Our client, a Camden County man, has been living with HIV for more than a decade. Two years ago, he was repeatedly hospitalized for severe gastrointestinal and respiratory infections. During one hospitalization, he was so sick, he was on a ventilator in the intensive care unit. He applied for Social Security disability benefits, but was denied.
We reviewed the case and requested an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing.
While we were waiting for a hearing date to be set, he began to feel better. He wanted to return to work, but he still needed income replacement for the two years in which he was unable to work.
We determined that he had a “closed period of disability,” a fixed period of time in which a person is unable to work and then recovers and returns to the workforce.
We wrote to the ALJ assigned to the case and requested benefits on our client’s behalf, limited to the two years in which he was unable to work. We provided medical records confirming the severity of his illness during the two-year period. Earlier this month, the ALJ awarded benefits for the two-year closed period.
It is a win-win for our client. His health improved, he has returned to work, and he received the benefits to which he was entitled during the closed period he was disabled.