Christina Clark-Clark’s Disability Advocacy-Business Spotlight

Christina Clark is tenacious, determined, persistent, relentless, steadfast, strong-willed, stubborn and unshakable. You want her as your personal pit bull when fighting for disability benefits. She has personally experienced every aspect of disability discrimination and she is ready to fight for you.

Christina Clark started Clark?s Disability Advocacy, LLC in 2016 after being beaten, pounded, trampled and put through fire while working for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) while fighting a debilitating biotoxin exposure illness called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). She brings hope to those who have nearly given up trying to get benefits they desperately need to which they are absolutely entitled.

Menu of Services
  • VA Service Connected Disability – particularly cases at the appeals stage.
  • Social Security Disability – claims and appeals.
  • Workplace rights ? FLMA assessment, rights to reasonable accommodation.
  • Education ? Veteran access to GI benefits, accommodation for students with disability.
  • Medical ? Medicaid, Medicare appeals, FDA compassionate use program.
  • Housing and Transportation ? issues with disability-related access, disability accommodations, and home modifications.
  • Disability Retirement ? Short-term and long-term; Federal and private sector.
  • Voc Rehab Advocacy ? assisting disabled individuals maintain employment and/or return to the workforce.
  • Financial ? assistance with filing for additional state and federal benefits, debt forgiveness, YFB and ABLE accounts.

Engagement fee of $1000 for Veterans Disability and Social Security Disability plus 20% of awarded back pay for VA cases and 25% of awarded back pay for Social Security cases. The engagement fee includes a thorough review of client?s complete disability-related situation with recommendations for other services and supports that may be useful.

Disability Advocacy Package ? varies based on services and is intended to provide a very specific plan and solutions based on the client?s unique needs.

Christina?s Story

What makes Christina so good at what she does stems from a life that has always been a struggle. Life began for Christina as a child whose Purple-Heart recipient father returned from service in Vietnam as a disabled Veteran who suffered with untreated PTSD following being shot and wounded in combat.As an only child, Christina was pushed and challenged and directed to be aggressive and be the best you can be. This translated to starting school at age 4, starting college at 17 with a full ride scholarship for academics, and graduating with 2 bachelor's degrees with 2 minors in 4.5 years with honors.

Christina has bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Spanish with minors in counseling psychology and women's studies. Her graduate degree is in Psychology in Social and Cognitive Processes.She pursued doctoral studies at NYU and returned to Indiana shortly after the terrorist attacks on 9-11. She started work as a counselor at the Youth Opportunity Center with children in need of services in the emergency shelter. She noted that while the State had legal representation at the table, the children generally did not have adequate legal representation. She had the biting feeling the rights of the children were not being protected. She served as a counselor and an educator where advocacy was the central theme in her business endeavors. It was no surprise when she was accepted into law school in 2005. Christina?s law degree focus was in constitutional law and civil rights.

A Law Degree and The VA

With a law degree in hand, she was hired by the Veteran's Administration to a program utilizing new hires with a JD degree (JD-Doctor of Jurisprudence-Law degree).Employment with the VA was very appealing as I came from a family of Veterans. I myself wanted to serve but chronic health issues kept me from being eligible.

She became a star player with the VA. In short order she was the only one left of the new JD?s who hired in with her. She was a RVSR-Rating Veteran Service Representative which is the precursor to what she does now. She determined whether medical issues could be service-connected and what disability rating should apply for Veterans in their disability applications.

Assigned to the Toughest Team

During her VA employment, the Indianapolis Regional Office was the incubator for a new claims processing model that rolled out nationwide. Christina was assigned to a team that became experts in the most difficult cases such as ALS, MS, Gulf War Undiagnosed Illness, Agent Orange-related health conditions. Christina prided herself on doing meticulous, careful work, and earned the nickname ?the CUE Queen.? She found more?Clear and Unmistakable Errors (CUEs)?in the old rating decisions than anyone else in the office. This means she reversed prior denials or identified missed issues in disability decisions that had previously resulted in denied benefits for disabled Veterans and their families.

