Suffolk County Disability Attorney | Social Security Disability Claims Success Stories
(All names have been changed to protect client privacy)
55 Year Old Carpenter with Back Surgery Wins on Initial Application
Jim was a 55 year old Long Island carpenter who suffered a serious injury to his back when he fell off a ladder at a construction site. Despite his injury, Jim continued to work while receiving physical therapy through workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, the physical therapy did not relieve Jim’s ongoing pain and he elected to undergo multi-level back fusion surgery. While the surgery relieved much of the radiating pain that was travelling from his back down his left leg, his lower back remained painful and weak. He was treated with anti-inflammatories and pain medicine and he tried to return to his regular work as a carpenter again. He only lasted a month before he had to stop due to pain. Jim then asked Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco to evaluate a potential Social Security disability claim. After reviewing the facts of his case, we developed a legal theory to win his case. Spinal disabilities make up a large portion of all Social Security Disability claims nationally. Unlike many Social Security disability claims that are initially denied and take up to two years to win, our legal theory won Jim’s case in only 3 months.
49 Year Old Teacher with Breast Cancer Wins on Appeal
Michelle worked 26 years as an elementary school teacher before discovering a small lump in her left breast. She immediately saw her internist who referred her to a breast surgeon. The surgeon ordered a breast MRI exam and later performed a surgical biopsy of the breast tissue. She was diagnosed with the most common form of breast cancer, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC). She underwent surgery, and given the size of her tumor, elected to have a “partial segmental mastectomy”. This was then followed by adjuvant systemic chemotherapy. Unfortunately, she experienced serious side effects such as anemia and fatigue which impaired her ability to take care of her daily needs. Thinking that her Social Security disability application would be a “slam dunk”, she applied on her own “online”. Three months later, she received a denial in the mail stating that her medical condition was “not expected to keep her out of work the required 12 months” to qualify for benefits. By this time, she had already been out of work for seven months and there was no “return to work” date on the horizon. A nurse in her oncologist’s office suggested she call Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco. We had seen this type of unfair denial before. We appealed her case, got a letter from her oncologist stating his opinion that she could be out of work for more than one year, and won the case two months later without the need for a hearing.
58 Year Old Executive with Heart Disease Wins at Initial Application Level
Mike is a “type A” personality who held high stress executive positions throughout his career. One evening, he awoke from bed drenched in sweat and feeling what he thought was indigestion and nausea. In fact, he was having a heart attack. After his symptoms worsened, he woke his wife and she brought him to the hospital. Within one half hour he was in the cardiac cathertization lab where 3 stents were placed in his left anterior descending artery. He had beaten the infamous “widow maker” heart attack. He returned to work 4 weeks later, but he was unable to reduce the stress on his job. In addition, due to the stress, he was unable to make the exercise and life style changes his cardiologist said was necessary. He began to have chest pain again and a new cathertization showed severe blockage in a different artery. He had two more stents placed in his heart. His cardiologist told him his job was going to kill him – and Mike knew it. His wife called Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco and inquired about the possibility of getting Social Security disability. We evaluated the case and suggested that the wife and a reluctant Mike come in to discuss a possible claim. He had not yet stopped working. We explained the requirements for Social Security disability and Mike seemed relieved. He stopped working three weeks later and is now receiving Social Security disability. Now he enjoys spending time with his grandkids and reading while working part-time as a golf starter.
46 Year Old Secretary with Diabetes and Neuropathy Wins before Judge
Jane stated working for the state department of Social Services right after high school. Unfortunately, in her early 40’s she developed Type 2 diabetes. Her initial symptoms were relatively well controlled with medication. In her late 40’s, she started to develop numbness, pain, burning and tingling in both feet. As a result of her inability to closely control her blood sugar levels, she had developed severe diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Despite treatment with multiple medications including Lyrica and Cymbalta, the pain in her feet became so bad that she could no longer wear regular shoes and lived in “flip flops”. Social Security turned down her initial application stating the she could still do her past work as a secretary, which was considered a “sedentary job”. On appeal to an Administrative Law Judge, we were able to show that even her old job required significant walking around the office and that it was not practical for her to do any work in a professional office in “flip flops”. She won her case and is now undergoing an experimental study to try and relieve the constant burning in her feet.
