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I had a hearing for a client who has been unable to work due to the symptoms of long-haul COVID, sometimes also referred to a postviral fatigue syndrome (PVFS).

My main challenge as a Representative has been to make sure Social Security recognizes that long-haul COVID cases are not like other cases. An appropriate RFC

A client with long-haul COVID symptoms was recently awarded Social Security disability benefits at the initial stage of review. That was great news. But when Social Security allows a disability claim at the initial or reconsideration level of review, they don’t tell you why; they just pay the disability benefits.

I wanted to know

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).

The impairment(s) must result from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities that can be shown by medically

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

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 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