Monday, April 26, 2010

Medical Evidence and Functionality

Most people are surprised when their disability applications are denied even though they submitted medical records from their supportive doctors. Claimants should not be surprised. Medical records can readily establish the existence of a medical condition and treatment for it. However, simply having a diagnosed condition, even one that is regularly treated, typically results in a disability denial.

I took over the Social Security Disability (“SSD”) claim of a 56 year old office manager from Binder & Binder that had been denied. The file contained myriad treatment and test records, but nothing that evaluated the claimant’s physical ability to work. Within a month I obtained the treating internist’s assessment of the claimant’s functional capacity, and submitted an on-the-record (“OTR”) request for a fully favorable decision. The Judge agreed to the OTR, determined that no hearing was needed, and concluded that SSD benefits were warranted.

It is not enough simply to collect and submit medical records. The medical records need to be used to show the impact that the medical condition has on the claimant’s ability to work. When there are also adverse vocational factors, the medical evidence can require finding the claimant disabled under the medical-vocational rules.

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