Union President

During this same time, she became the youngest Union President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 610 representing employees of the Indianapolis VA Regional Office. She kicked ass and took names while holding everyone accountable. No one was going to discriminate on her watch. Not against race, disability or against Veterans. She had the background, the knowhow and the desire. She was fair to employees, she did not play favorites, and made management abide by the contract and follow the law. Under Christina?s leadership, what was a force of one grew to a team of 10 union stewards and union membership growth that won awards at the national level.

Incapacitated

In the meantime, she became very ill with mold related illness and Lyme disease. Christina had to step up to the plate to be her own disability advocate in the workplace. She knew what the law and the contract allowed, but management denied her request for reasonable accommodation anyway. She laughs when she recalled being the person who negotiated the provisions that she was now asking for herself. These reasonable accommodations were permissible under VA policy, under the contract and under Federal law but they were denied to Christina.

Medically Retired

After years of service to the VA, the VA continued to refuse her a reasonable accommodation. She took medical retirement and sued the VA for disability discrimination. At the same time applied for Social Security Disability on her own and it was approved the first time she was eligible. She was still eligible to be an officer and member of the union even though she was no longer working for the VA due to her status as a medical retiree. She continued to serve as a steward while she was rehabilitating.

A Day In The Life

A typical day for Christina would include a medical appointment or treatment, client work including VA and SSDI claim and appeal work, managing the day-to-day of her business, and responding to prospective client inquires. She is wiped out from the day. She often needs to sleep 12 hours the next day.On day two, she is at about 40% capacity where she could do menial tasks and things that do not need a huge amount of focus, answer emails and assign work to her assistant. Day three she has far less pain and she can sit at her desk and do more detailed work. Day four she is back on her game and this is when she is laser focused and when she does her detailed analysis work. Christina is helped by her assistant, Jerilynne Knight, who also has significant disability. Christina has a deep commitment to help others with disabilities and accommodates Jerilynne as well as employs her part-time. Forty percent of the time Christina is purely miserable and not functional. The next 40% of the time she is performing marginally. Only 20% of her time is she on her game and functioning at acceptable performance.

Biotoxin Illness ? A Biochemical Stew

Christina suffered with health issues since she was 17. After over 20-plus years of inappropriate and failed medical treatment, she was finally properly diagnosed with a debilitating condition known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). Twenty-five percent of the population worldwide is genetically prone to develop CIRS if exposed to enough biotoxins. An estimated 2% of the population have genes that render them ?highly susceptible? to disabling symptoms. Christina is in that 2% category and has the ?dreaded genotype, variation 11-3-52B?. She also tested positive for Lyme Disease and several other common tick-borne bacterial co-infections, viruses and systemic fungal infections of the upper respiratory tract.People with this ?dreaded genotype? get sicker quicker than other people in the same environment and cannot get well without specific medical interventions and future biotoxin avoidance.

CIRS is not well understood by traditional medical practitioners and this condition is frequently misdiagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Depression and Anxiety, ADHD, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and PTSD. Over 30 signs and symptoms are common to CIRS to include fatigue, weakness, memory and difficulty with concentration, headaches, muscle pain. She has researched countless protocols to recover and she hopes to try the Shoemaker Protocol. The cost is $56,000 for the first three months and a total of over $203,000 for a 12-month program.

A Helping Hand

Christina is brilliant, thorough and precise. She knows the law and she knows the disability systems of both the VA and Social Security Administration. Imagine how many people she could be impacting if she could get well to the point of being able to work at the top of her game for more than 20% of the time. This is why a donation toward her medical treatment and home restoration is so necessary and would be very much appreciated. Get Christina fully recovered and there would be no stopping her. She could help more people get the benefits they have paid for and earned with their blood, sweat and tears. She could take on the case for you or a beloved relative or close friend and help make a tremendous difference in quality of life and financial security.

