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I had a Social Security disability hearing last week that took place five years after the claimant first applied for disability benefits. At the end of the hearing, the judge kindly announced that he would award disability benefits to my client. A fully favorable decision has already been issued.

Since the hearing, I have been

Just recently, one of our clients was granted at hearing on the basis of debilitating colitis. Social Security had previously denied her claim after finding her capable of performing light work with ready access to a bathroom. After speaking with her and reading her medical records, it was clear that Social Security had not fully considered the nature of her illness or the severity of her symptoms.

What is colitis? 

Colitis refers to inflammation of the colon and causes several symptoms including: chronic diarrhea; abdominal pain; cramping; bloating; and dehydration. Associated symptoms of dehydration include: lightheadedness; weakness; and fatigue. 

What medical documentation is needed to establish the diagnosis and prove disability? 

At step 2 of the sequential evaluation, the judge must find that you have a severe impairment or combination of impairments that have or are expected to last at least 12 continuous months or be expected to result in death. 

There are many causes for inflammation and some are highly treatable and non-severe according to Social Security standards. Therefore, it is very important to talk with your doctor, and have him or her document your symptoms so that the proper tests to exclude other conditions with similar symptoms (i.e. diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome) can be performed and a proper treatment plan started.Continue Reading Colitis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

I have a hearing today with one of the new judges in Manchester, New Hampshire for a claim involving work under special conditions

Social Security’s regulations discuss work activity in 20 C.F.R. 404.1573, and work under “special conditions” is covered in 404.1573(c):

If your work is done under special conditions, we may find

We just got the news that a client's initial disability claim was granted. I could not be more pleased. 

This client is over 55 years old and has a 30 year work record. He came to see me before applying for disability benefits. We were able to gather all the important details before completing the

One of the items an administrative law judge may consider when deciding your disability case is your prior work record. A judge will look to see whether or not you were steadlily employed prior to applying for disability, and how much you were earning. A disability claimant with a twenty year work record with good earnings tends to be looked at more favorably than a person who has been chronically underemployed.

I had a recent Social Security disability hearing in Manchester, NH for a claimant with an outstanding prior work record. 40 years of earnings. 20+ years making over $80,000. I just marvelled at it.

This case had everything that a properly prepared disability claim file should have, including up-to-date medical records and a medical source statement from each of the claimant's medical providers. There was a clear medical diagnosis and unrebutted medical opinion regarding the claimant's resulting functional limitations. Despite all that, it was the claimant's prior work record that provided the most persuasive piece of evidence in the claim file.  Continue Reading An Outstanding Prior Work Record

I wrote two weeks ago about the amazing timeline of one of my Social Security disability cases. To recap, because the bank was foreclosing on the claimant's home, both the local Social Security office and the Portland, Maine hearing office expedited the disability appeal. A hearing was scheduled within 5 weeks from the claimant's receipt of the Reconsideration denial notice