The Department of Disability Determinations is the state agency that initially decides Social Security disability applications (the “DDD”). Every so often, the DDD requests medical information regarding a medical condition about which the claimant never complained. The DDD contends that it needs the information to ensure that the claimant has the best chance of securing benefits, but experience indicates otherwise.
The application forms do not request information concerning all medical impairments; only those that impact the claimant’s ability to work. I used to comply with the DDD requests for medical evidence regarding secondary impairments. However, I no longer do so because applications were being denied on the grounds that those secondary impairments were not disabling, and the primary impairments were being ignored.
I represent a claimant whose application papers specified that she was disabled by her knee, back and shoulder problems. The DDD was provided with reports from the claimant’s treating arthritis specialist, pain management specialist, chiropractor, internist, and physical therapist. Each treating source provided an extremely limited functional capacity that precluded work. Nonetheless, the DDD sought information relating to the claimant’s “cardiac condition.”
I advised the DDD that the claimant would not submit any further medical evidence because more than enough medical evidence had already been submitted to approve the claim. I demanded that benefits be approved immediately or the application denied so I could seek an approval on the record with the Social Security Administration. The application was approved shortly thereafter.