From the Files of Powell and Denny
Today in “From the Files of Powell and Denny” blog, we will review a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits that we handled for a resident of Madison County, AL.
Our client was a younger adult-29 years old at the time of her application for disability benefits. This is an important factor because individuals between the ages of 18-49 are legally classified as being a “Younger Individual,” and if said person is capable of maintaining sedentary work-they are not deemed to be disabled and therefore entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. We knew that our client’s age would be a detriment, but we believe that her injuries [herniated discs at L3-4, L4-5 and a bulge at L5-S1 with depression related to her pain and inability to work] was serious enough to prevent her from being able to perform her past jobs as a waitress or maintaining steady employment in any other job. The orthopedic surgeon who recommended surgery limited our client to lifting no more than 10 pounds with limitations in her ability to bend, stoop and twist.
Our client was unable to afford to have the surgery she needed due to a lack of insurance, but her family doctor was providing palliative treatment, and when we asked his opinion as to our client’s functional restrictions he opined that she could only: lift 7-8 pounds occasionally; could only be on her feet 1 hour out of an 8 hour work day; could only sit 30 minutes to 1 hour, could never balance, crouch or crawl; and that the claimant should not work on heights, with moving machinery or in temperature extremes.
We had an orthopedic surgeon and general practitioner stating that, in their medical opinion, our client had serious physical limitations and suffered with pain associated with her herniated disks and we submitted these and all of our client’s medical records and presented our case to the administrative law judge handling this case—and he denied our client’s application for disability benefits, saying “No physician has assessed disabling limitations….”
We appealed the denial to the Appeals Council and argued that the only way the ALJ could make such a statement would be for them to completely ignore the findings of these physicians, and the Appeals Council agreed and remanded to case back to the same administrative law judge with instructions to review and discuss the limitations that were admitted into evidence. A second hearing was held and this time our client was awarded disability benefits.
Even better, once our client started receiving Medicare, she was able to receive the medical treatment she needed and was eventually able to get off of Social Security Disability and return to gainful employment.
This review shows that while it is legally more difficult to obtain Social Security Disability benefits if you are classified as a “Younger Individual,” it is obtainable with the right representation, and if you don’t give up and have the perseverance to continue fighting for your disability benefits when you are denied benefits, and that being awarded disability benefits doesn’t mean that you will never be able to return to work.
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.
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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
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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 and included in the list as one of the Mid-South’s Super Lawyers.
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 disability clients 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