Veteran continues appeal after disability claim was denied twice


CBS46 is continuing to fight for our veterans. A military family is in danger of losing their home as social security continues to deny the Marine's disability claim.

CBS46 first brought you this story in March.

Joshua Lear is a Marine who later went on to have a successful civilian career. But his family's world came crashing down in 2012 when he was hurt in a vehicle wreck on the job.

Lear was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. Social security denied his claim for disability twice.

They were originally told they’d have to wait three years for their appeal to go through, but after our story aired they finally got some guidance from the agency.

"That person called us and said he was going to help us through that process,” said Lear.

However, it only got more complicated from there.

They submitted close to 1,000 pages of medical records, only to find out the agency lost or didn’t review certain files. They also learned that SSA added bank accounts to their claim file that didn’t belong to them.

"We noticed that there's an account for Wells Fargo, which we don’t have an account with Wells Fargo,” said Renee Lear, Joshua Lear’s wife. “The other accounts on there, they have our sons account on there, two of his accounts."

I spoke to Jonathan Ginsberg, an attorney who focuses on SSA claims. He says disorganization is typical with SSA.

"There's not enough staff. The staff levels have decreased while claims have gone up," says Ginsberg.

Several doctors told Lear he'd never work again. Even the doctor SSA sent him told Lear his case was severe, but that doctor's report to SSA said the opposite.

"Most of the doctors they send people out to for physical evaluation are industrial, clinic-type of doctors, the same folks that workers-comp insurance companies use to deny people," says Ginsberg.

But above the setbacks is a silver lining: when I first interviewed the Lears, their home was in foreclosure.

That changed days after CBS46 aired their story.

"One very gracious man, a brother Marine did step forward to help us out some to keep us from losing the home," said Lear.

The Marine asked to stay anonymous, but the Lears will never forget the man's selfless act.

"A sense of humbleness, a sense of pride, thankfulness,” said Lear. “This man didn’t know me from anybody, he knew that I wore an Eagle Globe and Anchor."

CBS46 reached out to SSA again this week. A day later, the Lears got a call saying a court date for their appeal has been set for the middle of April.

Typically that process would have taken one to three years.

Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Multimedia Journalist

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