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Bittersweet Reflections

Donna Simpson April 27, 2020

Death always hits us hard. Sometimes it hits harder than others - especially when a young person dies.

Today I received a remand from the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council had sent this claim back to the ALJ for another hearing to consider issues not well decided.

I called my client to tell her the promising news. I reached my client's husband only to learn that his wife had died from complications of weight loss surgery.

My client had worked as a medical billing clerk. When her pain reached the point she could no longer physically go to work, she worked in bed for several months until she reached a point she was not effective at her job. She had worked for ten years in a job she loved, and she hated to give it up. With no other place to turn, she applied for Social Security disability.

I represented her after she was initially denied, through reconsideration, a hearing, and the Appeals Council. Her claim was now coming back from the Appeals Council to an ALJ to look at at least two issues not properly decided.

Part of my client's disability had been her arthritic joints, complicated by being too heavy. Ironically, to correct one problem, she lost her life.

Her husband can substitute as a party and pursue her claim but winning a claim after your loved one is gone is bittersweet.