Saturday, October 29, 2011

SSD Approved in 2 Weeks

I represent a 60 year old claimant who alleged that he became disabled after working 40 years as a steamfitter due to his diabetes and cardiovascular impairments. The claimant’s application for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits was denied twice, even though it was conceded that he could no longer work as a steamfitter. He then retained me to represent him at a hearing.

I immediately reviewed the SSA’s electronic file, and obtained reports from the claimant’s endocrinologist and internist to provide the medical findings, conclusions, and functional evaluations that I believed were needed to strengthen the case. Rather than waiting for a hearing, I filed a request for a fully favorable decision on the record (“OTR”). I pointed out that the application had been denied based upon the opinion of a non-examining orthopedist, who was unqualified to evaluate diabetic or cardiovascular problems. The OTR was approved two weeks later, as controlling weight was given to the opinions of the claimant’s endocrinologist and internist.

The claimant’s case was at the White Plains, NY hearing office. According to the Social Security Administration, the average wait time for a hearing at that office is a year, but local practitioners believe the typical waiting time is actually longer. In any case, an OTR should always be made whenever there is objective medical evidence to support an SSD claim.

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