compassionate allowance

Case Spotlight – October 2023

In July 2021, Disability Law Group received a call from an individual, age 53, seeking disability benefits due to ovarian cancer and benign brain tumors. After surgery and extensive chemotherapy, she was in remission, yet still unable to work due to having surgery and radiation for the brain tumors. She was denied by Social Security at the Initial Application Level and the Reconsideration Level. We immediately filed a Request for Hearing on her behalf to have the case heard in front of an Administrative Law Judge. Our team kept in close contact with the claimant throughout the process.

Attorney Terri Weishaus quickly realized that the client’s paid medical leave from her employer and utilizing her paid time off was likely appearing as though she had continued to work full-time after applying for disability, which was the main reason for her denials. After several phone calls and a review of her banking statements, Attorney Weishaus was able to determine what pay was for work performed and what wasn’t. In addition to having significant surgeries, chemotherapy, and other severe contributing medical issues for several years, the client was currently undergoing radiation multiple times a week and had to wade through years of banking statements to support when she was not working yet still receiving pay. The case became even more complicated as the medical records provided didn’t clearly show all of her treatments that consumed the last two years of her life.

Attorney Weishaus carefully drafted a brief detailing her extensive treatment, persisting debilitating symptoms, and explaining what income was from her working as opposed to vacation pay or paid medical leave. The Administrative Law Judge agreed with our position and issued a fully favorable decision during the hearing, granting her Social Security disability benefits going back to spring 2021, which also allowed our client to receive the needed Medicare Insurance coverage.

If you or someone you know are in need of assistance for their Social Security case, please contact us today for your free consultation.

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.