When you file a disability claim with the Social Security Administration, it can feel a bit like you are David facing Goliath.
Social Security is a giant and often unsympathetic bureaucracy, and its disability claims process is confusing and lengthy. The process can be frustrating and disheartening especially when you are in real need of the benefits you may be entitled to—benefits you paid for with your Social Security taxes.
The quest for disability benefits is daunting. In Illinois, nearly 70% of initial claims are denied.
After the initial denial, the first level of appeal is “reconsideration,” a review of your claim by someone who did not take part in the first decision. The denial rate at the reconsideration level is a disheartening 89%!
It is no wonder then that more than 60% of applicants who are denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) simply give up in frustration at this point.
But don’t you give up. Here is the real secret to winning disability benefits in one word: Perseverance.
Persevering is to continue a course of action even in the face of difficulty. Nash Disability attorney Dan Rosen observes:
“All too often claimants get discouraged and want to throw in the towel after being denied at the reconsideration level. It is important for those who are seeking Social Security Disability benefits to know that denial does not mean non-deserving. Disability claimants have the right to an appeal hearing. We have fought for the rights of thousands of disabled Chicagoans and most of our clients who have won their benefits were ultimately successful because they stuck with their case and with us.”
Here are a few actual, real-life cases where perseverance paid off. First, these are two from Nash Disability lawyer Israel Moskovits:
“Brian G. is a young man with severe psychological problems. He suffers from auditory hallucinations, among other symptoms. As a result, he has a history of multiple incarcerations and suicide attempts. He previously received benefits but lost them when he was sent to jail. He had been dropped by several other disability attorneys while attempting to pursue his disability claim. He had a very poor history of obtaining treatment and staying on his medications due to homelessness. We took on his case and wrote a memo to the judge explaining his history and impairments. We demonstrated that Brian’s failure to stay on his medications and get treatment was the result of his mental illness. At the hearing, the judge ruled in Brian’s favor and fully granted him disability benefits.”
“Caleb R. suffers from autism, which makes it impossible for him to hold a job, but at his first disability claim hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) turned down his request for disability benefits. The ALJ denied his claim because he believed Caleb was attending college classes and didn’t exhibit the repetitive behaviors associated with autism. We represented him in his second claim and highlighted that he had dropped out of college. We arranged for a psychiatrist to do a new evaluation which demonstrated repetitive behaviors among other signs of impairment. The new evaluation underscored the assessment of his first therapist. At the second hearing, the judge issued a fully favorable decision, meaning that Social Security acknowledged that Caleb was disabled from the date that his disability began as we stated in our filings.”
Nash attorney Lawrence Mabes points out:
“Judges don’t own the ultimate truth or necessarily get it right all the time. Sometimes clients understandably get frustrated and upset with denials, but they must trust us, and trust that we know what we are doing and the process.”
Here is a good example:
“A recent client, Susan M., had been prescribed a walker since 2015 and suffered from serious gait issues. Despite these facts, she was denied at a hearing by a very skeptical ALJ who believed Susan retained the ability to stand or walk for six hours and could regularly lift 20 pounds. In many cases, other law offices won’t appeal or recommend a new application. We chose to appeal. Our appeal was granted. The case was remanded and scheduled for another hearing with a different judge. Before the hearing, we pointed out to the new ALJ all the mentions in the record of the walker and gait issues and all the citations the original judge missed the first time. The new ALJ approved the case on the record without a hearing being held.”
Nash attorney Beth Miller says, “Some disability cases have a long and complicated history. To win these cases perseverance is even more important.”
“One such case is a claim by Janet C. We represented her in 2002 when she was awarded disability benefits based on intellectual disability.”
“Many years later, Janet went to work, ending her disability benefits. She worked for about 10 years before losing her job in 2015, and became unable to work thereafter due to her health problems. Our disability law firm had a strong belief that Janet was unable to work. Many Nash employees met her throughout the years and knew her claim was strong. In addition to the intellectual disability, Janet also had mental health impairments, the combination of which prevented her from being able to work. We knew her case would be difficult to prove since she had worked for 10 years, but we did not give up.”
“We filed a second application for disability benefits in May of 2017 and we were finally granted a hearing in September 2018. Unfortunately, at this hearing the Administrative Law Judge denied her benefits. But Janet and the Nash team still did not give up. We appealed the decision. We requested another psychological evaluation and a second hearing to allow not only our expert to testify, but to allow her aunt to testify. We won the appeal based upon this new evaluation and the testimony at Janet’s hearing. It took numerous briefs on Janet’s behalf and advocating for her in three hearings until we achieved the right result.”
Before you give up on getting the disability benefits you have rightfully earned, give us a call at 312.443.0900 or send us an email by filling out one of the forms at the top or bottom of our website.
We can give you a free evaluation of your case. At Nash Disability Law, we are proud of our perseverance and advocacy on behalf of our clients who need and deserve vigorous legal representation.
* To protect their privacy, the real names of the Nash clients mentioned in this article are not being used.