When “Mary” first applied for Social Security Disability, she was suffering from severe physical impairments due to degenerative disc disease, cervical stenosis, neuropathy, chronic low back pain, and had developed an anxiety disorder. Mary provided the Office of Disability and Review (ODAR), with copious records to prove her case, went through a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and was approved for benefits — until a staff member at the Social Security Administration decided to appeal the ALJ’s decision.
“There were two problems Mary faced. One was that when she became totally disabled, she was under 50. Because of her age, the SSA questioned whether she was totally disabled,” said Kevin J. Bambury, senior attorney, Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys at Law, PLLC. “The second problem was that an accountant incorrectly stated her income as twice what she actually earned on her tax return — an amount that made her ineligible for benefits.”
Bambury worked to correct the tax issue and applied for a new hearing with an ALJ. Mary, meanwhile, had no income. For four years she floated between homelessness and living with her mother or her sister. Fortunately, she had the determination to keep moving forward with her case, and she continued treatment with her doctors so there would be new medical evidence to support her claim.
“This client struggled to live under the stress of having no money coming in and dealing with severe and numerous medical issues,” Bambury said. “We stuck with her the entire time, from the application stage through two hearings, and fortunately were finally able to work with an ALJ who pushed the new hearing through in a timely fashion — but it still took four years to resolve her claim.”
Mary’s case is a good illustration of the lengths claimants must go through for SSD benefits, particularly when they fall into a certain demographic. It shows how essential it is to enlist the expertise of an attorney who knows the SSD system from top to bottom, and who can help a client like Mary work through the process as quickly and efficiently as possible. For a free consultation on your SSD claim, contact Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC, at 1-800-343-8537.