   Sometimes his anger and rage bubbled to the surface and he had to constrain himself from lashing out against those he believed were trying to commercialize the tragedy, or using it as political football, or attempted to marginalize its impact on the national security of America.
          He also felt ashamed and guilty that he hadn't done more that day, that he hadn't been wounded or killed in the attack.    Even though his life had been put at stake by his presence, he didn't give that the credit he gave to those who had suffered and died.    To him, all the "victims" were the real heroes of the day, not just the fireman or police who perished.
          Unfortunate for him, he didn't attend the post Nine Eleven therapy sessions being offered to the victims and survivors of that day.   Instead, he believed that what he was doing--his daily actions to heal the wounds of Terrorism--were his therapy.
          He was also attending meetings with his psychiatrist under the "depression" diagnosis.   He didn't talk much about the events of Nine Eleven, except to explain what he was doing to fight Terrorism.   The psychiatrist was focused on his depression, not on the additional trauma of Nine Eleven.
         When his health insurance expired, so did his ability to get treatment.   He fell into never-never land.
         That didn't stop his battle with Terrorism.  He fought the Beast of Terror each day, despite the slow sinking of his financial ship.    Finally, he sat in a crumpled mass, wondering why he couldn't seem to do anything but fight Terrorism with his daily words and efforts to alert the public of its dangers.    Why couldn't he flip hamburgers to pay the rent, or give up the obsession to slay the Beast of Terror?  Why did his thoughts continue to rush back to the burning buildings, the collapse of the Trade Center, the choking of the dust, the screams of the people?    Why did he see the Beast whenever he blinked his eyes, and then felt compelled to find ways to battle it, to reduce it to a non-threat, an impotent virus rather than a lethal one?

He began seeing a psychologist at the urging of his daughter

         He went to see a psychologist at the urging of his daughter.   The psychologist agreed to meet with him pro bono.   After a few sessions, the psychologist told him he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.   My friend's obsession with battling Terrorism was a symptom of his shame and guilt over being powerless to stop the tragedy.    He had inculcated into his soul the deaths of thousands, and was trying to repair them single-handedly.   The rage and anger he held for those who were either Complacent or commercially using Nine Eleven, added to his symptoms.     His nightmares and reliving of the event over and over buried him in the blood of that day, gluing to him a shroud of desperate desires to right a horrible wrong he had witnessed.
        At the urging of the psychologist to get his financial life from sinking to the bottom, he cracked open his disability policies.   He had been told that he could not file again until six months had lapsed between one benefit period and another.   He had to "be working" for six months before a new benefit period would be considered, and, during that time, he would have to pay the premiums.
       In other words, he would have to get "well" before he got "sick" before the policy would cover him.
       But as he studied his original policy, he found that the original policy didn't have such a clause.   The second policy did.
       He was confused.   It seemed clear from the first policy that if a "concurrent" disabling event happened while covered for a previous one, the new disability would kick in following the benefit period of the previous.
       The catch, of course, was that the two must be different.
       The issue he faced, at least in his mind:  "Was the diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder different from depression?"

There seemed to be a distinct separation between PTSD and depression

       There seemed to be a distinct separation of the two.    In one case he was unable to do anything.    He felt "depressed."  In the second case, he was full of rage and anger, controlled, however, and expressed his emotions in his daily desire to "right the wrong of Nine Eleven."    He tackled the challenge with the passion of a hungry dog, furiously working each day to get the world to notice his suggestions on how to Battle the Beast.   He studied and researched and exposed his thoughts and beliefs rigorously, as though he were being paid tens of thousands of dollars for them.
        He began to believe without question he was suffering from PTSD, and wrote the major insurance company a letter seeking their "advocacy."   He wanted them to rule on his contracts, his policies, to know if PTSD would be covered as a "concurrent" or "recurrent" benefit period under the original or both agreements.
        I asked him why he was filing now, 2004, for an event that occurred in September, 2001.   "I didn't know I could," he said.   "If pick up the second policy and read its fine print, it says you have to be working for six months to file a new claim.  There's no reference to 'concurrent' or 'recurrent' in it.   It seems they torqued down the second policy rights.    But when I reread the original policy closely, the words 'concurrent' and 'recurrent' leapt out at me.    When you're drowning, you grasp at twigs.   Only the words 'concurrent' and 'recurrent' seemed clear and obvious as a rope not a twig.   If I was suffering from PTSD as a result of the World Trade Center attack, then I deserve the benefits.  I paid for them."
        He handed me the contracts (policies) to read.   It seemed obvious he was right about the original policy.   It had no provisions for "healing" before "getting sick" before the benefit period of a new disabling event applied.   But then, I'm not a lawyer paid to limit the cash exiting insurance accounts.
       "So, what are you doing now," I asked.
       "I'm waiting," my friend said.
       "What do you expect to happen?"

