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From the Files of Powell and Denny

From the Files of Powell and Denny

Today in “From the Files of Powell and Denny” blog, I am going briefly discuss a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits that we handled for a resident of Walker County, AL.

Our client lived in Jasper, Alabama, and she had hired another law firm to assist her in her claim for disability benefits, and she lost her hearing before administrative law judge Lisa Johnson.  After losing her claim, her original attorney said that they did not do appeals, and our office was called.

It is rare for our firm to take a case to Federal Court that we had not handled during the hearing before an administrative law judge because the appeal is premised on what transpired during the hearing and the evidence presented, but this person calling us was a disabled veteran who had served in Panama, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.  In Iraq, a vehicle they were riding in hit a roadside mine and they suffered a torn rotator cuff, had to have knee surgery, and developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Moreover-the Administration (VA) had already stated they were totally disabled due to the PTSD.

We took the case and filed an Appeal with the Appeals Council.  The previous attorney had failed to submit all of claimant’s medical records during the hearing phase of their appeal, so the first thing we did was order our client’s outstanding records from the VA and from their pain doctor and we submitted these records, which bolstered our client’s claim-but the Appeals Council denied the claim again, so we filed a Federal Lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Jasper Division.

In Federal Court we reviewed our client’s medical records, the physical limitations they had sustained as a result of injuries they suffered in the service, and the psychological injuries they had also incurred.  We especially highlighted the fact the judge Lisa Johnson did not even make reference to the fact that the VA had determined that our client was totally disabled.  The findings of the VA were not binding on Judge Johnson and was not determinative as the VA uses different standards than the Social Security Administration-but the VA’s findings were entitled to “great weight” and the administrative law judge had an obligation to perform a meaningful review of the VA’s disability determination-which Judge Lisa Johnson failed to do in this case.

After making our argument, the Assistant Attorney General handling the case for the Social Security Administration consented that administrative law judge Johnson had erred, and the case was sent back to Judge Johnson for a second hearing-and this time our client was awarded their full disability benefits-going back several years-on the record.

This review shows that when you are considering who to hire to help with a claim for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, it is important to know whether the attorney or firm has experience in taking appeals to Federal Court.  At Powell and Denny, both Mr. Powell and Mr. Denny have 30 years of individual experience handling Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims, not only before the administrative law judge-but also in Federal Court if necessary.

If you or a loved one lives in Alabama and you believe that you are entitled to Social Security Disability benefits as the result of some illness or injury, you do not have to take on the Social Security Administration alone. Please feel free to talk with one of the experienced Alabama Disability Attorneys at Powell and Denny today.  Free consultations are available in person; virtual appointments are also available via Zoom if more convenient for you.

Powell and Denny: We Work When You Can’t

Offices in Birmingham, AL and Huntsville, AL


Alabama Disability Attorneys

Birmingham Social Security Disability Attorneys

Hoover Social Security Disability Lawyers

Huntsville Social Security Disability Attorneys

North Alabama Social Security Disability Lawyers

Powell and Denny have been selected as one of the Best Law Firms by U.S. News and World Report for each of the last 9 years, have been selected as one of Birmingham’s Top Lawyers by B-Metro Magazine for the last 5 years, have been selected by The National Advocates as one of the Top 20 Workers’ Compensation Firms (plaintiffs) and Powell and Denny, P.C.-has been selected as one of the “Best of the Best” law firms by The American Registry.

Mr. Denny is AV rated by Martindale Hubbard (the highest rating possible) and Mr. Powell has been rated as Superior by The National Registry

+ Powell and Denny have successfully represented injured workers from Birmingham, Huntsville, Florence, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, Athens, Decatur, Town Creek Ardmore, Hartselle, Madison, Toney, Scottsboro, Ft. Payne, New Hope, Guntersville, Albertville, Boaz, Ashville, Anniston, Gadsden, Cullman, Jasper, Gardendale, Morris, Kimberly, Centerpoint, Leeds, Tarrant City, Fairfield, Hueytown, Bessemer, Adger, Tuscaloosa, Cordova, Alabaster, Pelham, Harpersville, Opelika, Phenix City, Montgomery, Clanton, Calera, Enterprise, Monroeville, Mobile, Evergreen, Alabaster, Pelham, Trussville and towns and cities in between.


From the Files of Powell and Denny


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  • Birmingham Office
    1320 Alford Avenue
    Suite 201
    Birmingham, Alabama 35226
    Phone: 205-978-2051
    Fax: 205-978-2054
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    SW Suite 104
    Huntsville, Alabama 35802
    Phone: 256-705-3510
    Fax: 256-705-3513

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