Saturday, September 24, 2011

Approval After Federal Court Remand

I took over a Social Security Disability (“SSD”) claim for a 40 year old nurse technician with severe physical and mental impairments from another attorney when the claim had to be appealed to federal court. I succeeded in federal court, and the case was remanded to Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Newton Greenberg.

ALJ Greenberg denied the claim for a second time based upon a medical report from Mohammed Khattak. Khattak was the doctor who examined the claimant one time for the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). I advised ALJ Greenberg in writing and during the hearing that the SSA had removed Khattak from its panel of doctors because his reports contained findings and conclusions that Khattak knew were false. The Appeals Council rejected ALJ Greenberg’s decision, and the case was reassigned to ALJ Jerome Hornblass.

Today, I received a fully favorable decision from ALJ Hornblass, who ruled that the claimant became disabled on April 30, 2003, based on the opinion of the treating psychologist, Dr. Ed Robins. Dr. Robins had concluded the claimant was unable to work in a report that I had secured for the claimant’s prior hearing with ALJ Greenberg. Consistent with SSA rules and regulations, ALJ Hornblass explained that Dr. Robins’ “extended treatment and observation of the claimant allows a more insightful and detailed, longitudinal picture of claimant’s medical impairment.” ALJ Greenberg had rejected Dr. Robins’ opinion in favor of Mohammed Khattak.

The claimant can now expect to receive eight years of past due SSD benefits. As you can imagine, the claimant’s inability to work and deprivation of benefits had created incredible financial and emotional problems for the claimant. The claimant’s protracted plight was caused by an ALJ who inexplicably refused to follow the unambiguous rules and regulations of the SSA. Fortunately, the claimant chose to pursue her appeals rather than simply give up.

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