young woman with traumatic brain injury

Case Spotlight – February 2024

Empowering Recovery: A Tale of Triumph in Disability Advocacy

Disability Law Group recently received a decision approving our client’s case for Social Security Disability (‘SSD’) benefits. She is a young woman from Roseville, Michigan, who was involved in a terrible work accident in 2015. For nearly ten years, she struggled with the aftermath of her traumatic brain injury she sustained at work, and was getting no help or benefits from Workers’ Compensation nor Social Security Disability despite trying to apply on her own. Her symptoms included severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, balance issues, neck pain, eye strain, difficulty with word-finding and concentration, memory loss, anxiety, and more.

Traumatic head and brain injuries can be difficult to diagnose and treat, and typically involve many different tests and the collaboration of various specialists. As a result, insurance is critical to help cover testing and treatment, as well as financial and family support to help in the process. She underwent countless neurocognitive, neuro-visual, and other forms of testing to help properly diagnose her conditions stemming from her traumatic brain injury. Despite her serious symptoms lasting for many years, without much relief, she continued to receive a denial for any benefits and financial support, and began to feel helpless and hopeless.

In 2022, she was told by her mental health therapist that she should contact Disability Law Group for help with Social Security Disability benefits. Upon contacting our office, she was met with empathy and support. We got to work right away, helping with all documents, obtaining all medical records, preparing and filing the appeal, and guiding her at each step of the way. Attorney Erika Riggs, a partner at Disability Law Group, represented this client and prepared her for her disability hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (‘ALJ’) in November of 2023.

Prior to the hearing, Ms. Riggs prepared a legal brief, outlining her theory for this case, and how the combination of her client’s health problems since her traumatic brain injury in 2015 would preclude her ability to perform not only her past work, but any other work that exists in the national economy. She carefully summarized the key components of her case, including how her chronic and severe pain, mental and cognitive decline, issues with balance and memory, among others, would preclude her ability to be present at work and maintain the level of concentration and focus required of even unskilled work on a sustained basis since 2015 and through the present. The ALJ agreed and, one month later, we received a decision that read: Fully Favorable!contac

The decision found our client to have been disabled as of November 2015, the date of her traumatic brain injury, and before her work credits expired in 2020, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in back-pay benefits and immediate entitlement to Medicare. This decision was a major victory for this client in many ways, including the insurance she would now be entitled to that provided greater coverage for her treatment to help her on her road to recovery. Not only does she have peace of mind in knowing that she is now financially able to obtain the care she needs and deserves, but she described feeling finally heard as if a heavy weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

Whether you’re dealing with a physical, mental, or cognitive health condition, or a combination thereof, 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 care about each and every client, and putting them in the best position to be awarded benefits. At Disability Law Group, every client matters.

mother comforting son

Case Spotlight – January 2024

In September 2021, Attorney Randall Mansour spoke to the mother whose son was fighting for Social Security Income (SSI) benefits since June 2017. The claimant, despite being of younger age, was unable to keep jobs for very long due to his mental health conditions and associated symptoms. After hearing her story, it was apparent that her son desperately needed our help but it would be a difficult case to prove disability, as his previous attorney suddenly dropped the case before a remand hearing could be held. In fact, he told the client he did not think there was enough evidence to prove disability.

While developing the case, we specifically requested a Medical Expert be present at this hearing, in hopes that it would increase his chances of getting approved. In this particular case, the treatment notes were massive and encompassed thousands of pages of medical evidence! After a lengthy hearing with the Medical Expert present we were able to obtain a favorable decision for the client. The judge agreed with the medical records on file, our arguments, the testimony from the client and the medical expert’s testimony. Additionally, the Vocational Expert at the hearing testified there were only two jobs the claimant was capable of performing, however attorney Mansour argued the jobs were not feasible, as the numbers were eroded and would not be considered relevant. The Administrative Law Judge agreed and benefits were awarded back to 2017.

If you or someone you know are suffering from any physical impairments or mental health, contact us 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. We will work with you, and alongside your doctors, to ensure all evidence needed is received. You can rely on our team at Disability Law Group from start to finish to provide you with the expert advice and compassionate representation and the benefits you deserve.

 

Veteran who suffers from anxiety.

