After wrestling with innumerable file boxes and rolls of packing tape, on September 19 we moved from Elmsford into a beautiful new office in Tarrytown, NY. Our spacious new office is conveniently located on White Plains Road, just off I–287. The new space gives us more offices and conference rooms to meet with our clients, and the large windows throughout the office let the sunlight stream in and give us a gorgeous view of the approach to the Tappan Zee Bridge. Wave at us the next time you drive by!
560 White Plains Road
Tarrytown, NY 10591
A Message from Lew
Bicycling is one of my passions and I'm a fan of anything that has to do with the Hudson River. As a cyclist I love riding across the river's various bridges on my rides. The Tappan Zee Bridge, however, has no bike path or walkway and can only be biked one day a year: on the Bike MS Southern New York Charity Ride.
This year's ride was on September 25th and along with some of my cycling buddies from the Westchester Cycle Club, I volunteered to be a "front line marshal," leading a group of the fund raisers across the bridge at a prescribed speed (required by the Thruway Authority in order to let us use the bridge) and then traveling the 55 mile route to assist anyone having mechanical or physical problems. I arrived at the starting line before the sun had even risen, but it turned into a beautiful day and I saw just one flat tire– – –and the rider was repairing it himself!
It was great to be a part of the effort for an organization that does a fantastic job for its members, many of whom we represent in their claims for Social Security Disability. In addition to the cycling and the actual representation, we also appear each year at the MS Law Day where, along with other lawyers, we offer free advice to MS patients about the Social Security Disability process.
Riding across the river on the MS Ride combines a number of things that are important and enjoyable to me and I plan to do it again next year. Now if I can only figure out how to get one of the cool bike jerseys they give to the biggest fund raisers!!
A Success Story that was a Long Time Coming!
We are proud of the work we do, especially in particularly complicated cases, or when our client's story is unusually heartrending. Here's a recent success story we are especially proud of!
N retained us in 2002. At that time she was a 44 year old dental assistant with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. From the very beginning, N seemed to have bad luck. First, it took the Judge almost two years to issue his decision after her hearing in March 2003, and he denied the case! We appealed that denial but also filed a new claim on our client's behalf, alleging a different date of disability.
N's second application was approved after just six months and she began receiving benefits for herself and her son in late 2005. However, there were still three years of benefits undecided and the appeal on her first claim was denied by the Appeals Council. We filed a Federal Court action in July, 2005. In many Social Security claims the Federal Court Judges send the case to a Magistrate Judge for a Report and Recommendation which the Court typically adopts as its decision.
Unfortunately, this Magistrate Judge did not feel that our disabled client's case was worthy of her time and never issued a decision until we persisted in following up. Thanks to pressure from us, the presiding Federal Judge intervened to force the Magistrate Judge to issue a decision.
The decision finally came through in our favor and the case was sent back to Social Security for a new hearing. Although that was in May 2009, it was not until February 2011 that the hearing was actually held! Thank goodness we had filed the second claim!
The delay this time had to do with the fact that the Hearing Office could not obtain the records from the second claim, so we hand delivered what we had. The second hearing was held before a different judge, almost 8 years after the first hearing!! This time the decision was favorable. N would finally be getting benefits from the start of her disability...but the delays did not end there!
N's favorable decision was issued in March, 2011. Typically it takes 30 to 60 days for retroactive benefits to be paid. In this case we made nine phone calls to the payment module responsible for this case and advised the claimant to get her Senator involved because her retroactive payments and the award letter were not being processed.
Finally, in September 2011, six months after the decision, and 8 years after the initial hearing, our client reported she had received her retroactive benefits and we obtained a copy of the award letter!
This is a case where everything that could go wrong did. Despite that, we persisted at every level and in the face of every delay, and ultimately N received all the benefits to which she was entitled. Now we have to look into getting our fee from the Social Security Administration! I'm not holding my breath!
Happy Thanksgiving from All of Us!
What We've Been Up to Lately
Lew visited Mt. Bachelor outside Bend, Oregon
Gabe took a family trip to Tremblant, Quebec
Brian went ziplining at Hunter Mountain!
Donna played with her adorable granddaughter
Stephanie didn't leave her desk