Daily Point of Light # 2327 Jan 3, 2003

C. Allen Harpine, Esquire is a volunteer attorney for AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE). He has volunteered two to three days a week for 20 years (since 1980). In fact, he has worked there longer than most LCE staff members!

In his capacity as a retired attorney volunteer, Harpine has worked on a variety of types of cases while at Legal Counsel for the Elderly, but his work on Social Security cases is most notable. He has dedicated hundreds of hours of volunteer service in researching Social Security issues and writing memoranda for presentation to the appellate level. The contributions of Harpine are paramount to the successful representation of clients who are faced with adverse findings by the Social Security Administration and Administrative Law Judges. These cases are time consuming cases that involve complex federal administrative agency issues dealing with the Social Security Administration’s application of the sequential evaluation process to determine disability status, vocational assessments, assessment of pain and interpretation of medical reports, among other issues. A significant number of these cases have been won on appeal as a direct result of the many long hours, extraordinary effort, and skillful advocacy of Attorney Harpine.

One of his cases involved a 79-year-old widow who had supposedly received an overpayment of more than $50,000 in Social Security benefits. Unfortunately, the widow contacted Legal Counsel for the Elderly after the deadline to file the appropriate paperwork to appeal the overpayment. Harpine researched the regulations and case law and constructed a concise argument that persuaded the Social Security Administration to re-open the woman’s case. Harpine also proved to the Social Security Administration that the overpayment was incorrect and that the widow was entitled to Social Security benefits.

Prior to his retirement, Harpine worked as an attorney with the Department of the Interior. In that capacity, he worked on projects to secure lands for the National Park System. While the specific area of law differed considerably from the work that he performs at LCE, his skills and expertise in the law, specifically his legal research and writing capability and his knowledge of administrative law (the law governing how government agencies operate) have proved invaluable to many clients of LCE.

The work of C. Allen Harpine has empowered the low-income older residents of the District in their struggle against the Social Security Administration. This work is a lifeline to the residents in that many of the residents depend on their Social Security check as a primary means of financial support. He continues to be active with LCE in this type of work.