I had a Social Security disability hearing last week that took place five years after the claimant first applied for disability benefits. At the end of the hearing, the judge kindly announced that he would award disability benefits to my client. A fully favorable decision has already been issued.
Since the hearing, I have been thinking about what a long road it has been for this disability claimant, who has been unable to work for so long due to chronic pain.
The client came to my office after receiving an unfavorable ALJ decision in New Hampshire, and after getting no relief from the Appeals Council. I reviewed the ALJ's decision and the claim file, and accepted the case for a federal court appeal. I was able to obtain a remand back to the SSA for a new hearing, and that second hearing took place last week. Since the claimant had moved from New Hampshire to Maine to stay with a relative, there was a different judge for the second hearing.
It can be heartbreaking to hear clients' stories of their difficulties while waiting for a favorable determination on a disability claim. Many clients have dramatically changed lives due to their health conditions (and the financial ruin that can accompany the loss of the ability to work).
As a Social Security disability lawyer, it is very gratifying when a claim is granted due to my efforts (and the efforts of my excellent staff) on the client's behalf. Personally, however, it is humbling to think about what the client has experienced during the time the disability claim has been pending.
If you are considering an application for Social Security disability benefits, or have already applied and want assistance with your claim, please contact Gordon Gates for a free consultation.