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Boston, MA Office of Disability Adjudication and Review: Linda's Success Story

One of my more satisfying cases in recent times includes a very kind woman we'll call Linda whose case landed for hearing in the Boston, MA Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.  Linda was in her forties and was suffering from HIV wasting syndrome for a number of years that had been affecting her stamina and strength. She was a single individual struggling to make due with her part-time wages. She was continuing to work a job for many years assisting developmentally disabled individuals in the community. She would assist these individuals by accompanying them into the community to shop, to go to the park, the library: this was a job that over time went from 30 hours a week, down to 25 hours a week and ultimately to 20 hours a week. As her condition was affecting her more and more, she was feeling less and less able to persist at tasks. Literally, she would go to work and after a 4-5 hour day, she would go home and take a nap. She would be totally drained, even though there was very little she physically needed to do for these individuals. 

After working a number of years making less than gainful wages, she called our office in 2005 to find out whether she could make an application for Social Security disability. After analyzing her wages, I was able to determine that she was making less than substantial gainful activity for many years before contacting my office. We assisted her with the application process out of Boston, MA, and following an initial denial and a reconsideration denial, we assisted her in filing a request for hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. When we went for hearing, it was obvious from the manner in which the hearing was conducted that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) believed she could work more hours: he did not believe her complaints of fatigue were valid. Ultimately, she faced a denial from the judge and a number of issues were raised on appeal, including the fact that the ALJ failed to address whether she met a medical listing of impairment for HIV wasting syndrome. While appealing the decision, we advised Linda to file a new application while waiting for her appeals to come through. Linda was granted benefits on an ongoing basis which allowed her to quit her job (which had become too exhausting to continue with, on even a 20 hours per week basis) while she awaited a decision at the Appeals Council out of Fall Church, Virginia.  Ultimately, Linda's appeal of the judge's decision was granted and the case was returned to the same ALJ for rehearing. I am happy to say, after 5 years of representation, that the ALJ granted Linda's benefits retroactively back to 2005. I couldn't be happier for this very deserving woman: I felt very honored that she continued her trust in our office during this 5 year battle.

Needless to say, if you find yourself struggling to continue working and feel that you simply cannot manage to work on a full time basis as a result of your medical conditions, you should speak with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer to see whether Social Security disability benefits are appropriate for you.  Contact the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith at (800) 773-8622 for no cost evaluation of your individual circumstances.