I was retained after a federal court remanded this case to ALJ Iris Rothman. The claimant’s prior attorney was ambivalent about representing the claimant because ALJ Rothman inexplicably refused to review the case objectively. Sure enough, ALJ Rothman denied the claim a second time despite overwhelming medical and vocational evidence.
Rather than the usual terse one or two page or two decision, the Appeals Council (the “AC”) remanded this claim a second time in a detailed five page remand order. The AC not only made it clear that ALJ Rothman’s second decision was utterly devoid of any merit, but strongly and repeatedly indicated that the claim met at least one of three listed impairments. If a listing is met, then the claimant is deemed disabled without any further evaluation.
The new ALJ assigned to the case issued a fully favorable decision on the grounds that the claimant’s macular degeneration equaled listing 2.04 as of her February 1, 2005 onset date. If you believe the denial of your SSD benefits was wrong seek a second legal opinion. While the legal process for reversing an erroneous benefits decision may take some time, SSD benefits should be approved as long as there is supporting medical and vocational evidence.