As a Social Security disability lawyer practicing for 30 years, I’m used to speaking with those seriously disabled from long-term illnesses or injuries: in some cases, wondering if they will survive long enough for benefits to be awarded. Learning of my clients’ severe medical conditions over the years of my practice has only heightened my own sense of how fragile life truly is. The sense of dread as to what was to come with COVID-19 was obvious early on for me, and my office was one of the early ones to work in a socially isolated fashion beginning early March, 2020. Fortunately, we were prepared for the electronic/cloud age for this to occur. That being said, the Federal Government was not. Continue reading
And so you find yourself in the position of having pursued your Social Security disability claim for years. You’ve applied and been denied repeatedly, and finally in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Now you face the prospect of having to start the process all over again. The question now arises as to whether you will lose your rights to any benefits for the time period leading up to that ALJ denial. You are now faced with the possibility that even if you were to be successful on a new application, benefits may not be payable the time period that has already been decided by the ALJ.
The Res Judicata doctrine (with the words Res Judicata meaning the thing having been decided) raises its head in any situation where an ALJ has issued an unfavorable decision in your case and where that decision is not facing the possibility of further appeal. Thus, the issue arises where no further appeal has been taken and is pending before the Appeals Council, or if the decision was upheld at the Appeals Council level and either no further appeal has been undertaken or was denied at the Federal District Court level (and then no further appeal was timely taken at that point) Failing to pursue the matter further, within the time period prescribed for appeal following a denial, will cause the ALJ unfavorable decision to be come final. Continue reading
As we were discussing previously in Part I of this blog , one must be very careful about applying for unemployment benefits as it can be construed as inconsistent with an application for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. This assumption, as we will discuss, does not apply in every case. Continue reading