Testimonials From Some of Our Clients
December 2015 Letter of Recommendation:
It is my joy and pleasure to be afforded this opportunity to give praise and accolades where it is due (specially the legal services of Bonny G. Rafel and her firm). I retained Ms. Rafel several years ago via a strong reference from a mutual colleague who was also in the disability insurance industry. This colleague cited Bonny as professional, diligent, and highly specialized & gifted in the disability industry. At the time when I retained Bonny, my disability benefits were being paid faithfully. So my motivation for hiring her and her firm was simply to maintain my current claim and to handle all communication with the insurance company so that I didn't have to. Bonny and her firm did this faithfully for many years. But as is typical with insurance companies, they seem to try and deny paying benefits even, perhaps, at the expense of truth and at the risk of violating ethics. After many years of faithful benefits being paid to me, my insurance company ceased paying me benefits without just cause. It isn't hard to imagine the stress of losing one's benefits and without question it was a very trying and challenging time for me. Bonny wasted no time in devising a plan and assured me that she and her firm would do everything humanly and legally possible to re-establish my benefits. This was of great comfort to me. This appeal process was long and trying (i.e., just about a year). But I followed her plan to the letter of the law. Shortly after submitting after all the necessary medical documentation to support my appeal, we heard back from the insurance in writing asserting they reinstated my benefits.
What a tremendous relief it was to get that news! Bonny called me within minutes after getting the news that we were victorious in the appeal. And while I had great doctors who carefully documented my medical history, which was integral in winning my appeal, Bonny's gifting afforded me her taking 1000's of pages of my medical history from many doctors and weaving it into a cogent and legible dossier. This aided the insurance company in making their decision as Bonny was able to highlight all the areas of my disability in a way that made it easy for the insurance company to understand how my medical condition specifically hindered me from being able to perform the specific duties of my occupation.
In closing, I have and will continue to recommend Bonny's services to others in need. Bonny is not just an attorney but a winsome, well-spoken, brilliant and hard-working sub-specialist in this genre of law. She's an advocate for the hurting and has become a faithful friend.
A very satisfied client Michael
Top Questions To Consider When Hiring Counsel For Your Disability Claim: Written by a client of Bonny G. Rafel, LLC for Over Six Years
As a potential client reading this, you may be prompted to ask questions as to whether or not to retain someone like Bonny. Questions like:
Q: If one's medical documentation is so strong, what then is the value of having an advocate/attorney like Bonny?
A: Disability companies at times are notorious for denying claims even when medical records and conditions clearly assert a disability. Bonny is able to assist an insurance company in seeing how one's disability limits them from doing specific duties of one's occupation. She's gifted and seasoned in her experience with dialoguing with insurance companies. The average claimant is not.
Q: Are all disability insurance companies shrewd and do whatever they can to deny benefits? Don't insurance companies objectively evaluate each case and offer benefits when they are rightfully due someone?
A: I've never done a case study on the ethics of disability insurance companies. I'm sure there are many Claim Specialists that are noble and do their job above reproach. However, there are many who aren't. Anyone could do a search of the Internet to see that there are many claims that have been overturned and won with the help of advocates like Bonny because insurance companies read medical documentation out of context both intentionally and unintentionally. This much I do know, insurance companies make money/profit by taking in premium; they lose money by paying out claims. So there seems to be a natural predisposition on the part of the insurance company to do whatever they can to not pay claims.
Q: Isn't hiring a disability advocate/attorney expensive?
A: A prospective claimant really needs to measure the potential loss of never receiving benefits vs. hiring an advocate who can exponentially heighten the chances of receiving benefits that may be legitimately due them.
Q: Wouldn't it be better hiring Bonny after being denied after an initial application was made to the insurance company?
A: Respectfully, no! I would hire Bonny before any application is made and and here's why: As a claimant, you basically have three (3) opportunities or stages to secure disability benefits:
1) Initial Application -- A fair amount of claimants are denied at this stage simply because they don't know how to document their medical situation in a way that convinces the insurance company they are rightly due benefits. You could liken this to being up to bat in a game baseball. Once you're denied (it's like Strike 1), you're left with the following two opportunities/stages.
2) The Appeal -- By law you have the right to appeal an insurance company's denial by offering more information or offering a more clear explanation of your condition and how it limits you. If you lose your appeal (it's like Strike 2), then you are left with one last resort: Litigation.
