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IL disability lawyerAs we have discussed many times before, it often takes many years for a disability applicant to receive a final decision from Social Security. And in many of those cases, there may be several years of additional appeals following a denial of disability benefits. During this lengthy period, many disability applicants, unfortunately, pass away. Under the law, the applicant's spouse, children, or other beneficiaries may continue to pursue the disability claim.

Magistrate Rules Social Security Failed to Properly Justify Decision Denying Now-Deceased Woman Disability Benefits

Just recently, a federal judge here in Illinois ruled in favor of a widower who sought to reverse a Social Security decision denying his late wife's claim for disability benefits. The deceased injured her back in 2012 while working at a retail store. The injury was severe enough that she required surgery. But even then, she continued to suffer from chronic leg and back pain. This eventually led to her filing an application for disability benefits in 2014.

Following a 2016 hearing, a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) determined the deceased was not legally disabled. Despite her impairments, the ALJ said she could still perform “light work with certain restrictions.” The applicant died in 2017, so her husband appealed the ALJ's decision on her behalf.

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generalized anxiety disorder, Cook County Social Security attorney, denied disability claim, disability applicant, major depressive disorderDealing with anxiety and doubt is common. However, for some people, anxiety is an all-consuming fear that affects their ability to function in society. Known as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), this type of illness is a serious mental health impairment and may qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits.

ALJ Improperly Holds Applicant's Inability to Afford Mental Health Treatment Against Her

Unfortunately, there is often a stigma associated with GAD and similar mental health disorders that can lead Social Security officials to unfairly reject disability claims. Indeed, as one recent Illinois case illustrates, a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) may misinterpret a disability applicant's spotty employment history as “proof” that he or she is actually capable of working, without stopping to consider the overall impact of his or her anxiety disorder.

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Social Security disability applicants, Social Security disability, Cook County Social Security attorney, clinical depression, disability benefitsDepression is often overlooked as a disability. However, depression is one of the most common mental impairments cited by Social Security disability applicants. Depression is not simply “feeling sad.” It is a serious mood disorder that often renders victims unable to cope with the daily stresses of the workplace. In many cases, disability is simply one of several ailments that limit an applicant's ability to work or live his or her daily life.

Magistrate Orders 4th Disability Hearing for Illinois Woman With Depression

Sadly, getting Social Security to take depression as a disability seriously remains an uphill struggle for too many applicants. For example, a federal magistrate in Illinois recently ordered Social Security to conduct a new hearing for a woman suffering from depression who first applied for disability benefits nearly 10 years ago. In fact, this will be the fourth such hearing for the plaintiff, who has been unable to work since 2004 due to her depression and other impairments.

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