Triumph for Justice: WWII Veteran’s 4-Year Retroactive Benefits Victory

In a recent triumph for justice, Disability Law Group proudly shines a spotlight on Partner Mandy Kelly’s extraordinary success in securing four years of retroactive benefits for a 96-year-old World War II veteran. This heartwarming victory unveils the challenges faced by veterans of that era, particularly the obstacles encountered in obtaining their rightful benefits.

The Case:

The 96-year-old World War II veteran, despite demonstrating valor in his service, encountered difficulties accessing the benefits rightfully owed to him. Veterans from this generation often faced challenges in seeking treatment, resulting in undiagnosed conditions later used against them in benefit claims.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) emerged as a significant factor in this case. Many WWII veterans, lacking proper treatment or diagnosis, found themselves without the necessary evidence to support benefit claims. The VA had denied the veteran’s PTSD claim, citing a lack of medical documentation—a consequence of the veteran’s struggle to access treatment during a time of limited mental health awareness.

Our Attorney’s Dedication:

Partner Mandy Kelly, a fervent advocate for veterans’ rights, accepted the challenge. Recognizing the unjust denial, she went above and beyond to assist the veteran in obtaining a private medical evaluation. This evaluation contradicted the VA’s stance, providing crucial evidence of the veteran’s PTSD that had gone unrecognized for decades.

The Victory:

Mandy Kelly’s unwavering commitment to justice paid off, as Disability Law Group successfully secured four years of retroactive benefits for the 96-year-old veteran. This victory not only acknowledges the veteran’s sacrifices but also establishes a precedent for challenging systemic barriers faced by many World War II veterans in their pursuit of rightful benefits.

Not Just Another Veterans Attorney:

Disability Law Group remains steadfast in advocating for veterans’ rights and individuals facing disability challenges. If you or a loved one struggles to obtain the benefits deserved, do not hesitate to reach out. Our experienced team is here to fight for you. Contact Disability Law Group today at 800-838-1100, and let us be the voice that ensures justice prevails. We are committed to making a difference in the lives of those who have served our country with honor and valor.

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.

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.

Disability Law Group Sep Case Spotlight

Case Spotlight – September 2023

This veteran sought help from Disability Law Group after receiving a denial in January 2020 for the service connection of both knees. His military journey began in December 1963 when he was drafted into the Army. Before the tragic assassination of President Kennedy, he had been rejected by the draft board due to a right-knee condition. However, following the assassination, the Army reconsidered and enlisted him as a truck driver, a role that required frequent climbing in and out of the truck cab and bed during loading and unloading.

While he experienced some knee pain before being drafted, it significantly worsened during his service. The pain increased, causing instability, and he resorted to wearing an ace bandage. His limp became the subject of jokes among fellow service members, and the knee pain and limping persisted. Eventually, he started experiencing pain in his left knee, leading to surgeries on both knees.

In 2019, he filed a claim for service connection of bilateral knee conditions, which the VA denied with minimal investigation. Over the next year, finding legal assistance became a challenge due to office closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. It wasn’t until February 2022 that he reached out to Disability Law Group.

Our attorney, Jason Pearson, deeply knowledgeable about the latest VA regulations, began working on the veteran’s case. It was during this process that Jason initiated a Higher-Level Review of the 2020 denial, seeking understanding for the delayed filing due to pandemic-related disruptions. The VA responded by granting the request and arranging an informal conference. In this conference, Jason advocated that the evidence strongly supported a service connection due to the aggravation of a preexisting injury. The VA Decision Review Officer concurred, recognizing a Duty to Assist Error and subsequently ordering a new VA examination.

The veteran attended the VA examination, where the examiner submitted a medical opinion suggesting that the knee conditions were less likely than not caused or aggravated by military service. Consequently, the VA issued another Rating Decision, denying the veteran’s claims.

Upon reviewing the evidence in the case, attorney Jason Pearson identified the missing evidence, devised a plan to obtain it, and filed a Supplemental Claim with the new information. The VA then ordered a new medical examination, during which the examiner agreed that the right knee was aggravated by service, and the left-knee condition was caused as a secondary effect of the right knee. As a result, the VA granted a 30% rating for the right knee, 20% for the left knee, and 10% for each of the two painful surgical scars on the knees.