3) Litigation -- This is where you take the insurance company to court with the assistance of an attorney. This can be a long and tedious process where ultimately a judge will rule as to whether or not you met the burden of proof that you are rightly due benefits. Once this option is exhausted, there is are no more options (and it's Strike 3).
I firmly believe it is more cost effective and infinitely less stressful having someone like Bonny at the application stage of this process. The cost to retain her for the application process is incomparably more cost effective than enduring one or two rejections and then scrambling to secure benefits in a court room. As a claimant myself, you want to secure your benefits as early as possible: specifically in the application stage and Bonny is accomplished and skilled in this process.
Q: Why can't I, as the claimant, deal directly with the insurance company without the help of an advocate?
A: Well, the answer is you can. However, anytime you enter into a conversation with your insurance company on the phone, know the following is typically taking place:
- The insurance company is typically recording the conversation
- The insurance company tends to ask questions that may or may not be germane to your situation hoping to confuse you or hoping you'll say something contradictory (i.e., Almost like a prosecutor trying to trip you up). The moment you say anything to them (whether it's accurate or inadvertently inaccurate), that information is archived in the hopes that the insurance company can use that to deny paying you benefits.
This is where the talents of Bonny and her firm enter in. Bonny, given her extensive experience as an attorney in this field, knows how to sift through all tactics insurance companies use to deny benefits. She's able to communicate with the insurance companies on a level that exceeds the average claimant.
Good luck in your endeavor!
From October, 2015
To my Dear Advocates at BGR,
I could never fully describe my gratitude for your tireless efforts, on my behalf, in compelling NY Life insurance to live up to the terms of their policy--providing an accounting and refund of premiums paid by me during my disability which they were not entitled to.
At first NYL took a rather dismissive position hoping to satisfy our initial demands with a "token" refund. You were able to see this for what is was and pursued this further through appealing it further and requiring NYL to justify their initial position which you knew was wrong on its face.
You used well thought out and brilliant legal arguments in your "appeal" correspondence which forced them to reverse their prior position and to comply with the actual terms of the policy.
It was the quality of your hard work and your firm's reputation in the arena of disability advocacy along with your genuine concern for my family's well being that made the difference.
You truly are the "voice for the disabled" and that is something you all have earned the right to call yourselves.
Thank you and Best Regards,
Thank you, thank you, thank you!! My compliments go out to you and your team for the impressive amount of details gathered to present my case. I am an extremely detailed and meticulous person and I can honestly say that I was more than impressed at the presentation and summary you compiled for my case. I'm sure you have many clients but you made me feel like I was your only client based on the attention and knowledge that you had given to me. You were extremely professional, well prepared and supportive. I couldn't have asked for a better representative. Than you and congratulation on a well done job!!
Regards, Luis R.
From December, 2014
Bonny Rafel has repeatedly earned the distinction of being a Super Lawyer by her legal peers. This means that many lawyers recognize her as one of the most ethical, professional, compassionate and successful lawyers in ERISA disability law. It's a distinction that entails a vigorous screening and nomination process that lets her peers and consumers know that she is revered as one of the best. Now that I know what a "Super Lawyer" is, I would never use a lawyer without this distinction for any other legal matters.
If you are fortunate to become her client this means you are going to receive the most attentive, personalized, and winning results that you could hope for from an attorney.
I have worked with Bonny since 2012. I was a former professional in the medical field and have rarely seen in any of the professionals with whom I interacted over a 24 year career the kind of individualized and genuine personal concern that she shows her clients.
From my first meeting with her and her paralegal Eileen, she listened attentively to my situation while documenting everything in her computer during the entire 2 hour intake process. In other words, from the very outset I could see the focus, the professionalism, and her apparent expertise in this area.
She and her staff immediately respond to questions and concerns, if not in the same day then within 24 hours. This is first class service, and this is the personal care and concern that she gives all her clients. She is an amazing lawyer and person.
She has overseen several matters related to my disability and all her services have been en point, and I even know when she is in the background orchestrating things for my benefit. She is very protective of her clients and only wants the best outcomes for them so she works tirelessly to assure that she gets that for you. She expects excellence from her team and any other professionals that she may need to send you to support your case for a favorable outcome. You have no worries in her very capable hands, but since lawsuits are inherently nerve wracking she is always able to put your concerns at ease.
My outcomes have been favorable because of her hard work and that of her team. If you become her client and follow her directions you will be satisfied with the outcome, very, very satisfied.
