Social Security’s Listing of Impairments describes medical conditions that are considered severe enough to prevent a person from doing any gainful activity. Most of the listed impairments are permanent or expected to result in death. If you show that you have an impairment that meets the criteria of a listing, then it is unnecessary to show that you cannot do your past or any other work.
I represent a 54 year old carpenter whose application for Social Security Disability benefits was approved today after the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) agreed that the claimant’s knee impairments satisfied the criteria of two different listings. One listing concerned a major dysfunction of a joint, and the other concerned reconstructive surgery of a major weight bearing joint.
In addition to providing surgical reports, treatment records, and functional assessment, I also provided the ALJ with an opinion from the claimant’s knee specialist that explicitly stated the listing criteria were met. Although I could have shown how the records satisfy the criteria, experience has shown that having a medical opinion that the criteria is met is better than making a legal argument that the criteria are met.
Because the ALJ found the claimant met a listing, it was unnecessary to consider the claimant’s functional capacity, transferability of acquired skills and other issues that could require experts, and made it more difficult to establish disability. Whenever it appears that a listing may be satisfied, medical opinion explicitly asserting the listing is met should be presented, rather than legally arguing the issue.