ALJ awards full Social Security benefits to homeless woman with severe burns and mental illness
Daniel DeVougas, Jones Day Washington, helped a single female secure Social Security Disability benefits on appeal at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (SSA ODAR).
The client, who has been homeless for many years, suffers from extensive deep tissue burns, major depressive disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder. Despite the client's several applications for benefits, the Social Security Administration repeatedly denied her claims. After her last denial, the client asked Daniel to represent her in the SSA ODAR appeal in July 2014.
Over the next two years, Daniel developed the factual record to support the client's claims for disability benefits by collecting and reviewing hundreds of medical records, and obtaining declarations from the client's treating physicians and associates. Daniel also submitted briefing in support of the client's disability claims, in which it was argued that the client's severe physical and mental impairments disqualified her from gainful employment in any capacity. During the Administrative Law Judge hearing, Daniel presented an opening statement, directly examined the client and a fact witness, and cross-examined SSA ODAR's Vocational Expert.
In August 2016, the Administrative Law Judge entered a fully favorable decision on her social security disability benefits claims. As a result, the client was able to use her benefits payments to leave the shelter and obtain affordable housing for the first time.