She is a bright star in the legal universe. It would be great if professionals in every discipline under the sun were more like her!
From August, 2014
I would highly recommend Bonny Rafel to anyone in need of a disability attorney. In 2010, after 30 consecutive years working for large corporations (and paying for disability insurance), I was forced to go on permanent disability leave. Although I was able to provide specific test results clearly documenting my debilitating and worsening condition, had been approved immediately for SS disability benefits, and had the support of many doctors, my insurance company deemed me fit-to-work and abruptly terminated my benefits. This after admitting that my condition was “real” and worsening! Faced with bankruptcy and the real threat of losing my home, I had no idea who to turn to. A chance meeting with an acquaintance pointed me to Bonny. This individual had recently gone through a similar situation and had spent many thousands on a different lawyer, a local “hotshot” with a big name. She lost that case and found Bonny, who subsequently appealed the decision and won. I researched Bonny online, was impressed with what I found and made an appointment to see her.
Upon meeting Bonny I was immediately impressed. She clearly had great expertise in this arena and was able to explain things in terms I could understand. She took my case and although it took maybe 2 years to reach a settlement, I was very satisfied with what I came away with. It’s important to note that during the 2 years, I only paid her initial consult fee of $400 and then a nominal fee ($200+) during the interim for certain other practical expenses (e.g., mailings, forms). It was very obvious that she was in effect, working for free during the 2 years, as evidenced by the numerous documents she prepared and filed on my behalf (she always sent copies). In closing, it’s important to note that Bonny always kept me in the loop with things and always took the time to answer my questions (even though I asked the same ones often many times). She was always friendly and patient.
Thanks to Bonny, as I previously stated, my case turned out positive for me and I would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone I meet with a similar need.
From Mary 2012
When a person becomes disabled, they lose more than their good health. They lose the ability to participate in gainful employment, they lose their confidence and they often times lose the cognitive skills, ability to focus on details, knowledge and persistence which are so necessary to successfully apply for and to be awarded disability benefits. Of course, there is also a very specialized set of legal skills needed to complete this almost unattainable hurdle. Specialized legal skills in the complexities of disability law are possessed by very few - and Bonny Rafel, Esq. and her professional and para-professional staff are experts in this area of the law. They are professional, courteous, knowledgeable and above all, compassionate and tireless advocates for some of the most vulnerable members of society - those who through no fault of their own have been rendered unable to work for a living. Bonny and her staff are the best in the business, and will set you at ease, as they did for me, as they embark in the battle to return a most successful outcome in your attempt to receive disability benefits when you need them the most.
From Patricia, 2011
It is true that you are an advocate for the disabled. All along I felt that you had my best interests in mind at all times.
This was especially important because of my inability to participate. Thank you for working so compassionately with Paul.
From August 9, 2010
From the first time I walked into your office, I felt at home. It felt like a safe haven, where I might actually be heard, where someone could feel my pain. You kept me safe and protected and gave me hope. Those things can’t be bought, they come from one’s heart. You are truly a remarkable woman, who genuinely cares about helping others. You make a difference in this world.
I feel the system is unfair to hard working people who become helpless, but helps the people who know how to work the system. I was at a loss about what to do and you took my hand and said “we’d get there”. We did.
This settlement can’t take away my pain, but it can help ease the mounting medical bills. I was seen by the hand surgeon today and apparently I need surgery on both of my hands. This disability never ends! When I knew I couldn’t give my children Christmas this year, I prayed for a Christmas miracle. You gave me just that.
More important to me than monetary compensation, was your kindness, patience and understanding. You have no idea how much I appreciate all the time and hard work you put into this case. I can never thank you enough. I might never see you again, but I will remember you always. Please tell Lucia how grateful I am to her also and give her a hug from me.
I want to briefly relate my experience with the firm of Bonny G. Rafel, LLC.
The groundwork to prepare my case set the tone for the degree of experience, commitment to action and personal concern this firm has for its clients. I was impressed with how my initial meeting and subsequent phone calls progressed. I felt confident I made the right decision to retain this firm. The professional and courteous responses to my phone calls and emails put me at ease. I was definitely in excellent legal hands. This firm has extensive knowledge and perception as to the workings of the long process necessary to pursue a disability claim. Even so, I was shocked and stunned when Ms. Rafel called to tell me my claim had been approved. I hadn't felt that level of relief for a very long time. Without hesitation, I highly recommend this firm. It truly is "a voice for the disabled".
September 12, 2009