Social security disability claims are often arduous on the client , but a winning decision and the notice of award are rewarding for the client and the lawyer alike as the recent win of back benefits for one of my clients in the amount of $37,967.00 was especially gratifying. The story of course does not end there as the afflicted worker was also awarded future payments that could last a life time.
Because of the back log of claims the road to victory and a fully favorable decision can take a long time. The back benefits can vary based upon the monthly amount the unable to work applicant is entitled and the point at which the social security administration ( in this case a Federal Administrative Judge ) finds the claimant disabled. So there is a premium on developing evidence of inability to perform gainful employment as far back as possible.
Critical Factors in a Winning Disability Application
This first thing is to determine what are the medically determinable impairments. In this particular claim migraine headaches and post traumatic stress disorder were the illnesses that were keeping my client from working. So evidence had to be developed from the migraine doctors as well as the psychologists and psychiatrists.
We developed evidence of multiple emergency room visits for migraine headaches. These are the actual records that we gathered. Just telling the Administrative Judge you went to a doctor with out the actual record is a recipe for disaster . I count over 1000 documents, including records , citation analysis, and evidentiary analysis that went into this claim. Remember by the time the case gets to the Administrative law Judge social security has already denied the claim twice. There are social security doctor’s analysis that have to be overcome. These doctors may have never seen the claimant . Nevertheless social security mandates there findings and opinions be discussed and weighed. Some judges will adopt them absent your strong arguments and evidence.
A good well reasoned treating doctor’s report and consistency with the other medical evidence and the claimant’s own credible statements can defeat these social security doctor’s assertions. We filed several memos of law and evidence well in excess of 1500 words to delineate and make clear for the Judge that we had the evidence to win this claim and over turn the prior denials.
Residual functional capacity forms for physical and mental disorders from the treating doctors were requested, vetted and submitted to the Judge. These forms showing the restrictions in concentration, attention, fears and inability to attend work are almost mandatory for a winning claim. In this claim an actual functional capacity evaluation was obtained from a physical therapist and critical to it was the treating doctor’s agreement with the restrictions shown in the therapist’s evaluation.
Lifetime Benefits in the Hundreds of Thousands
The past due benefit was nice, but the ongoing benefits for this 44 year old claimant could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. So a string of evidence from when the inability to work began until the day of the hearing is critical. By getting all relevant evidence, gaps in treatment cam be eliminated and the proof of disability can be made even stronger. This work is best done by an experienced SSA lawyer.
By Anthony Castelli
8170 Corporate Park drive #220
Cincinnati, Ohio 45242
Past performance is no predictor of your case.