Donations to the medical fund for Christina Clark can be made here:

Christina Clark – Kickin’ CIRS to the Curb

Advocacy Stories

Veteran Cannot Breathe

A disabled veteran needed home oxygen due to his service-connected disability. He had been fighting since 2012; writing to his doctor, to the Chief of Staff, his Congressman all with no assistance and fewer results. He was denied portable home oxygen multiple times year after year and was a prisoner in his own apartment. He could not venture out into the community or stay connected with his family. He lacked the energy to put groceries away or to do laundry or even clean his apartment because he had such difficulty breathing. His home-use pulse oximeter measured below 90, the cutoff for needing oxygen, making him eligible. When testing was done at the VA hospital, however, the same respiratory tech gave the same test on the same machine and it always hovered above 90 and his request was denied even though he could not breathe. Christina took on his case.

Christina called for a patient advocate for her client and requested a meeting with the veteran's primary care doctor and the Chief of Staff. She questioned the Chief of Staff about the VA?s testing procedures, equipment calibration and maintenance, and inquired if the VA had ever sent a social worker or visiting nurse to his home to see if there was problem in his home environment that was contributing to his respiratory distress.Christina asked if the VA had ever had the veteran's home-use pulse oximeter calibrated, had they ever had the machine at the hospital tested and calibrated.The VA did not have answers to any of these questions. A few days later, the VA again asked him to perform the same test he has taken thousands of times before.Interestingly, he met the criteria for oxygen that time. Later that same day the VA had a nurse and social worker visit his home, and by 5 pm that same night, he had home oxygen and portable oxygen delivered.

This man is a disabled Vietnam Veteran. He has been fighting for his benefits since the Vietnam War ended. He had been unable to breathe for years. Christina reviewed his case and discovered several conditions the VA missed in his first application. He is awaiting back pay currently. He is on death?s doorstep and those benefits would have truly improved his quality of life all these years.

Social Security Disability Appeal

Often Christina is consulted after Social Security denies a disability claim. Typically, the disabled person engages a traditional law firm to file the initial disability application. When the application is denied, the traditional law firm files a reconsideration which also gets denied frequently. Such was the case with her client Sara who has a condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis. When she consulted with Christina, her overwhelming fear and anxiety was of the required hearing she would have to attend. Christina assured her that while the hearing was recommended, it was not required like her previous attorney told her. Christina explained that she could complete the necessary forms to explain to the administrative law judge the reasons Sara could not endure what it would take to attend the hearing and could ask for a decision on the record instead.

When Christina reviewed the case, she saw where the Social Security doctor said Sara?s condition was one of the worst cases he had seen. However, the claim adjudicator said that her private treatment records submitted with her claim were ?rather inconsistent?and her initial claim and request for reconsideration were denied. Upon close inspection, the inconsistencies came from a doctor's office that had converted from hard copy to electronic system and much of her medical records were cut and pasted into a complete mess of inconsistency. The traditional law firm apparently filed the claim without ever truly reading the medical records. Even on reconsideration, the same inconsistent medical records were submitted without addressing the issue of ?inconsistency.

Christina states ?My job is to gather all the material we have to work with and carefully review the reason the claim was denied and provide follow-up evidence that will address these issues. After Christina worked the case, the prior denial was overturned, and disability benefits were successfully granted without a hearing.

Social Security Work Credits

While reviewing one self-employed client?s Social Security disability denial, it was discovered that the client did not have enough work credits to get disability benefits.The client hired a professional CPA to do her business and personal taxes, but that CPA never advised the client of the negative consequences of not paying herself enough of a salary annually to earn her 4 work credits or paying self-employment taxes. Christina advises those who are self-employed to understand the tax and social security consequences of how taxes are filed, and social security work credits are derived. To get the maximum of 4 social security work credits each year, reported tax earnings of ($5,280 for 2018) must be shown annually. To be eligible for Social Security disability, generally speaking, a person must have 40 work credits with 20 of them earned in the last 10 years ending with the year a person became disabled. Christina is working with a CPA to help this client refile her amended taxes, pay self-employment taxes on previously inaccurately reported income, and have the official Social Security record amended in order to get the proper work credits.

