A successful conclusion was reached this week for a Social Security disability client after a five year battle. The client, with an impairment that had existed since birth, applied for disability benefits in February 2010 claiming he had been disabled since December 1995. That claim was denied by Social Security in June 2010. He initially hired a lawyer from another Rockford law firm to handle his appeal. That firm withdrew from the case after four months, apparently not believing that he had a valid claim. In November 2011, the client hired attorney Greg Tuite to handle the case. The case proceeded to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). In March 2011 the ALJ denied the claim. The Social Security Appeals Council upheld the ALJ’s denial of benefits in April 2013.
Not satisfied with the result, Attorney Tuite filed an appeal with the United States District Court in Rockford. On December 17, 2014, the Magistrate issued his opinion agreeing with Mr. Tuite’s contention that the ALJ should have given greater weight to the opinion of the claimant’s treating doctor who had known him since he was a teenager. The Magistrate ordered a new hearing for the claimant.
A second hearing was held on August 14, 2015. A medical expert testified and agreed with Mr. Tuite that if the impairment had existed since birth it would have met the requirements of Social Security’s Listing of Impairments on the claimed date of onset of disability in 1995. Based on this the ALJ awarded benefits. The client will receive a lump sum of benefits back to February 2009 (one year retroactive to the application date). In addition he will be entitled to Medicare coverage.
“This is the second case this year that I received a favorable result after another firm dropped the client” said Tuite. “From day one I believed the client had a valid claim for benefits. Without our dedication to exhaust all of our appeal rights, the client would would have ended up with nothing.”