Homeless veteran denied disability claim is helped by the firm.

Case Spotlight – December 2022

Disability Law Group believes that one homeless veteran is one too many! Partner Mandy Kelly is happy to announce that she recently obtained a large retroactive benefit for a homeless veteran. We hope this settlement will allow him to obtain stable housing and enjoy the holiday season.

In August of 2022, Mandy Kelly presented the Veteran’s case for service connection for adjustment disorder, left shoulder arthritis, hypertension, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) secondary to his adjustment disorder to a Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) Judge. Furthermore, Mandy was able to expedite this case because the veteran was homeless.

Generally, to establish a service connection, a claimant must show: (1) a present disability; (2) an in-service incurrence or aggravation of a disease or injury; and (3) a causal relationship between the present disability and the disease or injury incurred or aggravated during service, the so-called “nexus” requirement. 38 U.S.C. §§ 1110, 1131; 38 C.F.R. § 3.303. Establishing service connection on a secondary basis requires evidence sufficient to show (1) that a current disability exists and (2) that the current disability was either (a) proximately caused by or (b) proximately aggravated by a service-connected disability. Four months after Mandy Kelly presented her arguments at the hearing, the BVA issued a decision granting service connection for all four conditions. Mandy Kelly reviewed every page in the Veterans claims file. She found the necessary personnel records to support his conditions began in service, and his psychological disorder caused that obstructive sleep apnea. She provided strong medical literature supporting the causal relationship between OSA, depression, and PTSD. The judge was convinced and granted service connection retroactive to his filing date.

The lawyers at Disability Law Group understand how complicated this area of law can be. If you, or someone you know, suffers from adjustment disorder, PTSD, anxiety, or depression and developed obstructive sleep apnea due to your time in service, contact Disability Law Group today for your free consultation.

Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. If you were already denied or would like advice from the start, contact us today and speak with one of our attorneys to understand your rights and get the representation you need.

Author: Erika A. Riggs

Attorney Erika A. Riggs, a partner at Disability Law Group, is a renowned legal advocate and community leader. A graduate of Wayne State University Law School, Erika co-founded The 313 Project, a non-profit providing scholarships and pro-bono legal advice for at-risk youth. She actively contributes to community well-being as a board member and community activist, spearheading pro bono events and volunteer initiatives. Erika specializes in Social Security Disability and Veterans’ disability benefits. Recognized for her outstanding contributions, Erika has received accolades such as the ‘Oakland Together 40 Under 40’ Class of 2023, 2022 ABA On the Rise Top 40 Young Lawyer award, eight consecutive Avvo’s Client Choice awards, and the esteemed 2023 Rising Star award for the sixth consecutive year by Super Lawyers (extended to less than 2.5% of attorneys practicing in Michigan). Her multifaceted achievements showcase her commitment to excellence, community service, and advocacy for those in need.