Story of Justice: Lauren Must Prove her Disability to Social Security
Lauren* was getting Social Security disability benefits for mental health conditions and significant physical pain from injuries she endured from a car accident. After a few years, Social Security reviewed Lauren’s case and decided she was no longer disabled and was ready to return to work. Lauren was still experiencing significant symptoms and did not believe she could go back to work. She appealed and represented herself at a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ denied Lauren’s case. She felt like she lost everything. Without her benefits she had no income, no health insurance, and could not work due to her medical conditions. She feared she would lose her home. To make matters worse, Social Security was asking her to repay a large overpayment from the benefits she got while appealing her case.
Lauren sought out the legal resources available from Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA).
After assessment and intake, CCLA appointed a dedicated attorney to help Lauren with her new Social Security disability case. The CCLA attorney worked with Lauren for over two years, guiding her through multiple appeal levels, and working with her to develop stronger medical evidence for her case. The CCLA attorney also helped Lauren get her overpayment waived by Social Security so that she would not have to pay it back. The CCLA attorney represented Lauren at another hearing with an ALJ. This time, the ALJ ruled in favor of Lauren. The ALJ agreed that Lauren was in fact disabled and not able to go back to work.
Why It Matters
Lauren would start getting Social Security disability benefits again shortly there after. Lauren was relieved to have her benefits back and grateful for CCLA’s help. For the past two years she had constantly worried that she would be evicted or that her lights would be turned off because she was unable to pay for necessary utilities and her bills. Lauren was able to use her backpay award to pay the back rent and utilities that she owed. With her ongoing benefits she will be able to keep paying her rent and bills. Lauren will also have health insurance and will keep getting treatment for her many serious medical conditions.
*Names, images, and some details have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients
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