Case for veteran's benefits won

Case Spotlight – November 2023

Disability Law Group recently received a decision approving our client’s case for Social Security Disability (‘SSD’) benefits. He is a veteran from Troy, Michigan, currently receiving service-connected VA disability benefits, rated at 100% Permanent & Total. Due to the combination of his service-connected and non-service-connected conditions, he has been unable to work since 2009. However, like many people, he did not know that he could file for SSD benefits, and he was unsure of whether he could be eligible for VA service-connected disability benefits and also other forms of disability benefits at the same time.

He called Disability Law Group and spoke with our team, who answered all of his questions, assuring him that he can be eligible for both his service-connected VA disability benefits as well as SSD payments at the same time, without any offset between the two. However, because he waited so long to file for SSD, he would be limited as to the retroactive SSD benefits he would be entitled to under the law. Additionally, since he had not worked in roughly 15 years, he would be up against a large hurdle in the process: his work credits had expired in March of 2011. This means that in order for him to be eligible for SSD benefits at all, he would need to prove disability all the way back to that timeframe, more than a decade ago. To make matters worse, most medical facilities do not keep medical records back that far.

How a Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help

Thankfully, Disability Law Group is known for taking on tough cases, and our track record for success despite bureaucratic red tape and the hard work required to win. We filed the SSD application on behalf of our client and helped him every step of the way, alleging disability began back in August of 2009, prior to when his work credits expired. Attorney Erika Riggs, partner at Disability Law Group, represented this client and worked with our team to ensure all medical records and supportive evidence were timely obtained and submitted. We prepared his case for a hearing scheduled for October 2023.

Prior to the hearing, Mrs. Riggs prepared a legal brief, outlining her theory for this case and how the combination of her client’s health problems following his discharge from military service should result in a finding of “disability” back to 2009. She carefully summarized the key components of his case, including his deployment to Afghanistan as a reconnaissance team sergeant, sustaining numerous injuries, primarily stemming from an enemy rocket attack which threw him back 15 feet. As a result of his service, and the TBI he sustained overseas, he continues to suffer from migraine headaches, memory loss, concentration problems, sleep problems, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She pointed to the relevant evidence and medical research supporting her client’s symptoms and significant work-related limitations in support.

Ultimately, the Administrative Law Judge (‘ALJ’) agreed and issued a decision in just one week following the hearing! The decision found our client to be disabled as of August of 2009, before his work credits expired in 2011, resulting in more than $30,000.00 of past-due benefits, monthly payments, and immediate entitlement to Medicare. This decision was a major victory for this client in many ways, including the insurance he would now be entitled to that allowed him to see civilian doctors or receive private care, rather than limiting him to treatment at the VA.

Not Just Another Disability Attorney

Whether you have a physical, mental, or cognitive health condition, or a combination of health problems, you do not have to go through the process alone. At Disability Law Group, disability is all we do, and we will fight alongside you to help win every benefit deserved. Our Disability Attorneys are not only experts in the field of disability law, but we are also certified to handle veteran’s disability claims. At Disability Law Group, every client matters.

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.