Tuesday, October 6, 2009


You don’t have to be elderly to have disabling arthritis. Chondromalacia is essentially arthritis of the knee. I represent a 39 year old former press operator whose Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits were approved without a hearing.

The claimant retained me after he filed his application for SSD benefits. His application was denied in August on the grounds that the medical evidence failed to show a condition that would prevent him from doing sedentary work. Sedentary work requires lifting 10 pounds, walking and standing about 2 hours a work day, and sitting the remainder of the time.

Last month, I submitted an on-the-record (“OTR”) request for a fully favorable decision. After establishing that chondromalacia is a medially determinable condition, I demonstrated that it reduced the claimant’s functionality to the extent that sedentary work was not possible. The key was securing work assessments from three physicians, two orthopedists and an arthritis specialist, showing that the claimant could not lift 10 pounds, walk and stand for 2 hours a work day, and sit the remainder of the day.

Simply having one physician’s assessment may have sufficed after a hearing to obtain the claimant’s SSD benefits, but probably would not have been enough evidence to succeed via OTR. By successfully using the OTR process, the claimant will not have to wait 18 to 24 months before his hearing would be rescheduled.

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