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Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer that used to be a terminal diagnosis. However in the past 10 years or so, truly amazing advancements have been made in the treatment of this disease. There are new drugs, like Revlimid and Valcade, and autologous stem cell transplants are a treatment option that offers lengthy remissions. I

Social Security requires a medically determinable physical or mental impairment as the basis for a finding of disability. The "medically determinable" language is part of the definition of disability in the Social Security Act itself. See 42 U.S.C. 423(d)(1)(A).

A physical or mental impairment must be established by medical evidence consisting of signs, symptoms, and laboratory

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

Post-polio sequelae (also called post polio syndrome, or PPS) are often disabling symptoms that occur in many polio survivors later in life, about 35 years after the initial poliovirus episode. The symptoms may include overwhelming fatigue, muscle weakness, chronic muscle and joint pain, sleep disorders, as well as difficulty swallowing and breathing.

Post polio sequelae

There is an excellent article in the Los Angeles Times entitled When pain becomes chronic. Here is an excerpt:

Pain is usually a symptom of something else — a scraped knee, a broken arm, appendicitis. Treating the pain makes the patient less miserable, but it’s just a stopgap measure until the underlying problem is

Every year I handle at least one claim involving adult listing 12.05C. That listing requires:

A valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of 60 through 70 and a physical or other mental impairment imposing an additional and significant work-related limitation of function;

The listing is a two-pronged test. The first prong is a

Every now and then I see a claim involving mental impairments where the GAF score assessed in the clinician’s treatment notes is higher than you want to see as a disability lawyer. 

A GAF score of 65, for example, normally would not denote a disabling mental impairment. However, most of the GAF scores in a disability

I have a claim coming up for a hearing where one of the claimant’s impairments is interstitial cystitis (IC). IC is a chronic bladder disorder characterized by pelvic pain. IC occurs ten times more frequently in women than men, and is often associated with other impairments, such as fibromyalgia.

In my research for this case, I

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a basis for Social Security disability, and Social Security Ruling 99-2p sets forth the policy for evaluating disability claims involving chronic fatigue syndrome.

One of the problems with chronic fatigue syndrome is that no one really knows what causes it. However, the New York Times has a fascinating article today, entitled Is