Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is an infection caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, which can lead to chronic encephalomyelitis. Symptoms from Lyme Disease can involve cognitive impairment, weakness in the legs, awkward gait, facial palsy, bladder problems, vertigo, and back pain.
A 39 year old woman with Lyme Encephalopathy who worked in accounts payable retained me after her Social Security Disability (“SSD”) application was denied, even though the Social Security doctor who examined the claimant admitted that, among other things, the claimant had a “cognitive disorder secondary to Lyme disease.” The claimant’s neuropsycholgist had diagnosed the claimant with dementia due to medical condition, major depressive disorder, and anxiety disorder.

The claimant’s SSD application was approved less than three months after I was retained, and five days after I submitted a request for a fully favorable decision on-the-record (“OTR”). The rapid approval was based on a functionality report that I asked the treating neuropsychologist to complete, and the results of that doctor’s neuropsychological testing. Among other things, I was able to show how the test results explained the claimant’s cognitive limitations.

Many disability adjudicators are predisposed to reject disability claims based upon Lyme Disease, and frequently even question the validity of the disease itself. When applying for SSD, a claimant with Lyme Disease should focus the application on the effects of Lyme since adjudicators predisposed against Lyme claimants may attribute the functional deficits to another condition.

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