27 Year Old Waitress with Bi-Polar Disorder Wins after Testimony
Ashley was always an outgoing “life of the party” type. She left college early to pursue her dream of being an actress and dancer on Broadway. She lived with her boyfriend in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, her behavior had stated to become erratic. She would frequently erupt into angry outbursts at both work and with her boyfriend over relatively minor problems. She also started to have extended periods where she was depressed and would not pursue auditions she would have previously jumped at. After this persisted for 6 months, her boyfriend finally convinced her to see a local psychiatrist. He diagnosed Ashley with Bi-Polar Disorder and prescribed mood stabilizers and anti-depressants. Initially, Ashley’s anger and depression decreased. However, Ashley also gained weight as a side effect of the mood stabilizers she was prescribed. She worried that her new weight gain would impact her ability to get acting jobs and went off some of her medication. Her psychiatrist prescribed an alternative medication, but this did not control her anger as well. He boyfriend broke off their relationship which made her symptoms worse. She had two failed suicide attempts requiring inpatient hospital stays. She moved back to her parent’s house. The parents contacted Turley, Redmond , Rosasco & Rosasco to see if Social Security disability was an option. We evaluated her work and psychiatric history and decided to take the case. Within 4 months, we had her on Social Security Disability benefits.
38 Year Old Nurse with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Wins after Judge Hearing
Jennifer was diagnosed with “relapsing and remitting” MS at age 31 after undergoing an MRI of her brain showing significant white lesions consistent with Multiple Sclerosis. She was immediately started on the disease modifying medication, Avonex. She was out of work for three months initially but as a result of successful medical management, she returned to work and did not have another relapse (attack) until four years later. Again, Jennifer returned to work after a few months. Unfortunately, she experienced a more serious attack at age 38 causing severe fatigue, coordination problems and pain. Her neurologist suggested she finally apply for Social Security disability. She applied online on her own but was denied 4 months later. This is not uncommon, since MS symptoms are largely “subjective” and often require the testimony of the claimant before a Judge. She hired Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco to represent her. After credibly testifying before a Judge regarding her past attempts to work despite her diagnosis, and her current symptoms, the Judge approved her case.
42 Year Old Attorney with Major Depression and PTSD after 9/11 Attack Wins at Hearing
Amy was at her desk on the 41st floor of Tower One when the first plane hit her building. After being successfully evacuated and subsequently returning to work in a different part of Manhattan for over two years, she began to have flashbacks, horrible dreams and panic attacks. Her psychiatrist attributed these symptoms to her experiences on 9/11 and diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After being out of work for 6 months, she applied for SSDI benefits on her own “acting as her own lawyer”. She was denied by Social Security with a decision that appeared to be written by a computer. Amy then realized she needed a lawyer experienced in overcoming the silly bureaucratic denials often sent by Social Security. She received a referral to our office from one of her former law office senior partners and we took the case immediately. Most mental illness disability cases require testimony to determine the claimant’s credibility. We prepared her prior to her hearing for the questions the hearing judge was likely to ask her. After the hearing, Amy’s claim was approved. Amy subsequently improved after being out of work for two years. She is now back to work as an attorney in a law firm located outside Manhattan.
39 Year Old Gulf War Vet with Lung and Alcohol Problems Wins on Appeal
David served his country in Iraq during the first Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) as an Army paratrooper. Upon returning to the U.S., he got a union job as a welder working primarily on Manhattan office buildings. He had started smoking in the Army and has been a chain smoker ever since. In addition, he learned to cope with life’s everyday problems by abusing alcohol. The combination of his welding career and his inability to stop smoking caused him to develop severe chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) causing a 50% reduction in his lung capacity. After struggling on the job for many years, he finally had to stop working due to shortness of breath walking up even a short flight of stairs. After his claim was initially denied, we appeared in front of a judge for a hearing on David’s disability claim. Unfortunately, this judge was unsympathetic to David’s disability. The judge thought that David brought much of his medical problems on himself as a result of not stopping smoking or drinking. It did not help that the medical records contained numerous references to alcohol abuse. The judge denied the claim. Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco appealed to the Social Security Appeals Council by arguing: 1) to use the judge’s standard, all claimants who ate a high fat diet and suffered a heart attack could not ever win a disability claim and 2) even if David stopped smoking and drinking today, he would still have a permanent 50% reduction in lung function. We won the appeal and David is collecting benefits today.