A Win for Julie!
Julie called us ready to give up. She had worked her whole life, but struggled with temporary paralysis in her back on a daily basis. The paralysis caused her body to freeze up to where she couldn’t walk. She also has severe arthritis in her right hip and knees. She didn’t want to believe she couldn’t work anymore and she absolutely didn’t want a government handout.
When she met with me, I explained how her long history of full time work had earned her the right to make a claim for Social Security income and health insurance benefits, and that it was only possible because of her work. Although hesitantly, she decided she wanted to move forward on a claim.
The severity of Julie’s impairments makes it seem like her benefits should have been immediately granted, but her case had many obstacles.
Obstacle #1 – She had not been out of work for 12 months.
Social Security requires that you prove that you will not be gainfully employed ($1,090/month or more) for at least 12 months. While Julie probably should not have been working, she couldn’t afford to stop working because she lived alone, and she needed to pay her bills.
Because she continued to work, although earning less than $1,090 a month, she had to document where all the money came from – adding one more document to the mountain of forms that she had to complete to start the claim.
Obstacle #2 – She couldn’t afford consistent medical treatment to help document her limitations.
Social Security requires that you show ongoing treatment and diagnostic tests for your medical condition. However, Julie couldn’t afford health insurance and she made too much money to qualify for Medicaid. So, getting any type of medical treatment was a real challenge for her.
When people with a disability continue working, and do not have medical documentation or treatment for their medical condition, it becomes very hard to make a legal argument that they should receive Social Security disability benefits. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. But, appearances can be deceiving.
The Case – A successful result, benefits granted!
Knowing the case would be a challenge, we immediately told Julie, that if she wanted to win she was going to have to open up her life. She was going to have to show every penny she earned and she had to find a way to get to the doctor’s office. Although it was a big sacrifice, she found a way to make those things happen.
Behind the scenes we were meticulously using the Social Security forms to paint a picture so that Social Security could understand the gravity of the situation and the nature of Julie’s medical condition despite her lack of evidence. We worked to predict what Social Security would need to know down the road and provide that information ahead of time so that we could move the process along as fast as possible without delays.
After many phone calls, forms, and research, Julie’s claim was awarded 5 months after the claim was filed. The combination of everyone’s work created enough evidence to win the claim. The day she found out, Julie was so excited and grateful she told Jake (much to his surprise) she was going to come to the office and kiss him. Gratefully, she was just kidding.
It should be noted that the large majority of cases require 24-26 months to reach a final decision. Because of Julie’s circumstances, we are thrilled that everything worked out so well for her.
If you have questions about starting your Social Security disability claim, contact the team at Summit Disability Law Group and set up your free consultation to find out what options are available to you.