Social Security Case Examples

QR represented an individual from Allegheny County diagnosed with degenerative cervical disc disease, lumbar degenerative disc disease, and osteoarthritis. After being denied on the initial application, QR submitted a request for hearing with a Social Security administrative law judge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In addition to submitting updated medical records, QR also secured a specific medical questionnaire from the client's treating primary care physician. Following testimony from the client and the vocational expert, the Social Security Judge issued a fully favorable decision based on Medical Vocational Rule 201.06, which directs an award where an individual cannot perform past work, and, the individual lacks transferable skills to other work in the national economy according to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT).


QR represented an individual from Westmoreland County denied for both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplement Security Income (SSI) benefits. The individual treated for the following severe medical impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine with radiculopathy (pain into the legs), right knee replacement, bursitis of the left hip and chronic pain syndrome. After being denied on the initial application, QR submitted a request for hearing with a Social Security administrative law judge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. QR updated the client's medical records with the Social Security judge and took testimony from the client and the vocational expert. Following the hearing, the Social Security Judge issued a fully favorable decision based on Medical Vocational Rule 201.14, which directs an award where an individual cannot return to the past jobs, and, the individual lacks transferable skills to other work in the national economy in the light or greater categories according to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT).


Our client applied on her own for Social Security Disability benefits based on several, severe medical conditions: spinal stenosis, degenerative joint disease, asthma, depression, hernia and sleep apnea. After being denied on the initial application, QR submitted a request for hearing with a Social Security administrative law judge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In reviewing the claim, QR was able to analyze that the client had a greater chance of success by moving her alleged onset date (AOD) to correspond with a more recent MRI showing worsening of the spinal stenosis. At the hearing, QR submitted a motion to amend the alleged onset date, which was accepted by the Social Security Judge, who issued a fully favorable decision based on the individual's spinal stenosis condition meeting the requirements of Listing 1.04 - Disorders of the Spine.


QR represented an individual from Westmoreland County diagnosed with cervical degenerative disc disease with history of cervical fusion complicated by fungal osteomyelitis and wound infection with surgical evacuation, removal - and reinsertion of - surgical hardware, cervical radiculopathy, chronic pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), along with other conditions. After being denied on the initial application, QR submitted a request for hearing with a Social Security administrative law judge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to the hearing, QR updated the client's medical records with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review and attended a hearing with a Social Security Judge. Following testimony from the client and the vocational expert, the Social Security Judge issued a fully favorable decision indicating that the individual was unable to perform his past work, and, was unable to perform even sedentary work on consistent, routine schedule due to his limitations and pain.


QR represented an individual from Blair County diagnosed with a right rotator cuff injury with repair and subsequent lysis and allodynia of the adhesions on four occasions, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) / reflex sympathetic disorder (RSD) of the right upper extremity and left lateral epicondylitis with a partial tear. After being denied on the initial application, QR submitted a request for hearing with a Social Security administrative law judge in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Prior to the hearing, QR updated the client's medical records with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Johnstown, PA. Following testimony from the client and the vocational expert, the Social Security Judge issued a fully favorable decision based on Medical Vocational Rule 201.14, which directs an award where an individual cannot perform past work, and, the individual lacks transferable skills to other work in the national economy according to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT).


QR represented an individual from Westmoreland County for both Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability benefits. The individual suffered several work-related hernia injuries, which were not completely fixed through surgery. Following an initial denial, QR appealed the case and requested a hearing with a Social Security administrative law judge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to the hearing, QR updated the client's medical records and obtained a narrative report from her examining doctor. Following testimony from the client, QR was able to successfully argue that the individual's treating physician - and, the workers' compensation insurance company's own examining doctor - determined that the individual was limited to sedentary duty and could not return to her past work. Further, based on QR's cross examination of the vocational expert, who confirmed that there were no transferable skills from our client's past work to other sedentary jobs, the Social Security Judge issued a fully favorable decision based on Medical Vocational Rule 201.14, which directs an award where an individual cannot perform past work, and, the individual lacks transferable skills to other work at the sedentary level in accordance with the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT).


Quatrini Rafferty represented an individual from Westmoreland County, who applied for Social Security Disability benefits based on a combination of lower back degenerative disc disease with spinal stenosis and a history of a laminectomy and facetectomy, lumbar radiculopathy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/emphysema, along with major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder. This social security claimant was required to go to a hearing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at which time we presented our case to both the Administrative Law Judge and vocational expert. We argued that the Independent Medical Examination completed for our client's Workers' Compensation matter limited the claimant to less than a full range of sedentary work. A Fully Favorable Decision was granted, and the client received both retroactive payments and ongoing benefits following the award.


Quatrini Rafferty represented an individual from Cambria County, who applied on his own for Social Security Disability/Disability Insurance benefits. After being denied at the initial level, we met with the client to file their appeal and request a hearing in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Prior to the hearing, our office updated all medical records for the Administrative Law Judge and worked with the psychiatrist to acquire a specific questionnaire outlining all limitations. On the day of the hearing, we focused testimony on the combination of physical and psychological conditions that prevented the individual - who was also a U.S. Veteran - from being able to maintain substantial gainful employment on a full-time basis without psychological or physical distractions. Ultimately, a Fully Favorable Decision was issued, and the individual received retroactive payment back to the day of their application and ongoing benefits following the Judge's award.