However, the VA assigned an effective date for these claims of February 25, 2022 – the date of the Higher-Level Review filing. We filed another Higher-Level Review, requesting an earlier effective date back to the initial claim filing date of December 12, 2019. In a subsequent conference with the VA, Jason argued that the earlier effective date should be granted due to the continuous pursuit of the claim since its initial filing.

In August 2023, the VA issued a decision agreeing with Jason’s arguments and granting the earlier effective date, retroactively to December 2019. This date holds significant importance, particularly because one of the veteran’s knee replacements occurred a few months after he filed the initial claim. Consequently, the earlier effective date also provided back pay related to the temporary 100% disability rating that comes with a knee replacement, resulting in additional compensation for this veteran.

If your VA disability claims have been denied, don’t lose hope! This veteran is grateful for persevering. If you have questions about VA disability appeals, please contact us today.

Social Security Disability form

Case Spotlight – August 2023

In May 2021, Disability Law Group received a call from an individual, age 55, seeking disability benefits due to atrial fibrillation. He had a long work history as a siding installer/ contractor, but due to the severity of his conditions, he could no longer perform this work. He was denied by Social Security at the Initial Application Level and Reconsideration Level, and so, we immediately filed a Request for Hearing on his behalf to have his case heard in front of an Administrate Law Judge. Attorney Farrah Abona took over his case and began obtaining all relevant and necessary information needed for the Administrative Law Judge to make an informed and speedy decision. We obtained the relevant medical records which showed his frequent atrial fibrillation episodes, along with the shortness of breath and fatigue he was experiencing on a regular basis.

Our team also kept close contact with the client and determined a Medical Source Statement from a cardiologist would help support his disability case. The client’s cardiologist completed the Medical Source Statement and indicated that his patient suffers from chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, imbalance, and anginal pain at rest and with exertion. With the client being over 50 years old and having performed past work that included standing, walking and lifting, we made the argument that he could not perform the demands of his past work and would be physically incapable of performing other full-time work at the light-level or above.

Attorney Farrah Abona carefully drafted a brief detailing the atrial fibrillation episodes, the failed conservative and surgical treatments, the frequency of his symptoms, and his excellent work history as a siding installer/ contractor which he had to forgo due to the severity of his condition. The Administrative Law Judge agreed with our position and issued a Fully Favorable Decision granting the client social security disability benefits going back to 2021, which also allowed our client entitlement to Medicare Insurance.

Our attorneys and staff specialize in disability benefits and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. We provide free consultations to better understand your case and provide you knowledge as to your rights and the benefits you may be entitled to. Whether you have a severe cardiac condition or other conditions, or combination of impairments, we can help you understand your options and win the benefits you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation.

military hate on an american flag

Case Spotlight – July 2023

Attorney Bridget Drop helped a client obtain a 100% permanent and total rating for Meniere’s syndrome. The client came to Disability Law Group after the VA denied his claim for an increase in his Meniere’s syndrome that was rated at 30%. The client experienced frequent vertigo episodes and cerebellar gait due to his Meniere’s that interfered with his work and daily activities.

According to the VA Ratings Schedule, the evaluation of Meniere’s syndrome ranges from 30%, 60% and 100%. A 30% rating for Meniere’s requires hearing impairment with vertigo less than once a month, with or without tinnitus. A 60% evaluation requires hearing impairment with attacks of vertigo and cerebellar gait occurring from one to four times a month, with or without tinnitus, and a 100% rating for Meniere’s requires hearing impairment with attacks of vertigo and cerebellar gait occurring more than once weekly, with or without tinnitus.

After thoroughly reviewing his VA file, Attorney Drop found that the C&P exam for Meniere’s syndrome documented that the client met the criteria for the 100% rating based on his severe symptoms, but the rating decision continued the 30% rating. After filing a Higher Level Review appeal, Attorney Drop explained the mistakes in the previous rating decision and explained the supportive evidence of the medical records and statements from the veteran to the decision review officer at the informal conference. After the informal conference, the VA found a duty to assist error. This means the VA did not make a reasonable effort in their obligation to help the veterans develop their claims.