Advocate for Voc Rehab

Christina serves as an advocate to help secure benefits with Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR). The purpose of Voc Rehab is to assist people with disabilities get employed or stay employed to the maximum level possible.Voc Rehab assists the disabled to gain skills to help keep or maintain a job. Disabilities can include Autism, physical impairment, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, PTSD, bipolar disorder, traumatic brain injury, hearing impairment and many other conditions. VR provides vocational guidance and counseling, job placement assistance and medical services to correct or modify the work environment, training and education. Website vrs.in.gov.

Financial Planning For Disability

She is pending licensure to become an agent for Your Family Bank (YFB). This is a program to help people get out of debt in nine years or less. It is a way to help clients and families get properly positioned while people are in the early stages of disability to prepare for the later stages of disability or even to qualify for Medicaid. Even without debt, it is a way to grow money in a guaranteed way through insurance. It is a vehicle to provide a disabled person a different way to think about their finances and pay for the medical care they need.

Final Arguments

Christina describes the process of prosecuting successful claims and appeals like working a thousand-piece puzzle. She takes the shoebox full of puzzle pieces provided by the client and puts it all together in a way that makes sense. She thinks of every contingency.Anyone can use a traditional attorney to file a disability claim, but what they won?t necessarily tell you is how it will impact other things in your life. When you leave my office, I want you to feel hope again and I want you to feel comfortable with the strategic plan we will put in place. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I will be the conductor and guide you on the path.

Client Testimonials

Kim M. worked with Christina at the VA and served with her as a Union representative.Christina is a fearless advocate and a force to be reckoned with. Because of her VA experience, both professionally and personally, she understands the regulations and the medical records aspects of the client and knows exactly what needs to be done. She is kind, upbeat and simply brilliant with a fierce dedication to advocacy.

Sara L. is the client referenced in the story with the debilitating condition of?Ankylosing Spondylitis.Christina took my case after a conventional law firm failed to win with my initial application and my request for reconsideration.Christina is amazing at what she does and has knowledge far beyond the law firm I found on TV. She submitted my appeal, managed to help me avoid the stress and pain of a hearing, and did a thorough and complete review of my medical records. She spotted the errors, crafted a solution, and she won a quick resolution in my favor. She is knowledgeable, an unstoppable advocate with great compassion who understands the pain of disability.

Mike C., the disabled veteran who was denied oxygen by the VA for years, says this about Christina. I thank God for Christina. She will?fight for you. She went straight to the top, called in the Chief of Staff and in short order, I had oxygen. I only wish I had met her sooner.

Angie C. is the wife of Greg C., a disabled veteran.She says, ?Because of Christina?s experience and careful attention to detail, she discovered errors the VA made that a typical attorney would never know about. I was trying to handle my husband?s case on my own with no luck.We tried taking his case to a veteran's service organization, but they said we didn?t have a valid appeal or claim. When we found Christina, we were at the end of our rope financially and emotionally. She took the weight of the world off my shoulders and gave Greg and I hope again!Despite what the other representatives had told us about the merits of his case, she took my husband?s 10% disability rating to 100% and got him back pay for seven years! She has first-hand experience to know what people are going through with PTSD and constant physical pain. She helps people get what they deserve.

Clark’s Disability Advocacy, LLC

PO Box 36666

Indianapolis, IN 46239-0666

Christina 317-400-1138 clarksdisabilityadvocacy@gmail.com

Polly 317-200-0798 polly.clarksdisabilityadvocacy@gmail.com

Fax: 317-947-6795

Facebook:?Clark’s Disability Advocacy

Medical Fund:?Christina Clark – Kickin’ CIRS to the Curb

 

 

Polly Riddell writing under the pen name of G. Polly Jordan is The Story Teller. She is a freelance journalist writing business spotlight promotional stories and positively in love with telling the God stories.