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December, 2014: Holiday Cheer for Two of my Claimants

The holidays were very rewarding this year, certainly insofar as our ability to help two very deserving individuals with their Social Security disability claims. Andrew and Matthew’s cases are certainly good examples of how much difference having an experienced, aggressive lawyer from the very beginning can make in one’s claim.

Andrew is a fifty (50) year old gentleman who worked as a manufacturing plant manager for many years, making significant earnings in his chosen profession. Unfortunately, Andrew was involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in both a concussion and some manner of brain injury that caused him subtle cognitive and speech difficulties. As he was working at the time of the accident, Andrew was likewise receiving workers’ compensation benefits on a weekly basis. When Andrew contacted our office, one of his first concerns was whether he would be entitled to collect any additional funds given he was collecting a sizeable workers’ compensation check. We were able to determine for Andrew how his receipt of workers’ compensation benefits would be offset from any Social Security disability benefits, advising Andrew as to how much additional money we’d be able to collect for him monthly as a result of succeeding with his claim. Likewise, we were able to assist Andrew with filling out the various forms ensuring that included within the application were detailed descriptions as to how his conditions negatively impacted his ability to function on a daily basis (ensuring that additional evidence, such as his neuropsychological evaluation paperwork, was available to the Social Security Administration as part of their initial evaluation).

Because we were able to succeed in Andrew’s claim at the very initial level, he not only received his ongoing additional money at an earlier stage of the game, but also received his retroactive award of benefits sooner (and for a smaller period of time, such that he did not have to wait through an appeals process to win his claim). Consequently, Andrew paid only a very small attorney fee out of his retroactive benefits given how early on in the process we won his claim for him. I’m happy to say that the holidays for Andrew were just a bit brighter given the news that he would not need to appeal a denial of his claim (and that additional money was on its way).

Matthew is a sixty (60) year old gentleman who initially contacted us at the age of fifty-nine (59) after having been laid off from his position as an engineer the year before. He had collected unemployment benefits after being laid off the prior year. He was not clear at the time whether his layoff had anything to do with the medical conditions he was experiencing (which were in fact affecting his ability to work). Matthew was suffering from a chronic nerve disorder that was affecting his balance and his ability to walk and climb stairs. He was requiring medication infusion therapy on a monthly basis that was causing him to be drowsy, feel numbness in his feet and experience bowel difficulties for a few days each time he required an infusion. As his medical conditions were only beginning to bother him towards the end of his employment, it appeared to Matthew that his layoff may have been precipitated by his medical conditions.

At the time Matthew contacted our office, he had been out of work for a period of only five (5) months. Thus, there remained the concern that he would need to show he had remained totally disabled from all forms of gainful employment for a year or longer. As I explained to Matthew, there was a serious risk of being denied disability benefits given his recent diagnosis and initiation of treatment for his condition. We consequently advised Matthew to wait a number of months before applying so that the determination by the hearing office on his claim would be around the time period of a year after he had gone out of work. We likewise advised Matthew that there was no concern in our eyes with his continued collection of unemployment benefits given the fact that he was continuing to look for gainful employment that he would be capable of doing given the functional limitations associated with his medical condition. Matthew was agreeable to contacting us a few months down the road, at which time he did call us back and confirm that his condition remained as severe despite his ongoing treatment efforts.

Given Matthew had now remained out of work for more than 9 months, we did advise Matthew to move forward with his claim (and assisted him with the filing process). Given Matthew’s age, the physical requirements of his prior positions, past work experience and education, we were able to show through his application material that Matthew met what is called a Grid rule under the Social Security regulations such that he should be found disabled. A favorable decision fortunately came for Matthew at just the right time as his unemployment benefits had just come to an end (and Matthew had been unable to find a job that could accommodate his functional limitations in the interim). Needless to say, with the holidays coming, the favorable decision came at just the right time for Matthew and his family.