While the VA worked to further develop the claim, Attorney Drop gathered additional supportive evidence to submit, including a calendar from the client documenting episodes of vertigo that occurred multiple times per week and lay statements from the client’s friends and family that described the symptoms they witnessed the veteran suffer from due to his service connected Meniere’s syndrome. The VA agreed with the supportive medical records and lay statements and granted the client’s claim for increase and gave an evaluation of 100% for his service connected Meniere’s syndrome.

Whether you have a physical or mental health condition, or a combination of health problems, you do not have to go at the process alone. At Disability Law Group, disability is all we do, and we will fight alongside our clients to help them win every penny that they deserve. Our Disability Attorneys are not only experts in the field of disability law, but we are certified to handle veterans disability claims. We are a team made-up of veterans, and we care about every client and every case. Contact us today for your free consultation.

Social Security Disability case With a Woman

Case Spotlight – June 2023

In May 2021, attorney Randall Mansour spoke to a woman who needed assistance with her Social Security Disability case. The claimant had a steady work history until 2012 and then had numerous health problems forced her to quit working. After hearing her story, it was apparent that this client desperately needed our help but it would be a difficult case to prove disability, as we would have to prove she became disabled before December 2017. Thankfully the claimant was in ongoing/consistent treatment since 2012, however, she had problems obtaining those records to prove that. The claimant was suffering from a combination of physical and mental health conditions that worsened over the last 10 years. Furthermore, the client resided in Maryland and contacted our office after noticing our hundreds of 5-star Google reviews.

When she called Disability Law Group, she was met with compassion and felt assured that we could assist her with this final hurdle. The case was a complicated one as her previous attorneys gave up on her. Despite not handling the first hearing for the client, we were able to file an appeal and have the case remanded by the Appeals Council for another hearing. The case became even more complicated as we requested a medical expert review the case, in hopes that the doctor would make a favorable finding.

In this particular case, the treatment notes were massive and encompassed more than 10,000 pages of medical evidence! After a lengthy hearing with the medical expert present we were able to obtain a favorable decision for the client. The judge agreed with the medical records on file, our arguments, the testimony from the client and the medical expert’s testimony. The judge ruled the client was disabled before December 2017. The client obtained a very hefty settlement with over 5 years of back pay benefits that she was entitled to. The claimant was thrilled to know that we won her case and more importantly would receive the monthly benefits and Medicare she desperately needed.

If you or someone you know are suffering from any physical impairments or mental health, contact us 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. We will work with you, and alongside your doctors, to ensure all evidence needed is received. You can rely on our team at Disability Law Group from start to finish to provide you with the expert advice and compassionate representation and the benefits you deserve.

Filling out a claim for for social security disability

Case Spotlight – May 2023

Disability Law Group recently helped a young claimant restore her disability benefits after being denied for 5 years! The claimant, a disabled mother, was previously receiving disability benefits until being cut-off in 2017. Even for individuals already receiving benefits, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) will sometimes complete periodic disability reviews – called continuing disability benefits review – to ensure continuing disability. In cases where the SSA ceases benefits, they must make a finding that the individual’s medical condition has significantly improved since the last decision was made in their case.

In this case, the claimant underwent several appeals following the cessation decision before she finally reached out to Disability Law Group. Our lawyers fought hard to show that the claimant’s condition had not improved and that she should therefore continue to qualify for disability benefits. We were successful! This win not only resulted in over 5 years of benefits being awarded, but restored her insurance and reduced her worry. As a single mom who had suffered extreme financial hardship in the years she was cut-off of disability benefits, this win was truly life-changing.

While there is no way to control whether the SSA will review your case for continuing disability, there are ways to successfully survive a review. Here are some tips:

  • MEDICAL TREATMENT: Be sure to continue seeking treatment and to continue to inform your doctors of your symptoms, medication side effects, and the impact of your symptoms on your activities of daily living.
  • COMMUNICATE WITH SSA: Check your mail for communication from SSA and be sure to read correspondence and respond in a timely fashion as benefits may sometimes be ceased for lack of response.
  • SEEK THE ASSISTANCE OF AN ATTORNEY: If the SSA has decided to cease payment of benefits, Disability Law Group may be able to help! Please reach out to us at (248) 838-3000.

If you or a loved one need help with securing disability payments, contact the experts at Disability Law Group. We have the knowledge, tools, and experience needed to make sure that you receive the benefits that you deserve.