February, 2013: The Difference a Skilled Attorney’s Advice can make for you.

February was a very good month for our clients, and this month's success stories focus on two individuals we've been representing on appeal that will not need to proceed to hearing given their receipt of fully favorable decisions.

Robert is a 57 year old gentleman with a stellar work history with the post office (having worked for them for 27 years prior to becoming disabled from work as a result of severe difficulties with his right, dominant shoulder). Robert has been collecting federal workers' compensation benefits in an amount close to $2500.00 per month since he went out of work as a result of a work injury in March, 2010. Unfortunately, many individuals collecting workers' compensation benefits do not realize that they may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits as well (and fail to pursue a claim in a timely fashion, thus losing entitlement to a significant amount of retroactive disability benefits). It is important to remember that one can only collect retroactive Social Security disability insurance benefits going back 1 year prior to their application (assuming they have met a 5 month waiting period). We were able to determine prior to undertaking an application on Robert's behalf that he would be entitled to receive an additional $1000.00 per month in Social Security disability benefits, and this would be retroactive to the date of his application. Unfortunately, Robert would have been entitled to collect disability benefits back to September, 2010 if he had applied by September, 2011. Robert did not apply until July, 2012 (the month he contacted our office) so he unfortunately missed out on approximately $10,000.00 in retroactive benefits given when he ultimately chose to apply.

We were able to obtain very helpful documentation from both his federal workers' compensation file as well as from his physician to prove that Robert remained disabled from performing his past relevant work and would be limited to sedentary (that is to say, primarily sit down) work as a result of his disabling conditions. Given this fact, it was determined that Robert was found disabled under Social Security's grid rules. I'm happy that Robert chose to give our office a call in the first place or he never would have known that he could be receiving an additional $1000.00 per month in Social Security disability benefits. Likewise, if Robert does ultimately settle his Federal workers' compensation claim, he stands to collect a much higher amount of Social Security disability benefits per month.

Jimmy is a 43 year old gentleman who has been suffering from pulmonary difficulties for quite some time (having to leave his work as a glass installer in 2011 as a result of his medical condition). Unfortunately, when Jimmy contacted our office in the summer of 2012 his diagnosis was less than clear. He had been hospitalized previously for his condition, but tests had not fully concluded what pulmonary condition was impacting him so severely. Jimmy had consulted with a pulmonologist on 1 occasion, but had not returned in the 10 months prior to our involvement. Consequently, I strongly advised Jimmy to return to this pulmonologist for further testing. In the meantime, Jimmy was denied on 2 occasions, requiring that we undertake both a request for reconsideration and ultimately a request for hearing. Fortunately for Jimmy, he found out that he was suffering from a condition called diaphragmatic paralysis (and his pulmonologist, now understanding the seriousness of his condition and his own inability to alleviate Jimmy's symptoms to the point where he could get a good night's rest, nonetheless go to work for an 8 hour day, was able to provide a very telling medical questionnaire addressing the severity of his condition).

Likewise fortunate for Jimmy is the fact that there is a new procedure being undertaken at the hearing level. This new process calls for certain cases to be picked up by a screening unit out of Baltimore for review to determine whether the case might be appropriate for a fully favorable decision without the need to proceed to hearing. In Jimmy's case, we were able to provide his pulmonologist's questionnaire to the screening unit out of Baltimore and they, in turn, found it appropriate to provide Jimmy with a fully favorable decision in his case. Needless to say, in at least 1 respect, Jimmy is breathing more easily as a result of the receipt of significant retroactive and ongoing benefits.

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