QR represented a Social Security Disability client from Hollidaysburg, PA who was younger than 50 years of age. Our client suffered from several impairments, including a right shoulder impingement with tendinitis, right ulnar neuropathy along with a herniated nucleus pulposus and degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine post fusion, cervical stenosis, brachial plexopathy with dystonia, torticollis, asthma and migraine headaches. An appeal hearing was held in Altoona, Pennsylvania, at which time we were able to convince the Social Security Judge that despite the client's ability to perform Light Duty employment, there were additional restrictions - due specifically to the client's pain - that would prohibit the client from sustaining regular attendance at work, and, would substantially affect the client's ability to maintain concentration on work tasks for the required 85% of a work day.


Our client from Latrobe, Pennsylvania applied for Social Security Disability and was denied on the initial application. We helped her appeal her case and attended a hearing at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We argued that the client's impairments - low back pain and limitation following surgery, transient ischemic attacks (TIA's), vertigo and resulting depression - would affect her ability to engage in sustained work activity on a regular and continuing basis for eight hours a day, five days a week. The Social Security Judge adopted our argument and issued a fully favorable decision awarding ongoing benefits, and, payment of retroactive benefits to February of 2013.


Quatrini Rafferty successfully represented a 39-year-old police officer who was shot three times and paralyzed while responding to a home invasion in Allegheny County. QR initiated his Social Security Disability application while he was still receiving Heart & Lung benefits from his Employer. This was important because Heart & Lung benefits do not offset Social Security Disability benefits, unlike Workers' Compensation benefits. After working with the client to complete the application, adult disability report, medical releases, activities of daily living, and other Social Security paperwork, the case was submitted for adjudication to the Social Security office in Belle Vernon, PA. A few months after submission, the Social Security office awarded the claim without the need for a hearing.


Quatrini Rafferty represented a 38-year-old individual from Indiana, Pennsylvania, who applied for, and was denied, Social Security Disability benefits on his initial application. The young gentleman suffered multiple injuries related to a motorcycle accident, including an acute occlusion of the anterior and posterior tibial artery, talus fracture, and open left tibia and fibula fracture. Our staff gathered and electronically submitted all updated medical records to the Social Security Administration before the hearing with a Social Security Judge in Johnstown, PA. Additionally, our attorneys worked with the client's treating orthopedic surgeon to acquire a direct medical opinion on limitations that precluded the client's past work, and, any other work, including sedentary occupations. This medical support allowed Quatrini Rafferty to win a Fully Favorable decision under Medical Vocational rule 204.00 and under Social Security Rulings 96-8p and 96-9p. As a bonus, the fully favorable award permitted our client to access additional benefits from his disability pension through his union.


Quatrini Rafferty represented a 50 year-old Social Security Disability individual from Greensburg, Pennsylvania who suffered from several impairments, including a granuloma of the lung, arthritis, fibromyalgia, hiatal hernia, ovarian mass, chronic depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, Raynaud's phenomenon, and chronic fatigue. Individual was originally denied on her initial application. Quatrini Rafferty represented the individual at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The ALJ agreed with our argument that the individual' severe and non-severe impairments prohibited her from competitive, full-time work (i.e. eight hours per day and five days per week), and awarded the claimant full social security disability benefits.


Our Social Security Disability client from Latrobe, Pennsylvania sustained a right rotator cuff tear at work. While representing him on the Workers' Compensation matter, we also applied him for Social Security Disability benefits. Our client was awarded benefits on application. However, the social security chose an onset date approximately 9 months after the client left work and had surgery on his right shoulder. We instituted an appeal to challenge the onset date and represented our client before an Administrative Law Judge in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. We argued that our client was entitled to nine additional months of benefits because after his surgery he was only capable of sedentary work and was therefore disabled pursuant to Medical Vocational Rule 201.12 in light of his age (54) at the date of onset, education and work history. Alternatively, we argued that our client was entitled to five additional months of benefits because even where the ALJ believed our client to be capable of light work, he was within six (6) months of 55 and a finding of disabled would be compelled by Medical Vocational Rule 202.04. The ALJ agreed with our alternative argument and awarded our client five additional months of benefits.


Quatrini Rafferty represented a 37 year-old individual from Jeannette, Pennsylvania suffering from insulin dependent diabetes and depression after she was denied on an application for Social Security Disability benefits. Our attorneys represented the individual at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. We informed the ALJ that the client suffered from repeated bouts of ketoacidosis, which required three separate hospitalizations in one year, in addition to severe fatigue, muscle weakness, rotator cuff tendonitis, skin sores, blurred vision, and episodes of anxiety and depression. We argued that due to the many exertional complications our client was unable to perform full-time substantial gainful activity in the form of either her past work or any future work, regardless of the level of such future work. The ALJ agreed with our argument and awarded our client full social security disability benefits.


Our Social Security Disability client from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania sustained a right femoral neck injury in his right hip, which required reconstructive surgery. Due to the limp created by the right hip injury, the client also experienced right knee problems, including accelerated degenerative arthritis. Additionally, our client had trouble breathing due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). Our client was denied benefits on application. An appeal was filed and a hearing was held in Pittsburgh. We successfully argued that according to the updated medical records we obtained and submitted, our client was entitled to benefits because due to all of his medical conditions, he could not perform his past work. Additionally, we argued that our client was only capable of sedentary work and was therefore disabled pursuant to Medical Vocational Rule 201.12 in light of his age (50) at the date of onset. The ALJ issued a fully favorable decision following the hearing.