Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gilding the Lily

The Shakespearean derived phrase “gilding the lily“ means to make superfluous additions to what is already complete. I’ve been accused of gilding the lily by submitting evidence from multiple supporting treating sources when applying for disability benefits. Although it may be true that benefits might be approved based on support from a single physician, I’ve found that providing reports from additional medical sources expedites favorable decisions.

I represent a 50 year old construction worker whose Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits were approved in less than five months after he retained me. When the claimant came to me, he explained that he could not work because he had knee problems. However, after interviewing the claimant, I learned that he also had wrist and shoulder problems. I wound up filing records and reports for all three of the claimant's problems.

It is possible that the claimant’s SSD application may have been approved if he had relied solely on his knee problems as a basis for his disability. Nonetheless, experience has demonstrated that the chances of obtaining an approval increase substantially when presenting evidence of all impairments, even if only of secondary import in the mind of the claimant. In fact, the regulations specifically require that the combined effect of all of the claimant’s impairments be considered when evaluating the ability to work.

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