A woman from Florida who suffers from degenerative disk disease and depression adjustment disorder has been fighting for denied Social Security disability benefits for more than 12 years. She finally won her benefits on appeal — an appeal she has been fighting since 2000.

This is, admittedly, quite unusual. Even her attorney recognizes that there have been very few examples, anywhere in the country, of a Social Security disability appeal being denied after such a long period.

Nevertheless, this case is a great example both that the Social Security disability claims system can be complex and even byzantine, and also of that system can work if approached with patience and diligence.

According to reports, a lawyer in Florida, along with several of his colleagues, worked on the case for more than a decade in the service of this disabled woman. The first appeal was filed in 2000, and the attorney carefully filed legal briefs and advocated for his client at innumerable hearings during the multi-step Social Security disability appeals process. Finally, a U.S. District Court judge granted the woman her benefits in November of last year.

“After 12 years of fighting her claim through hearings and appeals, we finally won,” the attorney said in a statement. “My client and I are thrilled.”

We may reflect that it’s unfortunate that a woman whose disabilities could ultimately be proved in court had to wait for more than a decade for the benefits she needed. At the same time, though, it’s good to know that deserving people can ultimately get the relief they need through the Social Security disability program.

Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Port Orange law firm wins 12-year-old case,” ffernandez, Jan. 30, 2012