"Does the Beast of Terror have you in his grips?"

        His eyes flared.  "The worst, of course.   I'm expecting them to tell me I don't qualify, or that there's some loophole that disavows the claim, or my right to it."
       "You mean the Beast of Terror has you in his grips?"
       "Of course he does.   I'm a gnat on an elephant's ass.   The Beast knows I'm going down for the third, fourth, fifth time.   Why not make it hard for me to keep afloat.   Why hit a man when he's down, kick him it's easier."
        "You sound like a victim?" I said, smiling, trying to lighten the air.
        "It's reality.   But even if they come back and say 'no,' I'm not through fighting.   I don't care what their point is if they deny the right to claim PTSD, it's a legitimate claim.   I'll do what I have to appeal."

A person wrestling with the Beast of Terror has a kind of frenetic electricity about him

         My friends eyes rolled.    Persons wrestling with the Beast of Terror has an air about them, a kind of frenetic electricity that sparks wildly, as though they were standing with one foot on a trip mine, wondering how they can leap from it before it explodes and rips off their leg.  Or, a wolf caught in a trap, gnawing on his leg to escape the inevitable capture.
         I thought of the battle of my friend and all his scars.   I thought about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and how far distant that was from depression.    Here was my friend locked in a deadly battle with the Beast of Terror, almost fruitlessly flailing his arms in its grip, trying to avoid being swallowed by a creature far too large, far too powerful for even Hulk Hogan to take on.  Yet my friend was vowing to cripple the Beast, to revenge and avenge his destruction of the innocent as though he were some White Knight leading legions into battle, when in truth, he was a ragged, threadbare man with ancient bones and weak arms trying to flag a passerby to listen to his warning that they sky was falling.   There were no legions behind him, only garbage cans with his name on them, waiting for him to scour through them for cans and bottles to sell.
        I wondered what a "disability" really was.   Was the battle against the Beast of Terror a disability?    To the rest of the world, it certainly must be, for no one seems to listen to his cries in the night, or, at least doesn't recognize them as having any veracity or worthiness.
       I wondered what the insurance company was thinking about what he had sent them.   Were they going to shun him, to avoid his cry for help and subject him to the world of legal battle where his small Voice whimpered among the roars of great legal lions?   Was his interpretation of a contract just his desire to see what he wanted to see, or was it a prima facia fact, irrefutable to a judge and jury if it went that far?
      I didn't want to be in his shoes.

Feb. 8--Food Terror:  Kids, Don't Eat The Chicken Nuggets or Burgers

Some Highlighted Stories From Last Year

Dec 31 Bush's New Year's Message:  Era Of Vigilance
Dec. 30
Walking The Path Of Terror: The 839th Day

Dec 29 Terrorism's New Year's Ball
Dec 27-28
Indiscriminate Terrorism:  Mother Nature's WMD
Dec. 26
The Beast Attacks Like The Mad Cow Disease
Dec 25
Learn The Secrets Of Vigilance On Christmas Day
Dec 24
Eve Of The Youngest Sentinels Of Vigilance Part V of V
Dec 23
Parable Of The Ant & The Leaf: The Third Secret Of Vigilance
Part IV of V from the Legends Of Christmas Vigilance
Dec 22
 Part III of V:  How Rock Candy Banished Darkness From The Land Of Vigilance
Dec 21
Part II of V:  The First Secret Of Vigilance
Dec. 20
Part I of V--The Legend Of Christmas Vigilance.
Dec. 19
What Do Michael Jackson & Saddam Hussein Have In Common?
Dec. 18
Torturing Saddam In The Zoo Of Vigilance
Dec 17
Interview With Saddam In His Iraqi Rat Hole
Dec 16
New Drug Fights Teenage Beast Of Terror
Dec 15 Capturing Weapons Of Mass Destruction:  Saddam Hussein